Giant Jesus in the Jungle
10 November 2013 | 0 57.185'S:130 40.136'E, Raja Ampat
Another interesting anchorage... Last night we anchored off of the village of Kaliem, near the northwest end of the island of Salawati. Very dense jungle everywhere you look. The village, however, was largely concrete, including concrete roads, and a concrete waterfront. It appears that this was funded through enty fees to the Raja Ampat area, which are about $100 per person (1,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah). Its hard to tell, since we don't speak Bahasa Indonesia, however the eight local fellows who piled onto our boat were nevertheless anxious to chatter away and tell us all about it. We understood about every 15th word. We have a very inadequate dictionary, and patience. They have no dictionary, but probably more patience. We ended up getting a complete tour of the village because we understood "jalan jalan" which means walk, and we said "sure". It was the first village we've encountered where beetlenut chewing is popular. So there were plenty of bright red, wild-ey ed, smiles.
After the tour of town, our guide showed us a picture of a very large metal head of Jesus. Then said "foto foto" and sort of vaguely pointed off toward another island. Ever since watching the Jim Carey movie "Yes Man", which is a bit corny and actually not that great, we've often adopted the philosophy of just saying yes. It often leads to interesting things. Yesterday we took about a half hour dinghy ride to another island, then hiked a concrete road (in what seemed a fairly random place for a concrete road since there is nothing there) to a very very large metal Jesus being built in the jungle. This giant Jesus is actually very impressive. And perhaps more so because it is in a Muslim country. Very strange. It really is out in the middle of nowhere in the jungle. We'll thats what you get for saying yes. A few days ago it was beer.
Just before we left Debut, I was asking our interpreter/agent about whether we need to report to authorities in other ports in Indonesia. Instead of answering he just kept saying "Say your last port was Tual". After several unsuccesful attempts to clear this up, I said "so the only time I need to report is in Bintan?" Which is our last planned location in Indonesia? He said "Bintan?" I said "yes, Bintan" So he said something to the driver who made a quick u-turn? I looked at him questioningly, and he said "Bintan?" Thinking this odd, since our conversation shouldn't have required the driver the change directions, I nevertheless said "Yes"--just to see what would happen. So we drove for about a quater mile, and we stop in front of a funny little shack of a store. Our interpreter gets out, and waves me into the store. I follow him, and inside he presents me with a case of Bintang beer--which is the local indonesian brew. I said thanks, paid the storekeeper, and lef t with a case of beer!
Sometimes, it doesn't work out so well. Or at least I'm not confident that it will. I have in my possession a can that says on the side "Foco, Birds Nest Drink, flavoured with Artificial White Fungus." The ingredients are Bird's Nest Flavouring, Water, Rock Sugar, White Fungus. It was an impromptu "yes" decision at a store. But so far, I've been to chicken to try it.