Pass Me My Dufflecoat
09 October 2019
One of my readers commented the other day that she quite liked my piece on Jerry Maguire. And so, to continue the movie theme, how about Notting Hill? No, not the bit where Spike admires his bum in the mirror after opening the front door to meet the press. The part where Hugh Grant is at the movies with Julia Roberts.
Our few days on the island of Bawean brought us to a whole new level of disorganisation. Trips and events were on. Then they were off. Then they were back on again. Our interpretation was that there was a bit of rival in-fighting going on between the hands-on folk and "the committee". It sounded as if a bunch of politburo folk in an office just off Red Square were pulling strings to keep the tourists in line while trying to carefully stage manage all aspects of our visit. And failing. If only they'd asked me.
Anyway, we had a look around the place, had a bit of a nosh and the compulsory "social dancing" - as we now know it's called. It seems mandatory that the punters dance with the local trad dance act. Dire. The other evening we added another dimension, social, if not political karaoke.
The head honcho of the district and his Minister of Tourism took the mic from the group's lead singer and for perhaps half an hour, it seemed longer, much longer, gave us their best renditions of Bawean and Johnny Cash country classics. Dire. However, if you managed to escape the dancing it was an opportunity to catch up on all that vitally important stuff you needed to do online, you know, finding out if Donald had bought Greenland yet or if Boris had proposed to the Queen.
The trip to the now-it's-back-on Gala Dinner was a challenge in itself. All the cruisers packed onto the backs of flat bed pick up trucks. All good for the first ten minutes but then, and apologies for bringing up bums again, but if like mine, it's a bit on the bony side, it really began to hurt. If you were at the front there was always the option to stand, AK47 toting, Mogadishu guerrilla style. This also brought challenges as it's mango season and the trees are dripping with the things. Dripping down over the road to just about forehead height. Glance away from the direction of travel for a second and you're likely to get a mango smoothie right in your face.
We survived the last dance and the mangos and at dawn, made our escape, bound for monkey town, Kumai on Borneo, where for a modest fee of a few million, you can get aboard an old heap, think African Queen if you remembered the movie theme, and spend one or two days going up the river into the jungle to watch the orangutangs. More on that to come but I can tell you now, they better be good; riding mono-cycles and making cups of tea type thing.
Meanwhile, we were out in the ocean, picking our way through the dozens of fishing boats, thirty two all around just us at one count. The movie "Custer" did come to mind. Then it started to rain. And blow. And big sparky things. Then it really blew. The wind went from about ten knots to thirty and thirty five in about ten minutes, complete with blinding, horizontal driving rain. And of course, it was pitch black and somewhere out there was the fishing fleet. And so, doing my Hugh Grant, Notting Hill impersonation I donned my snorkelling mask and stood for an hour peering into the murk looking like a cross between a WWll destroyer captain and dear Hugh. All I was missing was a duffle coat.
It's not all beer and skittles out here y'know.