Local kids playing soccer on the beach at Pelabuhan Ratu.
I never would have considered myself “an outdoors type”. But after two months in Jakarta, shuttling from one airconditioned space to the next in airconditioned taxis, trying to avoid breathing the polluted air outside, I was feeling a little crazy.
In Sydney, you escape the city or work stress by relaxing down by the harbour or at the beach or in one of the stunning parks that overlooks the water. I actually spent quite a lot of time outdoors in Sydney, and even when driving I would have the windows down, gulping down that coastal air.
So it was absolute bliss to escape Jakarta this weekend to Pelabuhan Ratu, just a couple of hours out of Jakarta by car, to BREATHE and just be OUTSIDE all weekend! I didn’t even care about the mosquitoes, I just wanted to feel alive! We hired a driver and escaped when the others had finished work at midnight on Friday… a night time dash down windy roads through little villages to our destination.
Dubbed the “crazy house” by some, the “Dr. Seuss” house by others, we were crashing a 10-bedroom-and-god-knows-how-many-bathrooms house set high on a clifftop overlooking the beaches and the jungle. It was called Karang Aji Villa, and you can visit the website to see more pictures and to try and understand just how mad it was.
There were more people than beds, so I crashed on a sofa outside (yes, so desperate was I for the outdoors, I even slept outside despite not having a mosquito net). The mozzies were annoying, it was pretty hot, and I didn’t have a good sleep, but the things that woke me besides the sqweetos didn’t disappoint. The crowing of a rooster alerted me of the sunrise, and lying on my sofa I had a panoramic view of the sun coming up over the Indian Ocean, the water dotted with fisherman’s boats. And just like everywhere else in Indo, you can’t escape the loud loud loud morning prayers…
We didn’t get the full grasp of the crazy house until the morning. It was a psychadelic mix of Balinese-style wood carvings, bright plastic panels, stained glass, statues, bamboo furniture and tiny spiral staircases, all the way up to a somewhat wobbly “viewing platform”. I’ve never seen anything like it. But the views were gorgeous.
We were sharing the house with friends of a friend of ours who were celebrating a birthday. They were all Australians (except for one Austrian… she just needed a few more letters), and they were all doing interesting work here in Indonesia as part of the AusAid Youth Ambassador program.
Partying at the “crazy house”.
So we spent most of the weekend swimming, chilling, eating (including fresh grilled fish, of course), playing a bit of beach soccer until we noticed all the glass and nails and stuff in the sand, drinking, wandering a bit, talking a lot, reading, being rained on and not caring. And breathing lots and lots of relatively fresh air.
And I finally feel like I have seen some of the “real Indonesia”. As in, not shopping malls. Rice paddies, little villages, plantations, extreme dangerous driving, fishing boats etc etc. I want to see so much more.
But it was nice. Invigorating. Much needed. I was so busy relaxing I didn’t even take that many photos. I’ve been slack as lately. I have more, but Flickr is being even slacker than me so I might have to post them later when it decides to stop being fickle.