Today we had booked the Homestay’s ‘Rural tour’ and the helper at the homestay a guy called Andung was going to be our guide. Before we set off we were treated to a couple of new fruit for breakfast – the Mangosteen and the Rambutan, the former I thought was very nice – quite citrus-like – but the latter was more like a flavourless lychee. At breakfast we said our goodbyes to Elsa – who we would be seeing again – take note.! The journey to the start of the tour was a bit of an eye-opener in itself as we saw the ubiquitous man with far too much on his moped and green rice fields which looked great and very picturesque but the drive was also where we first came across payments being made to ‘surly-looking’ villagers simply, it seemed, for driving through their villages – until we had it explained to us that the payments go towards the roads and later we did see villagers trying to fill in the huge potholes in the road with rubble and sand – positive action by people who could wait for Local Government no longer! The potholes did not deter one gentleman from carrying on his moped a pallet load of cases.
After the road journey we then travelled by foot – mainly uphill – to the ‘Rural Village’. Along the way we were followed by schoolchildren who, once again were not used to seeing Westerners which was quite funny as they kept following us but somewhat secretively.
The walk was really cool, the greenery really lush so excellent viewing. Andung explained that many of the plants were actually used as medicines so the trip was quite interesting and as we got higher the views got better and better.
The leaflet had said ‘village’ rural tour but it was actually a single house simply made of bamboo and wood but we still had a great time. When we first got there we were welcomed with a crispy crunchy coconut as a refreshing drink – Andung got the party started by playing various Beatles songs and singing along with them. Andung was also one of the teachers at the English teaching school but he also gave private tuition and both him and Sting were heavily into ‘The Fab Four’ and older British bands. Then we watched as the oldest lady of the house prepared food whilst by her side a pot of palm sugar was boiling away steadily.
The old lady then exited and dinner was served and although it was vegetarian fare it really tasted great – Tofu and Tempeh, Vegetable Fritters and the great staples of Steamed Rice and Sambal – a wickedly hot mixture of chillies and more chillies in a chilli sauce, very hot indeed ! We all helped ourselves to the food and then went back for more as it was absolutely delicious.
We then watched the palm sugar making process and this was making the most delicious sugar I have ever tasted in my life but whilst this was going on the gentleman of the house gave first Liz and then myself a leg massage each. During all of this I had being saying in my very best Indonesian ‘Nuhun’ which means ‘Thank You’ – but somewhere along the way I must have been saying it wrong because the lady of the house kept correcting me or perhaps encouraging me to say it even better? Who knows, anyhow after every round of me saying ‘Nuhun’ she would repeat with her own ‘Nuhun’ and then showing that I had learnt from her I would then say it again but possibly still wrong, so she would say it again and so on back and forth! It must have been a very frustrating afternoon for her!
After saying our goodbyes and ‘Nuhun’ to these lovely people who had allowed us into their home off we went.
On the way back all three of us were singing The Beatles songs – local residents in the paddy fields looked somewhat confused as we went past singing hits from the old mop tops. The only times we stopped were to view some massive poisonous spiders, though I also stopped to view what looked like a scarecrows’ convention on one of the rice terraces.
Besides when we were stopping to bribe local officials the only other time we stopped singing was when we reached our journey’s end, I pitied the poor driver!
We finished the day back once more at the school and again had a great laugh with both the kids and the teachers. Liz was included in the classes (but not me?) for the elder children because of her pronunciation – it must have been how NOT to pronounce words … lol. We had a chat with the kids and staff and we were asked what we had eaten since arriving in Indonesia – it appears that Bakso is the food of the young people and they cannot go a day without eating it! – I suppose it must be the Indonesian version of Pot Noodles! Then when the children left we got into a discussion with one of the teachers who confessed that he used to be a bit of a ’Land Crocodile’ a good phrase for what we would call ‘a Player’ back home I suppose, as he was always telling his wife little white lies rather than the truth but now, he told us, he had ‘seen the light’ and was a changed man.
When it was time to go there was no other way for it than to have a lift on the backs of the teacher’s mopeds. So me and Liz clutched our drivers and off we went through the mayhem. Every know and then I could hear a scream or laugh from Liz so I knew she was alright and finally safe and sound we reached the homestay. That night there was another beetle downpour so all in all a bit of a day for Bea(e)tles of all kinds.