After breakfast we grabbed the scooters and cameras and went on a little tour of the villages surrounding Amed. Joya had a bundle of pencils with her to hand out to little kids. What a fantastic idea! We started down the street at a local market, bought a few little things like incense and Coca-Cola, and met some pretty amazing people. The kids are always fun because they’re so curious and like to follow us around laughing.
Joya can speak enough Indonesian to maintain conversation and keep the locals’ attention. I took this is an opportunity to stand back and snap some photos. One lady inside the market spoke English and we stopped to chat with her a bit. In this remote area finding English speaking residents was rare. She was excited to talk with us!
The locals in the market were all very friendly and stopped to talk with us or to watch us. I get the feeling not a lot of tourists come through here. We tried to buy little things here and there: incense, peanuts, Coca-Cola, little snacks and fruit. As we were leaving town we attracted the attention of a few more kids and Joya continued to hand out pencils and make new friends. Some of the kids ran from the cameras and others hammed it up.
A short distance down the road we stopped again to walk through a little town and came across some women cooking food in front of a store. Joya struck up a conversation and they invited her to try some spicy fish wrapped inside a banana leaf. Even though it was a bit early in the day for spicy fish, Joya took one for the team and put on a good show! A few of the people seemed hesitant about having their photos taken, so while Joya chatted them up and tried the food, I quietly snapped photos in the background. We also learned a few new Indonesian words and shared some laughs.
Visiting little villages like this was really rewarding and fun. Not only do you get a real understanding of how people live, but you learn new words, new customs, and gain lots of insight into life in general. Here these people have very little but they are all so friendly, welcoming, and happy. It’s quite uplifting.
Our last stop before heading out of town was a little mountain village up the road a ways from Amed. The views were green, lush, and spectacular. A ceremony of sorts was underway when we arrived and all of the women were dressed beautifully in head to toe white clothing. Again we bought a few drinks and chatted for a while with the locals.
We toured around the village a bit and Joya pulled out her blow-up dinosaur Bronto and handed him out to a crowd of very happy children. It was priceless! Unfortunately our time had run out and we had to head back to Amed for our taxi to Kuta. I really could have easily stayed another day and just ridden the scooters around to little towns, handed out gifts to the kids, and taken a ton more pictures. It’s so much fun to visit these places.
The 3-hr drive to Kuta wasn’t dull in the least. It’s really quite shocking the things and number of people that are transported here on scooters. We saw a guy holding on to a propane tank while driving with one hand. One scooter went by with 3 adults and 2 kids, some people have bamboo, other kids hold shopping bags. And all of this is happening while zooming in and out of traffic on straight-aways, blind corners, and uphill grades. Drivers in the US really do truly suck because I couldn’t even imagine the carnage if things like this happened back home, especially in Seattle. People in Seattle can barely drive when it’s nice weather!
The best moment of the day was this scooter that came up behind us with two adults, a little boy, and a puppy. The little boy was up front holding his puppy and had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I took a few shots through the back of our car and luck would have it that a few of them actually turned out!
Once in Kuta we were pretty shell-shocked. This place is like the Miami night-scene meets LA. Trendy shops line the streets. Bleach-blonde, leather-skinned, silicone-enhanced women are on every corner. DJs are spinning bumpin’ tunes at every restaurant. Millions of surfboards are everywhere. Traffic is crazy and it’s pretty much everything I hate in the world. But, it’s close to the airport and thank goodness I’m only here for a day.