Monday, February 03, 2014

Memorable times in Mentok

Alone on Sea Turtle for the 1st time. Normally Judy and I at any time are no more than a boat's interior distance apart. Some have asked us how we could live so close together 24/7 but it just seems right to us. Now with her half a world away, it seems strange. But boat jobs fill some of the void.

Still in Mentok (aka Muntok, Indonesia), I daily talked to Arthur on Morning Glory to compare weather predictions that we each pull off our favourite internet sites. Right from the boat I got 3G internet using the cell phone system so I kept in touch daily with Judy while she was in 50° below zero Alberta weather.

Judy and her Dad in cold Canada

Sam and his wife as well as his parents, all of Chinese ancestry, have adopted me and make the delay in this port memorable. They are a well known and respected fixture in the happy community. There is a diverse religious mix here - Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu - and they all are proud how they accept each other with absolutely no prejudice or judgment.

Sam insisted I spend 2 days with them for Chinese New Year's, a big thing for Chinese all around the world. The 1st day, as tradition dictates, Sam opened up his garage door and set it up for visitors, replete with light eats and customary snacks where anyone known or otherwise was welcomed in for pleasantries. I was an honoured guest that Sam graciously introduced to each and every visitor. The next day, I went with the family to make their rounds to their friends where we were in turn catered to.

Far left: Sam's parents, left next to parents: Sam & wife, far right in back: Jordan

Yet another display of the wonderful friendly local hospitality was shown when I was invited along with Sam and family to an annual feast put on by a large extended Chinese family of Buddhist persuasion. (Sam and family are Christian.) The variety and abundance of dishes, many I had never tasted before, was a symphony of delights.

I reciprocated the only way appropriate and had Sam and family all out to the boat for snacks and refreshments. I dug out some ancient prized Chinese tea that we were given by our Chinese friends before we left Victoria. They were quite impressed with our floating home and the tea.

Another day, Sam and I hiked to the top of a hill just outside town that was the exiled home of Indonesian royalty during the turmoil of Indonesian independence.

Strange rock erosion

And on it went. Another day for dinner at Sam's parents. Another night when the dinghy was high and dry in the mud by the time for my return to Sea Turtle, Sam insisted I stay once again with them.

When Morning Glory detected some predictions for slightly less wind, they decided to make a run for the north. They are a faster boat with a family of 4. I would be single-handing so I was not quite comfortable with the prediction. So I was left as the only and lonely sailboat.

Finally though I saw a comfortable forecast for significantly lesser winds so decided to make my departure. When I was in port to say my goodbyes, the confidence of my decision was strengthened when the news in town was that the commercial boats were about to start moving which delighted them because town supplies were getting low.

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