December 2, 2013
Woke up and booked my “snorkel trip” which is an all day event stopping at three islands. One supposedly will have sea turtles and another with manta rays. The underwater camera I bought is on its last leg so hopefully it cooperates today. This is yesterday about an hour before sunset on Gili T. I like the lighting at this hour may try to get some more today. I was walking along the beach and two Indonesian men approached me asked me questions about where I was from, etc. They were excited to hear I was from America which has been an uncommon encounter here in Indonesia. Most focus on the wars and gun violence. So it was a nice change to see someone excited to hear where I was from. One was 27 and the other 18, both working at a hotel on the beach not too far away. They were childhood friends from Lombok, a neighboring island. The eldest came over here to support his family back at home on Lombok. He has a wife and 8 month child. He proudly showed me photos of his family and baby.. For maybe an hour. I enjoyed every moment of it. He works six days a week in the kitchen at the hostel. He goes to Lombok for the day whenever he has off. His English was developing and his favorite thing to do was laugh.. Uncontrollably. So she whenever he didn’t understand what I was saying, which was 30% of the time, he would laugh extremely hard. This made for some entertainment on my end. He was so full of life and energy. It was contagious and I found myself laughing hard simply because some of my questions were returned with immense laughter. He told me how he learned English by simply listening to the foreigners at the hotel. He said that a few years ago he only knew “Yes” and “No” and how awkward it was at the hostel when guests tried to speak with him and he had no clue what they were saying. He knew he had to learn to secure his job. He had zero schooling in life along with his childhood friend who sat there listening. His friend had just started his process of learning English, so he was listening and not able to speak much. One memorable observation made by my friend was when he said “In July and August there are many Italians at my hotel and in December and January there are many Australians, but I don’t understand why so many at that time. So many!” I went on to explain that those are the summer holiday months for each perspective country, and that in the summertime the families tend to travel. We then on to talk about winter and snow forever since he has never seen snow before. He asked an interesting question, that when the snow melts if our roads and homes are flooded from the snowmelt. I let him know that it was a smart question however most of the snow melt runs into the rivers and streams, leaving us quite dry besides a few “annoying” puddles. His wheels were turning though! I ended up watching the sunset with them, I couldn’t leave this scenario. Sunset turned into me asking them if I could take them to dinner. The lady at the food stand recognized I was taking them to dinner so we all received the discounted local price. . Dinner made for some interesting conversation as they were eager to ask and answer questions. It was a good night with my new friends from Indonesia.