With Idul Fitri comes a week long celebration and the only real annual holiday in Indonesia. Everyone returns to their village for the Idul Fitri day celebrations, making traffic absolutely awful from the major cities out to the smaller, less populated regions. It also makes a dramatic change to our little village, one that I have born witness to many times now, but it never ceases to amaze me the difference a day makes.
During this week I would guess that around five to eight thousand tourists flock to our sea side village every day. They come by the literal truck load, immediately tripling (or more) the population of our village. They don’t stay, the just come for the day. An entire village in the back of a pickup truck. They spread out across the beach, finding any shade they can and they picnic together amongst a throbbing crowd of screaming, eating, laughing strangers. It usually takes us no more than one to two minutes to drive to our house to the main part of the beach. Over the past two days we have been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for close to an hour. It is a sight that has to be truly seen to be believed. When normally you can count the amount of people on the beach easily and often you are the only motorbike driving down a particular road. To this. It’s just crazy. It brings with it a lot of garbage, and a lot of mud and dirt as people swim in their entire holiday attire, headscarf and all, and then trod up through the black sand, collect their rice cookers and bamboo mats and back into their trucks for the long ride home again at the end of the day. It brings with it great things too. It brings food, all kinds of bizarre and wonderful Indonesian treats that we never have at any other time of the year. Little food stalls pop up where a week before there was nothing. It has been a tradition for the past three years that Ni and I go searching for snacks. Filling up on sugary candies, sweet Indonesian pancakes, salty fried dumplings, little fish, spicy fruit salads and anything else we can find.
This year, we took Bo, who joined right in and gorged herself on an enormous chunk of watermelon devouring it with an ear to ear grin.
Last night we left the village in the dead of night to travel to Jakarta for our flight back to Australia. We are currently on the roadt. It’s going to be a hellish drive I’m sure, but we will survive! I’ll just keep that good old parenting mantra running through my head… This too shall pass... Home town is calling!