Guides and Parade
Tuesday 15th August 2017
At first, on each of our trips ashore we were greeted at the dinghy landing – newly built and very smart – by a group of youngsters, about 15-16 years of age, who want to practise their English. This is fine if indeed they have enough English to practise! Answering “What is your name” and “Where do you come from”, although not very demanding, can be a little tiresome. As soon as one student has finished, another begins the same process all over again. Any attempts to deviate from the pattern were met with blank looks, which immediately confirmed the conversation was going nowhere further!
One young chap, though, by the name of Putra, seemed to adopt us, and his English was much better. He was able to understand a fair amount and to answer our questions appropriately, and asked far more searching questions, such as who was in charge of our country! He was a very polite and helpful young man, and would ask if we would like to help his friends with their English. If we declined, he would apologise to them on our behalf, and off they would go. He was usually there to greet us at the dinghy dock, take our bags, and ask us where we wanted to go. On one occasion when he was not there, he suddenly appeared later at our side in the market apologising profusely for not meeting us.
Putra with his little sister and friends. Zila, Putra’s friend, with her father at their shop.
Putra showed us around the local area and his services as a translator were invaluable in helping to get phone cards topped up and gas bottles filled.
The main street is very busy with cars and motorbikes. Putra mainly took us along the parallel back streets which he said were safer!
Down a back street we came across a sewing shop with every colour of thread and zips.
Bolts of colourful cloth... and an ancient sewing machine.
Zila’s mother cooking my new favourite – banana fritters. Yum! Giggling children call “Mister, Mister!”
Bakery delivery by motorbike and plastic box. The sign reads, “The Real Men Only”. Not sure what that means!
This afternoon the rally crews were invited to take part in a parade which was part of the Independence Day celebrations. Indonesian Independence Day is 17th August, but it seems they have a week of festivities leading up to the big day. Today was parade day, and various groups of people dressed alike in a sort of ‘uniform’ and marched through the streets to the Regent’s House, where they put on a little display, and gave a short message, for his entertainment. These were all judged and trophies awarded.
We yachties were, of course, a motley crew. Half of us were dressed in bright orange t-shirts which had been given out as freebies at the gala dinner at Debut. Lots of people missed out on them, including us, so we didn’t really have a ‘uniform’. Each boat crew carried their national flag (or in our case ensign because we do not own a Union Jack), and in spite of the efforts of the locals to get us into orderly lines of three abreast we were a higgledy piggledy bunch that shuffled along in stark contrast to all the other groups who marched smartly, as we suspect they had been doing for several weeks at least before today.
In front of the Regent and his uniformed (properly) officials, we stopped and recited the words that had been hastily written down for us as nobody could remember them – Dirgahayu Indonesia! Wakatobe Bersinar! – meaning, apparently, “Happy Birthday, Indonesia! Wakatobe shine!” This was greeted with great pleasure and appreciation, as well as applause. We were then invited into the Regent’s garden for photos, and then taken to seats out the front of his house where we had a grandstand view of the proceedings. Add to that a little cardboard box with snack, cake, sweets and a drink, and a great time was had by all.
Not exactly marching along, but we showed willing. We waited in line to stand under the arch and recite our words to the Regent.
In case we should forget the important words... One, two, three, go! Good job we had our guides to lead us!
They were so pleased with our Indonesian they let us inside, then gave us ringside seats and a packed lunch.
We sat opposite the judges. Marching ladies.
More marching ladies. Marching men.
A group of men do their set piece in front of the judges. All that marching has taken its toll on these shoes!
This children’s group acted out an important moment in Indonesia’s road to independence, to much applause.
After watching a dozen or more groups marching to a whistle, we began to get restless. If we understood what they were saying, it would be more meaningful, but there’s only so much marching one can watch before it all becomes a little “more of the same”. A quick word in Putra’s ear, and he led us off around the back and out to the road back to the harbour. We assured him he should stay if he was enjoying it, as we could easily find our way home, but he insisted he was bor-ed too, and would like to leave.
When we arrived back at the dinghy dock, we asked Putra if he would like to come to see the boat. His face lit up with pleasure, and he didn’t need asking again. His little brother, Galang, had joined us on the walk back, so we took him along too. Putra was very interested in the boat and how it works, and asked very relevant questions. Galang wanted to explore the decks, but as he can’t swim we preferred to keep him inside the cockpit. Once he was introduced to the binoculars this was not a difficult task, and they kept him amused for the rest of his visit.
Galang enjoying a cold drink on the comfy seat. He was fascinated by the binoculars.
What’s “I see no ships” in Indonesian? Showing Putra our route to Wangi Wangi.
We took the boys back to the dinghy dock and thanked Putra for all his help today. Then back to the boat for sundowners.