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Published: April 7th 2011
The Whitesand beach, looking one way ...
We had the beach completely to ourselves
The Bemo pulled away and we breathed a sigh of relief that we'd found a bed for the night.
We tried to organise our things in the tiny room using every available nail! The bed wasn't a full size double bed so it promised to be a sweaty night. The bathroom or 'mandi' was along the wooden walkway outside, there was no running water just a large tiled tank in the corner with cold water and a scoop. The scoop was to be used for throwing over you to wash and also to pour down the toilet to act as a flush.
We took a walk along the beach and to the village close by, as it was Sunday it was full of locals but we'd read that throughout the week the whole place was desserted. It was evident that there were no restaurants or bars so we'd have to eat at the loseman.
We ambled back and found Richard and Jackie (the other two guests) enjoying a Bintang beer - we declined as the beer was warm! We spent time getting to know each other, over the horrendously loud kareoke, and found we had a lot in
common, even down to the fact that they don't like fish.
Dinner came - grey stoggy rice, overcooked whole fish, yes - heads, tails and innards, and vegetables smothered in fish sauce - Great! We ate what we could and carried on chatting the night away. Around 10pm we walked to the beach to look at the stars, the sky was a clear inky black with thousands of stars twinkling brightly - hopefully tomorrow would be a good day. When we got back to our room I realised that I'd dropped the key somewhere and the owner had warned us it was the only one! After a fingertip search with four torches we found it on the sandy path. Thank goodness! The thoughts of spending the night outside was not a nice prospect, the block of three rooms were set deep in the jungle vegetation. I fell asleep to the sound of fruit bats and many other strange sounding noises grateful I was securely under my mosquito net.
Despite the stars the previous night the next day dawned grey and overcast, by the time we'd eaten breakfast of rubbery fried eggs, bread and pineapple jam the heavens had
opened. It rained and rained for one and a half hours turning the jungle paths into deep dirty puddles. By midday the rain stopped so the four of us set off to walk in the direction of Coaster Cottages. Maybe if any rooms had become vacant we'd splash out on the $60 as there seemed to be no alternative.
The tide had gone down revealing a pure white dazzling beach lapped by turquoise water. Palm trees lined the back of the beach posing for the perfect picture post-card scenes.
Before we even reached Coaster Cottages the rain came again, we sheltered for a while under narrow roof overhang but pretty soon we were quite wet and fed up, we jointly made the decision to 'run for it' and ended up getting soaked to the skin.
By the time we stripped off our wet clothing the outside of Ratan Vatar looked a sorry sight with an array of soggy wet clothes dripping on the line making ever increasing puddles on the verandah floor. When the rain finally stopped we walked to the nearby village for comfort food! Namely a tiny bag of sugar covered nuts.
Dinner was the same
as yesterday- grey, sticky rice, fish, vegetables and three boiled eggs between four of us! That night absolutly everything was damp and musty.
Tuesday dawned bright and clear but due to the position deep in thick vegetation everything was still saturated. We spread it all out in the sunshine and set off to check out Coaster Cottages again. Success- sort of, one of the two rooms in the villa was about to become vacant and Jackie was keen to take it but both were concerned that we would then be left on our own at Ratan Vatar. We had all agreed several times that the fact we were all in it together was what had kept us sane. In the end, after some negotiations the owner agreed to put two beds in the lounge area and luckily the couple in the second room were in aggreement to this arrangement. We'd met them a week earlier on the Bandas so were all familiar with each other. The god thing was that the cost of two rooms was shared between three rooms!
We went back to collect our bags and by the time we got back the staff had made
First Room we stayed at.
Rahan Vatar guesthouse, near the village of Ngur Bloat
up two beds put up a mosquito net and rigged up a large curtain as a divider for privacy so we were more pleased than ever.
For the next few days we all spent a pleasant time relaxing on the beach, swimming and watching the sunset together from the elevated veranda of the villa. All three meals every day were provided by the staff and served to us on the verandah overlooking the sea, thankfully the food was much much better than the meals we'd had at Ratan Vatar.
Most evenings we would watch the fruit bats swooping from tree to tree but despite our best efforts we never managed to photograph them, apart from their eyes shining in the darkness of course! When we weren't watching the fruit bats we would walk onto the beach for a spot of stargazing, most nights they were a magnificent sight in an inky black sky.
One day we hired a Bemo between us and went into Tual, the main town, we spent an interesting hour at the fish market, again being the centre of attention but at least there were six of us this time!
soon it was time to leave, we had just a week left before returning home and felt the urge for one last spot of adventure. We'd planned to get back to Makassar on Suluwesi and then take the bus north to Tana Toraja, famous for it's strange customs and colourful funeral ceremonies.
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