Banda Aceh

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February 24th 2007
Published: August 8th 2007
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We were up early to make our way out to the airport. However, our flight was delayed, so Una decided to tell us a few horror stories about Indonesian Airlines to pass the time. The flight itself went grand and we were met by Indra our driver (Very posh) for the day. Our first stop (as seems the way with Una regardless of where you are in the world) was a coffee shop. It's run by Una's friends in Banda, Rosa and Didi. We also met their tiny little new born daughter Michelle who was chilling in her own ingenious hammock strung from a nearby roof.

We were staying with Paul and Michelle for the night who we also met at the coffee shop. Paul quickly drafted Ronan in for a football game with his team in Banda, "Bulek FC" or Foreigners FC.

After a cup of delicious local coffee we were brought on a bit of sightseeing tour of Banda. First stop was an absolutely massive ship which had been dragged 3 kilometres inland by the tsunami and was now serving as a power station for the local community it landed in. It gave us some idea of the sheer size of the tsunami and the devastation it must have caused.

We then drove onto Ulee Lheue were debris is still being cleared and there is still a major clean up operation under way. On our way back we spotted some of the temporary barracks built by the government in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami but now occupied permanently by families with nowhere else to go. They were fairly grim in comparison with the houses being built by the NGO's. On our way back we stoppped for a delicious fish and rice lunch. We also picked up some booze from a local shop, which was a very under the table transaction and funny to watch Una in action with her impressive Indonesian skills (Seriously).

After a quick stop at Paul and Michelle's house, we headed with Michelle and Una for a swim at Lhoknga Beach. The water was beautiful and we spent a good hour swimming. After that we headed to watch Bulek FC game. Even with the help of the super sub in the form of Ronan the lads slumped to a 2-1 defeat (Paul got Buleks goal).

Much rehydration later we were back at the house and getting smarted up for a friend of Una's (Debs) 30th birthday extravaganza entitled Debfest. We even got invited to the pre-party drinks and food (which was delicious). The speciality drinks included Mojitos and Tequila and inevitably we were soon pounding the dancefloor (See Una + Wig below).

Still we managed to find time to drag Paul (An Englishman) into the living room to watch the Ireland Vs. England rugby match. The result being as we all know, a destruction of England by Ireland by 43-13 points. After much abuse and cheering we made our way home. We attempted to watch the France Vs. Wales match but ended up asleep in the living room before eventually making it to bed.

The next day, none of us were feeling all that great but a fantastic fry-up laid on by Paul and Michelle soon had us right as rain. After collecting Didi, Rosa and Michelle we headed out to look at one of the trial houses Paul is building for Oxfam. After that we headed for a cold drink near the beach. Our last stop was to visit the stadium in the city where (Hosts with
Shipwreck - The Electricity BoatShipwreck - The Electricity BoatShipwreck - The Electricity Boat

This Boat Was lifted By The Tsunami and Plonked Down 3 or 4km Inland In The Middle Of Housing Area

the most) Paul and Michelle were playing tag rugby. The stadium itself had been badly damaged by a recent earthquake. After saying our thanks and goodbyes to Paul and Michelle we made a beeline for the airport and caught our flight to Medan.

Next Stop Bukit Lawang...

Additional photos below
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Una And PaulUna And Paul
Una And Paul

One Of The Oxfam Houses Paul Is Building

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