Contracts of a modern Robinson

Mister! Dari mana? Mau ke mana? (Mister! Coming from where? Going to where?)

Dari Solo. Mau ke Malang. (Coming from Solo. Going to Malang).

When there are two women on motorbikes riding in the mountains and stop to ask the way, something to eat, enjoy the scenery or anything else, you can be sure questions like that pop up and wait to be answered to. But when those standard conversations start haunting in your dreams it’s a sign you need to get away from the social focus and escape to isolation.

From there our dream begins – to live a few days separated from the rest of the world, preferably on a deserted island, grill fish at the beach and not report any Indonesian about our doings. We open the map, and voila! Sempu island is only a few hours away and as far as it’s known there’s no one to be found. We only need to rent a tent, get some drinking water and food, give the fisherman a dime and delve into our dreams. Three days as Robinson Crusoe.

When at the port the reality kicks in. Mister! Dari mana? Mau ke mana? Ah, to the island? Sure, 100.000 for the boat and 100.00 for a guide. You don’t want a guide? You have to have a guide to reach the laguna, you won’t find the right way without a guide.

But, but… we want to be Robinsons, at least as much as it’s possible. We want to take our bags and wander along the unknown paths until we find a beach on this wild island, to wash ourselves in a laguna and bake fish on fire. We don’t want to see anybody, organise anything, or discuss it any further.

The life of a modern Robinson isn’t as easy as it seems. While in the big discussion we’re taken into a little concrete room where the negotiations continue. The local island guars are worried because if they let women on the island on their own and something happens to them then they are responsible. Thus walking to the laguna on our own is out of the question.

Having spent an hour at least talking about safety and safety measures, to get to the 3×4 km island that is about 10 minute rowing away from Jawa, we’re given documents which state we take all responsibility, follow the guidance and don’t leave any trash behind. We’re told which mountains we have to avoid if we don’t want to meet panthers and warned of anacondas (this is how they called just big snakes). We take our drinking water, a bottle of arak, a boat roof that can be transformed into a tent and sign the paper with which we agree with all the rules set for the Robinsons. A number of hustlers around give us an emergency number and they demand ours in return.

Attraction “A modern Robinson” may finally begin.

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4 thoughts on “Contracts of a modern Robinson

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  2. I’m so glad you liked my latest post, because now I’ve discovered you too. This is great, I lived on Lombok for a while, ages ago, and your vivid writing brings back such memories. When people cried out to me, “Ke mana, ‘bu?” I’d usually reply, “Jalan-jalan” or “out and about…” Now jalan2 is my car licence plate. Keep up your great accounts, I’ll be reading them.

  3. How exciting – modern day female Robinsons in Indonesia. I guess you won’t read this comment for a couple of days whilst you are seeking adventure and solitude. May it be everything you hoped for.

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