Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia

When we get upstairs to our room it is excellent, one of the best we have stayed in during our time in Indonesia. We quickly settle in and drop off our bags of laundry.

We head out for a walk and make our way down the beach. This is a nice town, clearly popular with Indonesian tourists rather than foreign visitors, but there are a few western orientated restaurant/bars. There are some signs of the tsunami that hit here several years ago, which is still on my mind after the lady from the travel agent mentioned it. We see several large and fairly new buildings with the windows blown out. There are also several large walled areas which look as though the buildings inside have been flattened and the remaining bricks have been piled for later use. I also see a few old buildings with the ceilings bent up, and roadside areas that have clearly been washed away.

We walk back up the beach and stop at the Bamboo cafe. We get chatting to a nice Indonesian guy who is waiting for high-tide so he can go surfing. We talk about a lot of things. He works on a cruise ship around Europe. He comes home for a few months of the year to relax and wait for the surf it seems. He mentions that there is some discrimination on the boats he works on, saying that Europeans are paid more than him for the same job, and that Muslim crew cannot work on the bridge. This later statement doesn’t seem right at all. The pay scales I can understand, although not altogether agree with, as the costs of living in Europe are obviously higher than in Asia, and it is fair to have a crew made of various nationalities. Maybe his comment about the Muslim bridge crew is from experience rather than rules. Perhaps Muslim crew find they cannot gain jobs on the bridge, rather than simply not being allowed to be appointed to them. Whichever way, I feel bad that such discrimination exists, but I’m happy that he and his fellow countrymen are able to find such well paid and rewarding work. He also mentions that he often works at his friend’s money changing business, which largely caters for Indonesians returning home from working abroad with pay cheques that need cashing. This is also good news, although it’s always a shame that people need to leave their homeland to find good employment. But, at least to me, it seems good that the people of Indonesia have this option. In my experience they are hard working, honest and incredible friendly and helpful people, maybe more so on Java than the other major islands we have visited.

We get a take away (the first on the trip) and relax with a movie that evening. A little taste of home, and it’s nice enjoying the laptop that was such a funny experience to buy.

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