Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the village dawn patrol


Photography tip for the day : get up early.  This is especially true here, as the village comes to life well before dawn. The air is cooler and striated with shafts of sunlight and smoke from kitchen fires.  The day awakes to the haunting call of pig farmers, the swish, swish of coconut brooms over hard packed dirt, and a chorus of birds and dogs.  Less pleasant instruments in this orchestra are the revving motorbikes, electric plainers, and the thumping Indo pop from huge speakers on a verandah up the road.  As the electricity cuts off around 6am, the wee hours are prime time for burning fossil fuels and making your power-driven mark on the world.

Women collect and cart all of the water from public wells every morning and evening.  I thank whatever greater being that may or may not exist that I don't have to do this.

Kids get washed and fed.  Little Disjon is having plain mushy rice for brekky.

While Uncle Lot's pigs tuck into fresh coconut.


It is peak season for the lontar palm. Lontar climbers are the elite athletes of the community - strong, lean and supple - they scuttle up the trunks twice a day without ropes or safety equipment to collect the nutrient rich clear juice that is drunk fresh and boiled into a thick syrup for storage and sale.

The men deliver the fresh juice (nira) to their wives who stir the fresh liquid in woks nestled in a crude clay hearth over an open fire.  40L litres of nira boil down to make 5 litres of gula syrup.

I saw these beehives on my wander.  Wild honey is sometimes available at the markets, but it is expensive and tastes a bit like beer.  I prefer the lontar syrup at only $4 for 5 litres.

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thanks for taking the time

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