The first 60 days of our visa is over, and we now roll into the first of four, 30 day extensions. At the completion of the six months we will fly to Singapore to get a new visa, then trot off to Penang for a few days to eat, and explore the World Heritage listed old town. Just to make it really romantic, we will then ride the overnight train from Butterworth to Singapore, and fly to Jakarta on a cheap and cheerful $10 fare with Jetstar. But I am racing into the future, as is the common state of my brain; constantly playing around with possibilities.
So here we are, 60 days into the season, I feel the first pangs of homesickness. Breakfast with mum and dad, a coffee out with friends, Sunday papers at the in-laws, a hot shower, a crisp apple, a handful of juicy medjool dates and a soy latte and I'd be geared up again for the next couple of months. The reality is that the emptiness will still remain, and there is no such thing as a quick trip home, so I pick up my sorry arse and go for an artist’s walk with my constant and patient companion, Mother Nature.
The village is long and narrow, following the arterial line of the road. The limit of the houses extends a few hundred meters inland, from where goat tracks peter off into the bush. When I first arrived, I heard the locals refer to the hutan (jungle) with a wave of their hand to the east. I envisaged a patch of lush rainforest verdant with green layers and a moist understory. What exists is dry, rocky scrub, similar to the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
After the hundredth hello, hello, HELLO as I pass through the neighborhood, the peace of the hutan offers respite. I pass a solitary man carrying a sack of veggies. He walked four kilometres to pick a bag of greens, then four kilometres home again. I’m not sure why he lucked out with the long commute, as there are plenty of small lots nearer the village. Perhaps there is a garden of Eden in the interior.