Monday, June 30, 2014

white roads to nowhere

Since gaining autonomy, our local island government receives an annual budget from Uncle Jakarta that they can play with however they see fit. In a country rife with corruption, transparency is murky at best, and coupled with our minimal understanding of the political wormholes, it is impossible to know how funding is channelled.  What is evident are new white gravel roads through uninhabited and rugged inland areas, that end in a swamp or at the foot of a cliff.  Many are built along former goat tracks, and do little but provide easier access for trucks to infiltrate the interior and pillage free rocks. No doubt the mayor's brother owns a truck or two and our local member happens to be in possession of earth moving equipment that can be contracted out at a handsome daily fee. 

Many of these roads are built in the wet season while we are away, so upon our return I am met with many exploring opportunities. We are fortunate to be babysitting a Yamaha trail bike that skips along the back tracks. Fuel has been scarce, as high winds have prevented the ferry crossing from the mainland, so long distance outings have to be timed with a full tank. 

Our village is relatively affluent since the introduction of seaweed farming as a profitable cash crop, and as a result almost all of the traditional houses have been replaced with brick hot boxes of mosquito infestation. For people in the interior, life is very basic and subsistent, and houses are still made from materials gathered in nearby bushland. Thanks to juice from the lontar palm, caloric intake is sufficient and stable, without an annual period of famine that effects other regions.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

it's the time, and it's slow

String out your hammock, wax up your quiver, the season is well underway. We have been back on our island home for almost three months, arriving in mid March after two months of summer in Western Australia and one month travelling in Sri Lanka (you may have seen the photos on my other blog). Nothing happens fast on island time; our days are a gentle wash of tides, watching the breath, watching the mind, watching the waves.

It is officially winter in the southern hemisphere, and while the temperature barely dips below 26 degrees, the signs of the changing season are evident. The occasional black cloud dissipates without a drop and the green tinge of the wet season has already withered to brown. Trade winds blow with persistence, and the cold fronts pushing through WA are bringing us consistent swell. It’s been a solid start to the surf year, and Aquaman has notched his share of barrels on the bedhead. 

If the exasperating internet service will allow, I will begin to fill in the past and keep up with the present.  I am actively posting photos on Instagram @sallymaymills, and my Facebook page , but blogging is difficult given a connection that gets slower every year. 

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