Monday, December 11, 2017

Waisai musings

Anchorage near Kabui Pass on the way to Waisi
We stopped at Waisai for a couple days to get some provisions. While there, we enjoyed some tasty, cheap eats and took advantage of the availability of Internet and ice-cream. As in Sorong, we (mostly Matt) attracted a lot of attention everywhere, with calls of 'Mista! Mista!'

Over water homestay
Waisai is the up-and-coming provincial capital of Raja Ampat. Eight years ago, the area was covered in jungle and is now a charming town with an abundant fresh market and good collection of stores. It is always a bit of an assault to our senses to come back to civilization after being away for a few weeks. Between the startling bang of firecrackers being set off randomly (we haven't figured out why yet--For Christmas? Just for fun?) and the ojeks (motorbikes--sometimes carrying a family of four) darting around, we get a little overwhelmed.
But it's never boring. While Matt was running errands one morning, a bunch of taxi drivers waved him over and convinced him to have a cup of iced coffee with them. As Matt's Indonesian is, let's say, limited and the taxi drivers didn't speak much English, the time was spent mostly by the men laughing at Matt and taking selfies with him.

Later in that evening, some cute toddlers were roughly throwing a tiny kitten onto the ground and giggling. Matt reflexively said, 'Aww, don't do that!' The kids just gaped at him and their parents pointedly ignored us. A group of young men walking in the same direction as us for a couple of blocks were laughing and, it seemed to me, to be jeering at Matt about his concern for the cat. We obviously have not gotten used to the difference in attitude towards animals, especially dogs, that we have seen in most places outside the U.S.

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