Monday, May 28, 2007



They came. Almost the entire family. 10 of them -- my maid's husband, her 3 daughters, 2 grand-daughters, my maid’s brother Supatik(whom I've met before in Malaysia) and his wife and daughter, plus the driver. We were outnumbered 1 to 5. We checked out of the hotel, bundled our luggage in the van and off we went, heading for Lamongan 75kms away. In the heat of the day, we were sweating but fanned by the breeze coming through the slit window of the van. No air-conditioning. We would endure.

Several photographic opportunities but felt quite a hassle to hop on and off, especially when the day was heating up. Missing my bicycle badly! We endured on. First stop at a kampong for a quick visit to my maid's third daughters' house. A simple one, bare except for a few old settees. Husband a trishaw puller. I can sense the difficulties of this family's life. Very simple couple, obviously with no excess baggage. Probably slept better than most famous and rich in Malaysia.

The family of Purweni

We continued on. I sensed Supatik having difficulty to suggest where to bring us sight-seeing. Differing interest. We obliged their hospitality when the van stopped several kilometers before their kampong. Gua Maharani. We would visit this Gua. Quite a big crowd of locals were here on this Saturday weekend. Within 15 mins we finished the tour.

where else....Gua Maharani

Where next? The ala-Sunway Lagoon a few minutes away from Gua Maharani. Probably one-tenth the size of Sunway Lagoon. The extra was its location, by the sea. Stayed there and performed Zohor prayers in a new mosque located within its complex.

Then, off to my maid's kampong. Lamongan where my maid came from is a fishing port and the biggest in JATIM (that's Jawa Timor). Lamongan boasts a fishing port which was not there on my first visit long ago. My maid's husband is a fisherman. Today he didn't go out to sea, because we were visiting. On our earlier trip, we didn't get to meet him as he was at sea. The visit back then was a surprise. In the words of my maid, "bagai bulan jatuh ke-riba".

We had lunch at the house, lavish spread by their standard. They had gone out of their way in hospitality. We felt a little bit uneasy but I guess they had been waiting for this day of our arrival. The house, just like the houses of the average Indonesian fisherman, was small. Packed with 4 adults and a few kids, the living room doubled as sleeping quarters for the night. A tiny fan helped fanned some breeze on a hot day. We endured and we would forever be thankful for our good life.

The fishing village had seen many changes. There was now a fishing pier where deep sea fishing boats brought in the catch. The boats - rainbows of color, almost all with same design.

So, how did the fishermen make sure he won't be in the wrong boat? The flag. They flew different flags and I believe that's their identities. I noticed what looked liked a Swiss flag too!

the Swiss flag?

And the catch. What a catch. I had never seen so many sting-rays in my life. The rays were huge too. Even dead they look dangerous. I had always been glad that I had never stumbled upon any during my scuba-diving days.

the sting rays, by the hundreds

Preserved fish was also a thriving business. We visited one cottage industry processing preserved fish. Women folks were packing them in neat little rattan baskets, after they were cleaned.

A large boiler boiled and cooked the fish before they were preserved for sale. Pray that no one trip and fall into the boiler.

after cleaning, packing

into small baskets

and stacked be finally boiled to perfection

We had made our intention known that we would return to Surabaya. After Maghrib, we endured another 75kms ride in the packed van back to Surabaya. The whole family wanted to send us back to Surabaya! Again, we were outnumbered 5 to 1.

Hingga bertemu kembali........

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