"HATI HATI YA PAK"
"Mau kemana Pak?" asked the Policeman
"Cilacap" said I
"Seorang aja?" I nodded
"Oh...masih lumayan jaraknya"
"Ya, tapi saya bercadang tiba esok" in my best Indonesian slang
"Ya, jalan ini bisa" the policeman pointing to the left. "Hati hati Ya Pak!". I smiled. I thanked him, both for his direction and his sincere parting message. And during the course of this journey, knowing that I travelled alone, I received several more "Hati hati Ya Pak" from people on the road. It's said with utmost sincerity. Never for a moment did I felt insecure from this parting message. I felt a sense of caring and a sense of "wishing you well". I felt good.
I was into padi-field country, wide open space, as flat as fields should be. Every where, there were activities. I recalled my tour of Minangkabau country in November as I cycled through the padi fields at Danau Singkarak.
The major means of transport for the villages were the classic bicycles, the ONTHEL that I first saw in Candi Prambanan. They were all very old and rustic looking. These bicycles must have served their masters for decades.
This would be the moment too that I regretted trading weight for convenience. If I had brought my heavier Canon EOS with the accompanying telephoto and wide-angle lenses, I could spend a few hours photographing here.
The day was just marvellous. The sky was blue, the clouds great and most importantly, the subjects were aplenty. If only I had my Polarizer filter and of-course my EOS.
I cycled on.
But what would you call the activity that used cycling technique to seperate the padi from the stalks? "Ggateh padi" I guessed! And this is what they were doing. Certainly less strenous and the cardio benefit was immense. Forgot to check whether they were using Shimano 105 or Dura Ace group set...ha..ha..!
I chatted with bapak Sugiyanto. Pretty educated. He wrote down his address in my notebook and I promised to send him his pose and also the photo of his wife "cycling the padi."
I complimented that the Javanese are hard-working people. The lands were never left idle. The moment the padi got harvested, the field would be cleared of the left-overs, re-tilled and prepared for cash-crops. The channels they dug were also in perfect alignment, dug by hand. Maize, chilly, tomatoes would be planted as soon as padi harvesting was over.
As the weather was heating up, I decided a shelter would be ideal to peel a few oranges I brought along to fill my stomach. A well deserved rest and a short snooze. Pray I dont wake up at dusk.