Friday, September 4, 2009

Indonesian reading

First step towards any traveling experience - a guidebook.

So yesterday I picked up my copy (40$ OUCH) of Lonely Planet's Indonesia and began skimming through it. Really there is nothing so exhilarating for me as looking at all the places I can visit, the jungles I can get lost in and beaches I can roll around on.

I've already come to the conclusion that I have to figure out the Visa situation because apparently it is complicated and shifty. I've also decided that I need a nice/light/sweet rain jacket.

I randomly flipped to a page and found a little box talking about sea gypsies, otherwise known as Orang Bajau. They are generally regarded by other Indonesians in much the same way that the Roma in eastern Europe are, which is badly. I on the other hand fell in love after reading about 2 paragraphs.

There are many groups of sea gypsies all over Southeast Asia, all with a blurry history. Basically, in Indonesia, they live off the coast of Sulawesi surviving (barely) off of fishing by traditional means.

According to Lonely Planet, in the old days there were whole familes living out of their boat roaming the shallow seas. Fathers would take their three day old children diving in order to introduce them to the sea. What a romantic tale.
On the other hand, nowadays commercial fishing, and other fisherman with access to better technology are making survival much harder.

I did read that the Bajau's Thai neighbours who lived offshore on houses made of stilts, that an entire village was saved from the Tsunami . Aparently the chief saw the receeding sea and immediatly knew from recalling a folk tale that:

those same waters will soon reappear in the form of a huge man-eating wave, destroying everything in its path.

Obviously I recognize these tales of Sea Gypsies are overly romanticised, but my imagination has still be sparked. I'm going!


Emy Augustus said...

I watched a show on mongolian nomads and was totally charmed by their way of life.

Diana said...

Congrats on going! Instead of spending $$$ on the book, try the library, I'm sure they have a plethora of travel books for you.