Saturday, 29 November 2014

Raja Ampat - Bungalow Surprises

The last stage of our amazing holiday was a week of scuba diving in Indonesia, amongst a group of islands called Raja Ampat. The translation means “four kings,” referring to the four largest islands (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Missol) amongst the thousands of smaller islands that encompass this area.

From Singapore, we flew to Jakarta where we had a 13-hour layover until our 1 a.m. and 4-hour flight to Sorong in the Province of West Papua. We both managed to sleep a bit but were still very tired when we (along with eight other people) were met at the airport by Raja 4 Divers resort staff.

It was still another 100+ km and a 3-hour ride via long boat to the island of Pulau Pef where we were enthusiastically greeted by the staff singing, dancing and playing instruments. (We were sent off at the end of the week in the same manner.)

The welcome message at our bungalow, written out in small stones, and the mangrove designs on the bed were the first surprises and indications of the attention to detail that abounds throughout the resort.

Coincidentally, we got the turtle bungalow. And they didn't even know about our love of turtles!

The bungalows are built in Papuan style with local materials. They are “open air” and have an “indoor/outdoor” bathroom.
Looking into our bungalow from the deck.
The "indoor" part of the bathroom.
The outdoor part of the bathroom with stepping stones to the clothesline.
In keeping with Papuan style, the bathroom does not have a shower but a large basin and ladle. But with the heat and the outdoor portion of the bathroom, you could simply pour the water over your head and not worry about also pouring all over the floor. Yes, there was hot water. And what a great way to save water! Although there are two fresh water wells on the island the water is certainly not unlimited, especially in the dry season, and there is quite a process that it goes through to get water pressure to the bungalows and kitchen.

The resort has it's own team of carpenters and we were told it's the imagination and talent of the head carpenter that adds so much of the attention to detail of the resort. 
Turtle shaped water faucet
Wooden carvings were placed throughout the bungalow as well as the whole resort. It was often humorous to see where you’d find one next and what the expression the carving would have. It took me at least a couple days to notice all three of the carvings somewhat hidden amongst the plants in the bathroom.

Also in the bathroom were locally made clothes pins. 

These ones greeted us at the door.

These were in various other areas of the bungalow.
Looking out to the ocean

 So humorous!

One evening after supper I went into the bathroom to get a glass of water from the dispenser just inside the doorway. As I was reaching for a glass, something dropped from the ceiling not four feet from me! A small black snake! Skinny, about 2 feet long. I yelled for Andrew to come see it. "Oh, it's harmless," Andrew said. "You probably scared it." Well, what do you think it did to me!?!? 

I'm sure Andrew would consider this to be the best surprise of all. Me, not so much!!

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