Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Kindness Of Strangers

As I´ve said, the Indonesians are amazing people. Friendly and honest. So when I awoke the next morning and prepared to head for the volcano, I was mortified to find my camera missing. I vaguely remembered my daypack zip being open as I arrived at the hotel. Thinking back, I recalled a shifty-looking guy following me up the street as I looked for rooms. He must have been in my bag as I stood at the traffic lights? I kicked myself, but couldn´t figure out how it had happened; not like me to be off guard. Spilt milk, though. Just have to get on with it.

Martin was gutted for me, but I put a brave face on and we headed off. As we fended off the taxi drivers at the railway station, it looked as if our midday start was going to put paid to our plans. As Ika had texted me news of a beach party in her village the next day, it seemed I´d miss out on the volcanoes. The taxis were too expensive to consider, so we headed for a travel agency to see about a trip to the hot springs.

We walked in and asked the staff, but no-one could give us much info on buses. Looks like it was a day of drinking, then? A petite, beautiful female customer piped up and asked where we wanted to go. She then offered to take us. We were taken aback. She told us she wasn´t busy, but would like to collect her uncle first; his English was better, and I thought she´d maybe feel safer with him there. We thanked her, and jumped in the car.

Uncle Johannes was duly collected, a lovely fellow who had worked at Disneyland for 29 years. The afternoon flew by. Volcanoes visited, though we didn´t walk round much as they wanted to wait in the car...we´d have felt guilty having them waiting on us. We insisted on buying them lunch, and then we headed for the springs. Johannes joined us in the water while Helen pottered on Facebook (the government are considering banning it as a bad moral influence).

I told them what had happened with my camera. They were just as upset, but I said I was just as disappointed that I´d come across a bad Indonesian as I was my camera had gone. But these things happen.

I was blown away by Helen and Johannes. They wouldn´t even take petrol money from us, amazing for someone to spend their whole day with you and not want anything in return, not even expenses. If she ever visits England, I will gladly return the favour...I won´t forget these two people as long as I live.

Things got even better that evening. Still upset about the camera, I was packing to leave when I had a flashback. Picking up one of my pillows, I felt a familiar weight in the corner...I´d stashed it there as soon as I´d arrived, then completely forgotten about it. What a relief. What an idiot.

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