Proofreading to come soon! Trying to get something posted asap.
The highs and lows from today can only make someone stronger. As the second act of the trip was officially under way, the day’s agenda had us visiting the Indian Ocean and a museum. Being able to sleep in a few more hours than the agenda listed (originally 4am to catch the sunrise), we hopped in a car driven by Rudhi’s neighbor. The drive took us south for about an hour and a half, further into the back woods of the rainforest of souther Java in Indonesia. While it always provided the appearance that we were going fast, in reality the car was only traveling at 30mph. This illusion caused by the continual winding roads and passing on coming traffic. As we started driving, Doug mentioned he didn’t eat yet, but wasn’t hungry. Rudhi and his wife stopped at a gas station so Doug could use the restroom. Rudhi gave us water and provided Doug some bread so he could eat something. Further towards the destination goal, we saw numerous rice paddies strewn across the mountain landscape. Towering palm trees dotted the side of the road along the shacks and stands that provided some shade to the tenants. Arriving at the beach, from afar my mouth was agape from the monstrous waves that were crashing ahead. I’ve never seen waves anywhere near this powerful in my life. The overcast skies may have been the culprit to the beach being void of people. Walking through the rustic shops and past the litter on the beach, I made my way to the clear light beige sand. Like a boy in a candy shop, this would be my playground for the next few hours. Looking at the long sandy beach and the tide rolling by, I took of my sandals armed with my GoPro and headed into the water. The ocean colors were a hazy grey, until the crest had fallen displaying a brownish sand. To my surprise, the water was relatively warm for an ocean. Taking a swim and enjoying the ever-present beauty, the beach was a welcome reprieve from the meetings and driving endured from the past couple of days. In the distance, I could see a mountain flanking the far left portion of the beach, with a seemingly endless beach front located in the opposite direction. At this time Doug needed to use the restroom (these points will come in play later, trust me). After dipping half my body in the water, I didn’t want any regrets regarding not immersing myself in the ocean from head to toe, I took a refreshing plunge into the water. Reinvigorating my senses, it felt liberating to be so far from home, on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean. Feel refreshed, I headed back Rudhi and the driver and had a great conversation comparing the US and Indonesia. Doug once again needed to use the restroom. Rudhi and his wife had purchased us some food; a coconut to drink from and a soy dish. Skeptical if I’d like the soy dish which looked more akin to an omelet, it actually turned into one of my favorite traditional meals. One of the best parts of Indonesian meals are the peppers which finally satiated my need for hot food. Once we left, we drove down a nearby bumpy road to a traditional local fish market. Not far off from the Detroit Farmer’s Market’s wide variety of local goods, the smell of fish filled the air. Flies covered many of the fish. Hermit crabs with decorated shells were to be purchased along the sidewalk. People were taking a wire strainer the size of a circular sled to strain the dirt from a massive tarp filled with a crustacean looking type of shrimp. Heading back to the car, we made our way to Benteng Van Der Wich, which was a former Dutch prison colony. Before arriving, Doug sent a message to Sarah who was in Jakarta regarding what he should do about his upset stomach, not giving the full details of the situation. Here again Doug needed to use the bathroom, which he questioned if it was something he ate. I reminded him that yesterday he ate an egg from a stand, raw sugarcane, and a rice drink, all of which we were strongly advised not to. He mentioned that he didn’t think it was this, though we prior have eaten everything the same, except for that worrisome trio. The park was out of this world. Within there is a weathered historical site, but built on top was a roller coaster type train, which we road. Squeaky train wheels irked their way across the roof of the building. Inside the park were also seemingly out of place outdated amusements for kids. The park was empty except for the 5 of us. When we left, Doug looked in rough shape, needing medication for his stomach. In the car, Rudhi and I suggested Doug see a doctor, which he declined. Later, Rudhi had us stop to get some lunch for some fried duck and rice. Doug passed on wanting to have any food or fluids, but went to the bathroom two times for an extended period of time. Looking very ill, Rudhi decided we’ll stop and get some diarrhea medicine on the way home. Keeled over for much of the hour and a half back, I suggested to him before we got back to the hotel that he should see a doctor before Rudhi leaves, again he declined. Knowing that the food he consumed the day prior was a huge issue, I let Sarah know that I was concerned by the elevated symptoms that Doug was having. She was super scared and worried for his health. Without getting into the details too much, Dewi, Rudhi, Sarah, and I all agreed after about 3 hours of nonstop back and forth deliberation for how to help Doug, that he needed to see a doctor. I was asked to get in touch with him and tell him that Rudhi is coming. Scarily he didn’t answer a text, a call, or when I knocked on the door. We had to have hotel security open the door, to find him sleeping in bed. I told him we are here to take him to a hospital. Again, I’ll save some of the crazy details, but going to a developing country’s hospital can’t be the best place to attend. Having spent a long day in the city, I was hoping to end it with Rudhi in the city’s capital, but needless to say, those plans changed. In my hotel room, I wasn’t able to have a much needed dinner, due to fielding calls, and hunger was growing. Also, I hadn’t contacted home yet, due to being so busy. Doug was taken out in a wheel chair to the waiting car. Finally making it to the hospital, Doug had a scary 103 degree temperature, which is a horrible number combined with the diarrhea. After a couple of hours and much confusion, Doug was released with antibiotics. Rudhi and his wife who hired a driver to come back to pick him up, was relieved that things turned out better. Let this be a lesson learned, heed the advice of the people who travel and know local cultures. Don’t eat the street vendor food or drink the unfiltered drinks!
About Matthew Cottone
Experience the World! This is my creed I bring to my classroom and my life. I'm a World Studies teacher at Van Hoosen Middle School and I have a passion for learning and experiencing the world.