10th January

There had been heavy rain or “hujan besar” during the night, thunder as well. My friend Natalya had woken with visions of the sky splitting open above her more than once. Myself, I slept through it, unaware; not because I am blessed with nerves of steel, but because I was blessed with being utterly knackered! Bayan was engulfed in mist when we rose in the morning – a cold mist, not unlike one you’d see hanging over a Scottish moor in Autumn (or any time of the year for that matter!). Over breakfast we talked a little about the two girls I’d passed whilst running up to the rim yesterday. They must have had a miserable night with minimal sleep. But perhaps, like me, they slept through the whole thing, unaware. There is a reason the mountain closes around this time – the rain can come quickly and violently, turning paths into a stream – what was already difficult terrain can become dangerous. It’s also not much fun trekking in the pissing wet – soaked to the skin or at the very least permanently damp. Ask my friend Natalya – she went last year and had three miserably days of drudgery, devoid of views and cold to the bone (as a point of note she didn’t climb the mountain with us – I hope we offer better equipment than some of the other, black market operations).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter breakfast I headed up to the arch to pay the old man who’d kindly given me a drink yesterday. He seemed pleased to see me – I think he was worried yesterday I might not return, doing him out of 20,000 rupiah. There were some puppies at his foot, blindly nuzzling into one another. I’m very tempted to get a dog right now – keep it at the office and take him or her with me on trips up the mountain. You often see wild dogs in the jungle or on the mountain – they sometimes act as “camp-followers”, tailing at a distance with the hope of finding scraps when a group has moved on. They are generally small and unaggressive, and ward-off the more opportunistic monkeys at rest areas. Being predominantly Muslim, the people of Bayan, and Lombok for that matter, tend not to keep dogs as pets. If they come into contact with them I am told they have to wash the affected part seven times with earth, and seven times with water. That said, they seem happy to have them living in the vicinity of their homes, and don’t treat them unkindly.

The mist lifted as the sun matured, clearing up by the early afternoon. A trip to Ancak to buy some wood and miscellaneous supplies, some time sanding and varnishing the said wood (shelves for Nurr’s kitchen), a swim in the river, and then the day was pretty much over! Oh and there was some genuinely “experimental” music heard in the evening. I have no idea what the occasion was – perhaps some kind of musical inquisition. Thankfully the suspect under duress eventually relented – the auricular strain evidently too much!

4 comments on “10th January

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