February 05, 2012


We left the relaxed, surfing town of green waters and vegetation to head upwards and westwards over deep rivers and heavier traffic. A little lost and confused on a late arrival in Cianjur, we only had 1 hotel referral which was full and nobody spoke English. Out of the blue (or should I say, out of the dark night along a busy highway), a young guy asked if we need help. Ahhhhh... our guardian angel! Jay works as a manager, just across the street at a trendy cafe. His English is excellent from watching movies and helping out other lost backpackers who end up in exactly the same situation as ours! He has surpassed all his classmates in a hospitality program that will send him to Italy in a few months to work on a cruise ship. He is incredibly busy (school 8-1 pm, work 2-12 am, watches a movie until 2 am, prays 5 times a day, then up again at 6 am) but still managed to help us out tremendously during our stay.

After a very long day, we were rewarded with a homestay arranged with Jay's Parents! Following a very warm welcome, we crashed in a little pink room covered with cutout hearts and stars :) The next day, we went on a fruit-hunt and then headed to Jay's Aunt's house to play soccer and draw with his cute cousins. Jay's mom closed the door to the kitchen while she cooked up a storm, then emerged a couple hours later with a traditional Sudanese meal--the best I've eaten in Java. Delicious crispy catfish, homemade tempeh, a tamarind-broth-vegetable-bean soup, various vegetables, and hot-red sambal (wow the kids loved that!).

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