I am crossing the border quite often. I believe this is right. I exclude concepts such as “tour guide” and “tourist”. I prefer to count on a friendship talks, small gesture, sharing food and personal stories, to build a relationship. Especially when I have just few days to learn more about some place and to feel his real atmosphere.
We are seeing Prambanan at the end of the day when the temple is empty. We have the freedom to enjoy the whole complex without tons of tourists. We are feeding the deer, chatting with sellers and shooting every moment with our cameras. At the end all of us are happy but exhausted. We are thinking to have some food before taking the flight from Djokjakarta to Denpasar. We have some time and we are asking the man, who is accompanying us on Java island to lead us to a restaurant near the airport.
The man is thrilled, but his criteria for a nice restaurant are quite different from ours – European. He chooses a place; we are stepping out of the minivan and we are inviting the guide and the driver to share the food. Of course, we will pay the bill. The guide, even though he is used to communicate with foreigners is excited and worried and is leaving us to choose the menu. The man who was driving us all day long and even took a nap in the trunk while he was waiting for us, is sitting in full silence and obviously is not feeling comfortable. Probably this is his first visit to a restaurant like this, and his zero knowledge in English additionally keeps him uncomfortable.
The food is coming. Fish, vegetables and ice-cream for desert. We are talking about traditions, facts and adventures and it’s time to go. We are going out of the restaurant and the waiter is giving something to our driver. In the plastic box we see the leftovers from the fish – the head, the tail and the skin.
What kind of cat you have – we are asking the driver, being convinced, that the food is for home animal. He does not have a cat. With these parts of the fish he will cook a soup to feed his family; so answers our Indonesian friend.
There are moments, when you wish to dig a hole in the ground and hide yourself inside. This was one of them for us. During our trip we were witnesses to the poor lifestyle of the people living on the island and with some small tips and buying souvenirs we were trying to make happy the locals at least for a while. But the truth is that you cannot walk in the shoes of the other and to cure his troubles with a magical trick. The difference in the standard will exist and that’s why is important to cherish what you have. We were boarded on our flight to Bali. Silent, full of emotions and realizing that we are living in the better half of the world.