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Battye Family’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013

Location: Indonesia

MapTrue Grit
by Susan

Emily is learning perseverance. A musician is attempting to teach her to play the Rindik, a traditional Indonesian instrument of bamboo mounted on a carved frame. It's hard and she clearly feels the pressure of a lesson that's too advanced and rapid-fire for a 9 year old. There is a small audience watching her. I see her frustration, see how she wants to quit and feel the pull to rescue. I don't. This is one of the things I find most valuable about travel to countries such as this, or perhaps travel anywhere. There are countless opportunities to push through when you find yourself well outside your comfort zone.

Yesterday on our bikes, we rode through the city with cars and motorbikes whizzing past, belching exhaust. It was blazingly hot and at one point we needed to hug the shoulder of a four lane highway to get from the city to the temple gates. It was a far cry from a leisurely pedal to Portsmouth's local farmer's market. The whole thing happened without complaint, Emily riding sidesaddle on the wire rack on the back of John's bike and I kept my amazement at the lack of histrionics to myself, lest I break the spell.

The day before we'd arrived at the dock on Gili Trawangan to catch the fast boat back to Padang Bai only to learn the fast boats weren't running due to large ocean swells. We plunked down on the edge of the muddy street and considered our only option off the island - a fishing boat to the island of Lombok and then the sllllloooooowwww ferry from there with no idea when we'd arrive in Padang Bai. After 8 hours of secondhand smoke, rolling seas, fellow travelers tales, indonesian crackers, suitcase lugging, and squat toilets, we docked. The girls did it with grace and a sense of adventure and only complained when an Indonesian man in search of a rest sat on them. I find myself believing more and more in the value of grit. Perhaps the girls will come away from all this vowing never to leave their local Sheraton or perhaps they will feel at home anywhere - even a squalid ship's bathroom as the Muslim call to prayer drifts through the porthole.