Our stay in Ujong Kulon is going to be much different from our last homestay. We just arrived to the national park on the western coast of Java, and everyone is very excited about how close we are to the beach 🙂 Unfortunately, our standards were set too high after our visit in Bogor..
Our last two nights were spent in a guest house inside the Bogor Botanic Garden, which was built by the Dutch in 1817 and is now operated by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. The property is beautiful, with thousands of deer and the biggest bats I’ve ever seen. We have the whole home to ourselves, with beds that have pillows and bathrooms with toilets! (It’s the little things these days…) The garden also houses the Presidential palace, normally a vacation home until this president came to term.
After over 8 hours of travelling, we arrived at our homestays in Ujong Kulon. We were aware that no one knew what the lodging would be like, but there were rumors of at least shower heads. The lack of running water turned out to be one of a few concerns, when we found out that we were intended to share one floor mattress between three girls, in a real life homestay. The elderly woman who lived in this house did not speak a word of English, but had opened her home up to all twelve girls in our new group of Rutgers/UNAS students. The fact that we were totally unprepared to live in such close quarters made many people agitated at yet another instance of miscommunication.
After settling the room situation (more rooms were arranged so that there were two per bed instead of three), we all walked to the beach at the end of the road to see the sunset. It was nice to feel a body of water after so many days of heat and humidity. It wasn’t long though before the Indonesian TA’s, Bagus and Choir, told us we had to get off the beach because it was time for prayer, which we had to respect since we were staying in this town. The language barrier made it difficult to understand the exact situation, but we left with our heads down. Hopefully we will get more beach time tomorrow.