For our journey through Indonesia we have, for the first time ever, joined a rally. This is an organized cruise where boats travel the same itinerary, gathering at prearranged destinations where local organizations welcome the boats with various events.
We did this because the bureaucracy of Indonesia has traditionally been difficult to navigate. We understand that it’s become less complicated recently and several of our cruiser friends made reasonably easy journeys on their own, but we made the decision to facilitate the paperwork process and signed up.
So far it’s been a mixed blessing. It’s nice to meet other cruisers, some of whom we’ve seen in anchorages going back for years but never actually met. It’s a good international group, with mostly Europeans — from Germany, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Denmark, England, Ireland — along with Americans, Aussies and Kiwis and one Brazilian. I haven’t met everyone yet so there might be others. We haven’t enjoyed this mixed a group since New Zealand.
On the other hand, the locals, at least here in Debut, are so excited to have this many visitors that they put on an enervating schedule of events that we can’t keep up with. It’s party time for them and a bit much for many of us. Add in that any event in this part of the world involves audio speakers turned up to eleven, and we are drained at the end of the day and long for the peace and quiet of remote anchorages.
The good news is that we are free to go off on our own and drop in and out of the rally schedule as we wish, and luckily we don’t have to check in and out of every port of call. That simplifies life for us because the authorities, as lovely and friendly as they are, have a different definition of efficiency and we must draw on the patience we developed while cruising the Caribbean. Everything takes time and a smile and a book to read while you wait.
Everyone wants their picture taken, or to take ours.
Indonesia’s alternative to face painting: henna hands.