Our rally scheduled four different stops on this one island, but many of the boats, including us, decided to skip the other three. The one destination we were interested in we could visit by land and so we hired a car and driver to take us across the island to the city of Bau Bau, site of one of the largest forts in the world.
It’s a massive walled fortress high on a bluff overlooking the city and the view was spectacular. We spent the usual amount of time posing at old cannons and reading gravestones, then descended into the city where Mark from Erie Spirit wanted to chase down some boat parts. Even in a city this size, and with lots of guidance from helpful locals, he eventually admitted defeat and we turned back toward Pasarwajo.
We heard through the grapevine that there was a moonshine still hidden in the woods someplace where prohibited spirits were distilled from coconuts. Our driver was reluctant to go, I suppose afraid he’d get into trouble in this Muslim country, but we persisted and after more poking around and asking suitably nefarious looking characters for intelligence we found a young man willing to lead us behind a village and into the forest.
The still was up and running and they described how it all worked. The good stuff was already bottled and gone for the day and what we were seeing was the grade B output. But out of the kindness of their hearts they sent a runner to fetch a liter of primo and we got to taste the freshest product we’ve had since the paint removing rum of Grenada.
It was, as you can imagine, an eye opener. We bought the liter and split it between our two boats. Later Susan and Mark poured their half down the drain, afraid they’d go blind if they drank it. We had no such fear and set it aside it for an appropriate occasion.
The unfortunate part of the story is that since a couple of gringos traipsed in to the site, they had to dismantle the operation and move to another secret location overnight to keep one step ahead of the authorities. Sorry about that, mates. but thanks for the welcome.