Archive for the ‘Travel writing’ Category

I’m bumping this one after a certain Snuffleupagus once again went missing in transit.


We’re the last ones off the plane.
If you’re not the first in line then why rush to be part of the queuing crowd?
Besides, we have just so many bags to deal with. Easier to let the frantic hordes go by so we don’t feel like we’re being pushed.

Entrusting each child with a suitcase to wheel out, each adult is loaded up with a backpack (well over the carry-on weight limit) and laptop satchel (ditto) before we head down the aisle and try to prepare ourselves for the steamy fug and fumes that await us just outside the Arrivals gate.
Keep the kids focused and suitcases on course, try to stop them from crashing into things and running over peoples’ toes and half way to Customs and Immigration we discover we have a missing soft toy. “Doggy” has been left on the plane.
I about-face. Head back to the plane.


Image: Shane Bolitho 2014

Image: Shane Bolitho 2014

Born and bred an inland lad, the idea of the ocean and all things in it are as far removed from normality as anything my psyche has had to deal with over the years.
Fish were things you caught out of rivers or lakes (if you were lucky), or were battered or crumbed wedges of oily deep-fried goodness from the fish’n’chip shop down the road.
We found crabs at the fish’n’chip shop too. But, rather than scuttling creatures with nippers and stalky eyes, they were sticks of seafood-extender in salty batter.
The sandiness of a day at the beach was such a foreign, unimaginable thing, a million miles away from the sunburnt days spent in the manicured and concreted surrounds of the local pool, with its uniform straight lines and the inviting blue of its chlorinated water.

Baby praying mantis

Posted: April 20, 2014 in Photographs, Travel writing


Kelapa mudah and kopi susu by the beach at Taman Yokima in Cipatujah, West Java.
Just look out for the baby praying mantis. They are everywhere!

On a side note, clearly I’ve spent too long in the city. The roar of the surf just sounds like distant traffic noise.

There’d been no sign of the squirrels for a week or more.
“Perhaps they’re just sick of papaya and have gone off to find something different to eat for a while”, I thought. They had seemed to have been subsisting on nothing but papaya since we moved into this house nearly two months ago after all.
But I worried that they’d in fact met with some grizzly end, exterminated in some horribly inhumane way by the man that tends the fruit trees in the vacant lot next door.
I’ve grown quite cynical of the locals when it comes to their treatment of all creatures, great and small.

Early rise and take care of the formalities of toilet. Shower. Shave.
Lug bags and suitcases upstairs; think about coffee and why I didn’t do the heavy lifting the night before.
Think how cold it still is outside, whether it’s worth my while dressing for the end of today’s journey or just taking it minute by minute and put on warm clothes for now.
The kids are up, excited and pleasantly well behaved, scoffing muffins and chattering away non-stop, requiring little or no prompting to ready themselves for the drive to the airport.
Scull a tepid coffee and take bites of a cold toasted muffin between last minute odd jobs, wonder if everything is going to fit.