capn_n_pye: (alone)
[personal profile] capn_n_pye
There’s nothing Stinky likes more than heading off on a trip to Indonesia with a bunch of teenagers. Like, seriously, she's mad for it!! But do you know would make it even better? Hey, what if we kicked it off with a 3:20am bus to the airport! YAAAYYYYYY

There was a whole lot of fun and games leading up to departure – the stuff Stinky loves the best, like mother-duckling two student teachers, then, oh joy, a staff member pulling out two weeks before departure, and hey what's that, is it flight time changes that weren’t passed on – you know, the usual. In the end it all came together, with Stinky, the bloke who was supposed to come the whole time (let’s call him Wakil), the last minute replacement (Jez) and a perennially-keen pre-service teacher (Jembatan) forming the dream team. That, added to 16 students (year 9-11) made for a very enthusiastic but also somewhat sleepy bunch of travellers.

No one gets to fly to Lombok directly, so we had to go via Bali to Lombok, then once we finally got there, we bussed it from the airport at Praya to Mataram. It was long enough to find out that ‘some homesickness’ on one girl’s form meant ‘continuous tears and vomiting even though we’ve barely been gone one day’. She kept it up for most of the trip, too, so points to her for consistency, you know, anyone who can keep that up deserves a gold star.

From there the girls got popped straight into homestay and the grown-ups got to head to a hotel. Woops, sorry kids, it was really tough, oh no, please, we deserve your pity.

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The next day being Sunday, we also had some time to ourselves - what is this, a school trip or a junket?. The boys promptly went shoe shopping (Giant men! Tiny shoes! Someone needs to make a sitcom!!). I, the Glorious Leader, selflessly guided them to the mall, and therefore had the wonderful opportunity for to witness the retail girls get all giggly and silly over Handsome Man (basically, Jez walks into a shop and all their panties hit the floor, it is heart-warming and charming). Jez was oblivious, which made it even funnier.

Eventually we all had to go to school (our Lombok sister-school, that is!), where there was much standing and ceremonies, and standing on ceremonies. Hooray for everything! Is that sweat trickling down my leg, or have we been standing so long my organs are shutting down and my kidneys are liquefying?! ONLY TIME WILL TELL. In between, girls who had come on the previous trip were welcomed with open arms, and boxes of Indonesian chocolates called Beng-beng, naww, pause here to have warm and fuzzy feelings.
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Here commenced the first week, which basically consisted of throwing the girls into classrooms and hoping for the best. They did well, and we didn’t even get kicked out/sanctioned by the UN when we brought Vegemite in for everyone to try!
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Cultural-exchange is awesome! The girls had to get used to being rock stars everywhere they went…
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…and we even got in the press – twice!
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Take that, Geelong Advertiser! We've been in the Lombok Post! Alas, I missed the press visit, but it was lucky that Jembatan was there to take the bullet. She did well, and I would have gratefully traded places, as I was off seeing a girl – let’s call her Manja. Poor Manja, she didn't feel well, it's inevitable when you go to Indonesia, poor lil thing was just the first to succumb. She had started a bit a of spewy session the night before, and thought the best way of dealing with it was to immediately text her parents in Australia thus: "I'm going to the hospital". This was obviously an awesome choice, bearing in mind that she’d only been spewing for a few hours, and only shit herself once. Her erstwhile teachers wouldn’t get concerned for at least another 24 hours, and they are trained professionals. However - and brace yourselves here - her parents freaked out for some reason and immediately started abusing the school-based contact for not letting them know that their darling daughter was so critically ill and had been hospitalised. Of course, while she probably felt 100% vile, poor Manja was neither critically ill, nor in any imminent danger, but that didn’t stop Manja for milking it for every bit of attention she could. Meanwhile, while her real family was screeching down every phoneline they could find, the host family was freaking out and throwing every cure they could think of at her – ulcer medication (it wasn’t an ulcer!), spastic bowel drugs (it wasn't a spastic bowel!!), Vicks rubs (for a cold?!!!) and massages (just give her a massage!!!!!!! Maybe she'll stop!!!!). Now, I need you to sit down here, because... what she really needed was... a bunch of hydralyte and to stop feeling sorry for herself. OH MY GAWD! I ended up having to take her away to our Teacher Oasis, whereupon I bullied her into drinking sips of curative water for the next few hours... and what do you know? Fewer than 12 hours after her first spew she was as good as gold! PATENT THAT H20 RIGHT NOW. And of course it mean that we had to have a chat with the group about how to communicate with your parents. Entertainly, this led to a bright and funny Cookie later announcing that she’d got a mozzie bite and had informed her parents that she now had malaria. Then she cut her foot and made sure to tell them that it was getting amputated. Manja didn’t think it was funny, but I did and that’s all that counts.

Meanwhile, the rest of the girls were having a really splendid time. Here’s a group at Senggigi, spelling out ‘INDO’ (and I wasn't even there to suggest it!).
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What a gorgeous moment! What a good thing that you can’t see the soggy nappy that washed up on one of the girl’s foot half way through the shot. AW YEAH, INDONESIA!!

In the meantime, Moose took the opportunity to get out a bunch of money for road trips and homestay. I don't know how and I don't know why, but you don't argue with him when he's in a Mood. He wasn’t convinced that he should give it up, particularly as he gained an instant groupie…
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We waved something shiny in his eye-line then pinched the money off him while we were at a view stop. I've been waiting and I'm pretty sure he hasn’t noticed, please don’t tell him.
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The bus was heading to the Sendang Gile waterfall, which actually turned out to be two waterfalls - how's that for value for money? One was close, and one far. We couldn’t swim at the first one…
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…so because we are Vikings, we pushed on for a whole lot more steps and got to the second, a super-big waterfall, RAAARRW WATERFAAAAALLLL!
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It was poundingly heavy water, and also very nice to swim at – the Indonesians said it was cold, but they’ve never swum in Bass Straight, so they can be excused. Wait till you've got an Icecream Headache in your feet, and then I'll let you judge cold!
The way up consisted of many, many steps (one count was 42 flights of steps), in blistering heat. Fortunately it appears that I (and a 52 year old with a broken hip) are fitter than many 17 year olds, copious bum-sweat notwithstanding.
Once everyone had been pounded into submission by the waterfall, the next stop was good old Tanjung Aan. Third time for me, but still very pretty! However, everyone needs a break on the road, so on the way we stopped at the traditional Sasak village of Sade. It was quite fortunate that it was my third time round, because our guide at the village couldn’t speak English, whoops, nevermind, I probs don't think the girls need to know that this is the best place to live with your cousins when they won't consent to marry you and then you have to abduct/rape them a lot and then they are married to you anyway hah should've said 'yes' right?? #I don't care if it's your cultural history, yikes. Undaunted, the village representative mumbled on in a mix of Sasak and Indonesian, while I concentrated very hard and passed it on to the group of girls who really couldn’t give a shit - mostly not because they cared about changing rape-culture, but mostly because right now they just wanted to go shopping. But they were too scared to buy from this lady, she was intimidating.
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Every single one of our girls avoided being abducted and we happily arrived at Tanjung Aan, which was just as pretty as always. And, as always, the girls ignored my dire warnings and all got dreadfully sunburnt. It always comes as a surprise to them…every time… Moose ignored their pathetic squeals, and practised being a model, because he doesn't have time for humans being silly.
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Moose enjoyed his solitude, although he had to put up with the peripheral whining from his boss, as, yet again, she complained loudly and vociferously that it’s hard to take a good photo in Indonesian light. Luckily for her, it turned out that Tanjung Aan is an exception.
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While Moose chose not to help them, the girls fought off/studiously ignored the local dogs who deeply desired their lunch. But because they're Australian teenagers, they also contrived to... not finish their lunches. Oh, you scamps! We gave a whole lot of boxes of leftover takeaway KFC to the local buaya darat (land crocodiles), so they could battle with the salmonella and dogs. They were happy, although one of them suggested that I pay him to take this photo.
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Sweetie, I have no middle-class guilt left to spend on you. And also, Moose has just heard there were leftovers that were not allocated to him so now we all need to go RIGHT NOW.
Back at school, I ran into a former SMANSA student from the first trip – I recognised him (from four years ago, go me!), we had a great chat but do you think I could remember his name? Nope! Then I had a brainwave – I got a selfie, sent it to my Boy-Pre-Service-Teacher-Who-Didn’t-Come-But-Did-Host-SMANSA-Students-In-The-Past and asked if he knew. He couldn’t remember, but his girlfriend did. And that’s how social media and my inability to say no to student teachers let me remember Angga’s name. True story.
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That night, SMANSA’s principal, Pak Wing, decided to take us out for dinner, because Indonesians love hospitality. Wakil begged off, leaving me and Jez to go with Pak Wing to a really cool pedagang kaki lima place, which did very nice food. Unfortunately for our delicate sensibilities, Pak Wing ordered us things with wings still attached. And heads. And beaks. And an insane amount of chilli. The last one was almost a deal breaker, but we gave it a red-hot go (geddit).
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We took the leftovers home to Wakil, because why should he be happy? Seriously though, it was all very nice, right up to the part where were leaving, and Pak Wing grabbed some sate from the grill and shouted ‘Eat this!’

‘OKAY!’ Stinky replied, ‘WHAT HAVE I NOT EATEN TONIGHT?!’ and she nommed down.

‘HOORAY, YOU LIKE THE CHICKEN OFFAL SATE!’ crowed Pak Wing

‘So is the powdery bit the kidneys then? What’s this rubbery bit, then?! Hey, Jez, you should eat the rest of this!’ Jez either ate it, or quietly threw it at a feral cat while I distracted the Wing-man.

Jembatan, or The-Pre-Service-Teacher-Who-Got-To-Come-On-The-Trip, had to do a project for Uni and she decided that she wanted to teach everyone the Tari Saman, or Saman Dance from North Sumatra. The girls were less keen, but succumbed to her enthusiasm, and it turned out to be a good team building exercise. Pak Wing got wind of the dance and suggested that they not only perform it at the farewell party as planned, but at a show SMANSA students were doing at the new mall at Mataram (and yes, that link works about as well as the new mall does...or doesn't). So instead of going off in front of a few dozen well-meaning host families, the girls got to do their dance in front of 200-300 Lombok Mall-goers. The bill read:
1. Band that awkwardly warms up for an hour and then plays for 15 minutes at a volume more appropriate for a stadium
2. Loud chattering girls on Very Loud Microphones
3. Another band
4. Bule

Act #3 failed to show up, so our bule team went a lot earlier than expected. Jembatan was shitting herself, but did a fantastic job, as did the girls.
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In utterly unrelated events, pretty much all of the girls experienced a phenomenon I’ve taken to calling the Careless Werewolf Syndrome. I’m sure that not all of them were taken completely by surprised by their periods, but it did feel like an awful lot of them did. I had the joyous experience of wandering into a chemist to quietly buy some backup pads and being pounced upon by a team of over-helpful and very bored staff. Do you think I could remember the word for sanitary napkins? NO I COULD NOT. Do you think they would let me look for what I wanted on my own? NOT ON YOUR NELLY. Anyway, I ended up buying at least four packs in the first week alone and was flinging them out like Oprah gives out cars, while shouting NO, GIRLS, YOU CAN’T HAVE TAMPONS BECAUSE I TOLD YOU A MILLION TIMES THEY’RE AS EXPENSIVE AS GOLD AND HARDER TO FIND. What does this have to do with the Tari Saman? Well, one careless werewolf managed to be surprised half way through the dance, all over her foot. Luckily she was wearing black pants and I happened to have a brand new pack of pembalut wanita on me. Menstruation fun for everyone!

The next day was Sunday, but Indonesians like to go to school 6-7 days a week, so we went along to school to celebrate the Very Important anniversary of SMANSA – number 58. If they went all out for the 58th, I can’t wait to see what they do for the 60th!

We kicked off the day by having the whole school, alumni and a thousand other randoms go wandering around the streets.
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This guy was hella into whatever it was he was doing.
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After that there was a lot of hanging around and trying to stay awake. I was nodding off when the press came and talked to me – a TV interview, no less! I hope I never see that tired and grotty interview!

That was just about it for the Lombok-leg – all we had to do then was the farewell party. The girls did the Tari Saman again and the year 9s very thoughtfully made a bunch of paper flowers to give to Jembatan. No one bled all over the place this time and we made Jembatan cry (in a good way), so we count it as a win.
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In next to no time we were back at the school, at a horrible 3am, to fang it out to the airport for Stage 2. I'm quite convinced that the agent was not our friend.
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July 2017

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