Completely and utterly zonked out. After a long day of waterfalls, beaches, turtles and general living life to the maxxx, (I am a poor unfortunate soul, right?) my limbs were tiredly groaning and longing to be horizontal, preferably on some sort of comfy mattress. I listened to them and heeded their lament; not long after my head hit the pillow my limbs sighed with relief and my brain slowly switched off and turned onto dream mode…ahhh… sleeeeep…
CRASH. BANG. SWOOSH… my ears engaged with the surroundings for a blip of a second.
My ears engaged again, and my brain exhaustedly attempted to try figure out was going on. My being, overcome by depleted energy levels and feeling rather comatose, was roused by some loud noises coming from outside our bungalow. Not unlike the day after a night of inebriation, my debilitated mind sluggishly went through the processes, as my eyes at this point were too stubborn to open. The sea is so loud tonight. Why is the sea so loud tonight. I know we’re near the sea, but that sounds like it’s just outside our bungalow. Go away seeeeaaaa, be quiet. Uh oh.
The bungalow shook. It was only a little, but nevertheless it shook. Ok, not the sea. Come on eyes, do your thing. Laboriously and reluctantly I turned over in my bed and faced the other way. The window was flung wide open, wind and rain gushed into the room, bullying the bungalow into a fearful quiver. The two flimsy curtains that hung at the window were now flailing about, holding for dear life onto the curtain rack. The whole place, thatched together with thin wood, felt like it would collapse at any second. Jack, who was kneeling on his bed looking out the window and fighting against the mighty winds, tried to shut it close. He then sat there peering out of the window, beholding the mighty storm that assaulted us. Ok, he’s got it under control. Too comfortable and too tired to be excited, I pulled up the covers to my chin, and once again laboriously rolled back over to face the wall and fell back asleep. As exotic as it was to be under the wrath of an indomitable Indonesian storm, the cosiness of my pillow rather unintrepidly won.
* * *
I opened my eyes, still a little tiredly, but a lot less reluctantly. Light streamed through the window. Our bungalow hadn’t collapsed. Wahey. Our plan for today was to go to a beach that Jack had been to on his previous trip to Ujung Genteng. Despite the sun streaming through, the sky looked rather grey. Come on, Mr Sun – where are you? We have beaches to explore!
We gathered on the porch and waited for our staple Indonesian breakfast of fried rice accompanied by some coconuts. Jack strummed on his guitar again as Samantha informed us of her night during the storm – which apparently was a whole lot worse than mine, as rattled dirt, dust and rain had fallen through the thatched wood and had landed upon her bed.
Our food arrived; we nourished our hungry stomachs and then got ready for the day. We had only been in Ujung Genteng for one day so far, but because the day had been so jam packed, it felt like we had been here all week. Was it really our last day in Ujung Genteng already?
On the agenda for the day was Jack’s secret beach, maybe some surfing, then returning to our bungalows and leave for the seven hour trek back to Jakarta at around 4pm. Our ojek drivers arrived. I hopped onto the back of Agung’s motorcycle, and we were off – off for our final adventure in this enigmatic place.
As soon as we left the grounds of the bungalows, we felt the warmth of the sun embrace our arms and shoulders. Mr Sun had listened to our pleas, and he was making a special guest appearance just for us. The luminescence of the sky brightened our spirits, raised smiles on our faces and once again we all rode with our arms stretched out, flying through the cool breeze as we buzzed along the path alongside the sea.
We were used to this ojek journey by now, knowing the parts which were too sandy, the parts which were bumpy and the parts which were ridiculously water logged. After around twenty minutes, we passed the Turtle Sanctuary and were now into territory unknown. The earth became damper and marshier with copious muddy puddles spattering the path. Specks of mud and water splattered onto our legs and thorny stalks and plants whipped against our ankles. Our ojek drivers darted around, trying to avoid any treacherous looking areas – and any of the numerous skinny cows that happened to be lazily plodding along the paths. Our surroundings were now growing increasingly green and jungle-like, and the path was becoming increasingly narrower. We delved further into the jungle and came to an open space, shaded and concealed by towering leafy trees.
‘We’re here?’ I asked Jack.
‘Yes. We just need to walk a little to get there,’ he said.
Young Agung led us into the jungle. We walked along a narrow mud path, the ground so wet and squelchy it became a very slippery affair. I tried to tip toe my way around, calculating the best way round without becoming too squelchified (that is a word) but despite my best efforts, the messiness of the mud was way too tricky to avoid. Tall, green grass surrounded us, and a few mole holes lined the earth. We trekked up a little steep hill, and through the branches and leaves of the plentiful flora, we caught a glimpse of that big beautiful blue thing that we call the ocean.
We walked a little further and stood atop of the hill. An expanse of white sand stretched before us, and the immense sea stretched out to the horizon. It was quiet. And like the pleasant wave of smugness you feel when you’ve cheekily got away with something, it hit me; no one was on this beach. No people, at all. Where was everybody?
Jack sprinted down the hill and on to the beach below us. Samantha and I stood there for a few minutes, devouring the feast of a view before us. We’re the only ones here.
*Tune in next time for more stories on the secret beach of Ujung Genteng…
Go Go Go!
Where: Ujung Genteng, South West Java, Indonesia.
Why: Turtles, waterfalls, beaches and surfing – without the millions of tourists.
How: A seven hour, bumpy drive from Jakarta by car. There are no trains/planes available and the road is treacherous. Ojeks (motorbike taxis) are available to hire to get around the area for around 50,000 RP for the day (approx £2.50).
We stayed at Pondok Adi’s bungalows. Raised, wooden bugalows on stilts with the basic amenities and frienly staff for around 150,000 RP a night (approx £7.50)