Talk to any sailor about your Home Owners Association troubles and each one will smirk at you with that self satisfaction of one so vindicated. “Yep!” the sailor will chortle, “that’s why I live in a sailboat! If you don’t like your neighbors, just pull up anchor and move on.” This feature of my home can come in handy at times, but this tenant works the other way as well. You never know when someone fun will arrive and dress up the neighborhood. After our trip through the mangrove river, we are too lazy to pick up anchor and leave. Why would we? Tanjung Roo is so perfect we figure we might as well stay a spell. Then, Steve and Linda on S/V Donetes pull into port and anchor next door.
“Would you like to join us to celebrate the Melbourne Cup? The race that stops Australia!” Steve asks. Apparently, the Melbourne Cup is Australia’s answer to the Kentucky Derby. Everyone gets dressed up, the ladies wear hats, people bet on horses or get together with their friends to draw horse(s)’s names in a lottery to win money. Everyone stops what they are doing to watch the race, and then they enjoy BBQ Chicken, potatoes, and salad for lunch. It’s tradition, and we are not ones to turn down a party.
We immediately dress up. I throw on my best hat (brim shape custom designed by Sonrisa’s Back Corner Locker Hat Crumple Technique), and we putter over to join the party. But as we arrive, Linda waves her hands in our general direction. “The race isn’t tonight, just drinks tonight. The race is tomorrow morning!”
“No hats tonight?”
“No hats.” This is good because hats make my head so sweaty. We climb aboard and enjoy a glass of wine in the cooling evening while the Donetes Crew explains the whole tradition.
The next morning we return to draw our horses names and watch the actual race. Andrew cawed about his luck of drawing the best horses while Linda felt shorted, having drawn many of the horses at the bottom of the unfavored pack. As the race unfolded, an injury to one of the front runners and a surprise come from behind win by a very young horse, had both of them singing a different tune by the end.
Linda makes a delicious BBQ Chicken lunch with coleslaw that goes down easy in Donetes’ hospitable cockpit. “Have you guys ever played Cards Against Humanity?” Steve asks, “Our daughters bought us this game before we left.” He holds up the box and points to the title. “It says it’s a ‘game for horrible people.’ I’m not sure what that means about us!”
Andrew and I laugh. “We have played, and it IS a game for horrible people. You guys will love it. GAME ON!”
And the game was on, Aussie Rules Style, until a curtain of rain whirred across the anchorage, flung cards everywhere, and forced Andrew, Grin, and Kitty had to make a fast break to Sonrisa to close her wide open hatches. This came at an opportune moment as we were just about to count points, and Steve was feeling decidedly ‘behind the curve’.
The next day, Andrew and I headed to shore to explore. We check out the bat cave the tourist boats drive through while howling to enjoy the echo and wake the poor sleeping bats. The beach is beautiful, one of the best we have found anywhere on our trip so far. Morning glory bloom along the edges, a bright yellow song bird sings a warble. Andrew found two new hats to keep the sun out of his eyes and a lunch spot with a kitten to play with/torture.
Soon, Steve, Linda, and a small frog join us on the beach bar beanbags and we do not stray very far for the rest of the day. They give us the full report on the area of beach they explored in the opposite direction to our morning wander. “The resort next door is very nice, and you should see the loo! It’s the best loo I’ve ever seen.” We drink beer and watch families play games to celebrate the Hindu holiday Diwali. The sand is white and soft, the sun is warm, and the water near the beach perfect for a cooling dip. This feels like a vacation! I tried to take a nap, but this just opened me up to be buried and sculpted into…what? Two big feet?
At low tide, Andrew and Linda took a walk across the sand spit to the nearby islands.
“Isn’t it great that we can walk all the way across to the islands!” 6’3” Andrew says.
“Glurb-blurb-glurb-blurbbblurb” says 5’2” Linda.
I’ve been on that walk with him before, and I know better. I stayed behind to take pictures. I watch as on their return trip, they pause and Andrew borrows Linda’s shoulder for stability. “mmm…must have stepped on something,” I say as I watch Andrew limp along the remainder of the journey. They arrive back at the beach blankets carrying the shell that hobbled my fearless captain.
I admit that looks painful. We watch the sun drop low on the horizon, producing purple and pinks in the flares and ridges of the clouds. The night cools to that perfect temperature where you do not notice hot or cold, just the soft air running across your cheeks in puffs of breeze. The green lights of squid boats begin to peek out one, then ten at a time - one taking up residence in the bat cave.
“Anyone know any jokes?” Steve asks, an opening volley for him to begin another night’s repertoire of “Dad Jokes” he has been doling out since we met in Lombok. I wrack my brain because I must know at least one joke. Something about a blonde in a VW Bug…a lawyer joke…I must have some lawyer jokes! No one but Steve offers much of a joke repertoire…well, except for Grin.
“Oooh, me! Me! My turn!” Grin volunteers from his perch in the sand. He’s been spending his day rubbing his belly on the beach and posing for selfies with random batches of tourists.
“What did one little dinghy say to the other little dinghy?” Grin asks, pausing for dramatic effect.
We shrug, “what?” someone in the group volunteers.
“Are you up for a little row-mance?”
We stare at him.
“Come on, guys! You get it don’t you? Row-Mance!”
“Whonk-whomp…” I say to Grin.
“AWwww, come on, that’s funny! Row-Mance!” We all raise our collective right eyebrow at him and he pouts.
We do a wash, rinse and repeat the next afternoon when the Donetes crew invites us to the fancy beach bar next door. We receive a Facebook Messenger Text while typing away on a few blog posts: “We’re at the fancy resort bar with the awesome restrooms - and their happy hour prices are even better than the beanbag bar!” Who can resist an overture like that? We hop in Grin and speed our way to the beach. “if the guard asks if you are staying at the hotel, just tell him you are going to the bar for drinks.”
“Oh, you are one of those guys,” I razz Steve. “Always answer the question you want him to ask instead.”
Steve meets us out by the pool as we weave our way through beach chairs, umbrellas, and shade cabanas. “I think Mr. Bean is sitting next to us! Be cool, though, don’t ask for any autographs.” Carrying with us some measure of doubt, we sit down, order beers and peer side-eye at the couple sitting next to us. Indeed, the man at the next table has the unusual visage, laugh, and mannerism of Mr. Bean.
“He looks so grey, though.”
“Maybe he’s trying to go incognito.”
“Mr. Bean isn’t married to that lady, is he?”
“Maybe he’s on vacation with his sister?”
“No, I don’t know, I don’t think it looks like Mr. Bean.”
“Should we ask him?”
“I wonder if this guy gets this all the time?”
We check the Google-Box to determine Mr. Bean’s current state of grey, analyze his wife, analyze the possibility that this is Mr. Bean in a disguise.
Mr. Bean and his wife eat a pizza and a salad while each reading books, then they get up to go. Oh the life of an International Super Star!
“Have you checked out the loo, yet? It’s fantastic!” Another can’t miss attraction.
This is a great anchorage.