It’s the next day that Iksan decides he is no longer going to call me Leslie, but An-nay. Once again, our phone is ringing with Iksan on the other line at 8:00 a.m. “Good morning! Iksan will take you to Immigrasi, today,” We did talk about this possibility the night before, but made no specific plans. I hesitate, as I am still in my pajamas. “Okay, are you ready now? Iksan and Oness are waiting by the port.”
We hustle to get ready, then take Grin to shore. We climb on the back of Iksan and Ones's scooters and they whisk us to the immigration offices. There, Iksan leans over our shoulders as we prepare our visa renewal applications. I write out my name Leslie Anne… “Ahn-nay!” Iksan says. Admittedly, Leslie is hard to say and usually produces a bit of frustration for my Indonesian friends who try. For the rest of our trip, I am referred to as Ahn-nay.
Bada-bing, bada-boom - we complete our visa renewal in only one day! This wondrous feat deserved to be celebrated.
“Do you like *snort-snort*?” Iksan asks, using one finger to lift up his nose and “snort-snort” again.
“Pig?” I ask.
“Yeah, Pieeeg, *snort-snort*. Iksan doesn’t eat Pieeeg, because Iksan is Muslim. But, if you like pig, Iksan can take you to eat the best pig in Badas. You want… *snort-snort*?”
After our experience with wedding pig a few months back, I was a little concerned this wouldn’t be our cup of tea. As we arrive, the restauranteur held out sticks of pork satay - the meaty bits, rather than the fatty bits with whiskers - and small ribs from a previously tiny pig. I feel a little sad for the tiny pig, but as all pigs tend to be it was delicious. They served the meat paired with crispy onions (and more peppers if it just isn't hot enough), a sweet and spicy sauce, crisp sprouts and steamed island greens topped with peanuts and sambal (a spicy tomato salsa), rice, and a rich bowl of broth.
After lunch, we are beat. We need a rest, but as we clamor down the jungled path toward Grin's parking spot, Iksan calls down that we are scheduled for "Happy Happy, Tonight, Remember!?" Andrew barely contains a groan, and instead invites Iksan and Ones to join us on Sonrisa for beers around 5 p.m.
Iksan thinks. "Do you have Arak? Iksan likes Arak. Or Vodka maybe?"
We do have a bit of Arak left over from the New Year's bottle we purchased in Labuan Bajo, so we make promises. We also have vodka, but it's the kind you only use to kill fish it tastes so bad. We pull out both bottles to offer the gents a beverage of their choice warning them the vodka isn't very delicious, but they decide they would like to drink both.
Pretty soon, Iksan is declaring his love for pretty much everything. Moyo Island, Andrew and An-nay, Ones...“Iksan loves America! Take me to America!" He requests that I snap a photo of him with the flag. When Ones asks about our families, I show him pictures of our families. Iksan becomes taken with my little sister. "Iksan and Andrew and Ahn-nay will sail to America, pick up An-nay's sister, then sail back to Indonesia!”
He proceeds to “like” all of her photographs and introduces himself on multiple pictures....from my Facebook account. “Iksan wants to make sure she knows him so she can come to visit when she comes to Indonesia!” He explains. It was another late night, again.
To my surprise, our phone was ringing with Iksan on the end of the line at 8:00 a.m. again the next morning. Iksan, Ones, and their friend Jhe are all ready to start another big day. They take us to the market to buy ingredients, then back to Sonrisa to show us how to make Sumbawa-Style Sambal and Grilled Chicken ("Ayam Bakarrrrrr"). We tour the Sultan’s house from long ago, where we try the throne on for size, see the hand carved chair that carried royalty through the streets, and poke through the room from which Sumbawa leaders successfully planned their strategies to resist European Colonial powers from taking over their island.
After that, to the local horse stables to sample horse milk (tastes like almond milk and a little like grass) and interrupt a fashion shoot in progress. Then, on to lunch at one of Iksan's favorite dining spots. Delicious food with a judicious use of kafir lime leaf, lemongrass and hot pepper.
Iksan lives in perpetual "happy-happy" mode. "How old are you, Iksan?" I ask, estimating somewhere in his 20s.
"Iksan is 36, just like Ahn-nay and Andrew." He tells us.
We decide we can't keep up anymore by the time we are playing dress up in the formal wear shop. The ladies pin one hat on Andrew's head, only to decide they need to go one step further. They install an even more wild hat on Andrew’s head - one intended to represent a peacock. Then, they step back to survey their work.
“Iksan wants you to kiss! It’s your Indonesian Wedding!” Iksan says. Public displays of affection in Indonesia are not generally acceptable, so the women in the room shuffle around awkwardly at the request. Iksan waits, holding my camera ready to click. We lean in and give a quick peck; Iksan snaps photos and cheers.
“Outfits for Sultans!” Iksan declares. “You buy(?)” It’s phrased as a question, but it seems more like a statement. Now it’s our little formal-wear ladies look hopeful. After all this fitting effort, can we really say no to our new outfit for Sultans? We nod, and they count off the various prices for each piece of the outfit. We weren’t exactly planning on spending $350US on outfits made for Sultans, but can you leave without a hat? Maybe just one hat.
Back in the car, Andrew breaks the news: We have to leave tomorrow, sail onward to Lombok. “Oh no! It’s your last night in town? Iksan is so sad. Iksan is going to miss Andrew and Ahn-nay so much!” He says, patting my hand. “One last happy-happy, Andrew, please???”
How can Andrew say no to this? So, we meet Iksan and Ones at the hotel on the hill for another night of Kareoke, Arak, Beer, and dancing. One by one for each new friend that arrives, Iksan asks "can this friend join us at our couch? This one, this one?" Soon, there isn't anyone in the place that isn't wrapped into Iksan's party. As happy-happy as he could be, Iksan spent the rest of the night putting his whole heart and soul into singing his songs for us one more time.
When we finally had to say goodbye, Iksan was sad to see us go. I think Ones was worn out.