Getting itchy feet for an Indo mission this season? Let Jean da Silva’s epic scores from last year inspire you. Just in case you are heading eastbound here’s a few pointers:
Fear The Walking Chafe
If you are a boy in Indo then you’ll be prone to a certain chafing in the nether regions. No one’s sure how, when or why it happens. It just creeps up on you. One day you’re fine. Next day it feels like someone crept in during the night and cattle branded your inner thighs. Right in that intimate, soft, tickly bit adjacent to the crown jewels. Which now basically feel like they’re on fire. From this point on regular ambulatory motion, otherwise known as walking, is not possible. Unless using an exaggerated wide cowboy gait. Like good ole’ John Wayne. Hence sufferers being pointed and laughed at with expressions like, ‘Oof! Look at matey he’s proper John Wayning.’
It’s savagely painful and quite distressing. Stings a tad when you get back in the brine also. Women. You don’t know how lucky you are*
Got The Horn?
In Indo the MOT consists of one test. It takes less than 10-seconds for the whole thing to be conducted. You drive your wagon into the drive thru test bay, the inspector reaches in, honks your horn once, just a quick beep, then gives it a long, aggressive five second blast. As long as it makes a noise and doesn’t sound like you are running over a dog’s chew toy then you pass. Good to go. Head back out in to the insane traffic. This is the only mandatory requirement for a vehicle in Indo. It can be a rusty death trap with no floor, that’s partially on fire, but that’s no matter. If your horn works you’re good to go. Equally being a paid taxi/bemo driver it seems the only thing you need to know is where the horn is (that and how to do the steering wheel mime and say ‘transport?’ to every tourist). All driving is based around it. This is why -with the exception of Portugal- Indo is the most terrifying place in the world to be in a vehicle. But it is arguably safer to get driven than try and drive; that is just crazy talk. As for mopeds. Unless you’re on the outer islands or have Carl Fogarty motorbike skills forget about it. Unless you don’t like your legs of course.
Boat trips are great huh? Before you hit the Mentawai motherlode for the dream trip of dream trips how about a warm up? The classic Bali-Lombok-Sumbawa run, way cheaper, less crowded and some super cool waves like Deserts, Shippies, Scars and Supersuck to check out. Of course the boats are smaller, cheaper and more, errr, local. Wooden outriggers with one cabin that houses your bunks, kitchen and shitter are the norm. But they are a equal steps down in cost as they are in luxury from a Mentals charter. Proportionally they have less than a quarter (that’s a generous assessment) of the safety equipment as well. Life raft? Nope. Life jackets? Negative. Radio? Nah, well unless the car stereo jerry rigged to the electrics with exposed wires counts. First aid kit? What’s is thing you speak of? Any accident is fate and karma and just life innit?
In essence: way more fun. This is life on the edge of disaster. Anything goes wrong and you’re paddling your board away from the flaming, sinking wreckage of your own personal Titanic with a hell of a tale to tell, if, and when, you get home. Don’t smirk. It happens, a lot more often than you think.
Sea Ulcers Suck
Surfing in the tropics means one thing: pus dribbling wounds. If John Wayning wasn’t bad enough… The noble sea ulcer forms from any cut, nick or hint of a rub you have. Progressively getting worse until you really have to stay out the sea. There is actually an Indo based solution -a little bottle of purple juice you can only get in Indo chemists- called Gentian Violet. Makes ‘em heal, keeps them dry and is all round amazing. Only downside is you get permanent purple stains on your board, bed sheets, clothes, partner. This is no matter. You can still surf without them deepening and weeping until they touch bone.
*Prob best not to slather Gentian all over your nethers if you do have a savage case of the John Wayne’s. Nobody is going to believe your purple junk was a medical necessity.