“I own nothing, but I have everything”, an Indonesian tells me.
It was just a few days after school graduation, when a good friend of mine texted me: “Hey! Let’s go to Bali this summer!” My answer of approval came without hesitation. After doing some research, “Komodo National Park” popped out and I got my mind stuck on the surreal looking images of dragons that inhabit there. Naturally, I tried to convince my friend to go along.
“You want us to go looking for Komodo dragons instead of seeing the peaceful Balinese sunsets?” , my friend said whit a pinch of despair in his voice. “Do you know how dangerous they are? How are we going to get there? Is there any restaurant to eat something?… Yeah, perhaps some dragon burgers”.
“I have no idea yet, but I think it’s still worth to visit”, I quickly answered her without understanding where did my courage suddenly came from. Because the truth is that, back then, we were just two Taiwanese girls with no experience about traveling. We finally agreed on visiting both Bali and Komodo.
We hopped on a plane from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo in Flores as we flew for about one and a half hour. Our Balinese trip just ended and so we were still wearing beach skirts, colorful sandals, wreath on our head and long earrings. The rest of the passengers were dressed up more sporty, carrying big backpacks and binoculars at their necks. These people seemed experienced and well-prepared; comparing to them we were like two innocent girls who took the wrong flight.
At the arrival, a tan smiley guy holds a welcoming card with our names written down. His name is Kanis, (till now I still call him Indonesian papa) our tour guide for the next following days. Immediately we get off the airport and in his car.
The view on the way wasn’t spectacular, but It felt comfortable and peaceful as everything was more simple and non-commercial. Just 20 minutes later we reached the seashore where our open-deck boat was waiting for us.
There are 17,000 islands in Indonesia, and Komodo is just one of them. It is famous for its Komodo dragons, which are said to be the offspring of the old dragons that once inhibited Terra. This is the largest living lizard, which can grow up to 10 ft tall and weigh up to 150 pounds.
Kanis’s wooden boat had a second floor, this was our sleeping “room”. Even though it was just an open space, we felt pretty comfortable in there. We didn’t expect to be the only guests on the boat; 5 of the total of 7 people on the boat were the crew.
Our first adventure began on Komodo Island. The moment we approached the island, I had the feeling we just entered into a Jurassic Park movie scene. There, a real dragon was welcoming us on the shore.
Part of the crew was a ranger that was supposed to intervene if anything would go wrong. Or, at least to make us feel more secure. Thank God these dragons are lazy and they prefer to bath in the sun rather than to chase humans.
There are three treks in Komodo Island: short, medium and adventure. We took the medium trek, it was about 1.5 hours. During tour trek we met with some monkeys, dears, boars, buffalos, eagles and even more dragons. For a city person like me, this experience was extraordinary and unforgettable.
After Komodo Island, we headed to Pink Beach. Whenever the tide came, the coral reef was flushed away little by little as the white sand was covered by red corals. The color merges into pink under the sun light, but, unfortunately, the coral phenomenon is fading nowadays.
There we snorkeled and we swam with large octopuses and thousands of fish, before enjoying a stunning sunset over the sea. I stared at different layouts of blue all day long; the sky was dressed up in a navy blue color and I felt caught in that moment, the feeling will last me a lifetime.
I was still snorkeling in the calm, clear water of the ocean when the sunset started to draw a warming color reflection on water. These Indonesian sunsets, there’s always something touching about them …
When the night came it was time for Kanis favorite activity: fishing. He’s been doing this for the most of his life. Indonesians from that part spend a lot of time on boats, away from the normal life, as just a few had time to go to school. Their true comfort zone is there, on the sea.
The small fishes caught by Kanis’s crew were getting prepared. Some grilled potatoes and vegetables aside completed our dinner on the boat’s deck.
But it was only when Kanis captured a baby shark when the whole crew cheered up. The guys seemed more than satisfied having on the board with us the small shark. They said it could be their month salary if they sold it in the market. Fishing is their major source of income, not just their lunch and dinner.
Later on, it was time to go to sleep. I tried to, but I couldn’t stop myself thinking at the words that one of the crew’s guys told me at the Pink Beach:”I own nothing, but I have everything.”, before kissing my hand.
Right there on a faraway place this young fisherman showed me his rich spiritual heart. Apparently, it doesn’t take treasures to capture the essence of life…
That peaceful night with glittering stars, and cool breeze… I was finally willing to close my eyes, as my heart remained opened.