As for that soft bed and hot shower I was pining for? Well, our first night was spent in John’s bachelor quarters at the Pula Rita motel in Merak. He’d been housed in a thatched-roof bungalow with no hot water, and the bed was a goat’s hair mattress on the floor. After an icy-quick shower I climbed into bed, only to discover we had roommates. Various lizards were hanging upside down from the rafters -- some tiny and chameleon-like, others not so tiny. Periodically one would suddenly release those suction cups on its itty-bitty toes, and take a kamikaze plunge to the floor below, or onto our bed. I was probably in the middle of telling John I’d never be able to sleep like this, when exhaustion overtook me. Next thing I knew he was kissing me goodbye and heading off to work.

Before long though, he was back to say “We’re moving!” Though the houses, school and doctor -- which B&R had promised all those coming over on married status -- had yet to materialize, they had managed to lease a few units at Anyer Beach, a small resort that was a popular getaway spot for people from Jakarta. Fortunately for us, one unit had just become available. Not only would we have hot water and a proper bed, our bungalow faced right onto the beach, and on a clear day you could see the volcano Krakatoa in the distance, with smoke coming out its peak!

The next morning, before leaving for work, John said, “Oh, by the way. Housekeeping will come by periodically with fresh towels, and they’ll pick up any clothes we have that need laundering.” “Hold on a minute, Buster! Are you telling me I won't really be doing our laundry in the river?” He just grinned. “What about shopping in that outdoor market?” Again with that grin! “It’s actually a fun place to go exploring," he replied, "as long as you avoid the stinkier parts -- which is fairly easy to do since a van comes here once a week to take all the ladies to a nice little grocery store in Cilegon. They have a few cuts of frozen meat, some canned goods and such.” “Arrgh! How could you mislead my like that, leaving me to fret and suffer all this time?”

John then told me about his friend, who’d only been married a short time when he got offered this position. This fellow’s pretty young wife made him come over ahead of her, to scope things out. He fell madly in love with the job, this place, and his life here, and sent glowing reports home to her. He told her it was an absolute paradise -- Heaven on earth! Sadly, she never even saw it in person. She got only as far as Singapore, then refused to budge an inch further. “So, you see, you should be thanking me for leading you to expect the worst (and by the way, you must reeeaaally love me), for now you get to be pleasantly surprised!” I don’t remember for certain, but I'm thinking I probably bopped him up-side the head at that point.
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5