I have an aversion to bathing in faeces. You may call me old fashioned, but never a party pooper. Nor a stick in the mud.
My luck hasn’t been the best of late so it was with no surprise that I have found myself working for an educational establishment that forces its captive teachers to lead weekend rafting trips down Javanese rivers.
Picture the situation: Saturday pagi pagi, my bitch boss/slave driver, a bunch of giggling, squealing children in ages ranging from eight to 52 (nobody worth shagging), a bus and a hungover me leading them in a game of ‘I-spy’.
“T?” I began.
“T … anybody?” I continued to repeat.
“Birds fuck in it.”
[More blank stares.]
“That green thing there [pointing].”
“Tree. It’s a tree.”
“Tree. A fucking pohon blo’on.”
And that was just with the adult students in the back of the bus.
I had reserved a robust game of knuckles for the children up front.
When we arrived at the Arus Liar (wild stream) rafting operation south of Sukabumi my nightmare was confirmed; a signpost pointed to the toilet and the river, both in the same direction. The river itself, far from being a wild stream, was dry and I noted that the concentration of faecal matter, all other body fluids and chemicals dumped by Indonesia’s Top 40 companies would no doubt be at its strongest.
After 15 minutes of “lerus, terus, kiri, kanan … awas … maaf” and other general confusion, I took control of matters, ordering the bus door opened and the establishment’s finest iced Bintang presented on a platter served by four Marlboro girls. Needless to say I got warm Bintang served by a village boy with a case of skin disease so bad it was obvious he had ‘salvaged’ an Indomie chemical drum mistakenly thinking it was a buried cache of instant noodles.
Bintang in hand, I caught the attention of a group of expat teachers and inquired about the state of the river. I was surprised when they informed me that it was clean but then they told me the name of their school; EF Kali Malang. For those who don’t know the Kali Malang, it is a fetid, open sewer that cuts through central Jakarta like a giant turd. They were Poms also, and had little idea of what actually constituted a clean river. The smelly buggers didn’t even wash their hands before they started eating. Fucking English teachers.
Nevertheless, the alcohol, formaldehyde and nicotine had the desired effect, the fear of the brown trickle retreated and something resembling enthusiasm began to take hold. Next I had the kids, adults and boss suited-up, kitted-out and assigned their rafts and guides. It would have made for a Kodak moment but most of the children’s hands were too swollen to hold the oars properly after the recent fun and games on the bus.
Hopping in the raft, I immediately began to implement my revenge strategy. I waited untill my bitch boss’s mouth was at its widest as she oinked orders and, using my paddle, sent a jet of river water shooting straight at it. Bull’s-eye! So set the tone for the remainder of the journey, a journey that can only be described as extremely dull, hard-work lifting the raft over rocks every five meters. I was so bored that I overcame my fears of the water (perhaps I subconsciously just wanted to kill myself) and jumped overboard to float down under my own steam. This zany, crazy behaviour came to an abrupt halt however, when I imagined I touched a body anchored to the streambed.
Then the situation deteriorated. My boss got frisky with me through a horrendous misunderstanding -- I accidentally tapped her lycra-clad, cellulite-pock marked arse with my paddle. Honestly, she was standing up at the time and my sole intention was to knock her out of the raft. Just at the wrong time, unfortunately, the child next to her stood up and took the full brunt of the swing of my oar. The little energy that hadn’t been expended resulted in a soft tap on whale blubber and inappropriate looks. I quickly ended any misconceptions about this by jumping into her raft, holding her down and scooping handfuls of water into her pig mouth.
Anyway, I am now the holder of a former piece of Sumatran rainforest that states that Piss Salon “has accomplished a magnificent rafting trip, running through the continuous flow of rapids on the amazing Citarik River.” It has, of course, been added to all my other worthless fake achievements, including my university degree.
I was expected to remain with the group for a night of ‘fun activities’ in a camp on the banks of the Citarik, but made my escape as soon as night fell, heading for the sanctuary of Pelabuhan Ratu. But that is another story (See Bad Idea #52: Negotiating for Ojek with Preman in Jungle and Bad Idea #61 Mushroom Omelette Before Surfing).
place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes