This is it: laidback-beach-firefly-paradise
The town Cherating: one street, with a handful of open-air eateries and one grocery store. The beach: a wide stretch of white sand with large, elongated beach puddles and now that the monsoon is over: a flat, calm, turquoise sea. The water, not even lukewarm, but like a hot bath. Palms and other foliage make for much needed shade. Payung Guesthouse: about ten wooden cottages in a lush garden with chickens, toads, monkeys and cats, a covered terrace, hanging chair, play-tent, coconuttrees, plants and aromatic frangipani trees, clotheslines between each hut. The boys can play with the balls and frisbee that lay around here between the other jumble and the men here put a burning anti-mosquito coil on our two verandas every evening. Somehow everything here feels so right, I feel so at peace. Even though it's bloody hot and our tiny cabins only have a fan, even when I wake up the first morning with my backside covered in over 250 itching swellings - legs, buttocks, back and arms, no idea what caused it - mosquitos/bedbugs/sandflies? It all doesn't matter, all's good anyhow.
I wake up to the sound of birds chirping and the owner strumming his guitar. Very slowly the boys around me open their eyes and we lay for a while, listening silently. Gazing at the dust-particals dancing through the air, caught in a ray of sunlight, streaming through the roof. Their elegant and playful movements remind us of the fireflies we admired a few nights ago. We got in a boat at dark, the river surrounded by trees full of fireflies. Sometimes we stopped and our guide Hafiz would very subtly signal his lights to attract them and they would all fly towards us, hovering over the boat, dancing before our eyes. We tried to determine if it'd be a male or a female: Hafiz had taught us before embarking, because, as he exclaimed passionately: we are nature lovers! And we would never do anything to harm these magnificent creatures, so no photographs or lights in any way, because this interferes with their flirting process, thus it could lead to them not mating, and going extinct. So we sit in the boat, gliding through the black water, shimmering lights on either side and twinkling stars above us: it's like we're floating through a bell jar universe, inhabited only by magical lightbringers.
Calmly we all get up, maybe we buy some milk to make our own breakfast, more likely we'll eat a pisang-milo-roti canai (banana-chocolate pancake). Then some schoolwork. They both finished their math-books already, so their father comes up with fun and challenging assignments. Perhaps I'll do some laundry, sitting on the porch. This is how we roll into the afternoon.
Leisurely we stroll to the beach and somehow the sun starts setting before we know it; playing football and other games, time just flies by.
We eat another nasi goreng, the taste and words on the menu are familiar to my love and I; during our two month travel through Indonesia in 2002 we picked up some Bahasa, the language they speak here too.
Yes, we'll stay here for a while longer.