Tag Archives: Beach

Another attempt at the secret secret beach

On Sunday Marcus, Simone and I set out to find the elusive secret secret beach. We had REAL directions this time which buoyed our confidence no end.

But before the walk started we had a relaxed and delicious breakfast on Marcus and Simone’s back veranda and had coconuts from the tree that their security guard, the kind hearted Jumadin collected and cut open for us. An excellent way to start a day of rare physical activity to be sure. Jumadin said that coconut water cleans your blood. That sounds like a pretty good thing to happen to your blood right?

We headed out to the same beach we started from last time but this time we were entering the forest from a completely different spot. The beginning of the walk followed a road that was wide enough for cars, and even as it narrowed further up the mountain there was still enough of a track to take a motorbike along.

Simone crossing a bridge

Simone crossing a bridge

Eventually the vehicle track ended and it was time to enter the forest for real.

Marcus entering the forest

Marcus entering the forest

Just prior to this we met a man who had some property along the track and he told us the way to the beach but insisted that it was much further than we thought. The seed of doubt was planted. According to his times we would be struggling to get to the beach and back before dark.

We continued along for a little while until we hit a narrow track on a steep edge that was so dense with vegetation we had to push ourselves through it. At this point our doubts were increasing and enthusiasm waning and eventually we turned back.

On our way back we stopped in for a longer chat with the man who had given us direction.

Directions man

Directions man

On his property he has fruit trees, tomato plants and some other things I couldn’t identify. He didn’t live on this property permanently, but I think he said he spent a few weeks here and there staying over tending to the farm. He had cacao trees (the seeds/beans of which make cocoa/chocolate)

Fruit from the cacao tree

Seed pod from the cacao tree

And puppies! It’s been too long since this blog has featured baby animals.



We headed back and ended up spending a few hours at the regular secret beach. The secret beach isn’t a secret at all and there are usually groups of young men hanging around (sometimes swimming and sometimes just sitting on the rocks watching the world below). There were lots of guys out that day but miraculously, at one point, we had the beach to ourselves for about half and hour or more.

Our plan next was to return to Joel’s to eat pizza but it was CLOSED! That was a real blow to morale, but we soon found some team building activities to cheer everyone up again.

Simone and Sarah cooperating!

Simone and Sarah cooperating!

And look who else we met! (that’s Joel’s Restaurant in the background)

Wan, our friend from our previous attempt at the secret secret beach

Wan, our friend from our previous attempt at the secret secret beach

You may recall Wan from our last walk. He was just about as pleased to see us as we were to see him. We chatted to Wan and some other locals while we waited for our car which arrived as the sun went down. I didn’t do a very good job capturing this, but it gives you a hint.

Sunset over Lampuuk

Sunset over Lampuuk

Want to have a super weekend in Banda Aceh?! Here’s how!

It was a busy weekend in Banda Aceh this weekend. And like the best weekends it lasted for three days. Sunday was Indonesian Independence Day so a public holiday was observed on Monday.

Friday was the 3rd anniversary of the cessation of conflict between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement. There were public events all day and I quickly dropped in on one in the afternoon to see one of our NGO partners perform (they have a band). All I found was the Deputy Governor giving a ratherlong speech…and a sign telling me where I could stand.

Pria (men) to the left and wanita (women) to the right. Sex segregation in the middle of the day? Really? When I first saw the sign I hoped it was directions to the bathroom…

Later that night at the same location there was a concert with the very popular and very awesome Acehnese performer, Rafly. The segregation plan failed and there were boys and girls sitting wherever they felt like it. Standing was strictly forbidden though. I guess it might have led to…dancing! Gasp! Rafly really knows how to rock your socks off so it was a killer to remain seated when the music was telling you to shake your bootie. Occasionally some boys lost control and jumped up to dance…but they were very quickly reminded by crowd control to sit down (crowd control=military so you actually have to listen to them).

On Sunday, Independence Day, there were all kinds of festivities around town, including panjat pinang where groups of men from the local area climb a slippery pole to grab the loot at the top (the loot consisted of electrical appliances at the one we saw). A few of us headed to a local park to watch as groups of men tried with varying levels of success to reach the top of the pole. There were two poles, each was smeared in grease and was the height of maybe 6 or 7 men.

Here are some men at the base of one of the poles.

This group have almost made it to the top.

And this guy was the first to reach the top.

He proceeded to detach the boxes and throw them down to the ground. Fortunately the boxes were symbolic. The appliances had been removed before being attached to the pole. A friend of mine saw one of these competitions in which the victor threw down a blender from the top of the pole and it smashed.

On Monday a few of us decided to go for a walk to the secret secret beach. I call it the secret secret beach to distinguish it from the regular secret beach, which is not a secret at all because everyone knows where it is and it’s easy to get there. The secret secret beach actually deserves its name….we walked for a few hours and couldn’t find it.

Here is the wholesome hiking troupe making our way along the track. At this point we were pretty sure we were on the right track because our GPS told us so (that’s right…we even had a GPS and we still didn’t make it!)

We continued along the track but eventually arrived at a cliff that was very clearly a dead end. Fortunately this was the view at the dead end:

Can’t be too sad about finding a view like that.

At this point we were low on drinking water and it was very hot, so like sensible little hikers we turned back. We had received some guidance (relating to both navigation and life) along the way from an old man who stayed in a hut along the track. On our way back we stopped in at the hut for a chat. He was deaf so our communication was limited, but he did give us some life lessons (because what else is an old man in the forest going to do?)

Life lessons from the old man.
1. get married
2. have babies
3. getting married and having babies is good
4. Hedgehog is tasty and good for virility

I was pretty much ready to sign up for marriage and babies by the end of the hike.

Here, Simone and Marcus are sitting in the man’s hut.

Here, Cat is talking to the old man.

A little further on from the old man’s house is a natural well he collects water from. It’s salty so you can’t drink it but it’s perfect for pouring over your head, as demonstrated so beautifully by Simone.

After making it out of the forest we stopped in at the easy-to-find-secret-beach for a quick swim and then headed to Joel’s for drinks and pizza. Marcus ordered our drinks while Simone and I used the showers.

We came back to the table to find (each):
1 big bottle of water
1 pocari sweat (isotonic drink)
1 coke
1 pineapple juice

We were pretty thirsty.

This weekend was probably as good as they get… I reflected on this as I had a hot shower (it was truly glorious) at Marcus, Simone and Cat’s place after returning from the beach. How can you beat that?

Sunday is also a great day for the beach

I spent another lovely day at the beach this weekend. I know I should be posting about the millions of things that happen in between beach trips but it takes more time than I have today to prepare those posts.

I was supposed to go on a boat trip on Sunday. Some of you may recall me writing about these trips here, and they are without fail a really great day. But I woke up on Sunday feeling tired and unwell so I stayed home and Sas cooked me a breakfast burrito.

Fortunately, there were a few other boat trip rejects (illness, work and other things got in the way of their participation), so around midday Simone, Cat, Azeemah and I went to beach, wandered and collected shells.
Later in the afternoon we met Marcus and ate crab with noodles for lunch. So delicious. I forgot to take a photo of the crab but you can see in this photo of Simone the remainders of our feast. We stayed at the beach for a looooong time. It was so great to be out there for the whole day, although I am now quite burnt (but only on the very few bits of skin that see daylight. I was wearing a high-neck, long sleeve shirt and a long skirt).

As you can imagine by looking at the photo below, we were a group of very happy and chill people by the end of the day.
Oh! I almost forgot the greatest moment that happened after this last photo. We went for a swim as the sun went down and the undercurrent was so strong that my legs were pulled from under me and I was dragged out to sea…only to be thrown back to shore a couple of seconds later…and then dragged out again…thrown back to shore. I had no control over this process at all. I don’t really know how I broke the cycle but it wasn’t without effort and getting tangled in my own skirt while doing it. Ahhhh, funny.

Wenesday is the perfect day for the beach

After a week of inefficiency and time wasting I am trying to turn the productivity dial up to maximum force, so I will just post some pictures from a walk along the beach on Wednesday (a very rare and welcome UN-observed public holiday).

We found a fish. Marcus wanted to kiss it.

Then we found this thing….Any ideas on what this is? Anyone?

Then we rested and reflected on the spectacles we’d seen.

Weddings and other nice things

I spent way too much time alone in my house on Sunday. Today I am jumping around the place at the sight of real live people.

Saturday, however, was packed full of people including these very cute girls at my becak driver’s brother’s wedding. You may recall my becak driver Rijal from my last post. He is the one with the pineapple shrub.

I also went to lunch at my friend’s house. He lives at the beach so a heap of us went for the afternoon to eat his mum’s cooking and enjoy the sea breeze. It was just my kind of party.

Friend Jess just sent me a bunch of photos from K-Rudd day and I found this one that I think is very amusing.

Someone looking like this and standing so close to the PM for no reason is probably the kind of thing his security are looking out for. What a weirdo.