Traveler: Kiana Fores
Flying into the dark night and into the night of tomorrow. Sanuks on my feet. Wanderlust in my veins. Not knowing what to expect, I board the first league of my journey –
I am about to embark on a 27hour travel excursion across the Pacific to foreign seas. The Indian Ocean – where surfers dreams become reality. I am beyond excited. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. My professors are totally in support of this trip – thank goodness! They tell me, “let the ocean be it’s own professor”.
Where did Friday go?
I’ve landed in Taipei 14 hours later. It’s now 5am. I walk without without an once of sleep. I am exhausted, but still have two more leagues left. It’s pretty crazy being the only fair skinned person here. I am pleasantly outnumbered. Strange cultures. Stranger tongues. Whoa. You feel like your put in the unknown or like your taking a walk through your world civilizations book… The Taipei airport is pretty insane. Blurry, but there’s a forrest here for relaxation, prayer and playg for the children. LAX needs to step it up. I barely awake in time to board my next flight.
I wanted this flight to be painless and be as quick as possible. The lady who sat next to me did not speak English and I think I scared her. I was such a zombie she moved seats half way through the flight and kindly let me take up the row to rest. Did I really look that psycho?
As 6 hours went by, I could see Indonesia and the little island atolls with scattered fishing boats all over. I can’t believe I finally made it. Seeing daylight for the first time in 26 hours is more thrilling than you can even imagine. Another stamp in my passport and off to claim my well-oversize baggage. Excuse me. No, I don’t need help with my bags. They are so persistent! Got my surfboard bag and everyone stares and points at you like your an alien. I guess I am at this point. Might as well be. It’s hot. I’m exhausted and I just want to sleep. But overcome by the joy of the journey.
Woke up at 1am feeling like a whole new person. I guess you could say I haven’t adjusted to the time yet. But today’s the day I head to the Mentawais. The time has come. I’m beyond ecstatic! Arriving at the Jakarta is an experience in and of itself. People. More people. Sights. Smells. You name it… all in one! My arms were full, navigating through a cluster of humans. You should’ve seen the the looks I get, being a fair skinned woman without the regional dress, traveling alone, carrying a strange surf bag behind me… NeverUncomfortable? You bet!
After getting through the bustlin’ airport, I boarded my quick flight to Padang. The Padang airport is quite small and once you exit you’re bombarded by guys who wanted to help you carry your luggage. Before I could communicate my “No, thank you”, two big fellas grabbed my stuff and took it to my driver – demanding their tip… I paid knowing I could’ve manage it myself. Whatever. Time meet the rest of the gang!
Oh no more driving…
Padang is pretty tropical and unique, but I still wanted to close my eyes. You see it all. Big families all on one bike, crazed cars swerving from side to side – people passing, people crossing and people crashing. It’s crazy. Praying I make it one piece. I get to the hotel to meet the whole crew. So diverse! It’s awesome. Me and my friend Sierra from Hawaii are joined by girls from Russia, Brazil, Bali! So international. I love it. Also with us is the legend himself, Captain Tony Eltherington “Dorris” – master of Raja Elang.
Fast forward? Yes. Time flies. Suddenly, we’re on a boat – the boat! We get picked up at the dock in Padang in the evening and chart a course for “Surfers Paradise”. When we arrive to Raja Elang we settle into our bunk rooms below the deck. Wow. My home for the next 12 days.
Me and my new friends, this boat, some islands and the oceans playful perfect waves. Yup, that’ll do! This is the life. We sit down for first dinner together, swallow down sea sick pills and stock up on sleep. The crossing over from Padang takes all night and we take advantage. I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming and say my thanks. I go to sleep dreaming only to wake up to my Mentawais dreaming… Best trip ever!