The Nightmare before Christmas
Humid sunshine scorches as we shuffle down the car park’s fractured slope. Christmas crowds sweat a duck line through the tight rock passage. Beyond the steps, this once tranquil cove is further crushed by international package tours as they swallow the beach’s capacity ad-nauseum. New school, old school, blow-ins, legends, grifters, show ponies, cowboys, salesman, entrepreneurs, hangovers, egomania, insecurity, confusion, negative, positive… on and on… only warm saltwater can release us. The grommet sees the positives as snorkel gear reveals tropical fish – the world beneath the world. We eventually escape around the point to achieve splendid isolation. The quiet stretch of beach is history’s window, positive irons pulse full force – nothing else matters. The grom marvels at legions of hermit crabs as they dart across virgin sands, monkeys rustle tree tops, sunshine dances upon the shore break – there’s medicine everywhere. Another swim, another sun bake, lets not leave – but we have to.
Later back at the 3 ring circus, groundhog mania continues down the cave, drones evaluating guide book driven aspirations. There’s a nasi goreng special and a quick exit from the chaos. Back up through the bottle neck, screams echo as monkeys terrorise another tour group – the 5 star fantasy struggles. Finally inside the vehicle’s baked interior, sweat pours as Mr car park – who’s never smiled in a decade – snatches the crumpled 1000 Rupiah note, while blowing kretek smoke into my eyes.
Thanks for everything pantai Padang-Padang, your spirit still lives on – if only in my head.