I accidentally went to Bangka Island instead of doing my job. Ramadan is about to end. And after a month of fasting everybody deserves a holiday. Well, we didn’t fast but I think we deserve it nevertheless. I might even be a little bit to convinced about that because I missed my little bit of work this week. There were no classes for two weeks. Not knowing enough about Muslim traditions I thought the office closes for two weeks as well. It doesn’t. The second week I walk in to show a friend my 70 cm desk. While I expected compliments for coming to work during a holiday, I received critic for not coming instead. There certainly is something like cultural differences and sometimes it is really confusing. Anyway it is my fault and we will see how we (me) and work it out.
Bangka is a wonderful island among another 1700
Bangka is a paradise next to Sumatra, unknown to most of the world. Indonesia as more than 1700 islands and yet we only talk about Bali all the time and whilst Bali is full of inappropriately dressed Australians, Bangka is mostly inhabited by very normal Chinses-Indonesians and hardworking din-miners. Even though it has magnificent beaches there are almost no foreign tourists on Bangka, apart from me Bule of course, and it is left to be a peaceful island where children collect shells from the stones for their mother to make dinner with. And then they drive home on a full gear motorcycle. And those kids are like 12 and 7, wearing no helmets and smiling at us as they overtook our Jeep.
The empty beaches with all those animals
At one of the empty beaches we laid down in the sand and just when I spread my arms to pretend I am awesome a crab emerges from the sand to shake my hand. What scared me like hell and made my jump like a dolphin must have been a crab as big as a matchbox reaching out for my little finger. The dead beast we found on the sand as just too disgusting to not touch and pose with it. We even saw a sea snake. All of those things will disappear or change once the island will get more and more crowded with tourists. But at the same time the rising wealth will bring new chances and more comfort to the natives.
The tin mines of Bangka
Bangka is famous for its Tin Mines. When you drive through the island you see many lakes that give it a beauty that is similar to Finland, but actually none of those lakes are natural but they are retired tin mines instead. With wooden construction the not so rich people of Bangka search for tin. Most of the world’s tin comes from Bangka, it is hard physical labour and I am sure it is everything but healty. My grandfather inherited us a large amount of tin soldiers. Makes me wonder where they came from… The mines are a part of the island that is not really considered pretty. Even though that is clearly destroying nature it adds a new and beautiful outlook to the island and one day we will come to admire it.
The mining of Tin and other goods leaves many magical places on Bangka, like these two lakes next to each other. One is blue and one is green. When one man wears a red t-shirt the combination is close to perfection.
Soundtrack of my life: Dolly Parton – Jolene (Kygo Remix)