CARITA BEACH - Christmas 1977

Carols at Carita Beach on 24th December 1977

Carols at Carita Beach on 24th December 1977. I'm on the right next to John D and Marion S.

Christmas 1977

I had discovered that several young people I knew like Juliette S and John D were going to Carita Beach over Christmas. I had been invited to Bob and Ros's over Christmas, but as the group wanted to use Bob's bungalow as an overflow I thought I would be able to go too. It seemed to cause little upset, so it was arranged that Ron S would pick me up and drive me there. There were to be about nineteen of us, all British and several from the embassy.

We met up beforehand at Marion S's house and loaded up booze and food in a land rover to be stored in Alastair's freezer until Friday when most were going down either during the afternoon or after dark. I probably could have got the day off but as Ron S was going on Saturday morning I decided to go with him. This worked out well as I could get a good look at the countryside in the daytime.

A few months earlier Marion S was driving down after dark with Mike W and Rodney R and got to a narrow bridge. She drove over the middle for safety I suppose but didn't realise that it was two bridges side by side at different levels with no central barrier. They crashed and a steel reinforcing rod pierced both Mike and Rodney. Luckily some friends who had intended to go down earlier were late and came upon the accident. They managed to get them both off the rod somehow and drove them back to Jakarta's hospital. The rod had gone right through them both, but luckily in fleshy parts around the backside and waist, so both recovered, with scars.

Ron S picked me up at 10 am on Saturday 24th December 1977. We stopped at Labuhan to get some ice. This was in the form of blocks about 24 x 12 x 12 inches, stored on the floor in sawdust which had chickens all over it. We were assured it was for drinking but Ron said we would probably use it for cooling food and drink, not putting it in drinks. Each block cost 800 rp (1.15).

Alastair L and our beach hut at Carita Beach on 24th December 1977

Alastair L and our beach hut at Carita Beach on 24th December 1977

The beach hut at Carita Beach was larger than most and isolated further along the beach. The water was about 30 metres from the hut across and the first thing I did was have a swim. I had brought a volleyball and this proved useful for messing about in the water. There was also an inflatable which we pulled out to the breakers.

In the evening after a barbecue we sang carols, then went along the beach singing at some of the other huts. Some had expatriates, for instance the Hong Kong Bank staff. Several of the huts were rented by expatriate companies.

I slept inside on a lilo that was sandy and scratchy. Ron S slept outside on a collapsible bed and this might have been a better option.

On Christmas Day I got up at about 6.30 am as it was light and I had been uncomfortable. Villagers were wandering past with lobsters and fish to sell. I was sitting in a chair watching the breakers while Ron slept nearby when an old man in a sarong with a kris in his belt and a walking stick came and said something to me which was probably in Javanase not Indonesian because I didn't recognise it. I supposed it was a greeting. He sat down next to me for about half an hour just looking at the sea, before wandering off.

I went for a run along the beach with Charles to a creek before breakfast, then we messed about for the rest of the day playing water polo, football, swimming, reading. We had a full Christmas dinner of turkey etc. in the early evening just as the sky turned red at sunset. Rugby songs after that, then swimming in the dark, then charades.

At some point during the weekend Lali A joined us from another hut. She spent most of the time with us as her boyfriend Helmut had gone back on Saturday. She told us that she was a sikh and of the highest class. There were four classes: priests/priestesses, kings or rulers, soldiers and workers. She said she couldn't marry or even associate with other Indians who were considered worthless compared to Punjabis.

Mike W and Lali sneaked off together during the evening's games. The next day she told me they slept on the beach until 5 am but she was quick to say she kept her clothes on! I didn't really believe her at the time but several men said later they hadn't got anywhere with her. It seemed Indian girls sometimes had much higher moral standards than the javanese girls. Perhaps her boyfriend had left her at the beach because he couldn't make it with her.

We gave her a lift back to Jakarta. She seemed to live in a rather poor area and we could only drive about twenty metres into it because the alleyways were so narrow and muddy. When I offered to carry her bag to her house she said No because neighbours would talk. She apologised for not being able to invite us in for a drink.

The rental period ended on Monday so a few who were staying on moved to Bob N's hut. Our hut had been large with about twelve beds, the rest of us slept anywhere. The rent was 145,000 rp (210).

When we had a reunion at Marion's house on Wednesday 28th December. I picked up Lali (from the main road so she wouldn't be seen with me) and took her there. I don't think it was appreciated. She never was part of our party and I think the other girls resented her presence and the blokes didn't seem keen to see her either.

We didn't suffer from mosquitos much, but someone who was also there that weekend got malaria, the worst type that is recurrent. The mosquitos in Jakarta were large and black but those at Carita were smaller and grey. Apparently the Jakarta ones didn't carry malaria while the grey ones did.

New Year's eve

Lali knew of a party on New Year's eve and asked me if I'd like to take her (I suppose her boyfriend Helmut obviously wasn't in her good books). I picked her up and her friend Ery and her American boyfriend Dave. She wore a red top with a plunging V-neck and bare midriff over a long blue dress, very curvy. We went to the Borobudur first for drinks but found that the disco cost 5,500 rp (8) so we went on to the Jaya pub, but that was charging 5,000 rp so we went straight on to the party in the Lippi complex off Gato Subroto.

The house was owned by the South East Asia manager of Levi jeans and was in an expensive complex of houses. There was an enormous split level living room with an huge fish tank complete with coral reef between the two areas. Masses of big pillows and mattresses around the floor and rather rich-looking men and beautifully dressed women, obviously the international set.

At midnight Auld Lang Syne was sang, but nobody held hands in a ring except us. At 1 am there was a barbecue in a large straw-roofed bar in the courtyard. It was pouring with warm rain, but there was plenty of cover. By 4 am Dave, a surprisingly quiet marine guard at his embassy and Ery were tired. Lali wanted to stay on and eventually said she had met a friend of her boss and that I could leave her and take the others home. Better prospects with a richer man I expect.

I didn't see her much until I saw her on a Hash at Puncak on 15th July 1979. On 17th August 1979 I took her down to the Samudra Beach Hash and a few weeks later I was with James B-J and we met her in the Tavern. She said she recognised him because he had thrown her into a pool with her clothes on in Bali, typical James.

Carita photos