One of the greatest things about our line of work is that we get to travel around and see some pretty amazing places and meet so many beautiful and very humble people.
Late last year, Putra was shooting for Samsung Note 5, so Samudra and I went on an adventure to visit him on location and had to travel almost three hours out of Jakarta to Karawang, Bekasi in West Java. The further away we got from Jakarta, the greener and more luscious the scenery grew and once we reached Karawang we were so happy to to pass by and see kids jumping into the river splashing around while rice fields provided the perfect backdrop as the sun rose, and it all looked so magical in the soft morning light.
By the time we arrived at the set, the sun was high in the sky and it was sweltering hot. Samudra was a little restless after being in the car for hours and was therefore a bit too noisy to be near where Putra was shooting, so I decided to take him for a walk through the rice paddies to look at the temples. We cut through the fields and were then stopped while passing a small warung being asked to have our photos taken and chat with the family who lived at the house behind the warung. We ended up sitting in the shade of their house while more local kids arrived and they all had fun playing around and singing with Samudra. After an hour or so, we went to leave and were met by a group of school kids on a field trip to see Candi Blandongan. This resulted in a large group of kids holding their cameras up wanting to take pics and have selfies with his, which got a little too overwhelming for Samudra, although he loved playing with them and running along the path to the temple with them, stopping to watch frogs and fish in water in the rice paddies beside us.
Next thing you know, there was a group of local little kids following us around and leading Samudra around laughing and having a great time. Samudra was so happy for the company and giggled non stop all morning. It never ceases to amaze me how happy and friendly the young kids here are, and they were so sweet, carrying him around and helping him up and down the stairs to the temples.
Once we had finished exploring and headed back to where Putra was, there were no less than 20 kids following us wanting to play with Samudra and the sound of their laughter and singing was too loud so yet again we had to walk away so we wouldn’t be disturbing the shoot day. We ended up going with the kids back to their kampung and meeting almost everyone who lived there along the way as they came to see what all the racket was about. It was such a funny afternoon, being invited into family homes where I really struggled to understand what people were saying to us, but we laughed a lot together trying to understand each other, while the kids ran around in the dusty kampung squealing and chasing ducks and chickens around with Samudra, while eating rainbow ice drinks and icy-poles.
The little kids then led us to the next kampung along the narrow paths, through the rice fields, and there we met a whole new village full of people. I couldn’t believe the amount of young kids there were in these kampungs and there were barely any men around during the day as they were all out working elsewhere. The kampungs were full of women sitting at their doorsteps laughing with their neighbours and kids, and the all appeared so care free and relaxed.
After many belly laughs and cheeks hurting from smiling so much, we walked back across to the Buddhist Temple, Candi Blandongan, which looked mystical in the early evening light with fire torches set around it for the last scenes of the shoot. Putra had arranged for fire twirling for the evening but we missed seeing this as Samudra was too tired after a long and full day of running around and constant attention.
I wished I had been able to understand the locals better so I could learn more about the area and temples scattered around, but instead we went home with a head full of amazing memories from all the kids and people we met who welcomed us into their villages and homes, and who made the day incredibly special for us.