Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 27 January 2016 • Destination
That afternoon, my friends and I walked home to a small house on the seaside of Saparua Island. We were soaked, laughing, and carrying our weapons of war: beach chairs, snorkel, and cameras. The sun set a few moments ago leaving little light for our path way home. We had just swam on the pier of Ihamahu Beach, accompanied by the local kids. Walking back to Rumah RP, our accommodation, made it feel like we were one of the pack; local kids coming home a little too late, dirty, to a table full of home cooked meal. Living like a local for a few hours is the experience when staying at Rumah RP, our accommodation on Saparua Island, Maluku.
Saparua Island can be reached with a two hour ferry ride from the Tulehu Port, Ambon. Fare cost IDR 60,000 / one way for economy class and will take you to Haria Port on Saparua island. From the Haria Port, Rumah RP can provide a pick-up service that cost around IDR 150,000 – 200,000, which was for the four of us. Aside to that, they can also help you book a car, in the form of the local minibus, to take you around the island. Car rental cost IDR 300,000 / day.
To my recall, we chose this accommodation on Saparua Island for a simple reason. It was the cheapest on the island. It’s located a little further out from the main city of Saparua Island, at a small village called Ihamahu, about 40 minutes from the Haria Port. Although a little far from the main city, car rental was inevitable as public transport was pretty scarce. So, we would have needed transport where ever we would stay, to see many parts of the island. Might as well stay in an affordable accommodation.
Rumah RP was a simple homestay with simple rooms. I think there were two bedrooms. Both with twin beds. Nothing fancy, just mattresses on a bed frame, very sufficient for my post sleep after the red-eye flight. Beds also had mosquito nets that were very helpful. Rooms are also equipped with fans, a small table, small cupboard and a mirror. The bathroom was a shared one, but very clean and spacious. It was all that you really needed. Really.
Booking is preferred beforehand, as rooms are limited. Rumah RP was IDR 150,000 / person / night.
Prices were full-board, meaning that meals were included, which was the best part. Rumah RP’s home cooking WAS DA BOMB! It had that homy taste. My friends and I were so high on their local Maluku chili sauce called colo-colo; a mix of cut tomatoes, chili, in lime water, and a dash of coconut oil. It was kinda like dabu-dabu from Makassar but it was drenched more in lime water. It made all of the other side dishes taste fresh and to-drool-for when eaten with warm white rice. The dining table is also located on the terrace facing the sea. So meals and afternoon coffee was enjoyed staring at the sea and the parking ‘bagan’; fisherman’s house out at sea. DA BOMB! Where else would you stay in Saparua Island?
Our favorite item of the house had to be the beach chairs. We initiatively took the beach chairs to the pier that afternoon, located not too far from the house, because we wanted a laid back time with a luxurious view of the sunset at the end of the pier. Like little kids, we carried our ‘toys’ along the abrasion wall, complete with its trial and tribulation. After setting the chairs in place, we played jumping in and out of the water and sunbathing with the remaining sunlight. The chairs made my afternoon. On the next day, we also brought one of the chairs on our escapades to Kulur Beach on another side of the island. Adlien can testify how good it was to nap on it. Those beach chairs will always have a place in my heart.
The best thing about homestays, of course, is the experience you feel if you managed to befriend the home owner. Coming home to a small house and greeted by Mama Marilena, the motherly figure, brought a lot of my childhood memories. I remember once telling a Korean friend that coming home all dirty, soaked, or a mess by the end of the day and getting scowled by your parents, is a very normal thing in Indonesia. However, as Indonesian children, we never feel discouraged to go out and play the next day and do it all over again.
My experience at Rumah RP was just that. Although I can’t say anything out of the ordinary about the service and home itself, Rumah RP did give me an experience of traveling back to my childhood. Of course, my friends were also a big factor of the experience, being as playful and spontaneous as they were. Add to that, the company of the local kids, as we were playing in their backyard. All aligned, I felt like at home. Would you want something else when choosing an accommodation on Saparua Island? I don’t think so.
Which now makes me wonder, during your travels, have you stayed in any particular homestay and be nostalgic about your childhood days?
Phone: (Marlena Anakotta) +62 8 1343108100
PS: I do have to add that I did mention about the trash problem of Saparua Island, Maluku. I have to admit that the seaside of Rumah RP was really dirty when I visited. Pragmatically, it’s a deal breaker, but considering trash was a problem for the whole island, I think it had to be compromised. Trash was definitely the bigger problem.