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April 25, 2004

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Like Dutch traders winging through the spice islands, we cruise along the Nusa Tengara island chain. Instead of nutmeg or cloves, our boat carries tourist cargo. Fishermen steer their outrigger canoes in for a closer look. Once a dolphin pod swam in our wake but we moved too slowly to keep their interest. In the mid afternoon, many nautical miles behind us, we docked in a shallow harbor where a small fishing community lived on a shore far away from outside interference, a tiny island called Moyo.
The village springs like a paradigm of provincial life. Shaded boulevards connect homes spaced by private gardens, rice terraces, water buffalo pens. With so much island available, people fenced their own plots, raised houses on wooden platforms, and created an Indonesian island version of Pleasantville suburbia.
Exploring the jungle past the village we cooled off in an isolated stream.
Bungy jumping started in the Pacific islands as a way for men to prove manhood and attract mates.
We brought snorkels and life jackets ashore which the villagers misinterpreted as fear of flooding. We gained their confidence by helping with household chores like pounding grains into flour.