National Geographic : 1971 Jan
not make more than 50 rupiahs [about 15 cents] a day." We traveled next to Pangandaran, a vil lage on the Indian Ocean, not far from the border of Central Java. Unlike the north coast, where sweltering, bustling port towns face upon the land-shielded Java Sea, the south coast of Java is exposed to the full sweep of ocean waves. It boasts only one natural harbor-Tjilatjap. At Pangandaran the heavy ocean surf pounds long, empty beaches. Behind a small peninsula lies a tidy fishing village, brightened by frangipani and oleanders, where outrigger canoes rest on palm-shaded sand. At night the men light lanterns to lure fish into their nets. Though the village has the charm of a South Seas postcard come to life, it is the peninsula which shelters it that holds the deepest interest for visitors. This sea-bound segment has been left as natural jungle. Here teak and other tall trees maintain twilight at 24 midday. Monkeys and squirrels play in the branches. Pea fowl and jungle fowl strut in the sunlit edges of the forest. Parrots and hornbills call from the canopy above. Only one creature here offers any threat to man, and then only to the foolhardy. That is the beautiful banteng, the large and lithe wild ox of Southeast Asia. By luck, I came across a herd of 17 in a small savanna. The cows raised their heads from their grazing, but the bulls wheeled to face us, and froze. "Now," said my guide, "we must stop. They are afraid of us, but they may charge instead of running. Here they would catch us in the open. We will go away quietly." At dusk the flying foxes rose from their roosts and flew, straight and singly, toward the north, big wings beating slow as a crow's. Smaller bats and swallows flittered low to the ground. I wrote my notes by candlelight as lizards stalked insects on the walls, and soon slept, soothed by the sighing of the sea.