Today, I spent a bit of time in a pondok. Not literally. Literally, I spent my time at the kitchen table staring at a computer screen. But in my imagination, I was walking through a forest and rice fields towards a pondok where I was looking forward to having a bit of a lie down. Oh, and it’s the end of the sixteenth century.
You’re probably wondering what a pondok is. You might be wondering what I’m doing in the sixteenth century too, but that’s a conversation for another day.
A pondok is a small shelter in a rice field that farmers use to rest in and, sometimes, to keep their buffalo in. You see them in Java and Bali and probably in other places as well. Here’s one I found on the internet:
And the internet is where the trouble begins. To make sure my memory was serving me correctly, I did an image search for ‘pondok in rice field’.
Most of the images were of tastefully decorated bedrooms with French doors opening out to lush gardens and infinity pools. The term ‘pondok‘ is evocative of the open-air simplicity that appeals to tourists who don’t want to have a resort-style holiday in Bali. Obviously, Google assumed I was in need of a holiday.
Once I had got past the distraction of the infinity pools, I found the image above and it was pretty much exactly what I had been imagining . I could, of course, have just had a good look at the image and gone back to what I was writing but…. I was intrigued by the little logo that said ‘pondok padi design’ so I clicked on ‘view page’.
Twenty minutes later, I was still in the rice field but I could see the pondok up ahead. And I did get there in the end.
The moral of this story is that internet access is a mixed blessing for the writer, but we all knew that already.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the image at the top of this post is of wedang uwuh (a drink made with cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon) and tempeh kemul at Omah Kecebong on the outskirts of Yogyakarta: http://www.omahkecebong.com/ It is my dream writer’s retreat.