For most of the month that Justin and I spent in Sumatra, we each had our own motorbikes. The family we rented our bikes from only take the steep and barely maintained but surfaced road snaking its way through the coastal barrier mountains to Liwa once a week at the most. Today, they needed a bike for the 4 hour round trip, so I happily offered mine and Justin and I would share his bike. Since we were doubling and would stand out more than usual, we decided to augment our daily adventure with matching blue and brown striped board shorts.
Two grown men with surfboards trying to navigate a road occupied by cows, goats, dogs, people, chickens, and other bikes erratically darting in all directions is no small task. I trust Justin completely and am not concerned watching him thread a tight line between different species as we make our way past small concrete homes backed by dense tropical jungle silently dangling in the light early morning mist. I do however start to break a sweat when we swerve quickly as Justin folds over the handlebars grasping at his chest.
Justin manages to get the bike stopped at the side of the road and tells me that something about the size of a hummingbird flew out of the jungle and hit him in the chest. We take a few minutes as a large bull saunters past, seemingly unaware of our presence. Justin seems okay, albeit a little rattled, so we continue towards the beach. We had come across this remote beach break a few days ago while exploring the coastline in between surf sessions at one of our favorite reefs. We weave our way along a muddy track through tall coconut palms and over slippery dew soaked grass before popping out onto the beach. The deep fine sand is too much for our heavily laden bike, so I get off and walk.
As I make my way down towards the water, I watch as perfect A frames march in from the Indian ocean in regimented succession. Luckily the sandbanks haven’t been washed away with the monsoon rains and heavy swell of the past few days. I make my way down to where Justin has propped our motorbike up against a log and we survey the waves. Out of nowhere, he starts screaming and swatting at his cloths.
“Holy shit, what is it man!?!?” I say. “A bee, what??”
Frantically jumping up and down, Justin is clawing at the draw strings of his shorts. When he finally undoes the ties and yanks his shorts to the ground, he delivers a furious slap between his legs.
Breathing heavily with his shorts around his ankles, he stands over a gigantic beetle at least 3 inches long. Large black pinschers and spiky spindly legs protrude from a shiny purple and teal metallic looking shell which is straight out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. He looks at me stunned and says
“That thing just latched onto my cock!”
Laughing, we deduce that this must have been the creature that hit Justin in the chest, then had fallen into his tank top and somehow made its way into his shorts. Relief slowly settles in as we calm down and after a few minutes, we head out into the warm, empty waves.
- September 2010