The Sea Gypsies of Ngoguyon
Jonathon looked out of the window. Quenan stood by the bow painter, He was looking out beyond the bow. Some bluish grey cliffs towered out of the water. A house nestled in them. The cliffs towered above the house. A porch extended from the front of the house over the water. The roof glinted in the early evening sun. Beyond the porch was nothing but water. Jonathon asked, “Is that house where we are going?”
“That is our house. You see why the only way to it is by boat?” Kiribourey said.
“Yes. That is fantastic and interesting. Any way to the house from above?” Jonathon said.
“No, only by boat,” Kiribourey said.
They came close to the house. Kiribourey pulled back on the lever. The boat slowed down.
Jonathon looked under the porch. He saw the piers. He had to look up to see the porch. He commented, “That house is way up there.”
“It is about ten feet from the water surface at high tide,” Kiribourey said.
“How deep is the water,” Jonathon asked.
“It is about ten feet at low tide,” Kiribourey said.
The boat came close to the porch. Kiribourey turned the helm to the right. The boat turned to starboard. He turned the helm to neutral gradually until the boat ran parallel to the piers. He pulled back on the lever. Jonathon had to comment, “With all the technology we have at our disposal, why are you doing all this? You could have had the boat do it all.”
Kiribourey shot back, “Where is the fun in that?”
The bow was almost at the first pier. Kiribourey pulled back on the lever more. He eased the boat into position. He pulled the lever all the way back. He flipped the middle switch, cutting power to the motors. The boat stopped.
Jonathon walked to port odd the bridge. He looked toward the bow. Quenan was tying his painter to his pier. Jonathon looked astern. Boupha-Kannitha was tying her painter to her pier.
Kiribourey shut the systems down. He walked off the bridge and joined Jonathon. He said, “It is Que’s and Boupha’s duty to tie and untie the boat here. Elsewhere, it is to toss or catch the painters.”
Quenan joined them. All three walked onto the bridge. They put their headsets away. They walked off the bridge.
They walked around behind the cabin. An-Toan kim, Sopheary and Boupha-Kannitha sat at the table. Kiribourey, Quenan and Jonathon walked through the doorway. They walked below deck to Jonathon’s cabin. Jonathon picked up his computer case. He slung the strap over his left shoulder. Kiribourey and Quenan got his suitcases. Kiribourey walked up on deck first. Quenan walked up next. Jonathon walked up last.
The three sitters stood up. The six of them walked to the port railing. For the first time, Jonathon noticed the two gates. On the other side of one gate, a ladder went straight up. On the other side of the other gate was a ramp.
They walked to the gate with the ramp. Quenan opened the gate. They walked onto the ramp. An-Toan Kim closed the gate behind them.
They climbed the ramp about half way. They paused. Jonathon looked over the ramp’s left edge. He noticed the two boats. Kiribourey looked with him. He said, “They are more for recreation and local travel. The first one is our sailboat. The other one is our outrigger canoe.”
Jonathon said, “I’ve never been on an outrigger before. I would like to try one sometime.”
Kiribourey said, “You will have plenty of chances while you’re here.”
They continued climbing to the porch. Jonathon looked over the porch. It appeared to be reddish brown wood. It had two holes. He walked to the nearest. He looked down. A ladder went down to the sailboat. He walked to the other hole. He looked down. Another ladder went down. There was only water below.
He turned around. The others were heading to the door. He rejoined them. Kiribourey opened the door. Jonathon was the first to walk in. The lights came on. Jonathon looked up. The ceiling was glowing white. Kiribourey came in followed by Quenan. They were pulling the suitcases. The other three came in.
Kiribourey and Quenan took Jonathon to the back of the house. They walked to the spare bedroom. The floor was sea green carpet. A king size bed was on the right wall. The mattress was covered with a sea blue cover. On the left wall toward the back was a red wood desk. Toward the front was a brown dresser with six drawers. Close to the front wall were two separate reddish brown wood doors.
Kiribourey and Quenan took the suitcases to the bed. They left them there. Jonathon followed. Quenan exited the room. Kiribourey followed after saying, “This will be your bedroom during your stay. I’ll leave you to settle in. Supper should be ready by the time you are done. I’ll come and get you when it is ready.”
Jonathon walked to the desk. The wood was naturally red with dark red grains. He set his computer case on the desk top. He walked over to the two doors in the wall with the desk and dresser. He opened one door. It was to a walke-in closet. Hangers hung from a rod the length of the closet. Above the rod was a shelf the same length. The other door was to the same closet. He put his clothes away. He put the electronics in the desk drawers.
He walked out of the room. He smelled on odor in the air. It smelled good. He followed the scent trail.
He found himself at the scent source, the kitchen. Kiribourey and Sopheary were there cooking. Jonathon commented, “Certainly smells good. Why are you cooking and not a robot?”
Sopheary said, “Thank you for the compliment. Machines cannot cook like us. They do not know the nuances of the spices we use nor our personal tastes. Their food does not seem to taste as good.”
The three children came in. An-Toan Kim had his left hand on his stomach. He said, “Maugora ai bajiceng! Ricabasa manganre?”
“Bintela Antonrak,” Sopheary said.
“What is that,” Jonathon asked.
“It is a fish caught around these islands,” Sopheary said.
“Sikaiceng!” An-Toan Kim said, rubbing his stomach and licking his lips.
“Would you like to try a bite, Jon,” Sopheary offred.
“I sure would,” Jonathon said.
Sopheary took a fork. She cut off a piece of the fish in the pan. She took the piece in the fork. She brought it to Jonathon’s mouth. She warned him, “It might be a little hot for you.”
Jonathon blew on the piece a little. He took it into his mouth. He started to chew on it. He said, “Hm, that is good. It doesn’t seem to be….”
Then, the heat hit him. He fanned his mouth, saying, “Wow! That is hot!”
The children laughed. Sopheary grinned. She said, “I hope it is not too hot for you.”
“I’ve had food hotter than that. I have eaten plenty of hot, spicy foods before. So, I’m used to it,” he said.
Kiribourey spoke Sarginese to the children, “Analin, take Jon to the dining room we’re using tonight.”
Boupha-Kannitha grabbed Jonathon’s left hand. An-Toan Kim grabbed the other hand. They tugged at them. Quenan turned toward a different door than the one they came through. He raised his right hand over his shoulder. He brought it down in an arc in front of him. Jonathon followed the children.
They walked through the doorway. The floor was black marble. In the middle of the new room was another rectangular dining table. It was bigger than the family dining table. Six chairs were arranged around the table. A robot was setting the table.