Home is….where I park my backpack! Living the life of a travelling scuba diving instructor requires a high level of adaptability, flexibility and an open mind.
Comforts are not always available and most of the time hot water is considered a luxury (that is of course if there is any hot water anyway).
Not to mention the possibility of little annoying housemates such as jungle mice and ants.
Some might think: “Awww!! Gross!”. But I can assure you it is not that bad. However, it is mostly up to oneself to make the most out of a place and make it home.
The Green House
During all the time spent in Pulau Weh, we made our home at The Green House in Iboih.
What a fantastic place! A green wooden building nested on the rocks with only few rooms, a shared kitchen, a fantastic terrace with magnificent views over the sea and only one minute walk to the dive shop.
What a place to live! The owner, Erick, is probably the most amazing, friendly and chilled out person I have ever met. He is the best host ever, making always sure his guests have a memorable time. “My home is your home” he says, and it definitely is that way.
When he is home, it is easy to find him sitting on his terrace chilling out with friends, listening to some good music, munching on some local treats and sipping tasty Ache coffee.
“So lucky” he says and no doubt he’s right!
The Green House, or Erick’s as everyone calls it, is the perfect place to hang out for a chill out evening.
So many times after a day’s work or just a day out, we hung out on the terrace enjoying the views, good music and lovely company.
If we were feeling really lazy, Mama, next door to the Green House, would cook a fabulous tasty Indonesian dinner for us. She was my favourite cook on the Island and she surely looked after us. Such great times. I actually miss Erick and the Green House. I always find myself with a smile on my face when I think about it!
Where to eat and hang out
Iboih is a cozy little place that only offers very few places to eat and hang out. My favourite restaurant, besides Mama’s cooking, was Deedee’s Kitchen. She has a great choice of local food but also a great range of fresh salads and other western treats. She made the best fried tempe.
For those who don’t know what tempe is, it is an Indonesian produce made out of fermented soya and mushroom extract. It is a good alternative to meat and it is very versatile since it can be deep fried and eaten like chips, pan/stir fried mixed to salads or cooked with curries. Quite a unique flavour but once I started to like it I could not stop eating it.
I am a food lover and I love eating local food. However, I do get western food cravings occasionally.
Deedee’s sister, Mama (not the same Mama next door to Erick’s), has her own restaurant just across from Deedee’s and makes the best “Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato & Fresh Tuna” I have ever eaten abroad.
Being Italian, I do not normally eat pasta in restaurants abroad but Mama makes it just perfect. Cooked “al dente” with a deliciously tasty and fresh tuna and tomato sauce made to order.
Oh, I forgot to mention that everything in Pulau Weh is made fresh to order so it does take a long time before getting your food. And when I say a long time, I mean a LONG time! But it is definitely worth it!
Meat is a great part of my diet. I like all kind of meats. Here beef is not available and pork is not allowed (except in Bali and other non Islamic areas). The selection is left with chicken and the occasional goat.
Goat is delicious in curries and chicken is mainly fried or made into a curry. The best fried chicken and chips I had was at O Lala Restaurant. A big piece of crispy fried chicken with a mountain of handcut chips. What a treat!
O Lala is also a great hang out place for a bit of a party and definitely a good point for travelers to gather together. Not many places in Pulau Weh sell beer or other alcohol but Eka, the owner of O Lala, always makes sure she has beers in the fridge for her guests. She is also a wonderful hostess. She is to O Lala like Erick is to the Green House.
Iboih, Pulau Weh, it is definitely a home away from home. I don’t really have a home back home so that was a home!