When I heard Trump won the election, I did the only sensible thing I could think of. I picked a destination as far away from anywhere as I could find, which happened to be a far away island in Indonesia called Raja Ampat West Papua. I signed up to go diving because I thought if I could go down a few metres I'd feel better or at least safe from the madness.
This was indeed the longest trip known to man. I first flew to Dubai airport, which I find to be Hell on Earth. Endless marble floored terminals underneath fake gold chandeliers, waterfalls falling somewhere, the floor lined with tribes of sleeping women in burkas. You have to step gently over them. After a five hour wait for the next flight I got so bored I started thinking the stuffed toy camels in the gift shop were adorable.
I then flew to Jakarta for another eleven hours but it turned out to be worth it, they have Starbucks!!! They're everywhere, like an unstoppable virus. This time I was on my knees with gratitude for the mocha frappaccino because nearby cafes were selling foodstuffs I could not identify as anything ever seen before. Then from Jakarta I flew to some island, then onto another smaller island called Sarong. You can't tell if they're building it up or tearing it down; it's just a sandy road with construction on either side. Once landed I was taken to a motorboat and, along with other passengers, did a four hour ride to a small mountain topped jungle in the sea called Misool Eco Resort. They have about sixteen wooden villas all hanging out over the sea through to the bottom of the water.
On that first day I was a complete wreck (probably because I was out of my mind from travel) so immediately went diving. Here's where it gets good and worth it. As soon as you put your head under the water, it's like Disneyland and Vegas combined on psychedelics. You get caught in a hurricane of exotic fish whooshing in every direction like it's rush hour. There are the purple and orange ones with fuchsia fins flashing one way, while a wall of parrotfish are going the other. How many contrasting blinding colours can one fish wear? There were clams the size of small elephants snapping shut as I swam by, swarms of 'Finding Nemo' fish, seahorses, gigantic turtles winging by, whale sized groupers with Angelina Jolie lips all set in forests of Day-Glo coral.
The next day I met the other divers. It's amazing how fast you bond with people when you're happy. There was a heavily pregnant man (extended stomach) who introduced his partner as his massage girl from Thailand. I thought that's refreshingly honest. She never spoke. I bonded with two smart and hilarious gay guys; it was a match made in heaven. You could dive as many times as you could hold your breath and there were hundreds of isolated islands to choose from. One island, called 'Magic Mountain', offered enormous manta rays about twenty feet in diameter. They circled above and below, flapping majestically around some imaginary runway. I wanted to scream but then I'd drown. And guess what? I forgot about everything back in the real world, even Trump. When you see that kind of beauty you remember how spectacular earth was before we started to chip away at it. I'm now back in London and can only dream of feeling that happy again.
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