You take a plane, and then another one, and time it just right to catch the ferry that only plies the route twice a month, and you will be right in the Middle of Nowhere. The land of fragrant spicy food, giant trees, swirling clouds of fish, looming volcano, ruined Dutch fort, a remote corner, tucked away, quiet and left behind.
And yet, just a blink of an eye ago, this was the Middle of Everywhere. Powerful fleets were shooting cannonballs and wiping out native populations and making weird deals trying to secure the source of all wealth, spices.
They even traded New Amsterdam for this uninhabited little piece of heaven.
And then the wheels of history turned again and the islands plunged back into anonymity.
You look around and talk to people and talk more and realise that of course what you thought was the Middle of Nowhere is actually still the Middle of Everywhere for so many people. Home in the middle of the sea, surrounded by clouds of swirling fish and that menacing volcano in your front yard. Considering that I had to be dragged away, far too soon, dependent on the ferry, I wonder how long I would last here, would I go nuts?
By the way, I was nuts about the nuts. The kenari nuts and the nutmeg. This place has the best food anywhere in the world. Or is it maybe just because it is a once in a lifetime flavour?
I wonder what the kids are going to make of this place in the future, what history is going to bring from the wide horizons.
After all, there are always obscure new places thrown into the limelight, then forgotten, then maybe rediscovered….
Of course I always like to keep everything the way I know it. Change scares me. But again, it is not my little playground.
And I am but a mere grain of sand tossed around by history, just the same as all of us.