Thursday, November 4, 2010

Across the World Tour: Christy Farley & the Indonesian Waterfall

What Is All This?

To celebrate the launch of Across the Universe on 1-11-11, we're going Across the World with guest posts of adventures from all over the world! This is all a part of the Across the World Tour. First, read the world adventure below. Then, click through to the adventurer's blog to find a letter.

Why a letter? Because the letters--when unscrambled--form a password. And the password opens up the secret page (LOOK for it above). And on the secret page is lots of goodies--secret information about the origins of the book, hidden Easter eggs, and...a entry form to win a prize of a signed ARC of Across the Universe, star swag, and MORE.

Today's Adventurer


Christy is one amazing person. She just moved back to America after living in Korea, and while she's been traveling the world, she's raised two boys, worked as a teacher, and written some pretty amazing novels. Watch out. I have every expectation of Christy's novels becoming a household name soon.

If you don't you should totally check out Christy's blog. When this girl researches, she researches. Like the time she took a class in traditional Korean archery to make sure the details were right in the story. Or the time she went to Disney's Food and Wine Festival to research...er...who cares?! It looks like a ton of fun!

Christy's Indonesian Waterfall
A trip to the waterfall sounded fun. That was two miles back, sweat free, surrounded by civilization, with a trail to follow. When my friend Bethany mentioned at our lunch table there was a beautiful waterfall not far away, I was hooked. Here was my chance to get out of the stuffy classroom, away from kids and have fun while I was in Indonesia.

That’s why I had taken the job here, wasn’t it?

For adventure.

Our group of six left early the next morning, backpacks filled with snacks, water and cameras. We hiked the trail up the mountain above our school where the mists curl through the palm trees. The trail snaked through a thatched-hut village where children and chickens raced to meet us, calling out “Mister! Mister!” We waved to the villagers dressed in their bataks, smiling as we said, “Salamet pagi.”

I inhaled the smells of durian and mango and home felt a hundred years away.

Yes, I was on an adventure.

But by mid-afternoon as I cat-walked across an emerald green rice field, my feet squishing in mud, jungle stretching below and rounded hills around me, I wondered how adventurous I really was. All I could think about was ice cold water, AC and a good meal of nasi goreng. Our group’s only map was Bethany who spoke fluent Indonesian. And she was relying on the occasional huts we passed to ask for directions. We had NO idea where this waterfall was.

It probably didn’t even exist.

It was the farmer, dressed in knickers and a wide-brimmed straw hat who pointed out the rock cliffs below. According to him, the waterfall lay behind the cliffs. I nearly skipped through the rice patties, splashing through puddles, until our group reached the massive slab of rock. A dirt trail followed the side of the cliff and then slid into a small fissure.

This was it!

The rock walls jutted up on either side of us as we pancake-squeezed our way through the narrow passageway until it spit us out into a wide clearing isolated from the rest of the world. The wind roared, spraying me with water.

The waterfall!

It was about eighty feet high, diving into a pool below. A small group of teenage boys hovered on some rocks on the other side, but I didn’t care we weren’t alone. Because we found it! So what if it took us nearly the whole day to get there.

I got my adventure.

The voice of the waterfall was too loud so we mutely took pictures, ate the remaining nibbles of our granola bars, and sipped tiny swigs of water.

I was debating how much water to save for the hike back when I saw the boys approaching us.

With machetes.

And dark scowls.

My heart dove into my stomach and my mind scrambled, trying to figure out what to do. There were five of them and six of us. Maybe we had the advantage because our two guys were bigger than their five. Then again, we were just teachers.

The leader announced that this was their place. We needed to pay to be there.

But we didn’t have enough money. Not the amount they were asking for. So we snatched up our bags and hurried out.

I scrapped my arms as I raced through the narrow rock walls. My muscles ached from the hike, but I shoved the pain aside as I jogged up the hill, into the rice patties. I glanced behind me. They were following us.

Our best option was to find a shop and spend the little money we had to show we were supporting the village. Maybe the shopkeepers would keep them from hurting us.

If only we weren’t in the middle of nowhere.

But then I spotted a different trail and we changed our course, crossing our fingers we’d find a village.

A quarter mile down the road we discovered bamboo shacks stacked with fruits and vegetables for sale. The boys hung back, probably not as desperate as we were to run in the heat, and eyed us as we passed over the little rupiah we had to by water. I let out a long breath as I watched them turn around and head back toward “their” waterfall. Maybe they’d only meant to have some fun with us. Regardless, today had been more than I had asked for.

But then again, I had asked for an adventure, didn’t I?


Go Across the Blogosphere!
The adventure's not over yet! Go to Christy's site to find the first letter in the password to the secret page. Collect all the letters in the first two weeks of November for a chance to win a signed ARC, star-swag, and pin-buttons!

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