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MC's Sukie's Kite Life Asia blog -

Smiles, and other forms of communication

When we travel with kitesurfing, more or less we spend our entire time on a beach. Yes we may be in some foreign paradise, but how much of this do we really see?

Myself and camera man Paul arrive in each location a week or so before the event starts. The unlucky ones? Not at all. In this time we get to explore these locations away from the beaches and really see how life is lived in different parts of the world.

This time we are in Bintan, Indonesia. Indonesia is one of my favourite countries, and in terms of kitesurfing is one of the last unexplored places.

Bintan, and Indonesia on the whole, is still very much untouched in terms of western influence. Of course somewhere like Bali with its cheap packages holidays is the different end of the scale. But far north where we are life is still in its simplest, and perhaps most beautiful form.

The past few days we have explored stilted villages on rivers, a ‘drive-through’ food street, fish markets, Chinese temples and a parade complete with marching band and baton twirlers.

Now my Indonesian is bad, and though the English of many people here is better in comparison, we still have a somewhat limited shared vocabulary. But here more than anywhere else I have experienced in the world, smiling and laughter can somehow become an entire conversation.

And for us more relevant, the universal language of board sports. Perhaps kitesurfing not so much with its expensive price tag, but the power of a skateboard or surfboard in overcoming language barriers is second only to that of smiles. Arriving in the city of Tanjung Pinang with only a camera and curiosity, we left with over 10 new friends and an afternoon filled full of skateboarding and laughter with hardly a word exchanged.