The first thing we noticed at Parangtritis beach was the SUV in the water. It was hard to miss. It was stuck in the sand and the rising tide was rocking it a little harder with each incoming wave.
Someone had made a poorly-planned effort to go offroading. But that wasn’t the real reason they’d gotten stuck. Everybody knew the real reason: the truck was green, or at least greeny-blue, and green is the favorite color of the Queen of the South Sea. People always warn you not to swim at Parangtritis in a green bathing suit, or the Queen will grab you in her strong watery embrace and you’ll never be seen in this world again.
Furthermore, a Protestant minister on the beach informed us, this particular Monday was a very spiritual day on the Javanese calendar, so our offroader was really asking for trouble.
People hung around watching. The minister said later, when the tide started going down, they’d get a bunch of guys together to push the truck out. We didn’t want to wait, so we strolled off down the beach.
We had dashed out to Parangtritis after school that afternoon, just for a little getaway. We were glad we did. There weren’t many people. It was quiet. The air smelled like ocean and the sand felt like ocean. It’s crazy how rarely we see the ocean, given that we live in an archipelago.
Later we got some fish at a little strip of restaurants back near the parking lot. Everything had that offseason feeling. The restaurants were all lit up, but they were empty. Our taxi was the only car in the parking lot.
On the way back the driver told us he’d watched them get the truck out of the sea. The guys had waited for each incoming wave and then pushed, letting the ocean help them. As we sped home in the dark, often straddling the white line in the middle of the road, we passed the green truck being towed to the repair shop, still dripping. Maybe the Queen of the South Sea decided she didn’t like SUVs.