August 20, 2003
Carita is just one long road along the beach with hotels on both sides. At weekends it is a popular place for people who live in Jakarta.
I had read the descriptions of hotels in my guidebook but had not became any wiser. As all of them seemed to be more or less the same. All of them quite modest. With the exception of a 4-star hotel: the Pantai Carita Resort but the beach front is a rocky reef and not very good for swimming.
The bus dropped us in front of the Baka Baka Hotel. So we went in to have a look. We were welcomed most warmly and many of the staff wanted to practice their English so it took some time before we could see the room.
The Baka Baka Hotel is on the beach and consists of a largish building which serves as reception and dining room, dotted around it are cottages consisting of one room, a bathroom and a veranda. They were very clean furnished in the usual hotel style: two beds a table in between, a wardrobe, no coat hangers, a side table with a mirror and outside two easy chairs and a table. From here we a had a magnificent view over the ocean. Our room had a fan but there are also rooms with air-conditioning.
When we arrived the hotel was very quiet, there was no one. So we thought that everyone had gone for the day or was swimming. We went to inspect the beach, beautiful and sandy. As far as my eye reached there was nobody.
Later on I learned that seaside hotels in Java are empty mid week but full at weekends. And indeed on Thursday night the first few guests started to arrive. There were more on Friday and on Saturday the place was almost full. On Monday we were the only ones left and had the place to ourselves.
The dining room overlooks the ocean and when it is dark there are tiny lights visible.
Fishermen go out in the evening on rickety bamboo constructions to catch fish.
It is here that we had kopi luak. When we had finished we were asked if the coffee had been to our liking. And then we were told that this coffee is very special. The luak is a kind of cat endemic in Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi. The luak will eat the best and perfectly matured coffee berries. They pass through the cat’s digestive system and are excreted. Plantation workers collect the beans which are now ready for roasting. We had really enjoyed the taste of this coffee and order a second one.
From journal West Java