Other than on holidays, the location seemed deserted. Few people find time to visit the beach outside of holidays. But the dragons won't disappoint groups of visitors who may just be taking some time off and going to the site to have some fun. Therefore, they remain on standby at the location even if it is not on holidays.
The dragons are ready to serve as long as the riders (passengers) can fill, at least, most of the seats which total 20 seats. If not, they will stumble on operational costs.
Dragon-headed, it would perhaps remind Viking ships. But the river dragon, it seems, is a pure eastern dragon, or to be precise, Indonesian. One, its body is almost entirely blue. The roof is also blue. This color seems very suitable for a water dragon. The other one, also has a blue color, with the addition of white and red, and the skin of the belly is yellow.
"They can't go if they don't get 600,000 IDR for one trip," said Bang Adi, one of the owners of a recreational location in the Lhoknga beach area, Aceh Besar District. This location can be found at 5.47242 lat 95.23884 long.
(Bang: a call to honor an older sibling and is commonly used to respect. 600,000 IDR is about 40 USD.)
Lhoknga is a coastal settlement in northwestern Aceh (Sumatra). The settlement was bisected by a river in which settlements stood on its two banks. Bang Adi is a local resident and was born in the settlement. The recreational location that he currently manages is a place where he played as a child with his friends.
"That location is called the landing. When we were children, we played here while waiting for our parents to farm salt by the sea," he recalls.
Terms such as "Landing" are usually associated with a wharf that used to contain logs to be transported out of the area. But, now it's just a name, which is recorded in the memory of Bang Adi and other local residents like him. Something that I heard for the first time was about salt farming in that place. There is nothing that can be seen today to indicate that the coast was once used for salt farming. Bang Adi explained that it was in the past.
The location is on the left bank of the Lhoknga river and only a few hundred meters from the mouth of the river. Local residents with their own initiative and business opened the area for tourism. Bang Adi is the owner of a location by the river where one of their tourism products is provided which they call "river ride". The boats, which they call tourist dragon boats, cross the river body from the estuary to several kilometers upstream. Boats without dragon bodies can reach the headwaters of one of the rivers called "pucoek krueng" (upstream).
"Are you a journalist?" suddenly Bang Adi asked me.
"Oh no! I only have a blog on Hive, a decentralized social network! I can write anything of my experience there!" I explained briefly.
Bang Adi apparently liked it while asking me to write about tourist sites where he and local people like him make a living.
A moment later, an old man came with his rickshaw to deliver freshly picked coconuts. Bang Adi turns out to be a customer of the old man, from whom he buys fruits that have become icons of the tropics. Bang Adi took some and put it in the stall where he served the visitors who chose the location to have fun.
Seeing that he had to be busy with his work, I didn't want to bother him anymore by talking to him. After thanking and saying goodbye to him, I left and at the same time a dragon moved away from the river bank. Perhaps, it would just test the feasibility as there were no passengers in sight.
Next time, I'll try that. Apparently, that would be a lot of fun, besides also making the dragon owners and their employees smile!