Photo of the week 2014 – Week nine

“Hey, you want to buy lobster?”

I looked around for the source of the voice. Thinking it was coming from inside the wooden hut, I started to turn around. “No, down here friend.”

I walked over to the edge of the platform, hesitant that I’d actually find someone below. Being on a platform 15 feet above the water, a part of what can only be described as a wooden hut on stilts and completely unconnected to any other structure, I thought I had everyone accounted for within a few square metres around me. Yet all of a sudden someone new had mysteriously entered my world, apparently underneath me.

As I peered over the edge, I saw a small boy smiling up at me. At the back of a bright blue wooden boat with a single piece of fishing line between his teeth, he was sitting on a cage of full of lobster of which I had no doubt in my mind were in the water moments before.

“Hi. So do you want to buy lobster?”

I returned the smile and once again looked around to see where we were. I was in a stunned silence that this one boy, this one boy who spoke surprisingly good English, managed to row over to our hut and find the only foreigners with water surrounding us. Being just off the edge of Mabul, a tiny island off the coast of Malaysian Borneo in the Celebes Sea, it felt like we were the only tourists around; in fact, I was positive we were the only tourists around.

Anyway, just as I was about to respond to the boy, one of our hosts, Batu, came running from the hut shouting words at the boy.

As he climbed down some steps towards the sea the boy opened the cage and took out two lobster.

With a flash of teeth to me, Batu took the lobster off the boy’s hands and handed over some Malaysian ringgit. Apparently, despite being on a hut completely unconnected to any other structure in the middle of the sea, not only can you get lunch brought to you, but you can eat like a king. Who would’ve thought selling lobster in Borneo could be so easy…