The aircraft’s nose tips forward and suddenly we descend toward the Telo Islands off North Sumatra, Indonesia. The sky is a lovely pale blue and through the small windows cartoon-like desert islands litter a turquoise sea, but at the moment I’m kinda wondering: Who farted?

We’re in a 12-seater prop jet — a bold move, I must say — and I turn to Rachel, holding my nose and ask, “Baby, was that you?” She rolls her eyes and shakes her head quickly like, of course not.

I look toward the cockpit suspiciously. Two handsome studs of the Bavarian stock. A couple of hunk pilots. It had to have been one of them. They boarded all 12 of us so smugly they didn’t even read us the in-case-of-emergency directions, which frankly had me wondering if that just meant, If something goes wrong, don’t worry, you’re f--ked. Rachel expressed that she was worried our bags were too heavy. “I don’t want another Aaliyah-situation,” she told me, the night prior. Surely one of those hunks must’ve let one slip. The co-pilot has been texting pretty much the entire flight from Sumatra. I wonder if he was on a group-chat like I am with my friends. Or, if he was just texting the pilot beside him. Had Mexican last nite, these passengers r bummedddd, LOLZ. I swear one them winked at Rachel as she climbed up the plane’s stairwell.

I will say they’ve gotten us to Telo island soundly where upon an Australian named Dave intercepted us, zipping us out to Telo Island Lodge, a short boat ride away. We drift into a lagoon framed by two pinnacle-like rocks and before us, the lodge sits on a sleepy patch of beach front paradise. In front of the lagoon, a perfect righthander peels with the dropping tide and apparently there’s half a dozen other amazing surf breaks not far from here.

Immediately three local boys swarm us smelling fresh meat. “Hello mis-tah! You buy shell? Neck-lace? Carving?” I tell them maybe but the leader of the pack, Adam, is a savvy young businessman and wants verbal confirmation in the form of a definitive “yes.” Adam is a true closer and I respect that but I tell Adam, “we’ll see.” Adam pinches the bridge of his nose and shakes his head, annoyed, and starts to work on Rachel. Adam and I might be off to a bad start but the boys are shooed away by the bartender/resident D.J. (Freddie) who hands us two Bintangs…at 10 o’clock in the morning. I suppose that does make it 8pm yesterday in California, though. We cheers beers and settle into lodge life.

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