A total of eight guests at a time cycle through the joint over here at the Telo Island Lodge in 10-day stints and we were told that the next group would be eight Kiwis (New Zealanders). We were not told, however, that the Kiwis would be eight 50-year-old, highly successful family men of poor-to-novice surfing ability on their yearly let-it-all-hang-out Boys Trip blowout. Both the group and the surf before them was a lot tamer, to say the least. It was like these men literally stirred up a swell as they drifted into the lagoon, already 24-Bintangs-deep in the speedboat.
They called themselves “The Muppets” and god dammit, the Muppets came in HOT. An Aussie surf guide at the lodge whispered to us disbelievingly, “I can’t believe they call themselves that — being called a ‘muppet’ in Australia or NZ is worse than being called a f--king idiot!” The Muppets, however, gave zero shits about that. In fact, they reveled in the self-deprecation — which for a group of self-made millionaires (and billionaires) is pretty amazing. And the Muppets are full-on. Like G-6 owning, lunch with pro-rugby coaches, private island-owning, investment banker-type dudes. New Zealand’s Illuminati. OK…maybe not that influential, but the Muppets sure had some stories and over the next week, we’d get to know each other quite well.
For instance, one Muppet is NZ’s leading real estate lawyer. Another is rumored to have made his fortune selling arms in Africa and commonly hunts big game there by crossbow. Another is an avid fisherman who’s been to Marlon Brando’s lost Tahitian island and fished, surfed and partied with Brando’s deranged half-Polynesian son, the sole resident in the overgrown, defunct resort there. That same Muppet came in from fishing the other day doing the haka (Maori warrior dance) on the top of the moving boat because of a successful catch and, well, eight Bintangs.
Indeed the Muppets give it hell. Each night they turn up The Who or The Rolling Stones or 3 Dog Night and dance and rage the night away. Rachel and I partake in the revelry, too, of course. It’d be disrespectful not to. Plus, when one of the Muppets breaks their indecipherable code of ethics, punishment is a gang beating called “Kick the Dog,” where the transgressor gets (thrown) on the ground and kicked in the fetal position for 5-10 seconds. This has happened a few times and they’ve made it clear to us that Americans aren’t exempt.
Out in the water they call their surfing performances “carnage.” There’s boards flying everywhere, Muppets getting sucked over the falls and every day they come in from sessions bloody from a new run-in with the reef. Which is actually kinda great for me and the guides because we can pretty much get any wave we want. I will say their level’s gotten increasingly better with each day. Just warming up, I suppose.
Our last day at the lodge is tomorrow though before we head to Bali and apparently they’re planning a themed night of debauchery (that they do every annual Muppet’s Trip) called Pirate Night. Every one of the Muppets is an A-plus human being and are practically family now; we will miss them dearly, that’s for sure. Thus, we will burn this f--king place down with them tomorrow. And hopefully…miss the plane out.