Final Musings on Indonesia

Last random thoughts on the long journey back from Jakarta to Detroit.

  • Indonesians are more frightening drivers than are Italians, but both have shocked my travel companions. In September, G took a video of the experience in Rome, and P did the same here. I will admit to a moment or two during which I said, “Oh dear God!” but for the most part I have become desensitized to maniacal driving, and in the absence of such fear I found the Brownian motion of the innumerable mopeds to be fascinating.
  • Speaking of cars – P noticed that they don’t put heaters in the cars here. I guess that makes sense. Hmm

  • We didn’t eat nearly enough dessert, and E would be appalled. However we did have a piece of banana encased in sticky rice, wrapped in a coconut leaf, and steamed. Our driver in Lombok bought that at the side of the road (not at the market). P and I both enjoyed it quite a bit. We also ate fried bananas. And I fell in love with the black rice pudding made with coconut milk. I think I will be making that sometime.
  • The eggs, particularly the boiled eggs, were cooked much better at the resort on Lombok than elsewhere. They may have been less “authentic” in reference to an everyday Indonesian diet, but they weren’t overcooked there like they were most other places.


  • The ANA safety card shows brace positions for men with and without a seat in front of them, women holding a baby, and children. Pregnant women carrying octuplets have no brace position, and must face their doom looking stoically forward.
  • The Garuda in-flight magazine contains invocations for passengers of different faiths. They are well written and beautiful. Here is the Catholic invocation: In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Long ago You saved the children of Israel, who crossed the Red Sea, their feet dry. And the three wise kings from the East, You guided them to Your command with a star. Now we beg You: bless us with a safe trip, with good weather. Bless us with the guidance from Your angels, so that the crew of this aircraft lead us to our destination safely. We pray also that our families remain in peace until we land safely. Blessed be Your name, now and forever. Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  • I finally saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on the flight from Jakarta to Tokyo. Actually, I saw it twice (it needs repeat viewing). How did I miss this before? It’s a wonderful movie.
  • We traveled a long way to get to Indonesia. A very long way. Consequently, Americans are a relatively unusual sight there. Among caucasians, there are plenty of Australians, Germans, and Dutch. Even the people at our hotels noted what a long distance we had traveled.

  • Mosquito borne diseases are a big issue here, so we brought a lot of DEET. We brought sprays, lotions, and pre-moistened towelettes. I am reluctant to admit this because they create the most waste, but the towelettes work the best. They are by far the easiest application, in terms of getting good coverage easily. I endorse them.
  • Finally, I have frequently revisited this question: “Will I come back to Indonesia?” The answer is, “I don’t know, because I have so many places I want to go.” The better questions is, “Would I come back.” To that the answer is “yes.” The people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and I have only barely touched on what this country has to offer. If I do come back, however, I will be better prepared, I think, and I will need more time.

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