Saturday, October 15, 2016

Joko's Java Journey 11: The Final Episode

This blog is dedicated to the  memory of Pak Soebali. He and his family hosted me when I was a foreign exchange student in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1986. They weren’t paid for having my hungry mouth to feed. They were just interested in being exposed to someone from another culture. These were my Indonesian “parents”. 

I repaid them by being a bad teenager. I stayed out way too late. Oftentimes, I’d come home to find the front gate locked, and I had no key. 11:30 was my curfew; not so early I couldn’t be home as  a 16 year old. I never
Mama Nia, Ira and I, 1986, American
embassy, Jakarta.
apologized for my bad behavior, but I do so now. 

Pak Soebali joined his beloved wife, Mama Nia, 15 October, 2016.  Without this family, I wouldn’t have had the Indonesian experience I did thirty years ago, I wouldn’t have gotten interested in world travel, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

Inna-lilahi wa inna elayhi raje’ooun

Back to the Java Journey. My last post.
When we last touched base, I was in Bandung (BTW, if you couldn’t watch the video for that, I’ve edited out the offending copyrighted music, so it’s available worldwide). My host dragged me to a concert attended by Bandung’s robust community of “Stoners”.

Now, I had a definition of what a stoner was in my head. Been using the term since I was a teenager. Turns out, Stoner has another definition: fervent fans of The Rolling Stones. I was being taken to a concert of nothing but Rolling Stones cover bands. It was awesome. Even though they’re still touring (they’ve even got a new album coming out soon), I doubt I’ll ever see the actual Rolling Stones play live. This was as close as one could come. I was amazed by the talent, enthusiasm and energy of all these bands. 

In the morning, it was time for one last leg of the journey, Bandung to Jakarta. I found somewhat of a backdoor into the megaplex that is Southeast Asia’s largest city. One last glimpse of the scenic hills and valleys of West Java. I made good time too. Except for having to pass the slowdowns caused by trucks going uphill, the traffic wasn’t bad at all.

Then I hit Jakarta. My friend who’d lent me the motorcycle lived on the far west side of town, and his place was my final destination. I got to the outskirts of Jakarta at about 11 AM.
I reached my friend’s house at 6 PM.  Seven freaking hours to get from one side of the city to the other.    

After returning the motorcycle, my last night in Indonesia was spent in the same place as my first night there, 30 years ago, at the home Pak Soebali.

All in all, like all my previous motorcycle journeys, this trip has left me thirsty for more. In my head, I’ve already penciled in two additional loops to be traveled in Indonesia in the future.  

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