April 9, 2009
As election observers we toured the city today from polling station to polling station. It was the third time in 10 years that I did this. As always it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the locals. We were warmly welcomed at every place with open arms and smiles; we were invited to join and see what was happening. People were so proud of their democracy and rightly so. Indonesia is a beacon of democracy in Asia.
We also visited the neighbourhood were I had lived during my time in Indonesia. When the neighbourhood chief saw me, he ushered my “in” (the voting booth is in front of the mesjid) and I had to sit with him on the steps of the little mosque for a long chat. It was as if I had not been away. He invited me to join the polling station team for lunch which I had to decline because of other commitments.
Only much later did I have time for a coffee, my favourite: “kopi tubruk”, a thick sweet brew. In addition a kretek (clove) cigarette, and I felt as a “wong cilik” (normal or ordinary person) again. It is so good to be back. And the parliamentary elections will certainly be a success. Hidup demokrasi.
April 9, 2009
It’s more than six months now that we moved and left Jakarta for Bangkok. The parliamentary election provided the perfect opportunity to return to the country which was my home for 10 years. There is, however, just not enough time to catch up with all the friends, and because my professional life is so much ruled by plans, time schedules and meetings, I am somehow averse to making appointments beforehand. I rather leave it to chance and mood, drifting can be so liberating.
Tonight we arranged on very short notice a get together with old friends, friends (Jasmin, Florian and Nelly)
I had passed my last evening with before leaving Indonesia for good. Sebastian came along as a “ring in” as we say in Australia. We had dinner, surprise surprise, at the Gourmet Garage. It was as if no time had passed at all. I was home again (one of the many homes my life provided me with).
Although we had left behind an empty house six months ago, we had also left with a heart full of love, a bag of mystical stories and friendships for a lifetime. It’s a good feeling to return home. Thanks folks for all the kindness and the warm welcome.
PS: By he way, I found an article by Fitri Wulandari which she wrote for Reuters on wine consumption in Indonesia to which I had the opportunity to contribute a little.