Last Full Day in Indonesia

It’s hard to believe that five months have gone by so quickly, but here we are, on our last full day in Indonesia.  It’s bittersweet to have to leave.  On one hand, we have to leave Indonesia, and we will miss it, even Jakarta, the “Big Durian,” as people call it.  (Smelly and spikey on the outside, but on the inside some people love it, some still hate it.)  On the other hand, we get to have a new adventure in a new country.  Malaysia should be interesting.  And neither of us have ever lived in a dictatorship before, so this should be fun.  I think there’s a lot of sentiment along the lines of what Italians said about Mussolini–at least he made the trains run on time.  Plus, Kuala Lumpur is a smaller city (3 million, not close to 20 million).  Our guidebooks even suggest walking tours, which is a laughable prospect in Jakarta.

Last night we got together with some friends for a farewell dinner at the infamous Jakarta Marriott.  Delicious buffet–over fifteen hours after we finished our meal, we have not yet had to eat anything.  We got the low-down scoop on all the big scandals of the day, or at least three of them.  Malaysia is still going to be deporting Indonesian domestic workers if it finds them, and Indonesian cabinet members who visited KL this past week were not allowed to see them.  That does not bode well for the conditions of their confinement, we think.  On the Tsunami Aid front, the Indonesian military beat the snot out of someone whom they found stealing supplies to be used by the army during relief operations.  Now the guy is claiming that it’s a human rights violation.  It’s funny to hear the description of the army sergeant’s testimony.  Army guy: “Why are you taking these things?”  Thief: “None of your business.”  Army guy (speaking to lawyer): “So I got mad and kicked him like this (demostrates), and then punched him like this (demonstrates).”  Most amazing is the continuing saga of Adiguna Sutowo.  Remember the worldwide alerts to stay clear of Hilton hotels on New Year’s Eve because of a terror threat?  Well Jakarta was naturally high on the list.  Fortunately, no militant Muslims attacked it.  Not so fortunately, on New Year’s Eve no less, the spoiled brat son of the former head of the Indonesian National Oil Corporation (Ibnu Sutowo) did get drunk and shoot to death a waiter who had the gall to tell him that his girlfriend’s credit card had been declined.  So who are we supposed to be afraid of again?  Our Indonesian friends put is very succinctly: “Under Soeharto, OK, but you just can’t do this anymore.”  The public outcry has been astounding, and we can’t imagine what would happen if he managed to be acquitted of his murder charge.  Watch this space for more info as the trial gets underway.

And from the Department of TP and JM Get Confused in Indonesia, apparently when FedEx says on its website that it opens at 8:30 AM, that actually means 10:00 AM.  So there we are at the FedEx office with a fifty-pound box and an hour to kill.  Fortunately the security guard and our taxi driver managed to locate another branch nearby that was actually open, and we got it off safely.  We’d like to say that this is will be the end of our Indonesia troubles, but you never know, we still have 28 hours left.  Checking out of our apartment could be fun.

We may post again tomorrow before we leave, but if not, we’ll be in touch from the Northern Hemisphere when we get the chance.  There are a couple more pictures of cats, puppets, and food in our Scenes from Jakarta and Culinary Delights folders.