I have not had particularly good luck over the past week with my interviews. When they happen they are good and useful. I am just having a particularly hard time making them happen. We make a plan for 10, I arrive at 10, but the meeting starts (at the earliest) at 10:45. Or, something that happens more frequently these days, the meeting doesn’t happen at all and I am told to come back on some other day and time. Given that it can take hours to get to some of these places, this does not inspire confidence. Indonesians call their tendency to be late to things jam karet (rubber time), but this trip it’s much more than just being late for things. Yesterday I learned that a press meeting that I had been personally invited to attend was postponed for two days–only when I arrived at the place where it was to take place. I’m having revenge fantasies in which I am holding meetings in which I have something that they want, and if they do not arrive precisely on time I tell them to come back later. Unlikely.
So yesterday while consoling myself with some tasty West Sumatran food, I had an interesting experience. The radio was playing a kroncong song that sounded strangely familiar. (Kroncong is an Indonesian musical style that combines Western and Indonesian styles. It frequently has a sort of reggae or Hawaiian feel to it, with heavy emphasis on the back beat.) I thought and thought about why the song sounded so familiar, and then it came to me: it was a downbeat version of "Walk the Line." Instead of Johnny Cash’s rich bass, the melody was played by an Indonesian flute or whistle. Cool.