Friday, January 23, 2009
From Bali to Banda
We have successfully negotiated the middle part of our journey, and are sitting in what might be the last air-conditioned room for many weeks to come. Sipping a diet coke and visiting with some locals here in Ambon, I am reminded about what a small (kecil) planet we actually live on. As we move further away from the major populaion centers here, the signs of home are becomng more infrequent. No KFC or Pizza Hut in Ambon, (that I've seen), but tons of local flavor, aromas, and experiences await here for the adventurous explorer. I already miss my host family; the Rochmadi family was wonderful to me, and showed me how amazing Indonesian hospitality (keramahtamahan) can be. Bapak Rochmadi treated me to a wonderful meal of Kepala Ayam (chicken heads) and I've yet to find a cup of coffee as tasty as the maid made me every morning. My last day in Jogja was full of sad goodbyes and e-mail exchanges, and then it was off to take the three-plane trip to Ambon. While not quite as buleh (foreigner) friendly as Jogja was, I'm still feeling quite at home here in Ambon. Were finally appreciating the bahasa indonesia lessons now that they're not getting crammed into our head six hours a day; today we split up into teams to buy gear for the trip to Banda. We succesfully negotiated with local business people in the lingua franca and managed to get everything on our list and were back in time for Bintang at the bar. All in all, the past two weeks were very effective in preparing us for both the psychological and linguistic challenges that lay ahead. Tomorrow we head to Banda for the archaeological portion of the trip. I'm hoping the luck I've had so far will extend to the field as well. All my love to the folks back home. I'll be back before you know it, but maybe a little darker than you remember me.