Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Long Haul Home

We are finished, and now in the midst of the long haul home. We left Banda Sunday night aboard the Kepal Taman Pelita, a small passenger ferry with accommodations reminiscent of a slave ship. 100 humans stacked in a 12 x 18 two layer cabin, spread out on mats and cardboard. A few of us found greater comfort in the bow of the ship laying upon stacks of green bananas or in the small kole-kole (canoe) nestled among the bananas. There we drank some mansion house whiskey, smoked cigarettes for warmth, and adjusted our posture every 3 minutes or so, hoping to find some kind of comfort. Following the moon westward across the Banda Sea we made our way to Ambon. Within several minutes after leaving Banda, the waves of the Banda Sea were doing there work on our crew. Most everyone sequestered among the slave quarters found themselves offering up their dinner, lunch and breakfast to the sea gods. One by one I could see them make their way to the rail, except for one student who awoke in shock at the rumbling of her innards and let the contents of her stomach fly into the lap of Laura, who somehow remained composed throughout. Amazingly by light of dawn, 14 hours into the journey, one hour from Ambon, all were smiles. Hell of a crew! 

Now we are departed, some of us in Bali, others back home in Jogjakarta, Peter and Emily working out the details of bureaucracy and exit visas in Jakarta, and Sarah back in the states, hopefully experiencing restored vision to her infected eye. 

The archaeology was a great success. The bonds we formed on the expedition are the sort that we'll carry through our lives. Many thanks to everyone for your help in the video and photographic efforts. Though there's no film completed, as was the original ambitious intention, the elements of a delightful journal of our experience on the beautiful Banda Islands is 'in the can' as they say. I look forward to stitching together our story and sharing it with you all in the months to come.

Sampai kita bertemu lagi, Selamat Hidup!

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