Apology to Indonesia. And then: The incident

Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
Trip End Jul 27, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Tresna
What I did
Eating at Julius' for every single meal
Late nights at the internet cafe
Yelling at local guys

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Forgive me Indonesia. For giving up on you. Forgive me for loosing patience with your people, for yelling at them. Forgive me for deciding that I can't take any more of you. You are beautiful. You are stunning. You are breathtaking. But I am not graceful and open-minded enough to tolerate your people. They bring the worst out in me. They make me hate them and myself for reacting to them. It’s not your fault or theirs. I realize, they just aren’t used to people like me. Noone’s taught them manners or how to treat a stranger, never mind a woman. I am ashamed for not being able to accept that. Therefore, I must leave you. Tomorrow, I will go see Lamalera like I promised. I will likely even head to Kupang to give you more flight options to get rid of me. But that’s it. I won’t embarrass you with any further visits. Not this time. It wasn’t meant to be my dear. Maybe if we meet again another time, we can be friends. Thank you for the beautiful memories.

The incident
I had planned for the above to be the extend of this entry from Larantuka, which is the eastern-most point on Flores. But last night we had a little 'incident’ that made me question if my little guilt trip is just that or maybe Indonesia is after all the first country in which I felt it made a noteworthy difference to travel as a woman.

I went to bed at about 1 am. Manu came home from working at the internet cafe across the street after 3am. At around 4am Manu wakes me asking if I also see the guy standing outside our window. I did. Our window was a full glass-paneled wall with gaps between the glass panels for air circulation. The drapes, that I was sure I had pulled shut earlier, were now open. Outside our window was the shadow of a man standing there, jerking off. We did indeed see the same thing. When we pull the drapes back together in disbelief, he disappears. Before we fell back asleep, we see his hand reaching in to open the curtains again, standing there, playing with himself still. Incredible. This time, Manu whacked his hand with the first thing she can grab which inefficiently was only a pillow. This scene repeated itself one more time, when my brain started to slowly wake. I asked if Manu has hairspray in lieu of pepper spray. She grabed her camera and ran around the building. By the time I turned the corner after her, she is jumping the stone wall, yelling at the guy and running after him. I heard a motorcycle take off. 

I was not a bit scared, but in disbelief at the audacity. And furious for not having been awake enough to come up with all kinds of strategies I was meanwhile thinking up. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep that well. This morning I woke ready to hurt someone. I really have to restrain myself to not physically attack the guys yelling at us every two meters.

On to the next island

We are now sitting on a ferry that is another transport story itself. Our means of transport are getting more and more adventurous. This boat, I am sure would not pass any safety test in any country that has them. It looks like something a Western port would forbid to anchor even for fear of importing pests. To get on, we climbed a wooden plank, barely as wide as one foot, to a boat that looked even more rickety-ramshackle-dilapidated. We straddle across to our boat allthewhile being fascinatedly stared and laughed at. I do imagine we must be quite the sight with our massive-backpack-turtle look. The mother next to me is picking her toddler’s hair for lice. Makes me itch everywhere. The lady next to Manu does not smell the freshest. In the row before us is a chicken and a rooster crowing. The bow is packed with motorcycles. The wooden benches are not easy on our behinds. When we stop in Waiwerang on the island of Adonara, several people deboard. One goat gets on and pees in the aisle of the deck we are on. We move upstairs where seats are now available. Outside a little boy poops on the beach. Three more hours. Focus on the pretty hills to the left and right of the glittering ocean.
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