Trip Start Jan 30, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Siem Reap,
Friday, May 11, 2012

On a lighter, brighter note after yesterday's rant our faith in human kindness has been restored by all the wonderful friends we've made over the last week in Labuanbajo.

The bar next door to our hotel does a mean iced coffee, has a great view of the harbour for sunset and conveniently has a pool table so we've been wiling away the evening with Steve teaching me pool. Those of you that know Steve know that he's pretty nifty on the felt (Less can be said of me I'm afraid but Steve assures me there is a steady improvement). He's attracted quite a lot of attention form the off and although initially I think a few of the locals were a bit shy or wary of us, as we have found people can be of "tourist types" generally, quite quickly he became the star attraction and everyone wanted a game with him. And low, the most loveable double act since The Two Ronnies: Stephen and Brahm!

Brahm was particularly keen to play with Steve because he only knew a few words in English but was very keen to learn despite being incredibly shy. After a few evening of talking, with the help of a few translators, Steve and Brahm were best of buddies. Brahm even made an impromptu visit to our hotel to take us fishing for a day but unfortunately we weren't there which we both think was a massive opportunity missed. All the guys there were so much fun and showed us endless generosity, interest an kindness. We were bought drinks all not every night. Even though we can barely hold a single beer in the heat, Brahm would always sneak in and pay for our iced teas before we had a chance to settle up.

From the guys who spoke better English, I learnt all about Indonesian and Flores culture and answered some questions about England. One of our friends was blown away by the fact that we have four seasons. "What can there be? There is wet and there is dry!". Through the wonders of the internet they showed my their villages in deepest darkest jungle and on tiny islands and in return I showed them pictures of Cirencester. The reaction was extreme but it was difficult to say whether it was shock, disgust or awe. Probably all three. Either way they were fascinated and so was I.

Meanwhile, Steve spent all his time with Brahm playing pool and teaching him a little English each night. Brahm called Steve "my brother" and on our final night in Labuanbajo Steve had prepared an English phrasebook to give to Brahm as a parting gift which he accepted with great affection. Seriously you guys, it was a beautiful moment.

Brahm offered to organise a lift for us to the airport the next day. As most of the guys we'd met in Labuanbajo were drivers, or at least occasionally drove tourists, we assumed he'd asked one of his friends to pick us up. He said the ride would be free which we though was very sweet... But also it was a promise made after a few beers so we weren't holding out too much hope of seeing any of them ever again after we said ur goodbyes that evening.

Sure enough, at 8:45 prompt our ride pulled up. Now I may have failed to mention that Brahm is a police officer. Actually he's "chief controller" for all of Flores and Komodo. Out of his jeans and baseball cap and in his boots and beret, we both did a double take. Brahm is an Indonesian Judge Dredd. Steve missed a trick in not teaching him to say "I am the law".

So that's how we ended up having a police escort to LBJ airport. They all waited with us for 2 hours before it was time to board and we said a fond farewell.

The world is full of lovely lovely people.
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