Thursday, July 23, 2015

Going Home

After leaving Gili Air, I had to make a choice to either follow Will and Daisy to a larger island called Lombok (not a precious key) or go with Luke and Sam and Liam back to Bali - where they would party. I chose Will and Daisy because they were the ones I first connected with, and they were the ones who first took pity on a worn out lawyer and invited me on such a wild journey.

There was nothing really that special about the next town on Lombok, called Sengigi. The place was dirty and the locals resented us. They doubled their prices everywhere and scoffed at you when you asked for local price.

At one fruit stand, I asked for some cut fruit. He charged me double the price. There were locals who came before me. So, I said, "Sell it to her."

"No. No. Local price for her," he said. I knew she wouldn't pay the price he was charging.

I just handed him the bill for the local price.

He gave me my fruit and told me to scram.

I thought, Jeez, they're all so mean here.

I found out later, that it was because the Dutch, foreigners, burned down their villages during the Imperial Age. Foreigners, in their mind, are bad people.

Daisy and Will and I just walked the beach; were filmed by locals - without our permission; and ate and chatted. There was, like I said, nothing that special in Sengigi.

Except for one thing - the restaurant. I found a small seafood restaurant, where the seafood was exquisite and reasonably prices ($5-$10). I ordered squid cooked in its own ink. Will and Daisy thought it was a disgusting thing to have. I knew that squid ink was a delicacy. And it truly was an amazing dish. I mean, the flavors were so intense.

The chef came out and greeted himself. I asked for the recipe. He seemed surprised and asked, "Do you really want to know?"

"Yes, of course," I said. Later, he revealed that he was a former chef at the Renaissance Hotel. No wonder - I thought.

The next morning, I said good bye to Will and Daisy - who left to the next town first. I felt sad they were going. I never told them how much it meant that they invited me on a such a wild journey. They were such sweet people.

I guess I didn't tell them because I was just too proud to admit that even young lawyers needed community and company and a good time. And it was something I couldn't provide for myself - but something they could give to me.

My journey back home was 49 hours. I took a three hour boat ride back to Bali. There, I met a Dutch guy, who was very smart and had at least 8 years of higher education. He liked talking about economy and policy and politics, but he didn't have that same teen spirit that my group had. In short, I needed less intellectual conversations and more fun.

I flew from Bali to Jakarta and Jakarta to Tokyo. I had to take a two hour train ride to the other airport in Tokyo. There are two. For once, I saw Tokyo in sunshine, as it was raining the entire week I was there. I departed Tokyo at midnight and took a seven and a half flight to Honolulu. I waited there for two hours. I, then, took a five and a half hour flight to LAX.

On both flights, from Tokyo to Hawaii and Hawaii back home, the person next to me talked to me about their travels. It became clear quickly that both of them didn't travel much, didn't know how to travel, and in general, didn't seem to have as much fun as I did on holidays. Then again, traveling is an art.

From LAX, I took a bus to downtown's Union Train Station. From the Train Station, I took a bus home. The entire journey from LAX to home took 2.5 hours.

My mom was happy to see me. My cat Jeh Pan didn't even seem to recognize me. He was definitely not like my last cat Luke, who was always thrilled to see me after long journeys.

I was unhappy to be back. The trip felt much too short. I could've done with another week. My voicemail was full of people wanting me to call them back. I slept at 3 AM. I had jet lag. I was back in Baldwin Park, in Los Angeles County. It wasn't a reassuring a thought.

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