Reflections from the future in Indonesia
1- Indonesia is a great country with awesome people (except for the hundreds of sellers madafakas who mob you in the touristic places to offer you all kind of things at twice the price, from travel promotions to drugs or even to rent you their own daughters -really, we saw it-). But as an Argentinian singer said once, after being robbed, “I’ll be always on your side” haha. They live mainly from tourism, 250 millions people surviving among tons of poverty and corruption (the police stopped us and got 20 dollars from a Brazilian friend because he didn’t have the driving license).
2- In Kuta, Bali, there are some signs on the main street that say “if you park here, your tires will be flatten”. Even today, I still don’t understand how the city government can do that, or the private shops with the official authorization. Whatever, is crazy. When I have a house in Uruguay I’m gonna put a sign like those and see what happens.
3- A lot of beautiful places, beaches, jungles and volcanoes everywhere, but I’ve known just 4 of its 17.508 islands :O “I’ll be back”.
4- It’s insane to ride a motorbike on its streets. It’s chaos, there’s no traffic police nor rules, it all works based on reflex and honks, but it works fine, this guys never crash.
5- In the country with more Muslims in the world, the social pressure is big, is even mandatory to declare a religion (among 6 officially recognized) in your ID. In a bar we went, they had to shut the door from inside and turn off the music so we weren’t found by the Islamist guys that walk around the city to make people respect the religion (even worse now that we are in Ramadan, the Muslim’s month of fasting, and these dudes go into the bars to break alcohol bottles, because it seems that Allah doesn’t like beer and parties). Islam and Hinduism were mixed with other religions, the animism and the ancestral traditions. They’re also quite superstitious and believe in ghosts. And there’s a lot of “ghosts”, lying to the tourists to rip them off (like, “you can’t enter the temple without a guide because is sacred”, blah blah). It’s impressive to see women and girls wearing hijabs, and to know all they have to go through only for being Muslim women, it’s a pity that the damn religions still exist.
6- Many cats have their tail cut, we don’t know why.
7- Very good food, the fauna, the plants, the coral reefs and the beautiful beaches… but the tap water is not drinkable at all and many rivers are drought or polluted.
8- Lots of art and culture, I’m taking with me some awesome batiks from Yogyakarta and good memories from the Balinese and Javanese music and dances.
9- Some people still remembers Sukarno, the independence’s leader against the Dutch in the 50s, and first President of Indonesia. You can find his t-shirts and banners on the streets. After he became “too leftist” and he was helping his own people too much, United States (oooh, that’s new) helped the military to overthrow Sukarno and put Suharto in his place, a dictator who killed tons of people and opened the economy to the European-Yankee companies… he stayed 3 decades in power. Now democracy is slowly developing, it seems.
We’re already in Malaysia, like the glorious runner-up U-20 Uruguayan team from the ’97. Greetings from Pulau Tionman, a paradise island!
Originally written on July 10th, 2015, in Pulau Tionman, Malaysia.