So we tried, we tried really hard to like Indonesia. We gave it everything we had, we did everything right. We followed the rules, paid the fair even when we knew we were paying too much, we smiled when we needed to smile, and laughed in all of the right places. But Indonesia just couldn’t, didn’t, wouldn’t come clean, its hands soiled from an economy based on what they would call, “Rich people”. Me and my white skin, me and my white skin, me and my white skin. They would laugh at you right in your face. They would point as if they had never seen my kind before, whole families would stop dead in their tracks, mom lining all of her ducks in a row and pointing that long brown finger in our direction. What could she be telling them? We weren’t the first white people there. A group of men chatting in the shade, getting out of the mid-afternoon sun all of a sudden stopped what they were doing, turned their heads to look at me, then bellowed a kind laughter that made your stomach churn. The instigator of it all then asked me if I wanted to rent a scooter from him as I passed by, as if by not knowing the language I had no idea what was going on. How could this be? I’ve been a few places in my life but I have never felt the sense of isolation I felt in Indonesia, as if we had done something wrong and now we were paying the price for it. Bali could very well be the biggest fraud of them all, forget what you read in “Eat Pray Love”, unless you are actually rich Bali is just an island with a huge chip on its shoulder. Now that’s not to say it was all bad, because it wasn’t . We’ve seen some amazing sights along the way. Crystal clear blue water, coral reefs, fish of every color of the rainbow, the coveted sea turtle gracefully floating through the pull of the current, coconut groves and their magic shadows, spiders the size of your fist, a psilocybin sunset for the record books and some traditional Balinese dance worthy of the price of admission. We learned a lot about ourselves, and what we need to be doing to make the rest of the journey work. In the end it brought us closer together.
So that’s it Indonesia. Thanks for the 10 hour bus ride with no stops and no bathroom break, thanks for laughing at us and most of all thanks
for taking our money. It’s going to take a lot of it to fix what’s broken there.
The clock is ticking. Twenty minutes to sum up Indonesia, here we go! Do we live in a society obsessed with cleanliness, disinfection and precaution? Are we constantly controlled by the worst scenario possible, do we live in fear of what could happen? Having just left a place where mothers ride motorbikes holding their newborns in their arms and seven-year olds are riding motorbikes on their own, these are the questions that riddle my mind. How much precaution is necessary and where does the line lead into paranoia of what could happen? There is a secret world that exists left unexplored, the only soundtrack being the peaceful sound of my in and exhaled breath. The sights, more than these human eyes can handle, species of colors rarely replicated in life. If you ever get the chance to go snorkelling, please do. You won’t be disappointed. It will give you a regenerated belief in the power and beauty of our world, period. Of this beautiful underwater world where everything is peaceful and perfect. A precious little oasis, for your eyes only to take in. Those of us who consider ourselves activists in North America need to be moving our message elsewhere. The individuals who have not jumped on the recycling and anti-littering or animal rights bandwagon at home are immune to the message and are lost causes. We need to direct our energy to the places where this education has yet to be spread or is fresh news and try to provoke positive change here where it is most needed. How can we pretend we are helping when large sections of the world seem to have been left out of the loop? Nothing has been able to put a spell on me like the sound of powerful waves crashing magically on a sandy shore. I have seen crystal blue water that has healed me with its brilliance and for that I am grateful. Sometimes we live shrouded by our ignorance and seclusion. We think problems in the world are solved just because we aren’t directly affected by them wherever we are. WOMEN’s RIGHTS are something we still need to be talking about and is a topic that we seem to have moved away from a little too quickly. If there exists a place in the world where men are the only ones acknowledged, where women are second class citizens and speak without being heard, when the bill for a meal is automatically handed to a man assuming he is the one in control of the money, then we have not won the war and we desperately need to still be fighting. Indonesia more than anything reinforced my belief in opposites. There is no black without white, no beauty without ugliness, no good without bad. I’m happy to have relearned this important message.