Wednesday, February 27, 2008

el Maggie in Asia

I am writing to you all from the Hong Kong airport, trying to mentally prepare for the flight back to Canada, which will begin in a couple of hours. I've been in Asia for a week and a half now, and have just got over the jet-lag in time to turn around and do the 12-hour time change in the opposite direction.

The purpose of this trip was for work meetings in Indonesia. The meetings were in Yogyakarta, a mid-sized city on Java Island. I found Yogya to be pretty concrete and bustling - everyone drives a motorcycle, and those who don't drive motorcycles sit on the back of their friends' motorcycles (or, if they happen to be a small child, in front; or, if they happen to be an elderly woman, on back, side-saddle).

For my mini-vacation after the meetings, I headed to Bali for a few days. I felt very sophisticated jetting off to Bali for a long weekend, let me tell you (a fact which probably belies my lack of sophistication . . .). Bali has beautiful beaches and green green rice paddies. The people there are Hindu, while the majority in Indonesia are Muslim.

I was a bit nervous about travelling alone, but I found it to be actually quite easy. It really re-affirmed how spoiled Anglophones are, as we can go anywhere in the world and people will know our language. I also never felt truly harassed, the constant "where you from? What your name? How many time you in Bali?" didn't really border on anything dangerous - my closest call was to being forcibly manicured, and I managed out of that one. At the end of the day, I am infinitely more wealthy than any of the Indonesian people who tried to hustle me on the streets, and I have come to comsume a slice of their paradise, so who can blame them for trying to sell me an hour of para-sailing, an over-priced silk scarf, or a massage on the beach?

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