Monday, May 31, 2010

A friend

May 27

Before I left Bengkulu I phoned Dewa, the local who had helped me when I first arrived with no wallet or money, and invited him to the hotel to pay him back. When he arrived he was incredulous that I had got in touch with him. He must have said ‘I can’t believe, I can’t believe it’ over a dozen times. Apparently many people had told him that I was probably a liar and that he should forget about me, that he’d never hear from me again. I was a bit shocked by this. Do westerners perform scams like that, pretending they need help, in order to get money? Anyway, we talked at the hotel and then went out for food. He took me to a place where I had perhaps the tastiest food of my trip so far. It was beef satay but in a sauce that tasted different to usual, reminding me a lot of KFC’s gravy. It had some kind of root vegetable in it too, a bit like a soft slightly sweet potato. He then took me for a brief ride around some of Bengkulu to see some sights: a large mosque, a long beach which had nightclubs along the street beside it, and a road where lots of teenagers parked their motorcycles and stood around doing nothing which reminded me of Moorhouse Ave in Christchurch on a Friday night. Along the way he told many people of the story about how he had helped me and how I had repaid his help. If I ever find myself back in Bengkulu I think I’ve got a lifelong friend here.

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