Saturday, August 20, 2005


OK, then, how do you say hello in Italian?

I am here in Singapore and glad to be. I wasn't at all sad to see Indonesia get smaller and smaller as the ship churned away from Java.

I've had a few crappy days, guys.

Someone has drained my travel Visa card and left me with 35 cents. I think it's someone from the hotel in Jakarta. I'm not worried because the funds are secured by Visa, but it's a hassle to figure this out. I have another cash fund so everything is OK moneywise. It's just lousy that it happened.

Everywhere I have gone for days and days in Indonesia I have been followed, harassed, yelled at, pestered, touched and laughed at by the locals. It is constant. Sometimes they think I am funny, other times it's like they are mad at me, and that's a little creepy. At the mall, on the sidewalk, all the time wherever I go. I am certain this is because I am a woman who is alone. I have tried to be friendly and tell them no thank you. I tried to be a big bitch and tell them to go away in Indonesian, but neither response works.

(For example, I am sitting inside a booth inside an Internet cafe right now, and a man just came in to interrupt me and ask me to buy a phone card. He's not talking to anyone else in here; he just wants to get some money from me.)

I spent the last two days and one night on a ship from Java to Singapore. I was in a cabin with three Indoneisan women. The first evening, they started letting men INTO THE CABIN. These men would pull back the curtains on my bunk and they would look at me trying to sleep. They pretended to read my books, stuck their little feet in my big shoes, poked me awake, tried to talk with me. Then people would start knocking on the cabin window. The women in my cabin would pull back those curtains and my bunk curtain so the people standing outside the window could see me. I pulled the curtains closed, told them to stop in Indonesian, go to sleep. They just laughed and laughed. I went to the ship's security office to ask them what to do about it, and the man there explained that because I was traveling alone that I had to expect some attention. Apparently, strange men entering my cabin and touching me falls under that attention category.

Singapore is a new country, a fresh start; my hostel is jammed with backpackers and I am going to make some new friends. But I will tell you this: If the same thing keeps happening on the way to Bangkok, I am jetting to Italy for two weeks then flying home and looking for a job.

Some of you who are travel-experienced will pat my hand and tell me that this is part of traveling, that I will get used to it, when in Rome and all that. But gosh, I just don't have to spend the next 12 weeks getting harassed by stinky little people, do I? I can go to Italy, drink really good coffee and smile at beautiful Italian men.

Sorry for the negative report. I am going to try and get this trip back on track this week.

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