Thursday, April 07, 2005
Leaving Pekanbaru for Duri
Today we had our poetry jam at Caltex School – every student presented a poem with pride and more than a little attitude. Not only did every poet get rewarded with pounding applause, but each and every one received the highest possible score – two gongs! And when we were done, I was gonged out in a ceremony that began with a b-o-n-g and ended with the tricking sounds of the rain stick. I made a lot of friends at Caltex and hope to see them all again someday on the world poetry circuit. I left school with lots of thankyous to my host family, Rita and Lyle Molzan and boarded a bus for a two and a half hour trek to Duri. I don’t know if it was the tropical rain storm, the one and a half lane road with constant and passing traffic going both ways, the deep jungle valleys outside the bus or the two armed guards in the seat in front of me who really didn’t look old enough to handle fire arms, but I could tell right off this trip was to take me about as far as a poet can get from her kitchen table in Cleveland, OH. I arrived in Duri just in time for a great dinner with teachers and came home to my guest house, which comes with a butler. Neither one of us are quite sure how to communicate with each other, but he has a nice smile, fixed me a cup of tea and promised me breakfast tomorrow at seven. No monkeys here, unfortunately, too much of the rain forest has been burned and hauled away to make way for palm oil plantations. While I was at dinner an extended family of small ants or termites seems to have moved into my laptop. I’m hoping that they eat all the crumbs over night and take off for more promising digs in the morning. That or I’m finding a can of Raid somewhere. My environmentalist philosophies have their limits.