I left Bogor on Saturday since our work there is finished and the left for Palembang in South Sumatra yesterday. The work in Bogor ended kind of strangely. Friday afternoon 2 of the fieldworkers were meeting some anti-tobacco advocates at an office at the train station for an interview. Shortly after I got there, I got a call that the media was there and wanted photos of me. Great. So the driver picked me up and brought me to the station. We were ushered into a room marked VIP, and as soon as I stepped in I saw about a dozen men and one woman, all of them with cameras. People were shaking my hand and speaking to me in Bahasa, but I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. One of fieldworkers translated for me. Essentially the anti-tobacco NGO was using this as a publicity event to raise awareness about their activities in the community. The handed me a thick report, pinned an anti-smoking pin on my shirt in a sort of ceremonial way while the media took photos, and everyone shook my hand again. It was all very strange. But who knows, maybe I am in the Bogor local paper today.
After the paparazzi scene, my two fieldworkers went to complete their interviews. I was escorted into another room that had a formal dining table set with bowls of soup and plates of rice and vegetables. I ate it, although I wasn’t sure what all was in it. It wasn’t bad, but since I had already eaten lunch, I only got through about half of it. And it was incredibly hot in the room. I think the heat is why I have lost my appetite.
Today I am in the Jakarta airport again waiting for my flight to Bali. They scan your entire luggage as you enter the terminal. As my big suitcase traveled the conveyor belt, one young male security guard asked to look in my bag because I had 3 small bottle of Soju in it from Korea. “No gift for me?” he teased as I showed them to him. So I handed him a bottle, and he looked shocked that I was serious. Then he started asking my name, whether I had a boyfriend or husband, and how long I was staying in Jakarta. I clearly made his day, and maybe tonight he’ll get a little buzzed with his friends while he tells them of the American with all of the alcohol in her luggage.
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