The past 24 hours or so, I have spent some time with Armadi from Captain Haddock's. She is a friendly, ambitious Balinese woman who is a pleasure to talk with. And she is a young, attractive, Indonesian single woman….Hmmmm.
It is not an uncommon site. White foreign males walking down the street with young, good looking, Indonesian woman. Cafes, bars, street vendors are fending for the tourist dollars. “Hooking up” with a local is not that difficult a proposition even for the most ugly looking dude, from what I can see. Hey, let’s face it, we have money. From the few Indonesians I have spoken to, their average salaries range from 300,000 Rp ($35) to 900,000 Rp/month ($105) (some make a lot more, some less). That ain’t much money, mate and seeing all this money walk down the street in the form of a tourist…it has got to be compelling. In the eyes of some, money sometimes equals power.
So Armadi is such a friendly lady, she would talk to us at the restaurant and ask questions and listen. She really is no dummy. I admire her friendly tenacity in looking for opportunities to connect with her customers. I sense that there was more to it. And you can imagine since I am talking about this, that I am aware that a “ticket” situation (see next paragraph) might be in play here. I am simply aware of it. Not that it is happening or is not happening.
You may think that I am being a bit coarse….maybe they are just looking for love, a contact, a friend. Maybe. But that reminds me of my trip to Kazakstan in 96-97. I stayed with a Peace Corp Volunteer in Almaty during Christmas and New Year’s of that winter. At many of the Peace Corp gatherings I listened. And they faced similiar situations. The Ex-Soviet republic had fuck all of an economy and many of the local woman would frequently try to hook up with the Peace Corp men. I remember one of the guys talking about it, rather respectfully actually in that he did not give into the tempatation and take advantage of his status, and said, “I am not gonna be someone’s ticket.” He was referring to the dream of many of the Soviet women to get the heck outta there to America or anywhere else. Think about it, if they can be a sexual partner or better yet, married to a Yank, they could very well be on the next plane outta there to a life of more money and less work.
Last night, it was Armadi’s night off and I got a call at around 8:30 while we were working at IO. She wanted to get together.
Hmm, I thought…”Sure,” I said.
DOWNLOAD OUR TRAVEL GUIDES
We went down the street from our guesthouse to a little cafe thingy and had a beer and started talking. This was the first time we got to talk uninterrupted (at the restaurant, we might talk for 5 or 10 minutes here and there). We talked about all sorts of stuff like two people new to each other often do. One of the things I noticed, is that language was more of a barrier than I realized at the restaurant. Armadi can speak good English, better than 95% of the Indonesisans I have met, but still, many words and phrases were getting in the way of us really understanding each other and what we were trying to communicate. It was fun and I enjoyed the evening.
I have heard of and seen folks that are dating and or married to Indonesians. Some take the Indonesian back to their home countries…some stay in Indonesia. How do these relationships get started? Am I going into this territory?… I thought.
As we walked back in the drizzle she wrapped her arm around me and nestled under my coat. Hmm. It felt kinda good and sexual energy was definately running through my body. At that moment I could see how someone could just cave into the “urge” engage in activites that might spread and replicate DNA.
We arrived at Captain Haddocks where I would drop her off after a dinner upstairs. We talked about her past love interests (not many), this, that and the other. It was a pretty intimate conversation and I enjoyed it, but also realized there is a cultural gap here. I am not sure how big it is, but it is definately bigger than I might usually encounter. At this moment, I knew that I would not “do” anything with her even though Nick graciously gave me the condom he had stored for moments like this.
Her expectations and my expecatations would surely not match. For me, getting into a sexual relationship of any type with Armadi was not the best idea. I don’t really know what she expects, but from listening to her at CH, it is surely different than mine. Going down that road would not help either of us.
Being friends is just way better. And that is what we are. We went out to lunch today and talked a lot more. That sexual energy had left me, and we just talked and learned from each other. A go-getter like her has a lot to teach me and I think she wants to learn some things from me as well.