Monday, June 23, 2003

The Buccaneer's Home

What a feeling to be back in Jakarta yesterday. After a week of relentless work, I have forgotten about the world I had left behind - the throng of people in malls, the smoky aroma of hawker stalls and the tumult of vehicles in the streets. Arriving back at the hotel was like homecoming with all the simple pleasures of familiar things.

I was tired but I still had some work left. I managed to dash off to Sarinah to shop for some fruits and juices and then hopped into Bakmi Toko Tiga for my favourite sapi cah kangkung with rice. A warm shower back in my room and I was back in front of my laptop, finishing my remaining work. The last files from KL was received only after 1.00am, and I spent another hour entering them into my spreadsheets. Only then did I collapse on my bed and slept like a baby.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever have the heart to leave Jakarta for good. But life is full of unexpected turns. I've lived in Penang, KL, Singapore and Jakarta. Who knows where I'll end up next?

Everytime I'm back in KL, I feel a bit like the buccaneer Simon Danz in Longfellow's poem A Dutch Picture, home from one of his many adventures in the seas . The poem begins:
Simon Danz has come home again,
From cruising about with his buccaneers;
He has singed the beard of the King of Spain,
And carried away the Dean of Jaen
And sold him in Algiers.


and ends with these lines:
Restless at times with heavy strides
He paces his parlor to and fro;
He is like a ship that at anchor rides,
And swings with the rising and falling tides,
And tugs at her anchor-tow.

Voices mysterious far and near,
Sound of the wind and sound of the sea,
Are calling and whispering in his ear,
Simon Danz! Why stayest thou here?
Come forth and follow me!"

So he thinks he shall take to the sea again
For one more cruise with his buccaneers,
To singe the beard of the King of Spain,
And capture another Dean of Jaen
And sell him in Algiers.

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