Saturday, July 03, 2004

Siren of the South Seas

Siren of the South Seas

Finally, a long weekend to put my thoughts in order again. Woke up this morning after a good night's sleep and for the first time this trip, managed to sample the buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Later I found myself at Pasar Mayestik, having a late lunch at the Midori Restaurant. I don't normally go for Japanese food, but I enjoy eating at the restaurant here because there's a good keroncong band that plays in the afternoon. I requested the singer to sing one of my favourite tunes: Didi Kempot's Stasiun Balapan. It brought back pleasant memories of my trip to Solo earlier this year.

When will I get another chance to go on a train journey in Indonesia again? Pelabuhan Ratu on the southern coast of Java island ranks high on my list but unfortunately it is not reacheable by train.

The famous Samudra Beach Hotel there is another one of those grand Sukarno projects built in the sixties. The place is steeped with mysticism: on Sukarno's instructions, room 308 is kept vacant for the legendary Queen of the South Seas--the beautiful Nyai Loro Kidul. This seductive virgin is known to lure men wearing green--her favourite colour--into the bosom of the ocean. Room 308 has been turned into a shrine with flowers and incense to appease Queen Loro Kidul.

I have to banish any thoughts of travelling for the moment for there are lots of work ahead for me. Total and complete concentration is demanded; No matter how irresistable the siren call of the Queen is, my wanderlust must be kept in check, at least for the next two weeks.

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