On the 4th of September I had to wake up at
an unearthly time so I could catch the 6 o’clock train to Schiphol
airport. In spite of the almost inevitable delay I made it in time for
checking in and not much later we were air born. Four movies and almost
thirteen hours later we touched down in Singapore where I made my way to
another terminal from where my plane to Bali departed.
Two hours and forty minutes
later I landed on Bali International airport passed the custems and
picked up my luggage. I made my way to the national terminal, had to
wait for some hours (during which I enjoyed my first kretek cigarette) ,
one more flight and I arrived in Malang, my first destination of this
Yus and Ayu, my friends from Java Travel, were already waiting for me and they brought me to Ijen Suites, a luxury hotel in Malang.
After I had a refreshing
shower I went to see them again and chatted for a long time. It was so
nice to meet Yus again and finally get to know Ayu his new business
partner after Sri got married and moved to the Netherlands. Instead of
going to town we moved to the 11th floor from where we had a
breathtaking view over Malang and had dinner over there.
At several places we could
see fireworks lighting up the sky, and somehow it felt like a
celebration of the reason I returned to Malang once again.
It was a wonderful evening
and I could hardly believe I made it till after ten, in spite of my long
journey and lack of sleep. But it was such a nice evening I hardly
noticed my tiredness. But finally it caught up on me so I said good
night and went for a long and deep sleep.
Next morning I did not hear
the alarm but still woke up in time for a quick shower and a large
Indonesian breakfast. Yus and Ayu came to greet me and then it was time
for the reason I decided to come to Malang in the first place.
70 years ago my father was
in Malang during the Indonesian independence war, this is, in spite of
the rough times, when he developed a deep love for this mesmerizing
country. He transferred his love to me and in 2008 the both of us
travelled to Java and Bali together in order to unite two worlds.
Indonesia always was a part of him and after he passed away last year we decided he should become a part of Indonesia.
We drove to Alun Alun, a
central square in Malang that has now been converted into a beautiful
park. Even more important, Toko Oen and Hotel Pelangi, two of the places
my father loved to hang out with his fellow officers during the time of
war were adjacent to it. I could not think of a better place for what I
was about to do.
Ayu and myself walked
around the park and not much later Yus joined us. We found a beautiful
spot at one of the large banyan trees that were planted in the park and I
knew I found the perfect place to leave the ashes of my father behind.
I placed a picture of him
in the trees, greeted my family (Ayu was filming the ceremony) and then
spoke to my father one more time.
His time in Malang had
shaped my father for the rest of his life. He spoke about it countless
times, sometimes he bored us with the same old stories over and over,
but at the same he did manage to transfer his love for Indonesia to me.
Without him I would not have explored this beautiful country on so many
of my adventures.
Today it was time to bring
him back, something I felt was my duty, but something that made me feel
extremely proud and accomplished. What a beautiful thing to do, and if
my father would be aware of this one way or another I am sure he would
look back at me with a big smile on his face.
After a short speech I
shattered his ashes into the tree and placed his photo on a more
secluded spot above the spread out ashes. One final greeting, one final
terimah kasih banyak (thank you) and I turned around and left him
behind. The circle was round. I put his picture deeper into the tree,
into a sheltered area and felt sad in a way but also very accomplished,
it had been the right thing to do.
Yus, Ayu and myself went to
Toko Oen and had something to drink to celebrate my father’s life. Many
happy memories of the time we spent during the journey in Java came
back. Yus had an amazing memories and revived many memories I had
somehow not thought about anymore. What a beautiful morning it had
Then we moved to another
beautiful restaurant which was home of many old artifacts from times
long time gone. A true revival of Tempoe Doeloe (referring to old
colonial Indonesia). What a place, it just blended in perfect with the
whole day. We ordered several items from the menu and shared them
The rest of the afternoon
we stayed there chatting and enjoying each other’s company. It was a
brilliant afternoon. But my tiredness was catching up with me so we
returned to the hotel where I had a shower and a short nap.
Later on in the evening the
both of them returned to pick me up and we went to a restaurant for
another exquisite dinner. When it comes to good food Yus certainly knows
where to go. Once again we selected a number of dishes to share. The
only problem with Indonesian food is that it is so extremely good, I had
3 full plates, my eyes wanted more but my stomach said please no…
Another great evening,
there was so much to talk about we did not realize time was going by
fast. The restaurant was closing down and we got a vert friendly gesture
to pay the bill and leave. We were the last guests to do so that night.
Back at the hotel I had one
final bintang, updated my journal and called a day. An emotional day
but it could not have made me feel better. I could not have thought of a
better way to honor my father and was extremely proud I was able to do
it this way. It was perfect, the circle was round…
That night my jet lag was
really playing games with me, although I was tired I was laying restless
in bed and did not fell asleep till after 03:00 am..
Still I was woken in time
by the alarm, had a refreshing shower and another great Indonesian style
breakfast. If things go on like this I really need to go on a diet once
whole but I can worry about that later.
Yus and Ayu showed up
around ten and we decided to return to Inggil Resto in order to work on
their website. The last update was from early 2017 so it was time to
spice it up and bring it up to date. We spent the whole morning on that
and discussing business issues. I was extremely happy I was able to
support them after all they did for me. After all they drove 8 hours
from Yogyakarta and made all arrangements for me in Malang which made it
possible to shatter my father’s ashes over here, something I will never
forget. It was a very pleasant and productive morning.
After we finished working
we enjoyed lunch at Inngil Resto, had a nice chat with two other
travelers after which Yus and Ayu dropped me at to hotel.
Instead of relaxing at the
pool I fell asleep in my room and enjoyed a long, much needed sleep. The
alarm woke me up again in time for our final dinner in Malang. Yus and
Ayu had done some research and so we went to Taman Indi Resto where we
got lucky to get a table at the riverside and once again food was
The evening was perfect and
it seemed nothing kept us from chatting on, that was until the waiter
present us the bill. Once again we were the last guests to left.
My trip to Java is coming to an end. The next day I flew to Bali for the second part of my trip.
It was a short trip, a
bitter sweet trip. Still it was perhaps one of the proudest moments in
my life. Bringing the ashes of my father back to a place that shaped him
for the rest of his life was such a beautiful thing to do. Indonesia
has always been a big part of him and now he is part of Indonesia.
The circle was completed
and I feel accomplished. When I look back at the event I still get
tearful but this time it are tears of joy. It is something that I will
carry with me for the rest of my life.
It goes without saying this
all was done with great help of Yus and Ayu. Their friendship, their
generosity and their efforts were second to none. They once again showed
me the true spirit of the Indonesians where friendship is written in
Continue the journey to Bali