Unedited notes from my train ride to Bandung

Thursday, April 5

10:20 PM

At the train station after having been dropped off by a former Aceh fellow brave enough to drive a car in Indonesia. I have positioned myself one row in front and to the right of a pair of foreigners probably best labelled as backpackers. The man wears a yellow shirt with Thai on it. The woman has a large sliver cuff bracelet on over the white sleeve of her shirt and dangling earrings. They are not speaking English and I should probably stop staring.

They’re watching what I think was a pigeon fly over our heads. No, it was a bat. Or at least that was certainly a bat. I’m reminded of one play they used to do at the science museum based on Judge Judy. A bat was on trial, I think for flying into someone’s house and breaking things, possibly including the TV. Do you know what to do if there’s a bat trapped in your house? Close all the doors to the room and open a window. The bat will fly out. The things the science museum has taught me. I’m also reminded of God closing windows and opening doors.

They’re definitely speaking French and maybe if I was still in high school I could guess at the accent.

It’s almost Good Friday.

11:05 PM

Just got off the phone with my father. While we were talking, I spoke in Indonesian and Javanese at a man who said Excuse me when he sat down even though he could hear me talking in English. That was nice.

My train is supposed to be here now. If I get up to go to the bathroom, it will definitely show up.

11:10 PM

I went anyway.

On my way back, I decided to try to walk around people instead of saying excuse me. I don’t know why.

Oh, apparently my train has been delayed till 11:35. That’s good.

They just wheeled by a trolley of brown cardboard boxes—baggage, I guess—and then a motorbike wrapped in cardboard. More baggage, I guess.

I like all the g’s in baggage.

MM, this one is for you.

11:42 PM

Well, I’m on the train and I have a seat, which is more than I could say a few minutes ago. I don’t actually know if this seat is mine. Seats are apparently assigned, but I can’t for the life of me tell how because every car seems to have the same sat numbers and I can’t figure out what distinguishes cars in real life or on my ticket.

Standing around and looking pathetic for a while, I got asked in Indonesian where I was sitting and after my heavily accented Kurang tahu found that the guy who asked me spoke pretty good English. He directed me back the way I’d come and proceeded to kick someone out of a seat so that I could sit down.

As usual, I’m in Indonesia and have no idea what’s really going on.

And Sara is having discussions about Jesus without me.

Friday, April 6

6:55 AM

I’ve awoken from a rather fitful slumber. It seems to me that this train is louder than the one between Cleveland and Rochester. That may be because the joint between cars is open to the outside. Although there was that one time between Cleveland and Rochester when the door to my cabin wouldn’t close. All I remember about that trip is the cold, though.

It’s also a bit cold right now, though not to the same degree of course. Also, my Shansi guardian was right: it is a really beautiful view out of the window. Lots of terraced rice fields. Not sure why they’re terraced, but they look nice.

7:09 AM

Just driving by some fields with freaking mountains jutting up in the back. I had to stop eating my bread to write this, and since my bread is really delicious, this must be pretty important.

7:57 AM

We’ve stopped again. I don’t know where, but there are chickens outside my window.

I’m ready for another nap, but I’m terrified that I’m going to miss my stop. In some ways, this is just like riding a bus.

9:06 AM

After a slight brush with confusion, I was rewarded with a sign reading “Bandung” and proceeded to disembark. As a reward for getting off at the right stop, I visited both the bathroom and Dunkin Doughnuts and now I sit awaiting Sara. Ah, the tearful reunion that will arise.

4 thoughts on “Unedited notes from my train ride to Bandung

  1. Zoe, I heard about the earthquake in Indonesia. Is everything all right? While you’re in Bandung, be sure to check out the crater…

    • I’m okay here in Java, and the people I know in Aceh are also okay. Luckily there was no tsunami there, although from what I hear, things were pretty scary for a while.

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