Here we are, Jakarta, day three, and I'm still not sure what to tell you about it all.
How do I compose sentences that convey the depth of my gratitude at being here, in this country where in late afternoon sun lingers while the strain of the muezzin reciting the adhan floats above the palm trees and distant car horns?
I don't know how to write it all out yet.
Maybe I'll just tell you that my thrill and shitless fear are screaming at me in unison. I'm aching to get out and see what hidden treasures are waiting for me in this city. I want to go and experience it all. I want to eat the most delicious morsels, while seated upon an upturned bucket on the side of the road. I want to ride on some dodgy motorcycle taxi, weaving in and out of traffic, laughing at the suckers in their BMWs stuck in some unending jam. I want to venture to some lonely beach where there's nothing but waves and palm trees and a stray coconut. I want to get there on a rickety and over-crowded ferry that belches and heaves and makes my stomach lurch and my knuckles white.
I want to do it all, but I'm still too chickenshit to venture more than 500 meters from our hotel.
Still, I'll also tell you that I ate coconut rice with spicy bean curd for breakfast. And that's huge. Usually you couldn't pay me to stray from pastries, fruit, and yoghurt before my second coffee. But I went for it. And it knocked my socks off.
I went back for seconds.