Two years ago, when Morgen turned 30, we agreed that she could choose any destination in the world for a celebratory trip, and she chose Patagonia. Our deal was that when I turned 40, which will happen this coming January, I could also choose any travel destination. I spent months thinking about this, poring over atlases and thinking seriously about dozens of countries on every continent. (Yes, even Antarctica.) In the end, I settled on Indonesia, so that’s where we’ll be spending most of January (along with a 5-day stopover in Hong Kong).
This will not be my first trip to Indonesia; I spent the summer of 1986 there, when I was 19. The circumstances of that trip were very different, and I was a much different person then. But the experience affected me profoundly, and greatly influenced the course of my life. So it will be interesting to return a lifetime later and see how I perceive things now. And this time, I’m determined not to get malaria again!
I’ve been brushing up on my Bahasa Indonesia, a surprising amount of which still seems to be kicking around in my brain after all these years. And I’ve been trying to reassure Morgen that despite little annoyances like heat, humidity, bugs, tropical diseases, and the odd occasional nightclub bombing, Indonesia truly is a lovely country with friendly people and lots of interesting things to see. And it’s arguably safer than New York, all things considered.
We have some friends in Kalimantan, so we’ll spend part of our trip there. We’ll also visit Bali, and of course spend a few days in and around Jakarta. On my first trip to Indonesia, I spent most of my time in Irian Jaya, or as it is now known, Western New Guinea or West Papua. It’s unclear yet whether we’ll make it back there during this trip, as it’s remote and travel there requires a special permit, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Depending on our time, money, and energy resources, we may visit other islands as well.
Most years—and 2007 will be no exception—my birthday falls during the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco. That’s been, at various times, a blessing and a curse. I threw myself a big 30th birthday party at the 1997 Macworld, which was nice because I got to spend the day with some people who would otherwise have been far away. And, since I’ve been living in San Francisco, I’ve had an annual get-together for TidBITS folks at my home. On the downside, the fact that I’ve got to attend the show (and, frequently, evening events too) for professional reasons typically limits my birthday options. So this year, for the first time in I can’t remember how long, I’ll be skipping Macworld entirely. Somehow, I’m sure, the show will go on without me!