It seems that the Divine Order has arranged things so that I should come to JAVA. Martin Nga somehow read some articles on my website. These scribblings evoked an urge – a divine urge to be sure. Following the impetus, coming seemingly from nowhere, he contacted me via Email. Attached to his correspondence was a magnificent picture of a port with colorful boats.
Martin: January 4, 2013
Just a note to say I enjoyed reading your writings.
I have similar interest in History/SEA, China, American politics etc
Now based in Johor Bahru, Malaysia opposite Singapore, Stayed in Jakarta 1989-2002, Wife from Lampung, South Sumatra. Travel often to China and SEA countries.
Attached picture taken a few months back in Palembang; Musi river bank of Chinese influenced junks – water trucks ferrying passengers and goods up river. Visited the old Srivijaya sites of Bukit, Seguntang etc.
I responded politely a few days later.
Me, January 7
Thanks so much for your encouraging words.
And what an incredible picture! The colors are so rich that I thought it was an oil painting at first.
Lucky you to live in that part of the planet.
regards from the don creature
He replied shortly thereafter.
Martin: January 9, 2013
It was taken with just a 5mp Blackberry!
Getting it oil painted in Saigon.
Traces of history. Picture this spot in Palembang- thousand over years, The Chinese monk I-Tsing was here. Chola Indian navy occupied. Admiral Cheng Ho caught the Chinese pirate king here. Malaysian sultanates ancestor-Parameswara originated here, etc!
A picture tells a thousand stories!
If have the opportunity, you should visit Yogjakarta, central Jawa - near to Borobudur, Prambhanan and Dieng Plateau etc sites, and cradle of Indonesian civilization.
Glad to host you if you ever back to Malaysia/Singapore.
"The finger points to the moon, but the finger is not the moon; neither can words express the truth!"
Blown away by the beauty of the picture, I showed it along with the correspondence to my wife, Laurie. She noticed that Martin had offered to host us in Java and urged me to take him up on his offer.
Me: January 17, 2013
Greetings Martin Nga,
My wife & I would love to take you up on your offer. For many years we have wanted to visit ‘Yogjakarta, central Jawa - near to Borobudur, Prambhanan and Dieng Plateau etc sites, and cradle of Indonesian civilization’. Palembang is also of interest, as well as Bali.
Tell us what to do from this point - times of the year that are best, etc.
Thanks for your generous offer.
Sincerely, don lehman jr.
Laurie was excited. We wondered if the offer was for real. A few long weeks later Martin replied.
Martin: February 4, 2013
Was busy work/travelling-Vietnam etc.
Intend to have a week driving trip from Jakarta to Yogjakarta/central Jawa sites + a few days in Jakarta or Bogor this year.
Basically free when kids off school/long holidays in Malaysia-end May to 9 June or December month; most likely 1st week of December.
Indonesia is not school holidays then: less congested and weather in general is ok except wet Jan/February months.
You can get connecting flight before or after to Bali (good international flight coverage) or Palembang (only via Jakarta or Singapore).
I am not returning to these places for sometime.
Will confirm dates with you say 3 months before for December trip.
Me: February 13, 2013
It sounds like you're suggesting the first week in December for a driving trip to central Java. That would be exciting for my wife and I. Just as exciting for me would be to talk with you. It seems as if you have a historical knowledge of the area that could fill in some of my gaps. Further it is apparent that we are both trying to see where the finger is pointing, rather than getting obsessed with the finger.
Keep us posted on details.
Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity.
Martin: February 15, 2013
Its quite definite around 1st week December.
I am relocating back to Bogor/Jakarta area by end year from Malaysia.
Will update you in due course.
Laurie is about to jump out of her skin. There is nothing to do but wait patiently. Then 5 months later, we get the confirmation.
Martin: July 10, 2013
Re: Updates proposed drive trip to Central Java
Hope you are well.
Just some updates. Its quite confirm that I+family going on the one week driving trip to central Java-Borobudur etc end November/early December.
If you are still interested, perhaps you&wife can arrive Jakarta around 29 November.
You can confirm with me by say end October.
I let Laurie take over from here, the planning, communication etc. One thing led to another and now we are here. Without Laurie, this adventure would not have happened. It was she that pulled it all together from our side. I did nothing but write. Bless her and gratitude to the Universe for bringing us together.