Monday, 20 December 2010

Three Days In Civilisation

It wasn't so long ago that popping to Australia for three days on business was an alien concept to me. For starters the idea of a business trip was well outside my realm of experience, and then there was the distance from Britain to Australia to consider.

Living in Indonesia does have its pitfalls but its proximity to Australia certainly does make things easier. These little jaunts to Oz also serve to highlight how strange Indonesia is to the newly arrived expat.

The first thing I noticed when I woke up in Darwin was that it was quiet (no traffic noise or calls to prayer) and orderly (the cars on the roads were well behaved and there were no swarms of motorbikes to be seen). When I went to cross the road at a pedestrian crossing a car stopped next to me. I waited a few seconds and wondered why the car didn't carry on, and then I realised it had stopped so I could cross the road. That never happens in Balikpapan!

And while I was in Perth, which is as cosmopolitan a city as Singapore (just on a smaller scale), I was reminded that fast food is meant to be served fast, a process that is forgotten in Indonesia where a wait of 10 minutes for your order is all part and parcel of the experience.

Those three days in civilisation were enough to wipe out the stress and anxiety of living in Balikpapan for the previous month. And (hopefully) I'll get back to Perth on a monthly basis for the first quarter of 2011 to recharge my sense of normalcy.

No comments:

Post a Comment