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June 28, 2017

Renewal, Shopping and A Surprise

Tom McLaughlin

Pontianak, Indonesia – I have to leave Malaysia every three months to renew my tourist visa even though I have lived here for eight years. I just like getting out and exploring.


My wife now insists that I get a yearly visa. She says she will pay the $500 for me, but I really don't want one. You see, there are a ton of forms and I just can't be bothered.


Air Asia has begun flights to Pontianak, a small town on the south coast of Borneo. It takes about 30 minutes to fly there, but nine hours by bus or car over the most horrendous roads imaginable. A real kidney buster. The Air Asia cost was $45/both ways. Very cheap.


Pontianak is the name of a ghost that inhabited the area. The ghosts are of females who died while pregnant. They are vampire in nature and dig into the victims’ stomach with sharp fingernails and devours the organs. The live in banana trees during the day. They often suck the blood of virgins.


The area was filled with these Pontianaks until an Arab trader arrived and blasted them away with cannons. The barrage lasted most of a night in 1771. The town is on an island at the confluence of the Kapuas River and Java Sea. The Arabs built a trading post.


Remnants of the people can be seen in the women who wear black robes and hijabs, revealing only the eyes. I often chat with them when they are in Kuching and find them quite out going and friendly.


I have not seen any of these Pontianaks in Sarawak, but I have been told they live in the kampongs across the river. When I ask the people, they swear up and down they have seen them.


I really don't know what they do in Pontianak. The town is mainly Chinese and every other shop has to do with motorcycles, either repair or sale. There must be a billion plus of these little scooters. They are everywhere. It is very difficult to cross the road without running into one.


Pontianak is also the administrative capital of the district and there are many buildings for this purpose. It is said they have small industry and agricultural products, which flow down the Kapuas River to the town for export.


I walked around town for most of the afternoon and returned to my hotel in the evening. I ate at a coffee shop where I had fried chicken and rice. The chicken leg and thigh looked like it came from a pigeon. It was so small.


Turning on the cable television, I noticed they has about 12 Indonesian stations plus a few international news stations. They were from France, England, China, Australia and America, CNN. To my surprise, there was Fox News.


I had never watched Fox News before and I thought I would see what the enemy looked like. The ladies (it was morning in the States) looked like they had just come in from a night on the town. Their eyes were perfectly made up, the dresses were expensive and they were very pretty. They showed their legs as if it was a Playboy spread. Well, not that bad, but you get the idea. The men wore very high quality ties and suits. I thought it was a fashion show.


Once I got used to their clothes, I listened to the pro-Trump verbiage, one guy or gal after another were paraded forth. For where the commercials should have been, they played country western songs in a segment called "Fox Extra."


To all of you who are celebrating, I wish you a very happy Hari Raya Puasa or EID. May you have good quality time with your families?


...Life is good. . . . .


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