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When You're at Raka's, You're Family

View Burma, Indonesia and Laos on jonshapiro's travel map.

By the time we arrived back in Ubud, late evening, Nanette was already feeling sick. We were lucky to get a room at Raka's, as he was full, and did us a favor by turning away someone else who contacted him earlier. Nanette was on the toilet most of the night, and vomiting as well. The bathroom looked like a war zone in the morning. We struggled to make it a block and 1/2 to a nearby medical clinic. They were very nice, but more or less confirmed what we were already doing. Keep up the Cipro and stay hydrated. They gave us a powdered form of Gatorade to balance the electrolytes. Miraculously, I seemed to have ducked the bullet on this one. Perhaps it was the jaffles, a kind of grilled cheese sandwich, that Nanette ate at the airport, and I did not. Hard to tell. The next several days were not fun. She was very weak and had trouble even keeping down the rice pudding that Raka made himself. "Not to worry,? he said. "Raka take care of you just like family."

And he did.

Raka With Offerings

His Grandaughter

For Nanette this was the final straw and she was ready to go home. After several hours on the phone I was able to book her a flight to New York through Singapore, using the same number of frequent flier miles. I planned to go to southern Laos for another few weeks. I had previously explored some of the northern parts of the country and loved it. This was my chance to spend more time with these lovely people.

One day I met Miriam in the local warung (eatery) right on our little alley.


She is a few years my junior, French, and in the usual way that travelers do, I asked what she was doing in Bali. Somehow she did not seem like a typical tourist, and indeed she wasn't. In halting English, she told me that she has volunteered in Ubud for almost six months with disabled people. Then, in what seemed like a very short time to impart this kind of information, told me that her husband and daughter were killed in a car accident two years ago. She is hoping to go to Calcutta in the next few weeks if she can straighten out the visa issues there. I offered to help since her, and together we went to off to the tourist office. It didn't do much good. For whatever reason the Indian consulate in Jakarta only wants to give her two months instead of the usual six. She is obviously still in a fragile state, crying and easily upset when they told us this. I worry about how she will fare in India since Bali is a far easier place to deal with.

The following day we left. Nanette, who was feeling somewhat better, departed for Singapore, and I for Bangkok. I went back to the hotel near the airport to avoid the hassles of downtown, not to mention the increasingly dangerous political demonstrations. From there I intended to fly to northern Thailand and then into Laos by bus.

Posted by jonshapiro 13:56 Archived in Indonesia

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