By Robert Weber
The night before I left for Jayapura I watched an episode of the Discovery Channel’s mini series “I shouldn’t be alive”. Each episode is an re-enactment of a happy holiday-goers tragic, life altering experience in the country that they were travelling in.
So my story begins. I was asked to cross the border into Papua New Guinea’s closest neighbor, Indonesia. I would travel to Jayapura in search of Fireworks for an upcoming politically related celebration that was to take place in the capital of Sandaun.
I made my way to Wutung, the village where the lands of Papua New Guinea and West Papua meet.
I got my passport stamped, good-bye PNG, hello Indonesian. Next stop Jayapura.
The security guard guarding the gates to Indonesian kindly waved a Taxi down for me. I eagerly jumped in.
This was a normal day for the taxi driver. He knew what to expect, he knew where to go.
“how far? how many hours? Jayapura?”, even my broken english didn’t help. Every question was answered with a “Yah, Yah.”
I even threw in a side-winder, “You have big ears.”…
“Yah, Yah” he just replied. These were the indicators i was looking for. No matter how tired I was, I was definitely not going to fall asleep on this 2 hour drive.
But I did. When i woke up, we were no longer on the main highway. My head was yo-yoing as we headed down a pot-hole infested goat track.
“my friend, where are we?” I scattered.
“Yah, Yah, Jayapura” he replied.
“no, this is not highway”….. “STOP, STOP”.. At this point I was bordering paranoia. Vivid flash backs of “I shouldn’t be alive” came crashing through my mind. I love my internal organs. They don’t deserve to be sold on the black market. This is not the way I wanted to go out.
The driver looked at me big eyed.
I frantically pointed at the side of the road. We came to a sudden halt.
“Jayapura dis way” he sternly said as he confidently pointed with an open-palm, straight-elbow out his window. It was weird looking gesture, but I ignored it. I had to remain focussed.
I slowly came back to earth, and rebuilt my confidence with tactical thoughts of how to punch his big ears and jump out the car if there was an attempted kidnapping.
We took off again, we shared a laugh or two amongst the “yah yah, jaypura, big ears”. Things were looking brighter.
I am glad I am Alive.