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12-15 March 2008

News Letter 3

The Second Expedition to Kalimantan

The journey started the next morning at 7.30
from the airport of Bali and the arrival was at 14.00.
The Landrover was waiting,
with the most reckless driver of the world,
together with the boss of the wharf, Frenty.
The horrible journey to the building site took 7 hours.
The fool was overtaking on the left and right side
on the asphalt road,
where the sides were slanted as in a bathtub
and the holes were half a meter deep.
At nine o’clock they arrived, exhausted and worn out.
They had two warm beers and a good night’s rest in a good hotel.
The next day: to the wharf.
The endless long beam for the keel looked perfect.
 Leo had taken the full-size drawings for the model;
two rolls of designs, 5x3 m…
They were sewn out in plywood and fitted on the keel.
The final shape of the colossal ship
became now recognizable.
That afternoon they witnessed an armed robbery on the market.
There is a gold market in this town
because of the many goldmines in the vicinity
and here the dealers come to buy the gold.
Eight men with self-made guns had shot the windows
of a gold shop to pieces and wanted to get away with the loot.
But there was police on the market and they could shoot also
and with real guns.
They killed 7 men and one was taken to the local hospital,
badly wounded.
The policeman, who had only wounded this man,
got reprimanded because of his bad aiming…
That evening they ordered again two warm beers
to drink in their rooms,
but when Leo saw there were still guests on the terrace,
he asked them to serve them on the terrace instead.
“Oh,” the waiter said. “That is not possible
because then they see that you drink alcohol”.


So he poured the beers in a carafe, used for orange jus,
and thus it looked like foaming apple juice.
The next morning they sat out on the journey home.
First one hour by ramshackle bemo to the town
and then another hour by becak to the port,
all the time with a big suitcase on their laps.
In the port a speedboat was waiting and tore them
for one long hour over the sea.
Then another half hour up the river to a ramshackle jetty,
where a normal person never would have dared to set a foot upon.
Here was the airfield, but there was only a person,
not the promised plane… “Will come a bit later”, he said
and – indeed – about three hours later
a dot was approaching in the air.
At the same moment a few expensive cars
wit a few expensive men stopped.
The most expensive looking man shook Leo’s hand
and introduced himself as the son of the Sultan of Yogya
and the General Manager
of all those innumerable diamond-, gold-
and coalmines in the vicinity.
The small plane departed at 5 and on the way
the man asked if he could speak in German.
He told he had lived 20 years in Germany and studied mine-engineering.
 Leo told about his ship and that he lived on Bali
and would now miss his connecting flight to Surabaya
because of all the delays.
The man took out his hand phone and called the airport.
“We have an important Dutchman on board.
He has to go to Bali, so hold up the plane until we have landed”.
And thus happened…
Leo was met by a high official and personally escorted
to the waiting plane…
In the plane the man called again:”
We will arrive too late in Surabaya,
so hold the plane to Bali
until we have landed”
and again it was arranged.
Leo arrived at two o’clock at night
and now it is eleven in the morning
and he just woke up…

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