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The crew sees the Wayang Kulit

“To the Batavian Arms,” said McWhirr to the becak driver.  How this small guy was going to haul us and our seabags in the little tricycle was beyond me. His name was Rubio.  He was a grinning, eager pilot who pedaled like a fiend and navigated Jakarta like some Vasco de Gama of the alleyways.
Rubio brought up before the crumbling, neo-classical facade and we passed through the weathered teak door into the club.  While McWhirr ordered a couple pints I looked around.
A Strawberry Alarm clock tribute band blasted onstage.
Soon McWhirr came with the drinks and said:  “The barkeep says Remy comes in every night around 2200 hours. Might as well enjoy the show.  Here’s to the Queen.”
In came a gamelan orchestra followed by the shadow puppeteer who, smoking a kreteck, smirked left and right to all patrons–especially the fat ones up front who swilled arak and spoke in conspiratorial tones to the kriss-bearing lugs behind them.
The place went dark.  An oil lamp cast fantastic shadows over a large, translucent screen that flickered and danced with frenzied life.  I was enthralled by the spectacle of phantom armies leveled by the cannonade of imperialist might as men with weeping, bamboo flutes were led away shackled. The gamelan’s slow rhythm seemed to fall over the whole archipelago in a haunting drone of pain that echoed the undying breath of ancient, Indonesian spirit; as if Rama’s return to his kingly estate mirrored their own tortured story; and Hanuman’s revolutionary, healing energy, born with the very earth of mankind, must ever suffer cyclical defeat and triumph–an ebb and flow whose influences lie beyond the sublunary sphere.  It’s a story old as history–and fresh as the play of light on a silk screen.
The screen went dark and then emblazoned by the bold legend: Samsung

Author:

I am an artist, writer and sailor in the Pacific Northwest.

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