Tuesday, January 14, 2020


A young man whom I had never seen before strode straight up to me outside Starbucks this morning, extended his hand, and happily greeted me. 

"Hi, Pak Will. How are you? Still living at Kampung Kumpul?"

Well, clearly I had seen the man before. I just have no idea where or how or under what circumstances. And I certainly have no idea what his name might be, despite his knowledge of mine. 

Indonesians have this unusual talent for remembering names and faces. Astounding, especially for one who, like me, has no talent nor ability whatsoever in this area. And this is not a rare experience. It is a common experience, and happens with surprising regularity.

Even on my motorbike, head wrapped in helmet, eyes wrapped in sunglasses, I am recognized. A horn honks, I see a wild hand waving. Hello! And they pass by, leaving not a clue of who they might be. 

I have many friends here in Bali. I have just never seen, to my knowledge, the lion's share of them! 

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