When my man say’s he’s going to show me ghost hunting, he does.
Not once today has he given me a bull shit lead.
These kind of people who don’t promise the world but come through with their promises are rare as hen’s teeth.
First stop is a coastal town and a mangrove swamp.
My man, a fellow coffee drinker I met at Merapi Cafe, doesn’t speak English. I don’t speak Indonesian, so neither of us have any use for feeling superior.
Google Translate is doing more for understanding and friendship than anything else on the web.
Most of his friends are volunteers at the swamp.
‘We volunteer,’ says on of Agung’s friends. Then he takes a picture of me. Then he scripts what I should say for a video. Then his friend says to smile, he’s taking a 360-degree group selfie. He’s not happy with it, and says to smile after three.
I’m getting good at this shit, really fucking good.
Later that evening the ghost hunter wants to show me how to see the ghosts.
What do they look like?
‘They are your imagination,’ he says, a fisherman from the Kapuas River, who sections off fish into pens and feeds them pellets.
A big titted ghost, that’s my imagination.
We are eating dinner at a warung and a teacher want’s to speak Enlighs with me.
I exchange numbers then the ghost hunter comes back.
Show me the ghosts, I say. Are there any fuckers around here.
He goes into a brief trance, and points in front of me. I take a picture. I don’t have infrared but I did capture a bubble ghost on my camera back at his house on the river.
The mosquitos were out and I wasn’t going to let Dengue enter my life again.
‘Here,’ says the ghost hunter, who understands more English than he can speak. He passes me mosquito repellant oil.
This guy is the real deal but we have a two-hour drive back to the capital. I’ve taken a round of shots with the aperture on 3200. There’s something lurking in the tops of the trees. What I’m saying is that I went along with this ghost hunting business. I really tried to look sincere and interested. A few shots had a mist floating around the canopy, even at different bracketing settings.
Did I find a ghost? Agung’s wife, Indri, doesn’t want to look at my pictures. She’s shit scared, so I tell her she’s in charge of singing English Karaoke songs on the way back. She’s glad I’ve aborted the ghost hunt. Besides, a quarter moon was interfering with the ideal conditions, and a few stars were poking their heads.
‘Definitely not good for ghost hunting,’ I said.
I had the final word on the subject. I was fucking tired and was sick of tracking down whatever we were tracking down. Saying hello to thousands of people and posing for selfies all day is fucking hard work. So I was feeling a little tender at this stage of the trip and the excitement of walking in mosquito-infested forests and cemeteries tracking down ghosts seemed positively a stupid idea.
Fucking in a cemetery? Definitely a different story.
We hit a cafe before we left and recharged toys.
Cafe PM is really a great name. It deserves an award for great coffee, service and really decent owners.
It was the first coffee shop where the hot chicks weren’t trying to pick me up. Come to think of it, there were no hot chicks except the lady who made the drinks. She was dressed in hijab and wanted a selfie with me.
She decided putting her arm around me was a better photo op, and moving her hips into me was for my comfort of course.
Hay, I really wasn’t complaining.
The next day one of the hotel staff comes up to me and shows me a slew of pictures of me with the hot staff from Mc Cafe. Apparently, photos of me are doing the rounds on Whats App.
Now what the fuck is up with that, huh?
Ariff is a big part of my morning routine. Today I got a three-hour massage up in the hotel’s coffee shop on the third floor.
His entertainment has moved up from hot coyote dancers to hardcore porn. It looks like Pirate Bay has saved the day. A copper from Java came up to my table to say hello. I quickly put the porn away.
‘No problem,’ says Ariff, ‘he’s a fellow Javanese, and as you know, we all love porn.’
I was waiting for him to quote Shakespeare.
‘But you wouldn’t get it,’ he said. I always had trouble understanding the intrigues of incest among royalty.
Give me a good concubine thriving for power story any day.
‘We have ladyboy too,’ says my massage man. He’s also a driver and wants to show me around town. He’s a holy man of sorts and has hands that heal.
But we never did make it to the milk factory. He had to pick up his son at the dentist.
He wants me to go to his dentist.
Too late, I said, I’m done. But he tries it on again.
I think I’ll have to crank up the porn traffic, its the only thing that keeps him calm and focused.
Driving back into Pontianak, we cross over two old steel bridges. The mighty Kapuas River winds around the town reminding me I’m in fucking Borneo. Below, I can see dark murky things swimming. I declined an offer to swim in the river at the ghost hunter’s house.
‘Don’t worry,’ he said,’ I have special powers to tame them.’
That’s what the last guy said and now he’s a rotting carcass on the bottom of the Kapuas River.
He gave me that smile that said I knew my shit. It pays to be informed, I said and handed him over some cash. Even ghost hunters need to be paid for their services.