Dinner with Budi

At dinner on the first evening of my stay, no sooner do I sit down and order than I receive an invitation from a man at the next table to join him and his mother. His English is very fluent and so, within a few minutes, I learn that he is the owner of Bayfront Villa, acquired a little over a year ago and refurbished to serve as a business and tourist accommodation. I complement his good business decision and overall good taste. I then learn he accompanied his wife when she got her M.A. in business administration at Geo. Washington university in D.C. in 2000. They are the co-owners of a multi-faceted business operation based in Jakarta that is providing gas and electric turbines for power generation, as well as converting coconut husks from copra factories (where it is just waste) into charcoal for markets in Poland, Estonia, Russia, Ukraine, China, and India.

He tells me about going to Mecca with his mother on the hajj, and how difficult it was. They spent three nights in the desert en route to the mountain at Minna but could not find shelter or food, and so he kept his mother warm by holding her! She sat placidly at the table while he told (and occasionally translated parts of) the story, a wry smile on her face.



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