Day 5: Waterfall #400,000

Cowboys In Paradise

Today I woke up a bit late around 10:00 and had coffee with the German woman Sabine. She told me in detail about her experience with intercultural relationships. She also told me that Indonesia, in particular Bali, has many western women dating Indonesian men. Almost like Thailand, but for women instead of men. Then she showed me a YouTube preview for a film called,” Cowboys In Paradise”. Which featured the men who make a living from dating western women. I had heard of this sort of thing in Ghana from Jonas Dahlstrom.

The movie goes on to show the men who have Indonesian wives and kids, but continue to make a living as a monthly boyfriend for tourists. This industry doesn’t surprise me, because paid accompaniment is common in Asia. It is interesting to observe a place where the make-up of interracial relationships is flipped.

Driving and Climbing


Still Christmas night in the US, I spoke to my mom and sister. Then I got a message from Ishal that he would be willing to go with me to a waterfall, but I’d have to take one of the bikes to his place. I studied the map of Jogja intensely and then set out on the bike toward his home.

I think I drove well as Vietnam is a much more difficult place to drive, but I was beeped at quite a bit for not moving when the light turned green. I had to pull over the side of the ring road to make sure I was headed in the right direction and eventually I made it.

Then Ishal switch drove us an hour across the city and up unto a nearby hill. The ride was long and a bit arduous. I was thankful that Inshal was willing to take me. Once we got through the ugly city and into the countryside it was very green and beautiful.

The ride up the mountain was beautiful and I enjoyed the view of the flat landscape below and the city in the distance. As we rode up we passed the mountain folk, carrying buckets of water up a hillside to their homes. The waterfall was likely the 16th I’ve seen in my day and so I was not too impressed- I’m spoiled. I was impressed with how they had dammed parts of the waterfall to make pools for children to swim in.

We spent 30 minutes at the falls before we drove down the mountain. I was worried that the rains would come while we were up there and we’d be stuck. We had gone up some very steep hills and I was apprehensive about going down. As we made it down and I took some videos of the area. Then as we sat in traffic I thought about work, my life in Vietnam, and my own little world. Inshal drove us to a fancy cafe in the city with outside seating.


Ya’ll know how I take after my mother in always picking the “best” places to sit in a restaurant. I wanted to stay inside, but Inshal wanted to sit outside. Privately, I wasn’t having it cause outside meant smoke and dust. I let he lead the way and I did eventually like it when I discovered a bean bag chair on the ground. There was no grand view to see, but the bugs flying around a light which I convinced myself were beautiful. We sat in our bean bag chairs and ate very elite spaghetti. Then we walked across the street to a hiking store so I could buy a beanie.


I decided that cold is one of my biggest fears. I believe. My closet to death of the time in 2014, I climbed the Suvandurga monolith in Karnataka with Karel, Akash, and his friends. We slept in the ruins of a building and we saw an amazing sunrise. I almost shivered to death and almost had to ask the bros to hug me for warmth. Another time, I remember walking home from seeing the movie “Rain On Me” in a movie theater in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with my dad and when we got out it was after midnight and we had a shivering cold walk home. I’m lucky enough to say that cold is the only thing that has reminded me of my fragile mortality.

Driving Around Town

So I bought, a hat because the next part of this trip in the province of East Java will be much colder because it will be in the volcanoes. I decided that stocking up for the winter wears might give me confidence. I can’t buy any cold-appropriate clothing in Saigon. Inshal and I drove to a bookstore so I could find an English book about Indonesia’s political history. But alas that book exists, but only in Bahasa.

Then Inshal went through 30 minutes of him hauling my fat ass across town in congested traffic. I feel bad for him, cause I’m much heavier than him and he literally drove me all across town. He is a nice guy who puts up with me. When we got back to the hostel I spoke with Inshal and Sabine a bit before going upstairs to talk to Trinh and write this.

I decided that tomorrow I will work from the 7AM to the PM at the Blanco and Books cafe and make sure all my work is caught up so I can go into the weekend without a care in the world.


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