A monkified expatriate white intellectual kunst-remittanceman, the Baron is suitably playful and curious in an era of technology and terror. Blessed with a strict middle-class income level and social range, he fits in with conservative ancient Javanese culture with fun and precision. Eats from teaching "intercultural communication" and hack free-lance copywriting. Kindly refer further to the other web spinnings: www.swastikabali.org & www.primemates.biz & 'Byron Allen Black' in the Stuart section of www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/stuart. Thank you and come again or at least breathe hard.
It's a curious tale, how at the ripening age of 63 I gravitated from sports motorcycling to pumping my way along public roads on a motorless two wheels. Who would have thought that it would have come to this? The actual fact is that I scared myself, rather badly, and this pushed me even more toward human-powered two-wheeled gliding. (Thanks of course must go now and always to the dynamic and overbearing Sonny Carlson, my first boss and the one who brought me out of ignominy to Indonesia - Sonny the fanatic biker and motorcycle-hater.) I had the unforgivable and apparently unbreakable habit of racing other bikers on public roads, and after some very narrow escapes and bad scares I took stock of the situation, thusly: no matter how often I might "win" the competition on West Javan roads, there was no payoff. And to lose would mean serious (and expensive) injury, crushing my beloved Nipponese Crotch Rockets and suffering public humiliation. The pleasure of riding fast and whipping twenty-odd year olds had drained away, and the alarm grew. Why, I asked myself calmly, was I taking such chances? Then the pleasure of bicycling, insidious and steady, infused my being.
Riding K3 to Bogor Station
"Amusing the locals" is in fact a proper and befitting role for white people to play in Indonesia, to counter (in part) the Tuan Besar Complex which lingers, after 350 years of bland Belanda (Dutch) colonial occupation. The Caucasian as elegant clown, with stern-visaged Javanese macaque as straight simian. We are travelling south from Pasar Minggu Station to the "free of cares" alpine burg, Bogor having alas gone to hell like most Indonesian urban centers, swamped by desperate population, vehicles, pollution, noise and confusion. It's all part of the merry Maya, and I intend to head up the side of Mt. Salak, Bob Tailer perched on my handlebars, sweating and groaning as I ascend the terrible grade, through Batu Tulis, Pamoyanan, Cihedeung to Cigombong. It's mostly uphill and the sun is shining brightly. The scenery is stunning and my little pal swinging and swaying up the hillside. Gunung Salak, living volcano, is not amused.
Caravan of Primates
Riding the motorcycle is fun enough, but with a couple of aggressive primates it generates an aura of amusement and surprise swirls about the Kawasaki Binter Merzy 200, flashing through traffic in East Jakarta. The locals are suitably delighted at the tomfoolery.
Amusing the Locals
Happier days for Byron and Marco Melandri, cycling carefree from Parakansalak down to Parungkuda (Google-Earth it). Two years later the relationship would be broken fatally, as the pig-tailed macaque turned as feral and vicious as the hairless one.