Well. My iPod got ripped off the other day. Anyway…
For those of you white guys back in the States who are feeling a little low, feeling a little down about yourself, come on out to Indonesia. You’ll feel like one of the most beautiful people in the world. Like you should be hanging with Clooney and Pitt.
As of now, I’ve been told I’m very handsome in front of a whole class, in a grocery store, on the street. I’ve even had kisses blown to me. Of course, I know the truth. I’m one of a very few different looking men in a city where everyone is either of Chinese descent or are purely Indonesian. Sarah and I stick out, in other words. I take it all with a grain of salt, of course, But still it feels good. So I just say thank you. It’s kind of like how we Americans love to listen to someone with an English or French accent, I think.
The other week I went to get my haircut. This is not something Whitey should do in Indonesia if you want to keep a low profile. First, they don’t know what to do with my hair. As you may know, Asian hair is very thick and very course. Also, very black. The first time I got my haircut, it was so over-conditioned, it was like a puff ball on my head.
This last time, the woman was kind of nervous to cut it. Very apprehensive. She asked if this was my natural hair color, and was surprised when I said yes. “You don’t lighten it?” she said. About 45 minutes later, when she finally finished, she told me that everyone at the place thought I could be a hair model for America. Then she asked if I had to cut my arm hairs. That last part kind of brought me back to reality. I’m a strange sight.
Indonesians also think my name is funny. They all say, “Oh, Peter Pan. Yes?” I thought I understood. But after watching the Indonesian VH1 Top 20 countdown, I found out that Peter Pan is a pop band here. They’re kind of cool too, in a poppy, rockin’ sort of way.
Still it’s sometimes fun to be such a fascinating object to so many people. Most of the time it’s just tiring though. A group of little boys asking my name and wanting high fives and reciting all the English swear words they know gets old sometimes. But other times I stop and think it’s kind of fun to be a minor celebrity. This is probably my only chance.