Buzi 2 September 2014: Not As Paradise As It Seems

Being in such isolated place like Tais, I was totally at the mercy of my host. I could go nowhere without approval from Sisi the Tais woman who brought me here. I had been staying in Tais for more than a week. I wanted to see more places. I wanted to go to Mari, the neighboring village four hours away by walking where Sisi used to live. But she did not allow me, saying that people there would kill me. I wanted our group to depart earlier to Daru, so we could stop in Buzi or Sigabadaru, border villages face to face with Australian islands of Boigu and Saibai. Sisi also did not allow me, saying that the villages were full of raskol (rascals). “But Sisi, how can be raskol there? These are just little villages, everybody knows everybody,” protested me. “No, no. You markai are just foreigner, you never understand,” said Sisi, “These people are jealous people. They will kill you.” Tais, she said, was different from other villages nearby. Tais is so small, the people have [read more]

September 3, 2014 // 0 Comments

Bukhara – Another Incident

My blury photos of Bukhara reflect my blurry mood My days in Uzbekistan seems never be far from incidents. Earlier in Tashkent I lost 400 US$ cash stolen. The other day in Samarkand I broke my camera. Then in Ferghana I experience some night hours in police station. Today, after the surprising climax that I will be thrown to my zero point, I have to experience other incidents at the last legs of this journey. I took a night bus from Tashkent to Bukhara. But I came late. When I arrived in bus station near the Sabir Rahimov Metro Station, the latest to Bukhara had departed. But there was another bus departing to Navoi, 2 hours before Bukhara, and I decided to take this night bus. It was 8 p.m. when I got in. But not until 11 the bus started the engine. I fell asleep since I got seated. Today was an exhausting day, as I was hunting for flight ticket to Malaysia and the fact that I am going home still shocked me. The journey to Navoi takes about 5 hours at night. I couldn’t remember [read more]

January 25, 2007 // 1 Comment

Almaty – If You WaNNa LIVe

The park may look beautiful and quiet, but it can be dangerous The day started with a quarrel. Lyubova, the owner of the home stay, was not happy that I arrived with a taxi yesterday night. I was in the middle of Almaty downtown, when I realized it was already 7 pm. I was waiting a bus until 11 pm but no public buses at all going to airport area. I forgot, on Sundays all public transport stopped working as early as 6 pm. What a bad luck. I walked under darkness, with only fear of meeting criminals or drunks in my heart, from Respublika Alangy until Tole Bi. I gave up. It was almost midnight. At the end, I had to haggle a taxi (better than staying in a gay bar like last week). The taxi cost 500T. It was much beyond my budget, but I didn’t have any choice. When I arrived at the home stay, Lyubova was sleeping. The next morning, she started the quarrel. “Huh. You can pay a taxi but you cannot pay for your stay!” said her cynically. I just didn’t understand her. I paid [read more]

December 11, 2006 // 0 Comments

Kabul – Newsroom Experience

Working in the newsroom Pajhwok Afghan News Agency is the biggest news agency in Afghanistan. I was lucky that I was introduced by a journalist friend of mine to the director of this company. And starting from today I experienced the life in the newsroom. The news of the office came out online and updated in minute basis. The subscription fee might be still high for Afghan standard, up to 200 dollars for big companies, NGOs, and embassies. The website of the news agency is, and provides services in Farsi, Pashto, and English. The director, Mr Danish, is a friendly man, and he provided me some books that I might read before deciding to wander around the country. He even promised some assistance from different parts of the country as the News Agency has several local offices in many cities of Afghanistan. Discussing about the photos Mr. Danish requested me to come to the office early to meet with the photographer of the office. They only have one photographer in [read more]

June 12, 2006 // 2 Comments

Gilgit – Leaving Scars

Waiting for freedom March 11, 2006 The experience in the jail when visiting the two Indonesian girls was not quite nice. I was really waiting for that moment to come, that the two girls haunted my dream, but when I had the chance to meet them, I even didn’t talk a lot with them as I was rushed by the harsh policemen. I was very disappointed, and at the same time, helpless. Today, a guy from Chilas who discussed about sex with me a night before, asked me to go back again to the jail. The Chilas guy, Mirza, was in the jail for some days because of fighting. Regarding his origin, I thought it was due to free sex, but it was not. The people from Chilas, as those Pathans from western border of Pakistan, were famous of their male to male sexual activities. Mirza said to me, it was not homosexual activities, or at least very different from the concept of homosexuality in Europe, as here men only want to fuck, no suck, no love. He said that Pakistan was very conservative, as this is an [read more]

March 11, 2006 // 0 Comments

Gilgit – Two Indonesian Prisoners

Waiting for freedom March 10. 2006 Maryam and Christina, the name of the two poor girls, who were detained by the Pakistani border officials when they tried to smuggle heroine to China. A meeting with Mr Raja Sadafar in Deputy Commisioner office in Gilgit led me to a visit to the Gilgit District Jail today. “They are very poor, really poor girls,” said Raja, mentioning that in a year there was no even a single Indonesian visiting them. He asked me to visit them, as a countryman, and bring them some fruits or something. I have heard the story of the two girls long before, from several different people. They were innocent girls, involved in this kind of business for the first time, thus inexperienced. There was a box of 4 kg heroine planted in the bottom of their backpacks. One of the girls successfully passed the Pakistani check, but when the other was trying to pass, the experienced border guard suspected that the backpack was to heavy for their tiny body size. It was [read more]

March 10, 2006 // 4 Comments

Rawalpindi – Another Night in Rawalpindi

In fact, Rawalpindi is usually a friendly city February 16, 2006 After the 6 hour gruelling bus journey from Lahore, I arrived in Pindi. Today met an expat, from Switzerland, have been in Pakistan for years and speaks brilliant Urdu. We were discussing about what we feels in Pakistan, as foreigners. And somehow we shared many similar opinions. Pakistan for me, in my first visit, was a perfect country with honest people everywhere (despite the sexual harassments) but after I speak Urdu and involved more in the conversation with the locals, I found more and more contradiction and hypocrycy. When we were walking together on Muree Road to go home, he asked me whether I had an experience of someone driving car and stop to offer me free ride. I said except those Pathan truck drivers in Northern Areas, I didnt have this kind of experience. I am a boy anyway, I never expected a rich old man will stop his car to offer me free ride and another thing. But just one minute after we talked about [read more]

February 16, 2006 // 3 Comments