All Work And No Play Makes Erik A Dull Boy


This blog entry about the events of Monday, February 21, 2005 was originally posted on February 25, 2005.

DAY 492:  “We can’t go to Bandung,” Henricus, my friend and host in Jakarta told me.  “I have work to do now.”

We had toyed with the idea of taking a drive down to Henricus’ and Linda’s hometown two hours away, but after the freelance meeting the night before, Henricus had to get a presentation all set for the brochure design of an Islamic university in town.  “We’ll just go the next time you visit.”

“That’s okay,” I told him.  “I have work to do too.”

I was behind on the Blog as always and desperately wanted to catch up.  However, like in 1980’s The Shining, when Jack Nicholson tries to sit down and write only to be distracted by demons calling him to write nothing but “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” I was distracted by my own demons calling me to pick up the PS2 game controller and play Metal Gear Solid 3.  I compromised with my demons and did a little of both to keep my day from being too dull, while Henricus slaved away on his PowerBook in the corner (picture above). 

“See you later,” Linda said as she left the house after serving me breakfast.  As Henricus’ freelance project manager, she went to the office at Artnivora to make some calls since her regular phone wasn’t working.  She had waken up that morning early, showered and got dressed for the day way before her husband rolled out of bed and moseyed over to his computer with his sleeping shorts on to work. 

“So this is a regular day for you?” I asked him.

“Yeah.  I stay in while my wife goes out and works.”

“It’s a good life, huh?”

I managed to get another entry up before the demons called me to pick up the game controller again.  Henricus finished his work by early afternoon, got off his ass and hopped in the shower.  He was to have a meeting with the ad agency managing the Islamic university, after lunch at Plaza Indonesiapadang, a on-the-table buffet of many Indonesian dishes, including cow brain in coconut milk and dried cow lung.  (The former was tastier than the latter.)  Linda dropped Henricus at the ad agency for his meeting, leaving the rest of the day to wander around Jakarta with me.

“You want to go to the mall?” she asked me as I sat in the front passenger seat on the left side of the car.

Great, another mall, I thought.  Malls are starting to become routine, almost like going to a work office.  And all work and no play makes Erik a dull boy.  Red rum, red rum.  For a change of scenery and postponement of the “dull,” I suggested going elsewhere, even though I would have been perfectly content on just going back to the apartment to play Metal Gear Solid 3 like my demons were telling me.

“Let’s see what my guidebook says,” I said, pulling out from my pocket the pages torn out from the inside of my Let’s Go.  All the museums had closed by early afternoon, but one place mentioned caught my attention.  “Can we go to Sunda Kelapa?”  It was the old Dutch harbor area in the northern part of the city, where it was rumored schooners would be around.  Schooners mean pirates and the opportunity “play pirate” by going around talking like one.  “Yaaar!  Shiver me timbers!  Walk de plank, ye landlubber!  Yaaaarrrrr!”

I didn’t mention the pirate idea but Linda entertained my suggestion to go to Sunda Kelapa anyway, even though she had never been there before.  In fact, she wasn’t exactly sure where it was — as a resident of Jakarta, she didn’t know any of the touristy parts — and had to ask for directions three times.  It turned out Sunda Kelapa was sort of out of the way — even more so when Linda accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up on a tolled highway that led us out of town.  There wasn’t an opportunity for a U-turn for quite a while and by the time we were able to turn back the other way we came, the traffic had already started building up for the early evening rush hour.  If Henricus called for a pick-up, we’d be hours away from him if we lingered around that area.

“I think it’s better if we just go back and go to the mall [near the ad agency],” Linda said.

“Yeah, okay.  Whatever’s easier.”

We pulled into yet another one of Jakarta’s gaudy shopping malls, Taman Anggrek, a big place with exhibition space for a car show, many chic stores, and even an ice rink.  I wandered the mall’s multiple floors while Linda went off to a salon to get her hair done.  Then I sat down at a Starbucks to work again on Blog duties with a pen and the new notebook I bought at a stationery store.  It was pretty dull, but what I saw next wasn’t.

“Wow, very nice,” I complimented Linda when she showed off her new do.

“[It looks like] Betty Boop,” Henricus teased her when we picked him up later that evening, after his long and tiring meeting with clients.  “I work hard and my wife goes to the salon,” Henricus said, sitting in the back seat of his car for the first time.  “Don’t get married, Erik,” he joked in front of Linda.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES HENRICUS A DULL BOY, and with no pressing work to do, it was all play for the rest of the night.  Henricus called up his friend to go out with us, Ian, a Dutch-born Indonesian who had lived in the California bay area before relocating to Jakarta to settle down and start a family.  “It’s the next phase of life.  Having kids and getting fat,” he said in his Bay Area accent.

“I’m just getting fat,” I said.

Linda called up her friend and neighbor Astrid who lived on the 23rd floor of their building, who helped them out at Artnivora.  Later that evening we were joined by their Indonesian friend Stella who was in town on business from her life and job in K.L.

Playtime that evening involved going out for Chinese and then drinking Indonesian Bintang beers and Long Island Ice Teas at several bars in town.  Ultimately, we ended up not at the Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta but two bars down at the newly-opened f-bar, as in the Fashion Bar, the international chain affiliated with Fashion TV — coincidentally on the eve of FTV’s International Fashion Awards in Jakarta. 

At the end of the day, it hadn’t been such a dull day at all with our balancing acts of work and play.  Of course, before hitting the sack that night I tipped the scales in play’s favor with some Metal Gear Solid 3 action, but that should probably go without say. 

Red rum, red rum…


Next entry: Cops And Comparisons

Previous entry: Indonesia In A Day

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Comments for “All Work And No Play Makes Erik A Dull Boy”

  • GREETINGS FROM “AMERICA’S BIGGEST SUBURB,” CANADA!  I’m still in Vancouver, easing my transition for a while before going back to life back in the States…  More to come…

    MICHELLE:  I don’t know how you did it, going RTW for 8-months, getting back home on a Friday and going back to work the following Monday.  Insane…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  01:16 AM

  • Nice shorts ‘Ricus!

    Posted by dunlavey  on  02/26  at  02:23 AM

  • nothing beats working in your pjs…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  10:30 AM

  • So, how’s the transition going? I’m dreading Tuesday night when I get picked up from the airport… after my one way back to LAX - you haven’t gone back to the states yet, so you can’t answer my question: will they question me for hours?? I have a one way back to LA from BKK - hmm… we’ll see. smile The West Coast is the Best Coast… booyah!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  01:15 PM

  • NOELLE - You dun started east coast vs west coast rivarly huh?  hahah…

    what can’t we all just get along?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  01:56 PM

  • ERIK: Actually, I had about a week to adjust but it was still insane.  I don’t envy you having to adjust after soooo much longer.  You have expanded your mind and life more than many people can even imagine.

    Meet you friday!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  03:21 PM

  • Erik, If you need someone to hang out with in Van, I have a friend.  Let me know and I will email you his email!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  03:25 PM

  • MICHELLE:  Just a week?  I think I’ll need more than that.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  05:46 PM

  • NOELLE:  I was amazed… Canadian federal RCMP (aka The Mounties) were was just as bad…  Every Arab-looking guy coming off the plane was detained at the passport check—even before entering the terminal!

    You better lose that tan fast before they’re onto you!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  06:07 PM

  • LISA:  Currently I have enough Vancouverites in my life here to be “Vancouverited out”...  but that’s not a bad thing.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  06:08 PM

  • “America’s Biggest Suburb.” In true Canadian form… I OBJECT!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  06:17 PM

  • Td0t, I second your objection in true Canadian form.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  07:13 PM

  • Tdot…..Lisa…...I third that Objection…I AM CANADIAN! the beer commercial goes! LOL

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  09:10 PM

  • Shouldn’t it be - “I OBJECT…..EH”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  11:05 PM

  • “America’s biggest suburb” is a phrase I didn’t make it up.  It’s former David Letterman-writer-turned-travel-writer-and-Travel Channel host Doug Lansky.  (He’s in the “Hyenas” book with me, and has several titles of his own.)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/26  at  11:28 PM

  • Yarrrr….  some rum will definately have to be drunk this Saturday me hearty…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  12:34 AM

  • BILL:  We’ll have to introduce ye to the Red Devil.  It’s the color of chum!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  01:53 AM

  • Yay!

    I got my postcard. Its bootiful! I’ll see yall Saturday!


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  02:08 AM

  • I’m getting a feeling Sunday morning is going to be a pretty rough one.  Good thing the flight back isn’t until 4pm.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  02:18 AM

  • America’s biggest suburb? Plllllllleaaasee…......we are trying to maintain our identity….........neighbours, yes, but suburb?  NO!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  02:43 AM

  • OFFENDED CANADIANS:  For a country whose greatest export is comedians, you guys sure are taking that joke a bit too seriously.  C’mon, you guys rock!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  02:58 AM

  • I Am . . . A Dumbass American.

    (for those Canadians that are familiar with the parody)

    Posted by Alyson  on  02/27  at  03:17 AM

  • Nope, NOT using whitening cream, thankyouverymuch… I went through pain and agony to get this color… not going away just now… I’ll take my chances with the feds in LA-LA-Land…

    And Markyt - yes, I dun started it… I’ve been living it for 10 years now… I’ve lived on both coasts too. smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  03:59 AM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today,, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.

Next entry:
Cops And Comparisons

Previous entry:
Indonesia In A Day


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