I've just returned from the Togean Islands. It was paradise, I was happy, I had snorkled every day, read 5 books, written the better part of 4 research papers... but my friend Mike had yet to arrive.
He flew into Jakarta on Tuesday, and was supposed to meet me in the Togeans on Thursday morning... if he missed the Wednesday night boat, there was always the Friday night boat, getting on Saturday morning.
By Sunday, he hadn't shown up, and I was getting worried. The poor boy had spent several thousand dollars for airplane tickets, had never been off doing the backpacking thing before, and English isn't that well spoken. In many ways, he is my responsibility.
So, on Sunday, I catch a 7AM boat from my tiny island to the main island of Wakai, then pay some fisherman to take me to the main backpacker beach, which has the Black Marlin Dive Resort... a hub of backpacker activity, beer drinking, beach parties, and people in the know... They hadn't seen Mike either.
So... that night, I boarded a 12 hour night boat, back to Gorontalo, so that I could get telephone/Internet access, and figure out where the hell Mike was...
I get here today -- no emails from him, no text messages waiting for me on my phone. I email him, repeatedly, I email his parents... I contact a few hotels in Jakarta to see if he showed up there.
3 hours later, Mike calls me from the Black Marlin in Togean, to tell me he's been at the islands for the last four days, and arrived at the Black Marlin this afternoon.
So now, I'm stuck in Gorontalo, a sleepy little town with nothing to do, until Wednesday night, when a very unpleasant and crappy boat will depart for the 11 hour trip back to the Togean Islands. Instead of the nice and safe ferry (with a VIP cabin, with A/C and electricity) that I had last night, I'll be taking a rickety wooden boat, with no life rafts in case of an emergency.
So, 2 days of email/Internet/blogging, and then back to the islands.