Email #9 (12-1-00)
Dear Friends,

On November 1st, the U.S. State Department issued a
travel warning for Indonesia.  They are urging all
American citizens to defer nonessential travel to
Indonesia.

Needless to say, this doesn't give us a warm fuzzy
feeling when we are sitting right in the middle of
Indonesia. 

Indonesia is experiencing a major political
transition, and unrest and violence have been erupting
with little forewarning all over the country.

There have been recent bombings in the cities of
Jakarta and Medan (both cities we had planned on
visiting) and just down the road from where we are now
(the city of Yogyakarta), only one hour by car, in the
city of Solo, there have been "sweeps" by anti-U.S.
groups. They charge into a hotel, demand to know all
the patrons who are U.S. citizens (you have to show
your passport when you check in) and then herd them up
and force them out of the country.

Not that everything has been all bad though.  We've
been having a great time, just traveling through
Indonesia going on our merry way.  We haven't seen any
of the trouble -- just heard about it.  A couple of
Brit travelers -- who we met on a bus when we were
traveling from Lovina Beach, Bali, to Ngadisari, Java
-- were surprised we were so carefree about our
travels, being from the U.S..  They warned about
trouble ahead in Jakarta and the anti-American
sentiment we would be sure to encounter.  They haven't
been the only travelers who have warned us about
possible troubles ahead.  One traveler told us to tell
everyone we are from Canada, but that only goes so far
when you have to show your passport every time you
check in somewhere.

As of yet, we haven't really decided what to do.  Even
if we decide to just get the hell out of Indonesia, we
have to fly through Jakarta.  Hopefully we won't even
have to leave the airport.

As always you can find out more about the trouble in
Indonesia (and everything else that's going on with
our Excellent Adventure) at our web site:

http://www.JoelSward.com

And as we said, we haven't seen any trouble and we
have been having a great time.  Since our last email
we spent a week in a really cool city -- Ubud, the
cultural center of Bali.  We went scuba diving off
Menjangan Island, near Lovina Beach in Bali.

We have experienced some "real" traveling, going
overland through eastern and central Java and we
gasped in wonder at the incredible site of Mount
Bromo.

Where we are right now, Yogyakarta (pronounced
"Jogja") is actually a really cool city.  We were
really surprised to hear about all the trouble that
seems to be surrounding us.  The "everyday" Indonesian
people are very friendly and it's just too bad that
this unrest and violence has erupted right now.  We
would love to stay longer.

We will write more soon.  We hope all is well with
everyone and take care.

Lisa and Joel

Lisa's email: lisa@joelsward.com
Joel's email: joel@joelsward.com
Web Site: http://www.JoelSward.com
 
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