As Michael Taylor flies home aboard Cathay Pacific Airways flight CX 784 en route from Denpasar, Bali, to Hong Kong, he ponders the three week adventure that is coming to an end – in real time. (It will continue digitally at least for another week.)
The highlight of his trip is meeting one of his Facebook buddies in person for the first time. They had previously interacted exclusively on line. When they come face to face with each other, it is like reuniting with a long, lost friend.
Birds of a Feather?
I “met” Jingcho Yang two or three years ago on line. I was researching an article on Balinese real estate. Because I didn’t have enough contacts in Bali to complete the piece, I sent out emails to about 20 real estate agents on the island, hoping to interview them via email.
Jing was one of five or six agents that responded, and he is the only one I’ve kept in touch with – thanks to Facebook.
Jing and I had a few things in common. We were both American. We were both trilingual in the same three languages – English, Mandarin, and Portuguese. We both liked to travel. And we had both decided to live overseas.
Other than that we didn’t know a whole lot about each other.
Slowly but Surely
Because I’ve often thought that I’d like to move to Bali – and because I knew that Jing had dabbled in real estate – I decided to send him a message on Facebook. “I am in Bali,” it went.
“Do you want to meet for a couple of beers?”
It took a few days before we finally connected. Apparently I didn’t have enough money on my SIM card to accept phone calls so Jing’s calls to me went unanswered.
When we did finally meet, we were like long lost buddies. It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly – as the day progressed – I discovered that we had a lot more in common than I had expected. And slowly I started to feel as though I had known this guy all my life.
We spent the entire day together, finishing things off with dinner at a Mexican restaurant. As it turned out, we were both big fans of Mexican food.
Turkey Day – Without the Turkey!
When I realized that Thanksgiving was just around the corner, I sent Jing another message on Facebook.
We decided to have Thanksgiving dinner together. That’s when I met his family: first his four year old daughter, then his lovely Balinese wife. His daugher was adorable. She wanted to show me all of her toys.
And his wife was not only charming, she also had a wonderful sense of humour! The same things seemed to strike the two of us funny.
We all seemed to enjoy each other’s company. So we hung out at my villa for a couple of hours. Then we headed to a lovely open air restaurant on the beach in Jimbaran, Cafe Menega.
We ordered large platters of white snapper and large prawns. There were also those yummy Indonesian sauces to dip things in. Plus white rice. Plus peanuts. Plus copious quantities of beer.
And not a turkey in sight! Sort of like, Thanksgiving dinner with Balinese characteristics.