Wow, where do I start? I guess I apologise for not doing a day to day blog firstly. Its been a little difficult to get online, and when I have, I've opted to go and see the place I am at instead (selfish I know).
Well, the 17 hour flight from LA to Jakarta was a breeze. Singapore Airlines were amazing, economy was like first class, so much leg room, puts all other airlines to shame! I slept loads and played FF7 Crisis core all the rest of the flight with mikey. They even had metal knives and forks! luxury. We had a short connection flight when we arrived and then onto the hotel.
The first thing I noticed on the drive from the airport was how poor some of the country was. It seemed like a massive divide between the very wealthy and the very poor. There were iron and cardboard shacks all along the waters edge for miles, plastic bottles and rubbish littered the rivers. There was a constant smell of decay and sewage in the air. Then suddenly as though we crossed an invisible line into the city the high rise buildings and posh hotels replaced the slums. It was very humid. We asked to be taken to see some sights, and the host drove us to a mall with western stores, we were like "nah mate, can we go see the real Jakarta?" so they drove us to this street and we got out. We walked down this ally, and the security guy with us said to be very careful because it was dangerous. I've never seen anything like it. I was shitting myself. I suddenly felt very embarrassed, I was hoping to take pictures but felt as though I was taking advantage of the people for my own gain. Most people were friendly but you could sense that some couldn't believe that we were there, walking around. I couldn't work out who was looking at/watching who. We kept moving and stuck tightly together for safety, I'm sure if we were in a smaller group we would have found trouble. Thank god for the security dude with us. For the most part I took photographs off the hip so to keep my camera out of sight and also not to offend anyone. I was nearly brought to tears by some of the children walking and laying around. We were not harassed by people begging because I think people we more surprised to see us in the area, but it was a very, very humbling experience. Even amongst such poverty I could see people smiling and laughing, and the colours were amazing. After we returned to the hotel, I had a hard time readjusting and justifying sleeping in 5 star luxury having just witnessed what I did. I was awash with emotions and guilt and a very strong sense of iniquity. The contrasts I saw and photographed were extreme. I am still confused between pity, sympathy, gratitude, guilt and helplessness and feel I have been changed. I have felt quite mildly depressed since.
The show was amazing, but somehow my mind was not 100% focused and continually returned to the young child without shoes following us around that day. Such tragic beauty.
We left for Singapore, everything since has been a blur. I've been poorly with stomach cramps and find it difficult to get my energy back. Singapore could not have been more opposite to Jakarta. It was very clean and very rich. The hotel was like nothing I had ever seen. I thought they had made a mistake when I entered my room because there was no bed, but I had no idea that it had its own bedroom and 2nd bathroom. The suite was bigger than my home. As amazing as Singapore was, my first impression left feeling cold and dead. I went for an explore to the rain forest at Bukit timah and found some peace and harmony at the top of the hill, and decided to take a random bus to where ever and walk around the city. I walked for 5 or 6 hours not in a hurry to arrive anywhere. It was very welcome solitude where I was able to tidy up the mess in my head from the past few days. My stomach still hurts and is making my dizzy and disorientated because I can't eat much without spewing.
I would like to add, I have some amazing friends around me and have met some great people. I really do appreciate how lucky I am to do this journey and to share this with very like minded friends. I know your thinking, "what about the shows?" but to be honest, the experience is so much more than simply performing. The Singapore show was fraught with technical problems but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I wouldn't want to disrespect those people who came to see us by allowing technical issues to dominate my memory of being and performing there. It is a privilege to be here and do this so I must take the mistakes, learn from them and apply.
As you can probably see, I'm all a little up and down. I am pretty overwhelmed and I am trying to be positive even though some of my experiences have changed me. Today's show in Hong Kong looks like it will be awesome. I am going to rest up so I can play my best. I don't think I have enough time to fully experience Hong Kong on this journey, maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to come back.
I'll be posting my photos up on my flickr when I have enough time, gotta go sound check now.
....and justice for all