Indonesia- one of my favorite oasis!!!

I can’t even remember how many times I have been to Indonesia….maybe 4-5 times. I remember clearly the first visit and my first Festival run by the ” famous” Dr. “Queen Pin”.
Well, it was not a good introduction! Doubled work load, bad food, and shared accommodations ( we were promised private rooms) Fortunately, my lovely roommate happened to be a fantastic violinist ( now the first violinist in the leading american quartet and a professor in one of the top music school in the USA) who would get up every morning and talk to her Stradivarius first before the two lazy pianists where up. There was something very meditative about those mornings… I had so much respect for her and she never missed a day… Well almost! She did, when we all got poisoned ( food) on our excursion. In fact, she ended up in a local hospital with running cats. I didn’t get to see the running cats or the hospital, because I got sick 12 hours later ( I am bigger) and by than The Queen realized it is less work to get us medicine than to have us all go to the hospital. I had such a high fever that don’t remember much of the two days.
This was the first time moments in Indonesia Hot summer, bad food, too much work ( in fact it felt like a work camp) and food poisoning at the end….
Fortunately, there is always something good coming out of every bad situation and diverse experience…. Most of the parents seeing the faculty sick, weak and unhappy towards the end of the festival, felt quite ashamed. One of them in particular, a mother of one of the most gifted student attending the festival, invited some faculty over her place and decided that she wants us to show the real Indonesia and the real Indonesian culture. Luckily for me, I gave it a chance and fall in love with the country and the people. I always stay with the same generous and loving family, and I know that I can just call a week before and there will be a driver waiting for me at the airport (even in the middle of the night) as it was the case this time. But what’s even more important there is a grand piano I can practice on and a kitchen full of fruits.

I have arrived really late at night this time, exhausted after what I thought would be an easy day…. Well. I forgot about 4 h time difference between Sydney and Jakarta, I didn’t notice 5 hours lay over in Kuala Lumpur and there was an hour delay, so I arrived after 1 am! But as soon as I let out of the aircraft in Jakarta I smelled the country, its warmth, fruits and diversity…I was happy.
To my surprise my friend was still up waiting for me to arrive home. In the morning I was surprised by a welcome massage at home!, and a beautiful breakfast. Some several tons of fruits were bought, clothes beautifully washed and ironed. I could ask for anything at any time and I am sure it would be all brought to me.

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This visit was devoted to master classes and I was very busy teaching, but I manage to squeeze in some amazing massages, body scrubs, hair spa, facials etc…I felt in heaven! In the USA I would have to work more than an hour to get an hour massage. In Indonesia I can get more than 6 massages ( Jakarta price) for an hour of teaching. Hm….
The students were fantastic. I gave 50 sessions ( from 45-90 minutes each) over 5 days and in three different cities: Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya. I have taught in 5 different schools, students of all ages ( 6-30 yea old) I was very happy to see much higher level of playing and understanding of music than several years ago. The repertoire also got more diverse, students were respectful and eager to learn as always.It was a really fantastic experience! IMG-20130117-00414

Each host would invite me for a lunch and dinner and they would send their drivers to pick me up. ( Note, traffic in Jakarta and Indonesia is one of the worst in the world. I have driven in Los Angeles and Washington, but there is just nothing like Jakarta. to get anywhere, you must have an hour, to get to the airport, usually at last 2, not it’s not far, it just takes forever).
The food in Medan was spectacular. I especially enjoyed delicious lunch in a small, local restaurant, where dishes were spicy and genuine, not altered for tourists. The baked giant crab at a seafood restaurant ( which I almost ate by myself) was quite an experience.
I was sad I didn’t have enough time to travel and see more places in Indonesia. I am ready to come back and see Papua…I think its about time!

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