October 25, 1961 – Java

Duta Indonesian Hotel, Djakarta, Java – Clear, warm

      I really didn’t want to wake up at 4am to get ready for our trip because I had slept so well but I did. 

     Our group met up at 6am to leave for the airport and the route we took was different than before.  This time we went past a canal that was in the middle of the road and had dirty water in it.  During our time in Indonesia we had seen so much poverty and even at this early hour it was very evident.  Though the water was dirty there were people doing laundry in it.  Others appeared to be urinating or having a BM in the canal.  I had to turn away from the window after a few minutes because of how sad and depressed it made me feel knowing there wasn’t anything I could do.  I was glad when we got to the airport and could bid Djakarta farewell.  At 9:30am as our plane took off. 

     Since we didn’t have enough time to get some breakfast before we left the hotel I was glad we were to be given a meal during our flight.  When the food arrived on our five hour flight to Singapore I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  I felt like I was returning to civilization in some regards when our plane flew into the airport in Singapore.  Singapore was the largest place we’d been to since leaving Japan. 

Singapore Street Scene

Raffles Hotel, Singapore, Malaysia

     At 2:30pm a bus picked us up at the airport to take us to the Raffles Hotel where we were to stay during our time in Singapore.  When we pulled up in front of the hotel I was very excited to see how stunning it was and you could see why it was considered one of the most famous and beautiful in the world.  It was big, clean, and fancy.  I took a picture of the hotel while we waited for our luggage to be unloaded.  I was eager to see what kind of room we had here.

     When Edith and I turned to walk into the hotel we saw a man sitting near the door holding up and playing with a snake.  It was amazing and scary because I’ve always hated snakes.

     At check in I was pleased to find I had received a large number of letters.  In an informal comparison of how many letters each person got it was pointed out to me I had received the most this time.  I had received eleven letters and when Edith was only handed two she made a funny face at me so I thought she might be a little jealous. 

     I sorted through them and found I had received:

  • 2 letters from my brother Ed
  • 1 letter from Ray’s mother Anna
  • 1 letter from my brother Pat and his wife Vee
  • 1 letter from my friend Oliver
  • 2 letters from Ramona
  • 1 letter from my friend Blanche
  • 1 letter from my friend Susan
  • 2 letters from Bob, Pat and Penny

      Once we had our room keys Edith and I followed the bell boys as they carried our bags to the room we were assigned.  As soon as we opened the door we could tell our suite was truly fantastic and the view of the surrounding area from our rooms was wonderful.  As I wandered around I saw little soaps, shampoos, stationary, post cards and other amenities I’d taken for granted when I stayed at hotels in the United States but we had discovered were extra here. 

     Once we were checked in I was glad we were given some time to ourselves before going anywhere so I could read my letters.  I hadn’t realized I was so homesick until I had a chance to hear from everyone.  I had to laugh when Ramona recounted how Mike had gotten into some mischief and I cried when she talked about how much Binky seemed to miss me.  Bob talked about work and how everything was going for him.  I had a separate letter from Penny that was delightful and she talked about how she was doing in school.  I was glad to hear from my brothers Ed and Pat and to find out they were both alright.  Their health hadn’t always been the best.

     Still feeling home sick, I decided to write Bob and his family while I had a chance:

Oct 25, 1961- Singapore, Singapore

Dear Pat, Bob, Penny, Patrick, Liz Ann, Sammy;

     Well here we are back in civilization – hurrah!  I’m telling you, Bali is for the flies, the dirt; the poor, poor natives – but not for me.  I wrote letters there but didn’t dare send them out because I was afraid they would get as far as the nearest waste paper basket.

     We just arrived here in Singapore and got our room which is a real nice one for a change.  I’ve been able to pour a drink of ice water out of a carafe and I’m drinking it in my room for the first time since Hong Kong.  It feels like heaven.

     I wrote a letter in Bali to Vee and Pat and asked them to send it to you.  That keeps me from repeating the same thing over and over.  Also you can send it on to Ramona as she is saving all my letters for my reference. 

     Did Ramona tell you that Edith is writing for the Fillmore Herald?  Well when I wrote a letter to Ramona about the Japanese wedding she asked me to copy it for the Fillmore Herald.  I told her I would but I would have to have a byline.  So I sent in three letters under my name.  Well after that she didn’t ask me anymore but the other day she read my letter to Vee and had the nerve to ask me if she could copy it and send it in under her name.  I’ve helped her write much of her stuff.  Pat will get a bang out of this.  Well in the future I will see to it that she doesn’t see any more of my letters.  This is not for publications but I really don’t think my stuff is as good as that – in fact I think it would make any editor weep. 

     We left Djakarta this am, we had to get up at 4am to be ready and Mr. Miller one of our tour members got up earlier than that and hired a rickshaw to drive him around the town.  He saw people sleeping everywhere in gutters, doorways, any place they could crawl into.  They have a canal of dirty water running thru town.  We saw one driving past on our way to the airport and a woman and her children were bathing.  A man was washing his face, four women doing a wash, a man squatting (in the water), and three little children playing with another one little boy having a BM.  This scene was repeated all along the canal.  You wouldn’t believe the mud and filth of the water. 

     Now Singapore is a lovely city (so far) but on getting out of the car in front of the hotel a man sat playing with and holding up a huge yellow and black banded snake.  Interesting?  I will shop this afternoon and then tonite wash Djakarta and Bali right out of my hair. 

     My flight bag came to pieces and I will have to buy a new bag.  Then I will see if I can send my fur home.  I’m sure sorry I brought that with me as on this trip it is excess baggage and takes up room.  I hope my packages are getting through.  If they didn’t I’ll just have to chalk it up as expense and experience. 

     I’ll write some more on this later.  No I’ll mail this and write again.  Love Mother

     Later those of us in our group who wanted to shop were taken to an area nearby that was supposed to be ideal for it.  I found one store that had some unique yardage and I bought some to make a dress out of later.  The people we encountered were very pleasant and I enjoyed negotiating the price for the material.

    That night when I sat down at our table in the dining room it was so pleasant to find a nice tablecloth, clean water with a slice of lemon in it, silverware wrapped with napkin and a lovely centerpiece.  The room, the waiters and the environment was very elegant and made our dinner delightful.  Before dinner I was invited to have a Singapore Sling and it was very intoxicating.  I must admit by the time they brought our food I was feeling a little tipsy.  We were able to have steak, nice vegetable side dishes, and lovely strawberry shortcake for dessert with a fine wine to accompany our meal.  After dinner we had a coffee aperitif that I was told had whiskey in it.

     Edith and I were both quite relaxed when we finally made it back to our room.  I took a long bath, washed my hair and some clothes out before I fell onto my bed to make myself comfortable.  I pulled out a couple of the letters I had received to reread before going to sleep.  Some sections brought tears to my eyes and made me long to get home even though I was enjoying the trip for the most part.

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