After I booked my flight to Indonesia, I recalled, that my former boss Johannes asked me during a BBQ: “Do you remember Sabine?” – “Yes, certainly I do.” – “She moved to Bali.” – “Oh no, I didn’t know that” and the conversation about Sabine was over.

But recalling Johannes statement, I thought it would be great to meet Sabine, while I am in Bali. But I only recalled her name, Sabine. I had no contact details anymore, no old emails. All of this information was gone when I quit working for Johannes company.

My first Indonesia Trip

But thinking about it, I recalled that Sabine told me, that she wrote a book about managing the fear of flying. And so I asked Google to search for her book. I found the book “Flugangst”, her full name Sabine Engert, her webpage, and there was her email address. So I wrote her an email saying that Johannes told me about her living in Bali now, and about my planned trip to go there.

She responded within one day. And she was enthusiastic about me coming. She wrote: I am here already for 2 years and none of my German friends have visited me yet! I invite you to stay at my place. She even organized a driver to pick me up from the airport to bring me to her place.

Sabine, my first Indonesian point of contact

One of the first things Sabine asked me: “Klaus, I don’t remember if you smoke. Do you want an Indonesian cigarette? They are special, they have a clove aroma and the paper tastes sweet.” So I responded: “Usually I don’t, but I am always happy to try something special”. And so she shared one of her cigarettes with me.

Already with the first sip, I realized that I knew this special taste. It was on Christmas eve 1988 when I was on my first overseas trip. On a campground in Queensland in Australia, I met a German, who just came from Indonesia. He told about the wonderful atmosphere, low cost of living, how friendly and open-minded the Indonesians are, and how special the cigarettes taste. He brought some Sampoernas to Australia and shared them with me.

So I realized that I had a 28-year break between my first and my second Sampoerna experience!

Sampoerna, my first Indonesian cigarette

Since that day, it was a perfect way to enjoy the sunset at Echo beach with one Sampoerna, usually with a Bintang and spicy sweet corn from the BBQ.

Unfortunately, the number of Sampoerna’s increased over time. I kept having one with each Kopi Bali, after sex, when socializing, and even during my thinking time. Due to that, I lost the special feeling I had connected to the clove aroma and the sweet tasting paper. So I stopped smoking again because it was about to reduce my fitness and physical growth.

Sampoerna goes over the edge

That’s why I am limiting smoking Sampoernas only to my junk food day. And after sex, if my girlfriend enjoyed it too because that gives us an additional perfect way to connect.

By the way, the Indonesian word “sampoerna” just means “perfect”.

how I made my way to Bali

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