It was 1981. Upon arriving in Jakarta for the first time nearly twenty-eight years ago I hurriedly checked into one of the city’s most luxurious hotels and headed straight to the concierge to inquire where I could see a live performance of Gamelan (gahm-eh-lon).
A puzzled attendant looked at me for a moment to ensure he heard correctly, then lit up with a contagious smile. He took out a Bahasa-Indonesia language newspaper and approvingly informed me that there was a performance that evening not far away. He warned me it was in a part of town not frequented by foreigners. His voice modulated to seriousness when he strongly suggested I take a hotel car and have the driver wait for me until the performance ended. This was not somewhere I should be strolling around alone.