And then it was the end. My plane to Singapore left in the evening and I spent my last day having a good long sleep in the morning and then packing.

During my two-week stay at the Nikko Hotel in Jakarta, I was well looked after by the staff but had a particularly nice "room boy" named Dany - the equivalent of a chambermaid in Western hotels - who was always very patient with the unusual times I was in and out of the hotel. On this morning, he rang the bell about 10AM and I explained to him that I wouldn't be out of the room until much later because my plane didn't leave until evening, so I was staying past the usual checkout time. He very politely apologized for bothering me and left. About 11AM, he rang the bell again. I thought he probably didn't understand my English, so I explained more carefully that I wasn't leaving until 6PM, so there was no need to clean the room before then. Dany again very politely apologized for bothering me and left. And then just after noon, the bell rang yet again and I opened it and there was Dany again. So, once more I started to explain even more carefully . . . when he said very meekly, "Actually, I've just been coming to see . . . if you would sign my book?" So, my apologies, Dany, if you're out there, reading this!

After packing, Erly and I had a nice leisurely lunch in the hotel cafe and went to do a little bit of shopping - a very little bit, as it turns out, because of the Jakarta traffic - but guess what, Brits? I went up the escalator in this shopping precinct and what was there? A Marks and Spencers! I couldn't believe it!

And then it was time to leave for the long drive to the international airport.

And one last picture of my two most important people, dear Tutu and Erly, taken by our very hardworking driver, Mr. Jito, who got us through all that impossible traffic.


And then tearful good-byes and it was over.

What a special time this has been for me.

I went to Indonesia so uncertain. I had no idea what to expect. I am the first author from my agency to tour the country and, indeed, the first author any of my colleagues in New York knew who had been asked to tour. Needless to say, I got lots of warnings about Muslims, terrorists, and the Third World, and lots of holiday advice, which could pretty much be summed up as: Forget the rest. Go to Bali because the beaches are good.

No one told me about the warm, gentle, good-humoured people I was going to meet everywhere. No one told me how hard they are all working to make a good society, often in very difficult circumstances. No one told me that the real followers of Islam are kind, tolerant and spiritual.

I have had a simply wonderful two weeks in Indonesia, as I suspect has everyone here who has been following this journey with me, and I am sad that it is over. I'm sure, however, I will return, if not as an author, than as a friend.