22 January 2006 - Eric

It has been one year. At the shores of Ulee Luee in Banda Aceh, where the Acehnese
bore a loss unprecedented in recorded history, Aaron, Eddie and I joined local citizens
and world leaders to observe the tsunami anniversary, acknowledge milestones in
recovery and recognize a job yet unfinished.

We have been fortunate to work with many sweet people representing every corner of the
world who did remarkable things considering the complicated nature of the rebuilding
process. Germans, Singaporeans, Brazilians, Australians, Brits, Spaniards, Belgians,
Chinese, Argentines, Italians, Cubans, Canadians, French, Kiwis, Russians, Filipinos,
Norwegians, Malaysians, Japanese, Jamaicans, Indians, Africans, Swedes, Mexicans,
Arabs, Pakistanis, the mighty Turks and a bunch of Americans among others came to do
what they could and made a difference.

Banda Aceh was quiet on New Year’s Eve except within the walls of Big Fish where we
rang in a festivitae the likes of which could not and must never be duplicated. With
homemade pizza, handpicked fireworks and friends out of this world, we three reflected
on the year and celebrated success.

The year’s honor must go to the Acehnese for their strength of body and character who
through it all somehow managed a smile and kept not only their patience but also their

At a recent AIRO gathering, Aaron offered up in Indonesian a humorous anecdote of one
of my less-than shining childhood moments; something about dumping out coke to
cash in the bottles. So funny I forgot to laugh I assure you. I could only think of one whole
Saturday during High School when Aaron and I worked shoulder to shoulder to replace
the water pump on Mom’s old Lincoln. We skinned every knuckle but managed to get her
back together then washed and waxed in time for Aaron to drive to homecoming dance in
his orange polished cotton disco suit. Hilarious, I assure you.

As for Eddie, I’ve seen him so scared he ran out in the streets near naked during
earthquakes. Another time wearing the same priceless expression, he carried a club
larger than a baseball bat into the bathroom to confront a huge lurking spider. True, we
did both once panic at an approaching tropical rainstorm but what did we know then of
local weather?

Another rich moment was listening to the Rose Bowl over the Internet. Aaron and Eddie
were celebrating out of their gourds with the whole crowd in Austin right here at the Big
Fish. You’d have thought they made the touchdowns themselves the way they carried on
spiking this and that in their sarongs. I’ve been honored by working next to such men.

Instilling a deep sense of reality to our fisheries recovery effort, one of the year’s true
highlights, was a recent all-night Indian Ocean voyage aboard the 22-meter Bal Qis.
From Banda Aceh we headed due west into the sunset for about three hours and
anchored. The fisher crew, who spoke only Acehnese, took great pride in tying their rigs
as I had earlier that day. Using reel and line the young man on the deck next to me was
catching something every few minutes. He held my line and showed me how to do it. I
mimicked his technique exactly but nothing. We switched rigs and he continued reeling
in fish while I still nothing, which proved it has more to do with damn luck than anything.

The ship’s cook treated us to a spicy rice curry using squid and fish as fresh as possible
without actually diving. It was superb as the entire experience at sea with these
gentlemen. I lay on the upper deck of the ship staring upward during the calmest,
darkest moment of night. Fishes flapping on deck, a brilliant, milky-wayed sky swayed
gently above and I wondered what might be going on in the rest of the universe.

I’ll admit at times I wondered whether I should have ditched the coffee and cigarettes
and carried only saffron, but, watch set on Aceh time, suitcase full of coffee, cigarettes
and saffron, I am home and without hernia.

Eric Lyman
22 January 2006
Boise, Idaho, USA
Journal Entries - Click to

16 April 2006 - Eddie

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5 February 2005 – Part 2 –

4 February 2005 – Eddie

2 February 2005 – Aaron

1 February 2005 – Eddie

30 January 2005 – Eric
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Journal Entries
Journal Entries
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Ayutyula Temple - Eric
Foot over Ayutyula