Dad decided to celebrate his birthday at the Pasar Malam, an Indonesian market, which was held at Burger’s Zoo.

He helped an old friend run her stall, where she sold hand-made batik clothing and ornaments for the benefit of Indonesian schools.

The market was set up across several floors in the zoo’s tropics habitat, so it was appropriately sweltering, humid, overcrowded — as befits an Indo market! Colorful clothes, spiritualists, artists, melodic music and an overwhelming variety of scents from the proud food vendors.

Since it was so crowded we’d occasionally bump into relatives, but could only say hello for a few minutes before losing them in the throng. Dad showed us a secret passage, just past a stall where a leather-faced Mexican sold, appropriately, leather goods, where we could steal a quick smoke.

We toured the oceanarium and the savannah habitat, and found the zoo’s grounds illuminated by glowing sculptures, quite a sight to behold!

It was good to see my family again, even if only for fleeting moments, and to taste the culture of the Indo branch of my scattered roots.