He was known to be able to do anything and learn fast – be it to make the perfect bonfire, play ukulele, crack open bamboo in a split second, master poi, or catch fish and crabs - but he was also part of the kids who had grown up with cell phones and youtube. His English remained impressive as he mastered not only part of the language enough to interact with us, but also an English/Australian accent he had picked up from the many Australian travellers that had passed through the gili meno eco hostel.
I soon picked up that around here, any local who mastered English enough was a sign that he had passed a mental frontier as he passed a linguistic one. Learning a language isn’t just about going to a class and picking up how to speak it. Here, if you mastered English, it was because you were in contact with foreigners. And in a vast country such as this one, this meant having either the luxury of it – or simply the open-mindedness. And Hi had in him a thirst to learn and do beyond frontiers that I recognised in all travellers.