Tugu Style

Java Travel Blog

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Me again, and so we continue,

We are now at day 4 of our story...

Ning Ning comes and picks me up and we head out to one of the natural waterfall parks.  As we walked up the path, I quickly realized I was the main attraction as upon a quick glance, I noticed all eyes were on me.  Being shy and timid, I, of course, resisted but what's a girl to do?  So I started charging for a picture with me and signed autographs (lemons or lemonade anyone?  Kidding eh?  ANyway, these are absolutely beautiful falls in the mountains, problem numero uno though is Indonesians have not discovered the concept of a garbage can and love to watch their plastic wrappers float down with the current.  Next, I find myself teaching everyone the idea of waste that disintegrates and plastic that doesn't.

Shortly after, I spot the wild Monkeys near the river and I am so excited cause I had brought some bananas in my picnic basket!  Well I was so in my element, this tourist excited to hand feed the monkeys that as I turned around I saw that I was the main attraction for these Indonesians, The white tourist feeding the monkeys.

Next stop the natural sulfur hot springs.  Well, once again I am the only caucasian in a bath with fully dressed Muslims, only no one told me they'd be fully dressed and i am in a bikini.  And of course I have to fall on there national cow celebration so they are all taking there community bath and I am sharing it with them!  Lovely!

Once again I am so happy to hit the shower upon my return.

So I decide at that point with Yudha, my new best friend, that I really have to fly to Lombok as I really need to profit from a 27$ airfare to this majestic island.  O.K. so I exagerated, there is also a 3$ exit tax at the airport to add on, 30$.

So ladies and gentleman, please raise the backs of your chair and prepare for take off on the next chapter of Gail's journey to the unknown.

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My e-mail will be a natural flow of thoughts based of my experience here in Indonesia and in no way will it be censored, for the weak at heart, be warned...

So here I am in this strange but delightful world called Indonesia.  Where can I begin to describe this experience.  I guess breakfast would be a good place. 

For anyone who has traveled to far off places knows, breakfast is probably our first culture shock in a list of many. 

In Paris we have deliciously fattening cheese, croissants, and baguette bread with creamy cafe au lait for breakfast that brings our taste buds springing to life that borders on sinful, in Indonesia not so.

Here we are presented with a plate full of rice on a banana leaf with a bug eyed fish staring at us and all I can hear is a little fishy voice inside my head saying "and why am I not a vegetarian?" 

As I graciously accept this morning's delicacy, the horror in my eyes cloud over in desperation.  My hostquickly recognizes my nausea after a long, endless roller coaster bus ride to arrive at this destination, my stomach can not even begin to comprehend this plate infront of me.  Oh how I long for my days of the past of perfectly broiled bacon and homemade waffles, as we would greet our mornings up at the lake. 

I quickly snap back into my present reality of Mr. Bug eye fish staring at me with contempt.  "What does one do?"  Do I accept in my ever polite way of Irish Catholic upbringing or do I listen to that gnawing voice in my head pleading with me to refuse?  Once again Gail's voice wins over and convinces me to be straight forward and ask my waiter...  "excuse me, You wouldn't happen to have waffles with butter and maple syrup would you?"  Well in Indonesia, ask and you shall receive!  Two perfectly golden waffles with REAL MAPLE SYRUP!  You have to pay extra for that at Cora's restaurant at home where syrup flows freely from our maple trees but somehow Indonesia manages to get their hands on it and serve it free of charge and warmed up not to mention.

Quickly my nausea disappears and I am back in my element.  O.K. so I am not that exotik traveler who is willing to convince oneself that eating cows skin that has been dried in the sun, boiled, dried again and then fried is something I wish my mother knew how to cook!  "Darn you Ma, for having of deprived me all those years.  Thank God you had the nuturing conscience to feed me blood pudding"!

So since my first 10 hour bus ride was not enough, no sooner here and I am boarding a 20 year old refurbished Toyota mini van that is probably heald together with glad tie wraps, with an engine that overheats so much that the rubber on the soles of my flipflops is melting turning my feet black. 

Off we go on my next journey to God only knows where.  My host Ning Ning is giddy with excitement as she has a special surprise for me.  "How far a ride will this be?" I ask with great concern for this van does not look as though it would get me to the corner mosque.  "Not far, not too much far" my host answers vaguely.

Two things I am quickly learning of my Indonesian friends...  Their concept of time and space, money and distance is not always clear.  "vry fast, no long you know", "Very cheap Gel, very, very cheap", "Not faarr Gel",  "Not too much", O.k. so now I have learnt, 'just go with the flow gel, I mean... Gail, go with the flow".

So six hours later, through terraine that is arcaic, instantly making you feel like you are back 300 years in time, with a scent that is a mixture of dead rotting fish and dead rotting bowel movements flowing freely in the form of raw sewage. 

For all of you that know me so well, you are accutely aware to what degree my sense of smell is extremely developed.  A very powerful and delightful asset on most occassions, i.e the scent of my children's skin.  (yes, I admit, I am a scratch and sniff Mom!)  but in these moments, I want to hide my face in my shall and be sick.  I have seen many things through my travels in Africa and Saudi Arabia but this... On a rare occassion, I am speechless.  (No comment my sons...) 

Finally we arrive...

I leave you off here as I must get ready for this next journey with Ning Ning, another surprise...

Stay tuned to "Gail's World"!!!!!!!! 

 Now...the only moment that counts
    Use the moment wisely.
   Gail Lea
photo by: Alhen