These do not relate to one specific part of Indonesia, but are things we have observed about the country as a whole during the last 2 weeks:
- Kleenex is a multi-purpose instrument, serving as facial tissue, toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins.
- That being said, toilet paper, soap, paper towels, and an automatic flushing mechanism are luxuries. As are consistent hot water, internet access, and power… even at nice hotels.
- Pillows are too fat. Perhaps intended as a sign of luxury?
- There are not as many mozzies (mosquitoes) as in the Amazon, but still way too many for a Ted (Pamela boasts just one bite).
- Cardboard boxes are apparently suitcases. They get taped up quite securely, wrapped with ribbon or extra tape for a handle, and checked at the airport.
- Children find us quite interesting. They stare at us, and get super excited if we look at them and smile 🙂
Roads here are crazy. There are more motorbikes (mostly small motorcycles & scooters, not Harley’s etc.) than cars/trucks, and people drive with complete freedom to crowd the shoulder with motorbikes, pass at will, use the other side of the road, fit many vehicles into one lane, etc., all on ridiculously windy narrow roads meant more for motorbikes than cars (possibly kept too narrow on purpose because there are no speed limits, so the too-narrow road acts as a natural speed limiter). It’s scary whether you’re in the car or on the bike.
- Speaking of motorbikes, I’ve definitely seen ten-year-olds driving them on the roads in the more remote villages. There is no law here with a minimum driving age; in fact, if you don’t pass your driving test, you can get a license anyway by paying for it.
- Food here is cheap. You can get a complete, healthy meal at a restaurant for $3-4. In the US, the only meal you can get for that price is fast food crap.
- When they say that the food/water here will mess with your digestive system, the proper response should not be “bah, I’m made of stronger stuff than that.” Because it will, in fact, mess with your digestive system…
Indonesian restaurants overall failed to impress. The best food we had was the home-cooked meals that we were served on the boats. And it’s going to be a long time before I eat more nasi goreng (fried rice).
- Shopping (and in some cases, even eating) is also not a pleasant experience. Shop (and restaurant) owners won’t stop talking to you. Any time you pass by, they say, “yes?”, beg you to enter their store, entreat you to stare at objects other than the one that caught your attention, and then stand there talking to you while you attempt to conduct a private conversation. However, they are always willing to give you a “discount” and promise a “good price”. Meaning, don’t ever pay what they first quote.