Word of the Day: Jalan Jalan

Tutup – CLOSED – is what the signs read on most restaurants, some businesses, and every discotec and karaoke bar this month. It’s Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. As a non-Muslim, I’ve and been able to still find food relatively easily (much easier than I expected) and I’m not made to feel guilty when I drink a bottle of water or have a snack mid-day. That being said, I try not to eat directly in fasters’ faces, because they do look longingly at food and drink and have committed to not indulging.

My struggle with Ramadan is that all the night entertainment venues in Bandar Lampung, even karaoke, are tutup. Closed. Amy and I never have any idea what to do on Saturday nights and, unfortunately neither do our friends. However, all the nightlife being closed has made way for lots of time “jalan jalan”-ing, just roaming around with nothing to do, nowhere to be, and open for anything. I love the Indonesian word “jalan jalan”, and, much more so, I love the back streets, food carts, beaches, and the time well spent with my friends whenever we go on one!

Since I mentioned street food as a highlight of a jalan jalan, I’ll throw some Daily Dines into this post. Check out these two things of beauty we picked up from this fabulous vendor.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Daily Dine: Nasi Goreng

I’ve been slacking pretty badly on my daily dines. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, that doesn’t mean I’m not eating. I’m very happily dining daily.

Nasi Goreng (fried rice) is a staple of Indonesian diets and I are fortunate to have a food stall near by our house with cute guys serving up perfect nasi goreng along with fresh squeeze orange juice. yum yum yum. Last week, Amy made nasi goreng for our buddies at the coconut stand, and they said it was good, just not salty enough. Salt is a well used ingredient here.

This is fried rice with lamb and it was wonderful! The patties at the 6:00 are called ‘tempeh’. They are pan-friend soybean patties that are served with most dishes as a side. Sometimes, instead of a patty, they are in chunks. No matter their form, they are always crunchy, spicy, sweet, and delicious!



Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside (my bathroom)

So, I’ve decided to hop on the Weekly Photo Challenge bandwagon. For those of you who are unfamiliar with WordPress, every week, The Daily Post posts a new challenge for bloggers to capture in a frame. I think it’ll be a fun and different angle to think about what I’m seeing in Indonesia as well as give me subjects that I might not normally talk about in this blog. This week, the theme is “Inside”.

Pictured below is the inside of my bathroom! It’s so easy to talk about all the gorgeous bits of Indonesia. The beaches. The streets shaded with palm trees. The coconut milk that has become a staple of my diet. The smiling faces. Even within walls, there are more beautiful things to talk about than my bathroom. How to make a cup of coffee. Amy and I’s lizard buddies that hang out on our walls. Heaps of batiks that sit in Che Che’s living room waiting to be sold. Che Che’s homemade meatball soup and her cozy kitchen. But those are easy delightful blog posts that will come another time. Today, you get to read about my less than fresh smelling bathroom.

What is that hose for? Excellent question!

Welcome, everyone! So you’re in Indonesia and you have to go to the bathroom. I spent most of my first night in Indonesia at Che Che’s house holding it because I really didn’t know where to begin. I also didn’t want to ask, for obviously reasons. Three cups of coffee, a bowl of fried rice, and a glass of water later and my bladder was hating me, so I had to tackle The Indonesian Bathroom Beast.

First off, you’ll note that there is no toilet. This is not a rest room by any means. There is no getting off your feet for a minute or two and using the bathroom here is a very inappropriate time to catch on current events. “Mary, I don’t see any toilet paper!” No you don’t. That’s where the hose comes in. Hook that thing up to the faucet and clean yourself off. It seems gross at first, but it’s actually quite refreshing. Any guesses on how to flush? See that pink bucket? I keep the tub-like structure off to the side full of water and when it’s time to flush, a few bucket-fulls of water into the toilet will do the trick! Just like that you’ve relieved and feeling fresh.

Now it’s time to bathe. My first instinct was to climb into the tub thing. Luckily, I had Amy to tell me that was a bad idea and enlighten me, instead, to the option of bucket showering. No, there is no hot water, however, it is so hot here in Bandar Lampung, that nothing is more refreshing than dousing oneself with buckets of cold water!

Aside from “Weekly Photo Challenge” I’m going to file this post away under “Things I Miss”. I’d be lying to you if I said that I preferred this bathroom style even a little bit to my cozy bathrooms in the United States. I miss spending evenings in the bath tub listening to music. I miss standing in the shower and feeling like I’m in a warm rain storm. And I HATE having to put down my book just because I have to use the bathroom. I’ll go ahead and consider Indonesian bathrooms a character builder for me. An obstacle course in hygiene.

Daily Dine: Fruit and Cheese Plate

Note the fruit and cheese plate is NOT being ravenously gobbled up.

Ok, you got me. This one isn’t an Indonesian dish, but I had so much fun eating it last weekend with my Indonesian friends that I just had to share and feature Fruit and Cheese as today’s dine.

Any one of you who has been to a dinner party of mine, gone on a picnic with me, or seen me down in the dumps knows that I love me some fruit and cheese. It’s  usually best accompanied with wine or some bubbly, but there’s not too much of that here. It should be no secret, though, that fruit and cheese is still delicious even without old grape juice and I think it should be eaten daily.

Indonesians feel differently on this subject.

Amy and I hosted two dinner parties this weekend for our friends who are fasting for Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims get up around 4am for an early breakfast and then they don’t eat, drink, or smoke until around 6pm. Then the fast is broken until the following morning. Saturday night, we had the Coconut Gang over and then Sunday night some of the teachers we work with came over.

When we put out a plate of sliced Asian pears, apples, grapes, and dates along side a plate with old gouda and Laughing Cow cheese wedges, confusion filled the room. Apparently, snacking on cheese alone is rare, and pairing it with fruit is just crazy. Halluck ate everything enthusiastically and encouraged everyone else to try, which I love him for, but I’m not convinced that I’ve converted him to a fruit and cheese eater. Some liked just the fruit. Some liked just the cheese (NOT the aged gouda). And some were relieved when Amy brought out these fishy crackers that are very common in Indonesia. That’s right. Fruit and cheese was both foreign and disgusting, while crackers that reminded me of fishy pork rinds were found to be delicious.

Word of the Day: Belum

The Indonesians that I’ve been lucky to meet so far all love life so much and embrace the day and the opportunities that it presents. It’s a trait that makes Indonesians so much fun to be around! A word that reflects this sentiment is “belum”, in English, “not yet”. Instead of saying “tidak” (no) when asked a question such as “Have you eaten?” they’ll say “belum”. And it doesn’t stop there. I’ve quickly learned that the right answer for yes/no questions, such as “have you been to Bali?” and “Do you speak Bahasa Indonesia?” is always belum. Give it a try! If you haven’t sailed across the Atlantic, seen The Northern Lights, flown a plane, or been in love, the next time someone asks, say “not yet”, because you surely could some day. Voicing that really makes the future seem exciting, doesn’t it?

On a different note, when people ask me if I’ve been to the beach in Bandar Lampung, I can say “sudah!”  or “already!” My friends Jaka and Riski heard my cry to be in nature and made it happen for Amy and I. We spent this fabulous day on an island in Lampung Bay.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.