Monkey See Monkey DON’T

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I’ve hinted at the fact that monkeys excel at the art of mischief, and I’m amazed that I haven’t a had negative experience with one for over a month now. Considering that I see monkeys nearly every day, this is really amazing, and if you’ve ever lived somewhere with monkeys, you know exactly what I mean.

The thing about monkeys that is so conflicting is that they have got to be one of the, if not THE, most fascinating animals to observe. Their social groups, behaviors, and acrobatics are incredible and they’re easy to want to love because they look like little tailed humans, especially their hands.

such tender love

such tender love

I too like back rubs. We have so much in common.

I too like back rubs. We have so much in common.

Then they pull these kinds of shenanigans and it makes you hate them.

That cheeky guy in the background started rummaging through my purse right after this picture was taken.

That cheeky guy in the background started rummaging through my purse right after this picture was taken.

I bought this banana bunch to feed the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubub, Bali. FIVE METERS into the park, this guy climbed up my body and ripped the bananas out of my hands.

I bought this banana bunch to feed the monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali. FIVE METERS into the park, this guy climbed up my body and ripped the bananas out of my hands.

This guy jumped onto Amy's head and bit her until she gave him her sunglasses in the Sacred Monkey Forest of Bali.

This jerk jumped onto Amy’s head and bit her until she gave him her sunglasses in the Sacred Monkey Forest of Bali.

This fearless guy at Mount Popa in Myanmar ripped that corn literally right out of my mouth.

This world champion a** hole at Mount Popa in Myanmar ripped that corn literally right out of my mouth.

This was Susan's first meeting with a monkey.

This was Susan’s first meeting with a monkey.

oh no you don't.

oh no you don’t.

My friends are crazy about keeping the doors shut and their security guards have pellet guns, not to keep burglars out of the house, but monkeys. More than once, I’ve woken up and found monkeys with their faces pressed against the window and banging on the glass. Do not let them our furry cousins in. Just don’t.

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Watch out, Indo! Susan’s coming!

I’ve been out of my mind excited for the past two months because Susan, my favorite travel buddy, will be in Indonesia on Sunday! We have a super exciting holiday planned out that includes a surf beach and isolated tropical island in Sumatra and then the pre-Islamic ruins of Central Java. Many stories are sure to come from the next week and a half!

Here are some photos of our previous adventures, though this is only scratching the surface of places we’ve been together!

Carnaval - La Vega, Dominican Republic 2009

Carnaval – La Vega, Dominican Republic

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Valparaiso, Chili - Rumor has it this summit was Darwin's favorite place

Valparaiso, Chile – Rumor has it this summit was Darwin’s favorite place

Wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina

Wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina

Colonia, Uruguay

Colonia, Uruguay

Potato Creek State Park, Indiana - the half way point between our two houses in the States

Potato Creek State Park, Indiana – the half way point between our two houses in the States

Chicago

Chicago

That great feeling after leaving the salon

I love going to get my hair done at Makeover in Bandar Lampung. Full stop. Let me tell you why.

In the United States, I consider a $30.00 hair cut that looks good a deal. I am usually in and out of the salon in 30-40 minutes after being shampooed, sheered, and styled. I leave feeling beautiful and happy and then am usually slightly angry the next day when I realize that I don’t have the tools or know how to make my hair look as good as my stylist did the day before. This results in having to play with it for a while on my own to figure out I can make it look good.

When I go to Makeover for a haircut, I’m there for two heavenly hours. This is because I ask for a hair spa along with a cut. The hair spa is a shampoo and leave in conditioner treatment that includes an hour an half head, shoulder and hand massage. It’s awesome. During that time, me and whoever is massaging me, look through hair books together weighing the pros and cons of each cut, compare them to the shape of my face, and then talk about my daily routine to work out if I realistically could manage it. It’s so helpful.

After my massage, I’m passed over to my stylist, who I’ve been going to for nearly six months now and knows me and my hair as if it were his own. We then discuss my chosen cut and talk about any modifications he can make.

In the United States, people tend to play it safe with their hair. Big changes are seldom and the celebrities that we imitate usually have pretty normal haircuts. In Asia, people are much more risky with their hair and I could see the disappointment in my stylist’s face every time I went in to get my hair done and said “just a trim today! I want it to look exactly the same only cleaner.” He would then proceed to try and convince me to add some more layers, angle it a bit, or go shorter, which would send me into a panic and he would ultimately then do exactly as I requested. And phenomenally might I add.

This time around, I mentioned to my masseuse that I was thinking about going shorter and he spent an hour and half convincing me that that was an excellent choice. “You will look so trendy!” “You will feel so fresh!” “A short cut will you look beautiful with your face and bring out your eyes!” Thank you, sir. That was the push I needed to be bold and go short.

The look on my stylists face when I pointed to a funky short do in a Korean style book was priceless. “Are you sure?” he said again and again. “You always just want a trim! Why don’t we just do that? I know you will be happy.” “Take it all” I said “I need a change.” And he went to town like a wizard cutting, razor-ing, and texturing my fine blonde hair. He moved so fast, that I couldn’t even register what was happening to my hair or establish any sure feelings of fear, excitement, or otherwise. I’ve never seen an artist give such astute attention to detail, using so many tools, at such speed.

This is the end product and color me delighted!

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The service that just described – hair spa, cut, and style – cost me a whopping USD $7.00. Yup.

“No Forks in the Toilet” and Other Bathroom Guidelines

Going to the bathroom in Indonesia brings up endless questions. However the question that I most frequently ask myself is why people have to be told not to do the following:IMG_2346Does this sign imply that people need to be instructed that the toilet is for one life function only and not for others, eating and bathing?

I like to look at this from left to right and empathize with the person in the pictures. I guess if you were standing on the toilet while you were eating lunch, it would be much easier to throw all your cutlery, plates, and glasses in the toilet as opposed to carry it to a trash can. I mean, if you were holding onto all those things, you would probably drop it all in the toilet anyway while you were trying to keep your balance and step off the toilet seat. After that, let’s say some sauce dripped on your foot… how convenient to have a hose right there to wash off with!

Being that everything one does in the bathroom is behind closed doors, while I’ve never found myself with this urges I can’t speak for everyone. What you do in a bathroom stall is your business, but follow a few simple rules.

“I’d like a large latte with an extra shot of motivation, please.”

My go-to answer for “What are you going to do when you contract finishes in Indonesia” has always been “go to grad school.” After finishing my applications, when people asked me what I was going to do, I would bury my face in my hands and say “I have no idea” because once my applications were submitted, my say in the matter was taken away and it was up to Goldsmiths University of London, University of Chicago, and Columbia University as to what I was going to do next year. I applied to University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration to study International Social Welfare and specialize in Services to Refugees and Immigrants, University of Columbia’s School of Social Work for the same thing, and Goldsmiths University of London to study Applied Anthropology and Community Development. So far, I’ve heard back from Goldsmiths and YAY I’ve been accepted! Now comes applying for funding…

IMG_2276This brings me to coffee shops. Applying for grad school, and now for funding, involves filling out a sizable amount of forms and doing lots of writing. There are few things that I hate more than paperwork, and there are few places where I am more productive than a coffee shop. The comfortable chairs. The soft indie music. The never failing wifi. The highly caffeinated drinks, which with a little bit of luck, are bottomless. And the patrons reading, writing, or doing other quiet activities. These things combined make for my most productive environment and I take full advantage of every moment in them, sometimes for a full working day. At this critical time of forms and essays, I need a coffee shop bad.

There are a few places here that call themselves coffee shops, but making my rounds (and trying to get work done there) I can say with one hundred percent certainty that they are not what I’m looking for. They are restaurants that also serve coffee. This is why I’m not particularly pleased:

Hours

I love coffee shops for their hours. When it’s 8 or 9 am and I am barely human, I can mosey into a local coffee shop and be given something magical that makes me come alive and gets me going. By the time lunch time comes around, there’s a soup and salad special or a bagel sandwich with my name on it packed with fuel to keep my brain working and fingers typing until my Goal List for the day is all crossed off. Coffee shops, save Starbucks, Bloomington’s Soma, and a hand full of others I’ve sat at, also close early. Like between 6 – 9pm early and on a rare occasion, 10 or 11. This is good because it forces me to get everything done in a limited time frame and then get out of there with my entire evening to enjoy.

Here’s the problem with Indonesian “coffee shop” hours. Waroeng Kopi (literally, Coffee Shop) is my obvious go to because it is less than a minute’s walk from my house. Unfortunately, it opens at noon and closes at 11pm, midnight on Saturdays. NOON? NO! In an ideal situation, I am OUT of the coffee shop, or almost ready to leave, by noon, not just getting in!

Food 

Dining at Waroeng Kopi, or the other options, such as The Coffee, is heavy. Literally. We’re talking greasy burgers, fried rice, huge french fries, creamy pastas, and special at Waroeng Kopi, weird bread dishes. The weird bread dishes are composed of white bread with fillings and toppings ranging from fruit and cream to bolognese sauce and then DEEP FRIED. Where is my seasonal salad? Where is my soup? Where are my bagels and muffins? A deep fried bolognese sandwich makes me want to do nothing except curl into the fetal position, sleep the rest of the day, and snap at Monty when he lays on my stomach, which I normally beg him to do, but now it’s sore. The polar opposite of taking care of business.

Music

I’ve been at Waroeng Kopi for an hour and half. So far, I have been forced to listen to Maroon 5 remixes, Christmas music, Carlie Rae Jepson, one Michael Buble song, and half of a Frank Sinatra tune. I don’t know the current artist is, but she is bumpin’ and bumpin’ is not what I need right now. Where are you Neko Case, Sufjan Stevens, Billie Holiday, and The Avett Brothers? I need you bad.

Other Patrons

Besides the music, Waroeng Kopi is quiet. Quiet because there are rarely other people there.

Other people are a key factor in my equation to being productive because if Mr. Wire Glasses and a Vest looks up from his book to see me laughing out loud at Tumblr, I’m sure that he’s thinking “why is she wasting that $6 latte on Tumblr when she could be writing a paper that will change the field of Anthropology forever?” I also am sure — because I do this — that when the person who has been at the coffee shop all day working’s computer is about to die, they are enraged if they see me hogging an electrical outlet to power my Facebook machine. Their disapproving glares keep me in line and I need them.

Outdoor seating at Waroeng Kopi

A typical afternoon at Waroeng Kopi

The other problem with the patrons at coffee shops here stems from the fact that coffee shops are restaurants, not coffee shops. How am I supposed to work next to a table of loud people who want to know where I’m from, why I’m in Lampung, what I’m doing, where I’m going after the coffee shop, where I was before coming to the coffee shop, and if they can take my picture? Or if I’m at The Coffee, there’s way too high of a chance that the table next to me has a tower of beer. That’s right, in a city where there are exactly 4 bars — none of which are popular hang out joints — you can find beer at “coffee shops”. NO NO NO! The last thing that I need distracting me is alcohol. I want to get my stuff done at the coffee shop, and then move somewhere else to reward myself with beer.

So that’s where we are. I’ve been Waroeng Kopi for nearly three hours, and now it’s storming, so I have even less motivation to walk home as I do to search for and complete scholarship applications. Fortunately, they just put on a acoustic song. Please be an entire album.

Pour House in Bloomington, Indiana, I miss you more than you know. I miss that your baristas knew if I needed an extra shot in my Cafe Miel by the look on my face when I walked through the door. I miss your chocolate chip cookies, made daily from scratch. I miss your chili and white bean soup. I your soft music, soft sofas, and soft lights. And I miss knowing that your profits and my tips always went to a good cause. Please consider opening up a location in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia. I promise that, if you do, I will personally keep you in business.

Dorky Travelers in Myanmar….

This is the last of my Myanmar posts, but I realized that I was leaving my travel buddies out of my blog posts, which I’m going to fix right now.

“I’d like one order of Chevon’s Lesticles” … said no one ever.

Some signs and menus from Myanmar that cracked me up… Enjoy.

This is pronounced POOCHI, right? Wrong.

This is pronounced POOCHI, right? Wrong.

 

 

 

I'd like some Freedom Fries with my Liberty Sweets please

I’d like some Freedom Fries with my Liberty Sweets please

This entire menu is doozy from the Holiday Inn motif to the Texas BBQ, but scroll down past the Dove and Sparrow options to number 15...

This entire menu is doozy from the Holiday Inn motif to the Texas BBQ, but scroll down past the Dove and Sparrow options to number 15…

Unfortunately, you can only watch one bird

Unfortunately, you can only watch one bird

I would like the snake head soup, I mean potion,  please.

I would like the snake head soup, I mean potion, please.

What exactly are we rejecting?

What exactly are we rejecting?

Do you L<3ve fried rice? I'm pretty tired of it...

Do you L<3ve fried rice? I’m honestly pretty tired of it…

All you need is love. DER!

All you need is love. DER!