Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yogyakarta | Indonesia

Looking for that special something, with a unique flair? Some oleh-oleh that your friends back home will enjoy? Welcome to Yogyakarta (or as everyone here calls it, Jogja), shopping capital of Java, for local Indonesian crafts.

Our shopping trip today began at 9 am. Our driver, being the antithesis of every other Indonesian driver on the road, took his sweet time getting us to our destination. After lunch at McDonalds (which is a delicacy when you live in the middle of nowhere), we crossed traffic and began to walk down the main street of handicrafts and local goods called Malioboro. 

Think Canal Street, Asian style. Anything you could possibly want to remind you of your time in Indonesia was lined up on both sides of the street.

I also had a bit of a chuckle because every few feet, I would see something that we sold at World a fraction of the price. For instance, take these trays with a retractable mosquito net. World Market: $25, Indonesia: $3.

These guys, who drive baceks (bay check) line the street behind the stalls, begging you to let them take you somewhere. Anyways, this guy was pretty excited to have his picture taken. 

French fries, Christmas shopping, Starbucks city mug. All around successful day. I can't wait to do it again in three weeks when Debbie, Sondra, and Jan come to visit!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Salatiga | Indonesia

Welcome to Salatiga.

Today is the first in a series of posts aimed to introduce you, the reader who is most likely far, far away from here, to the city of Salatiga. Each week, I'll pick a different place that is an essential part of life here. 

This afternoon takes us downtown, to the heart of Salatiga. Luckily, it was a clear afternoon, so if you look in the distance, you can see one of the many surrounding volcanoes.

This street features many important places but the focus of today is a store called Karisma.

Karisma is the go-to teacher store. It features notebooks, posterboard, binders, pens and pencils and an assortment of other goodies that you never knew you needed until you walked in.

It's Indonesia, so everything is colorfully decorated, mostly featuring loud patterns. I love it.

The upstairs hosts a multitude of books on a variety of topics. Alas, they are all in Indonesian and I cannot read any of them. Yet.

I was taken to Karisma on the second day I was in Salatiga, vis Angkot. I remember, at the time, it seemed so far away. All of the buildings looked the same to me and everything was written in gibberish. I remember thinking to myself, how am I ever going to learn my way around this place?

It's funny how much things can change in two months time. This afternoon, I just zipped down the street, on my bike, and parked right in front. I was able to respond to the man that greeted us as we walked in (Salamat malam, which means good evening) and when the cashier told me how much my purchase was, I didn't think twice as I pulled out my colorful bills and paid her, because numbers are one of the few things I have learned thus far. 

Although my Indonesian skills simply reach to basic greetings, family members and numbers, it's enough to get by with and enough to make this place feel comfortable, almost like home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Central Java | Indonesia

I took a small drive this weekend. I'm not quite sure where I went, but the road wound through several villages and over a spectacular river, surrounded by the rice paddies.

I passed several cars along the way. When I figured that I had gone far enough for the day, I turned around and passed the some of the same cars while I was going the other direction. Since I was in a rather remote area and I suppose it wasn't typical to see an American girl driving a bike down the road there, several of the drivers excitedly told their passengers and waved as I passed by them again. It was rather entertaining.

On another note, I surpassed 1,000 km on my bike this weekend! For those of you, like me, who have absolutely no concept of how far that is, it is just over 621 miles.

The Seasons are Changing...

 Not so much here, still hot and humid, but every time I get on Yahoo, there is an article about a scenic drive to see the foliage, the state fair or a new recipe for pumpkin pie. October is my favorite month of the year and I wanted to bring a bit of that to my classroom!