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.

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