Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Learning the language

Monday thru Saturday I (Lori) walk uphill, sometimes on the sidewalk, sometimes on the road (because the sidewalk is broken in many places) to school. Sometimes, usually during the afternoon, I'm too hot and tired to make the 30 minute hike, so I look for a pedicab (becak) on the way. In the afternoons, I can usually find becak drivers taking a nap in their cabs at the side of the road after the roundabout. I try to find one that's still awake, and that actually wants to work. Most of the time, I can understand most of what they say in Bahasa Indonesia, or at least guess what they are saying. The following is a translation of our conversation, which I mostly guessed, cause this time the driver may as well have been speaking Japanese...

Him: Brubel grabel grub "You want to go where?"

Me: Nanggulan, please.

Him: Brubel grabel grub (pointing) "Nangulan up there?"

Me: Yes, is it possible?

Him: Brubel grabel grub (Nods) "Yes"

Me: How much will it be?

Him: brubel grabel grub (pointing at me) "How much do you want to pay?"

Me: (a bit nervous, I’ve never been asked this before, they usually start with a highish bid) Ah, 50? (lima puluh)

Him: Ayo! (waving me in the cab before I change my mind) "OK, let's go!"

Me: (a bit confused as to why he agreed so quickly, when I usually pay more than that to go downhill, and a shorter distance) That’s OK?

Him: (nods vigourously) "yes!"

Me: (realizing that i had said 50,000 (lima puluh) rather than 5,000 (lima ribu) Oh, sorry ! I meant 5,000.

Him: (Lots of belly aching laughter) Grubel grabel grub (pointing at me) "No, no, OK, how much do you want to pay, then?"

Me: No, you tell me how much you’d like (firmly this time)

Him: grubel grabel grub, (holds up 10 fingers) "10,000?"

Me: 7,000? (holds up 7 fingers)

Him: Ayo! (Waves me in the cab) "Done, lets go!"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

31 October

The rainy season finally arrived! Several Indonesians have commented on how late the rains were and they are convinced it is a result of global warming. I am surprised at how big an issue global warming is here. The rains start later in the afternoon and continue into the evening. They aren't as heavy as we experienced in Africa but last longer, at least from what we have experienced so far. One consequence of the rains is that it is a bit cooler, perhaps by two or three degrees. Just the other evening, Katie was complaining about being cold. I checked the temperature in the house and it was 28C, instead of the usual 30C. I think she has acclimatized.

On the 31st, Lori and some other MCC people went off to Jogja for a shopping trip leaving me with the oldest three and Zoe, age 5. This was one of the first days of rain so the girls went out in rain jackets and played in the rain. They would take turns standing under the drainage pipe and be thoroughly soaked. They weren't cold since even with rain during the day the temperature is around 30C. They had a great time. Later, I was told by some Indonesians that I was being a bad parent for letting them play in the rain, since this would make them sick.

After getting dried off, we all went for supper to Bu Rinis (Mrs. Rini's), a local restaurant that serves traditional Indonesian food along with some more Western dishes. We like Bu Rinis because the food is decent and the atmosphere is great. There is a green space with lots of bushes and plants where the children can play. Also, it is open air so there is a bit of a breeze that makes it comfortable. The building is traditional Javanese.

When we left for Bu Rinis, the rains had stopped but they started again after we arrived. This time, however, we had a bit of a storm so the wind was whipping rain into the restaurant. I didn't mind since we weren't getting wet and it cooled things off nicely, but Katie said she was freezing and the Indonesians had pulled on jackets and hoods. The meal was good. I had baked chicken with rice while the girls had grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries. To drink, the Mia and Zoe each had strawberry juice while Sara had orange juice, all freshly made. The girls really like the drinks. Indonesians like their drinks very sweet and so there is always a sludge of sugar at the bottom of the glass which the girls drink up with straws. Aside from the silt of sugar, the drinks are delicious. The meal for all of us came to about $6.

After the meal we drove home. It was still stormy and the power had been knocked out for the area so there were no traffic lights. Driving in Indonesia is always an adventure, Lori is still not quite comfortable being a passenger when we drive, but when it is dark, stormy, and the traffic lights are out, it is even more of an 'adventure'. We managed to get home without accident but we arrived home to darkness. Fortunately we had videos (VCDs) and the laptop battery was charged so the girls watched a movie by candle light and I made popcorn. A great time was had by all. The power eventually came on later in the evening.

Because of the storm, traffic from Jogja was slow so Lori was late getting home. However, the kids were enjoying themselves and I was reading the newspaper by flashlight. All in all, despite the storm and power outage, we had a great day in Indonesia.

For pictures, visit our picture album.