A wedding that was yet different from the other weddings I have been to.
One morning our friends told us that we are welcome to join a wedding in Bandung. So the girls went all crazy on what to wear. To be fair me and our host although discussed about it. In the end the Indonesians supplied us with traditional batik and we went to what turned out to be a little weird. In the assembly hall of a military area we enter the back of a hall, the floor covered with plastic cubs, melon and flower buckets. We apparently had missed the food, which is frankly said the reason I go places. As we join the crowd the other guests hand me beer and the girls water. Defying society or just being rude I use my male privileges to supply the white girls with real drinks. For about 5 minutes the Indonesian women pointed at the girls and talked behind hands until one or two courageous indo women stared handing out beer to their female friends. Minutes after my friends stopped drinking all beers disappeared from the women’s’ hands. Many things seem to be meant only for men. Definitely drinking, smoking and driving. All of which the girls from Europe enjoy. At one point our host gave in, handed Irena a drink and a cigarette and said: “Bulgaria…..”
Bandung Nightlife with our host and how to pay in secret
On our last evening our 50+ host was really excited to take us out for a bit. After the hot spring we have been mainly tired but who are we to say no to going out? First he invited us to have street food and through some misunderstanding I ended up ordering the single most expensive dish available. I guess that is as inappropriate in Indonesia as it is in Europe but he paid without a word of complaint and I am left to admit that it was great. As we set down in the bar of his recommendation we decided to take back control and invite him. Since he would never accept that one of us would secretly make arrangements with the waiter and while I talked to him Irena turned around and slipped money to the waitress. When she brought change our host looked up in despair and surprise to ask for the bill but the waitress just left and he needed to accept our gift. The next time we might just as well let them have their way and enjoy free stuff.
Asking my Sudanese African friends about Sundanese Indonesian food
On our way we stopped in the Sundanese hills of west Java to have a traditional meal. I could hardly resist to text my Sudanese friends from Africa rather or not they are familiar with Sundanese Indonesian dishes. Sundanese is actually an ethnicity around Bandung. In between the fields and the jungle we sat down on the floor around a tiny table in a restaurant made completely of Bamboo. With the local cats waiting at the door and the view of hills we had were so busy taking selfies that we didn’t even realized when our host Asep sneaked away to pay the bill.
Green waters and grey sand
The green water gives birth to sulphury smoke that is said to be unhealthy after 15 minutes. We stayed less than an hour. The sight truly is special and I think it is really creepy but one way or another it attracts enough Indonesians to keep us busy with pictures and selfies. Some girls came up to me and started pushing away boys that were holding up their phones in front of our faces. These mean girls are the only ones I ever refused a picture. At the shores of the green lake many couples take pictures and I must have photo bombed one or two more or less willingly. We even saw one bride, that turned out to be a fake bride only dressed up to fill some photographers portfolio.
Playing like little kids in the Sundanese tea fields.
Like we farm corn and wheat the people in West Java, like Bandung, farm rice and tea (and some tomatoes.) Somehow we started to run around in a tea field and as some men approached us we feared the worst but turns out the just wanted to charge us entry. Probably they do not even own the field. They just saw the white people and decided to take a chance. But to be honest, if somebody tries to charge me 30 cents I might just as well pay. The tea fields are little labyrinths and extremely joyful for us that we are not used to them. This is certainly one of the occasions where the Indonesians just shake their heads and ask themselves what is wrong with the white that they are so weirdly happy all the time.
As we needed to change our plans and take a shuttle back to Jakarta the Indonesians tried to get the right thing for us and booked the most expensive service. It is strange to them that we are more poor backpackers than rich white people but in the end even the expensive Indonesian things often are affordable to us. We remain grateful and thanks God we know how to design, so we will send our host a nice little leaflet. That is somewhat white-fancy but still backpacker-cheap.
Soundtrack of my life: Me Myself & I, Indian Style