Adventure on the Volcano Papandayan
The adventure society of LSPR (The London School of Public Relations) had set off to climb a volcano Papandayan on Java. That does sound a little more dramatic than it actually was. So we meet at 19:00 to leave at 22:00 arrive at 04:00 to start at 07:00. Yeah those few hours in between are normal. Let’s call them Indonesian ours. We go up passing the legibly unhealthy sulphur craters that are said to be able to kill you if you pass out next to them. So don’t do that. Don’t pass out on a Volcano. It’s like “No drinking and driving” is a thing in Europe only, “No drinking and Volcano” is a thing in Indonesia only.
After a few hours of hiking only we reach a nice camp side on the back of the mountain. It is incredible how the locals carry everything up there on bikes or simply in strong legs and bend backs. In our base camp, the English was not to good and ironically the Indo guy that liked me the most was like the worst in German and kept calling me Alexandro. Well, we both had fun anyway. We went to the dead forest where the sulphur has killed all the trees. In the past that must have been a place of ghost stories, but now it is mainly a place of selfie sticks and wedding shots.
Taman Suropati and a Luwak’s teeth in my face.
This week we went to the park Taman Suropati again where it is easy for (white) people to get food, drinks and a guitar or a violin to play us a song. As we walk through the park looking for our friends we see the local dog community sitting in a group with their dogs playing around. And close by we see the local Luwak community sitting in a group with their Luwaks playing around. No big deal for the Indonesians but certainly super exciting for us white people. Yeah the Luwaks are the ones that shit coffee. And we are the ones that pay for shit.
As we went there to touch the cute animals and take some pictures some of the Indos were just as excited about the white Bule people as we have been about the Luwaks. And holding the animals the biggest one actually bit me in the face. Twice. The first time just playing. N big deal, I still liked it. The second time it still meant no harm but it was strong enough to make my nose bleed and that created a lot of drama. Such things happen when we play with predator animals instead of footballs and I am not mad about. “No big deal guys. However I don’t want to hold that one any longer.”
In Indonesia respect is more important than honesty
The Indonesian people are insanely friendly. They always smile at us and even stranger on the street keep on shouting a “Hey mister, how are you?” into my direction. Many of my colleagues, classmates and friends smile, nod and confirm. They seem to know everything, understand everything, like everything and agree almost all the time. And of course they don’t. But here children are taught to be nice and respectful to parents, teachers and certainly too white people. Way more than they are expected to address their own feelings or even understand somebody else’s.
I have never had somebody saying that they aren’t comfortable with a task. Instead tasks are just not done. It is hard for me to understand where I stand, how they really feel and how to best act and react. It is different here, no better or worse, but I do say that I miss the insanely direct Dutch people that make you very very aware of the fact that they don’t like you.
Indonesia is a very Muslim country and now it is Ramadan
June is the time of the Muslim holy month Ramadan. It is kind of annoying for us but it must be so much worse / or at least different for those Muslims that are actually fasting. In the morning between 03:00 and 04:00 AM kids go through the streets with drums to wake up the faithful. We only now that because we once met them on our way home and wondered why those kids are still up. No still, it turns out, but already. The Muslims are supposed to eat and drink a lot before the sunrises and then fast until sunset. That means many food places are closed. Although for me obviously. Getting food is suddenly not that easy anymore and some think it is inappropriate to eat in front of the ones fasting. That is not always easy in a country where 90% are Muslim and I am not yet ready to lock myself in the toilet to have a sandwich.
Every time I ask people how they feel they always say it is no problem, healthy for sure and that they are not hungry. That kind of links to the issue above. I feel like I am starving if there is more than 4h between Breakfast and lunch and they need to wait for so much longer. Anyway in the evening the fasting turn to feasting so this is the time for me to invite myself to a Muslim family’s dinner. Working on that.
Soundtrack of my life: Christina Grimmie & Mike Tompkins – Fall Out Boy & Alicia Keys MashUp
The girl in the video was just shot dead at 22 in a country where it is normal that people walk up to you, lift a gun and pull the trigger. America needs gun regulations.