Tropical illness, as far as mine is going, is fairly mild – thank god. It however has resulted in an incredibly dull week. You see that bad boy up there? That’s where I’ve spent my entire week. This in turn has resulted in incredibly sparce pickings to write about.
I could tell you about some fever dreams I’ve had, or complain and bitch. But it adds little in the way of greater, or even lesser, good at this point. I am however going to take this opportunity to expand on some of my favourite – and least – bits of Indonesian culture and experience.
First off: Arak.
This bad boy is the local moonshine. This naughty water is a distillation of rice wine, makes for fuzzy fun memories and a slightly sweet mixed drink. What you save in Rupiah, however you pay for dearly in comfort the next day. Some victims suffering what is known as an “Arak-attack” reducing yours truly into cold shivers and teleporting him to the 7th level of Dante’s inferno. Most likely caused on no small part by improper distillation, or in my case perhaps the onset of disease, the jury is out on that one. So whilst fun, I cannot endorse, in fact must fully warn you away. Cause, well I don’t wanna be sued.
When done right, is fun for the whole family. When done wrong leaves one or another party at a loss, though never literally, the intercultural ramifications can be far reaching. Couple tips and tricks to maximise the experience.
– Keep in mind the different economic standing of each party. Not in a charitable or diminutive matter, just a realistic, holistic perspective.
– Have fun with it, a light touch and some humour may even work on your favour.
– Learn some basic Indonesian, it’s a real good time and is super simple to pick up. Plus you’ll have plenty eager tutors to help you along when you inevitably reach the edge of your capabilities.
– Bargain not for sport or gain, but in mutual respect and for mutual benefit. Simply bargaining without the intent to purchase is seen as incredibly rude and does nothing for intercultural relations. However be aware of those who slyly entice you into negotiations.
Third: Bahasa Indonesia.
Again, real easy to pick up. Due to its simple structure, devoid of grammatical nuisances such as tense. The annual publication of Indo Surf and Lingo was well helpful in this endeavour.
Fourth: Local Food.
Don’t be fooled into thinking there is a lack of variety. Sure many shops offer the regional classic, Nasi Campur, literally translating to, rice with many toppings. There’s a rich and varied tapestry for the bold. Bali belly is a threat but much like sharks, receives far more publicity than it is due. One of the favourites being Matarbak and Trem Bulan, I ain’t gonna explain just go get some.
Probably the only real sore spot, I can find with Indo that isn’t the direct result of tourists. It’s pervasive and expanding. It stands in direct juxtaposition to the tropical paradise of this archipelago. Reaching where man has not since the advent of plastic, the main culprit, but this is another bitch for another day. So, don’t drink dodgy water and keep them cuts and scratches disinfected.
That does it for Indo. Next update will be from Vietnam. Amped to get involved in some strong biking.