The Guling ❤
The Indonesian pillow lovingly called “The Sausage Pillow” among foreigners. As the name says it, this long cylindrical pillow is on every bed in Indonesia and it’s sooooo comfortable to hug it and sleep with it. You still get the normal pillow, but the guling makes sleeping so much nicer.
Other than the fact that driving here is on the left side, the way of driving can be seen as crazy and chaotic. The streets are filled with motorcycles which always look for a place in front, that means driving on the side walk, between cars, doesn’t matter. Stop lights and road signs are usually just a recommendation, if the situation allows it, Indonesians usually ignore them completely.
Step by step, oh no !
The few side walks that you can find are usually for small warungs or for motorcycles to get in front, as stated above, definitely not for taking a walk. Actually going around the city on foot is difficult and considered strange and crazy, plus you will get A LOT of honks. And if you think “oh, it’s close by, I can walk to there” don’t. Take angkot or ojek (motor cycle taxi) to anywhere.
A lot of Indonesians would like to talk to you, as a foreigner, and get your attention. So a lot of times you will hear “Hello Mister” even if you are a girl. The bravest ones can add “How are you? What is your name? Where are you from?”. But the funniest part is that probably you will hear this after you passed them, as they are too shy to say it to your face when they see you. You can choose to answer or just smile and wave. You might even be asked to be photographed, take the opportunity to feel like a superstar.
Let’s go to the park! oh, wait there is no park…
Yes, unfortunately the green spaces are not so common in Indonesia. Some cities have the city centre arranged as a park, green space for people, which is nice, but other than that, you have to search and discover your own places where you can take a rest. In Malang the alun-alun (city centre) has benches and you can hang around there, but you will see most people just sitting on the side walks or on the bridges drinking tea, watching TV, etc.
Let’s socialize! Have is my like!
Going out usually implies taking laptop, tables, smart phones and the very famous battery bank – with which you can keep your phone charged. Although they sit around the table while out in town, Indonesians are always online, tweeting, facebooking and whatever they do. It’s ok, that is their way, but can easily be distracted from their online occupations if you strike a conversation with them.
Soap and water is the way to go!
You might think, of course soap and water is the way to go 🙂 BUT! soap and water instead of toilet paper, what do you think? The traditional toilettes in Indonesia are “squat” type, might know them as Turkish or French 🙂 and cleaning afterwards is done by using a water jet. So, better have with you at all times a pack of napkins 🙂
Let the Wellness begin!
One of the best aspects of life in Indonesia is the variety and diversity of fruits. There is a whole list of tropical fruits that can be found here and even better, there are fresh juice places with prices raging from 5.000 to 12.000 rupiah for freshly squeezed juices. Also very common and affordable are the massage places, either go all the way and be pampered in a spa or just take regular massage than can range from 30 min to 2,5h, and prices start from 25.000 rupiah. It is the best place to keep your body healthy and in shape!
Whatever information you get, double it!
There could be written a whole book on the time perception and importance in Indonesia, but to sum things up, time is no considered as a resource (time=money), but a cyclic phenomenon and so Indonesians are very relaxed. When asking about directions or information about duration, don’t take it as very accurate. Most Indonesians will say just about anything just so that they don’t have to say “I can’t help you” or “I don’t know”, the same with time, they will tell you the “approximate” time to get somewhere, but it’s best to ask more people and just sum and divide at the end. On the same note, time appreciation in Indonesia, being late or waiting is considered something normal, so many times Indonesians may not come on time if you set up a meeting, don’t take it personally!
There is this magical thing, a small box that comes in many shapes and colors, and it comes in handy in the worst of times. It stocks up our precious electricity and with one click can reload our beloved phones, tablets, and any gadgets whatsoever. If in other parts of the world, having a low battery is a conversation starter with the bartender or the waitresses, in Indonesia this social interaction can be avoided by plugin to the power bank. But power banks run out of battery themselves, don’t they? 🙂