Indonesia was my last country in Southeast Asia before I (slowly) had to return back to Europe and at the same time one of my favorites. I was lucky enough to experience the Indonesian way of life. Here is why & how:
- I have a German friend who lives and works in Jakarta. Although the city might not be a tourist favorite, I had all the inside infos. We ate amazing food, saw the most important sights and had a driver, who was taking us everywhere. OMG, that felt so wonderful after all those train, bus, boat, tuk-tuk, motorbike and whatever else rides. It’s nice to have someone else for a change and not plan every day by yourself.
- I stayed with an Indonesian family in East Lombok (Lombok Timur). Just getting there by local transport (boat, horse-drawn carriage, shared old jeep, shared mini-van) was an incredible adventure on its own. Once there, I felt like I was the only foreigner the people had ever seen. Everyone was looking at me, all the time. Quite a few people approached and asked for a photo which was pretty cool. A touch of being famous, maybe? I was pretty excited to meet the family who had offered to host me for a few days. Well, to be honest, I don’t have enough words to describe the hospitality I experienced there. They had prepared a small room for me with a small fan. How awesome is that? You have to know that they don’t have a TV, they cook with fire and wood, the shower is a pool of water with a bucket. And then they served me some soup, fruits, self-made ice-tea and my favorite Indonesian dish: gado-gado (mixed vegetables with peanut sauce). Slowly, all the family members and neighbors came by to see the “bule”, the white and tall foreigner. Everyone was really shy at first. But it doesn’t take kids very long to open up. I learned quite a few Indonesian words and phrases in no time. The following days we played a lot (including some intense chess sessions), ate together, explored the town and went to the public beach. I was amazed how creative the kids are. They kept themselves busy all day. Outside. Without any “new media” like smartphones, Xbox or whatever. They invented their own games, used little stones to play tic-tac-toe, folded pretty much anything from a piece of paper… There’s so much our “Western kids” could learn from them!
- I was able to teach in an Indonesian school, meet the students and the teachers. Take a look at the pictures below to find out more…
- I learned first hand that sea urchins are mean and that Indonesian hospitals are strange, but pretty well-organized. When the two doctors were trying to cut the splinters out of my foot, many people gathered around. Finally, something was happening here… Let’s all have a look! The next day I had to give my poor foot some rest, so we borrowed a motorbike and drove a long way to another beach. For the last few miles we had to take a fishing boat until we finally reached the “Pink Beach“. It was a really, really hot day, but the scenery was beautiful and I enjoyed it very much. (Btw, this was actually the first place in Lombok that I met a few other tourists.) On the way back we dealt with a flat tyre. The cost of repairs amounted to around $3. Wow!
And finally, here are a 100 more reasons, why you should come and visit Indonesia: