It is hard to believe we are half way through our farm internship. In three weeks we will be moving on to different parts of Indo. For our halfway marker our field mentors decided to take us to the county capital for the weekend. This happened to fall on the day after one field mentor’s birthday, the day before American Independence Day, and the weekend of another exchange group arriving to come visit the farm. We found all of these things as a perfect excuse for a weekend of celebration.
After a morning of packing, calls home, and taking pictures of rain on plants and animals we all walked down to the angkot station. The walk continues to seem shorter and shorter. I do not know if it is because we are getting faster and stronger or if it is because we are so close as a team that time flies by without us noticing. We rode for an hour or so arriving in town just in time for lunch. We were so excited because instead of soy or egg product we ate pepes ayam (pehpes I ahm) , chicken steamed and wrapped in a banana leaf.
We walked into our field mentor’s home and the first thing off of everyone’s lips was, “Look, They have a couch!” Mind you, we had not eaten, washed, or even seen our rooms yet, but we all bee lined for it.
Our field mentor told us that she had a rhambutan tree in the back yard, but all the fruit was high up, so one of us might have to brave the ant and mosquito infested area for fruit. Turns out that they were not the biting kind in fact I only have scrapes on my arms from shimmying up because there were really no foot holds. Our field mentors helper was amused because appearantly girls do not climb trees in Indo, but she gave me the ten-foot long PVC pipe with a knife duct taped to the end for me to use once I got to the less sturdy branches. Picture this – Short, white girl shimmying up large, bug covered, tropical tree with stick and a knife, trying not to fall the fifteen plus feet while stretching to cut off large bunches of red hairy fruit. Rachel said I looked like Mogli. It was incredibly fun, but in the end Rob had to come out and cut them off because he was taller and was better with the knife.
After lunch we walked to the warong and without a translator bought coffee and sugar. We came home and read or catnapped in the living room for part of the afternoon. Kim and Eun Soo went for a bike ride at one point while the rest of us were just enjoying the peace and quiet.
Then came the highlight of the weekend. We all piled into our field mentor’s car and drove into the city. I think I went into a little bit of culture shock as the buildings got taller, the stores got brighter and were filled with more than just snacks and food, and people poured out of the woodwork. We arrived at the T-town mall which was huge and crammed full of vendors and their wares. We went to possibly the nicest Pizza Hut in existance where after being seated and given our menus we noticed, as usual, everyone was staring at us. The pizza is very different here: oil crust, tofu topping, mayo is cheese, and there was some sort of unidentifiable meat on the meat lovers. We are pretty sure it was a bacon and ham subsitute because of cousin dietary rules. We then went to KFC for thirty nine cent soft serve which tasted something like bananas or egg nog, or bubble gum or vanilla wafers. That just goes to show that after a certain amount of time anything sugar based will taste good because you are desperate.
Then we went for coffee at the “Express Coffee” which looked really mellow with mood lighting, couches, and free wifi until we walked in and heard Bruno Mars belting “Your beautiful just the way you are..” followed by Justin Beiber telling us he would never say never…
We all ordered our coffee and broke out the laptops, but then Rob decided to teach us how to make something called a Tim Tam Slam. Tim Tam’s are Australian chocolate covered chocolate waffers with chocolate cream that are good but rather average by them selves, but when you bite off opposite corners and suck your coffee through it stuffing it in your mouth just as it starts to fall apart because it is melting, it is the best chocolatey coffee gooey overstuffed mouthful ever. (Sorry for the run on sentence, but it was necessary to get the point across. )
Eun So and I went over to a gracery store in the mall with one of our field mentors to see all the fruits and vegitables. I saw star fruit, dragon fruit, snake fruit, long gourd, different varieties of papaya, mango, and other melon, cinnamon bark, some sort of purple persimon looking thing, and then in the middle of the store in this huge display stinking up the entire store sat large spikey durian. Actually it didn’t smell as awful as I thought it would, but I still have not tried it, so who knows what the final verdict will be.
We went back and a few of us coffee addicts had a good old fasioned shot of espresso before packing up and heading home. On the way home our mentor’s gave us a little bit of a night safari. We went and drove through deserted market places searching for wildlife. A question: when a rat is bigger than a cat, who chases who? For all Princess Bride fans out their ROUS’s (Rodents of Unusual Size) do in deed exist in the back streets and alley ways of Indo.
I’m relatively sure that the massive quantities of sugar and caffine are to blame for my sustained alertness. Hopefully I will get some sleep tonight as tomorrow we will be going for a run before hanging out with some university English students. After that we will be going to a batik ( Bah- teek) store shopping for fun fabrics and maybe look around at other shops in the area. We are so blessed here. I hope God is blessing you as much as He is growing us.