The memories of that trip to Indonesia lie in the softest place in my heart. For me, this is not only a journey or an adventure, but also a reflection on my own life.
Before going to Indonesia, I have been with many classmates from Indonesia for two years. I thought that I was ready to “get like a fish in water” in this country, and I thought that my ability to “endure hardship” was enough.
The fact is of course the opposite. I was immobile like a dead fish in Indonesia, and I was still the kind of little goldfish raised in a fish tank. The cause of my death was “Princess Disease”.
In fact, this trip itself was a “beautiful” accident. At that time, I was a poor graduate student and couldn’t afford the expenses other than studying and living, so I never planned to travel to Southeast Asia.
Once, my Indonesian friend invited me to participate in an event called “Batik Fashion Show”. “Batik” means batik cloth, which is used to make traditional Indonesian costumes. The rules of this event are simple: let non-Indonesians walk the show in batik clothes, and the first place will get a round-trip ticket to Jakarta.
Indonesian traditional batik making
A friend said that she has a lot of beautiful clothes, so she would just lend me to wear them. I thought, anyway, I neither wore gorgeous batik clothes, nor participated in beauty contests, and I had enough skin to play.
However, even if you go to play, you have to hold the mentality of winning. So before the game, I started to watch the “Victoria Secret” catwalk, learning how the models inside “catwalk”, “akimbo” and “glamorous”.
The competition is divided into two days, the first day is the knockout. My friend gave me a pink shirt with a white background. The skirt was as long as the ankle and the skirt was fluttering. The hair was combed and the flowers were put on, making me mistakenly think that I was a fairy descending to the world.
Other contestants are male and female. Most of the boys use ginger batik clothes. Those who are serious about the competition will wear sarong skirts; the girls are colorful and colorful. Some people even wear traditional Bali costumes and ornaments on their heads. Complex and gorgeous.
Combing my hair and putting flowers on it made me mistakenly thought I was a fairy descending to the world.
With the blessing of “Victoria’s Secret”, I entered the semi-finals. The next day, my racing suit was more gorgeous, a mopping white skirt with blue flowers, with a mermaid split on the bottom, which gave me a graceful look when I walked; the breast-length skirt was covered with a small skirt. Shawl, when I walked towards the audience, I let the shawl “accidentally” fall to my shoulder, and then looked back shyly.
In the end, I won a round-trip ticket to Jakarta as the first prize.
Chickens and ducks talk, compare their hands
I thought I would be able to travel all over the world if I could speak English. With my three-legged cat’s Indonesian and Google Translate, traveling to Indonesia shouldn’t be a big problem, and after I got off the plane, my Indonesian friend’s family came to pick me up.
However, my Indonesian is obviously very substandard, and with the tongue-in-cheek sound that I can never utter, the other party didn’t even understand “It’s nice to meet you”. I had to take out my mobile phone and translate it to them. After they said a few words in Indonesian that I didn’t understand, the next step was to smile with each other in embarrassment and politeness.
At this time, I was still optimistic. I thought, it doesn’t matter if the language is impassable, just smile, and you can communicate more than scribbled. I touched my stomach, understood each other, drove to the hotel and rested for a while before going to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner.
We sat down in the restaurant, and after a few words between friends and the waiter, the meals began to be served one after another.
Each dish is placed on a small plate. We have 5 adults and 1 child, but there are more than 20 dishes on the table, which are stacked on two levels. I know that Indonesians are enthusiastic, but it is impossible to finish such a table of dishes. I think, I can only try not to waste it.
During the meal, something strange happened. The friends’ plates were full of white rice, but each of them only chose one or two dishes to pour on the rice. After eating a lot of white rice, they didn’t eat any dishes. In the mood not to waste, I tried my best to “sweep the table”, but Indonesian food has a lot of sauce and heavy taste. With my own efforts, I can’t stand the table full of dishes. I even ate a few plates or two.
I looked at my friend suspiciously, who had an expression of “Enjoy yourself”.
It looks too hideous, and the chance of being sold as a pet is estimated to be less than the probability of being sold to a restaurant.
In order to avoid the embarrassment of fighting to pay, I went to the toilet and settled the bill with the waiter. The waiter didn’t give me the bill right away, but went to the table and took the rest of the dishes away. And I watched them put the uneaten dishes back on the table similar to the bar counter and put them together with other same dishes. The other waiters brought dozens of dishes that had just been “recycled” and put them on other people’s tables.
I was shocked at the time. At the checkout, the waiter only settled the few dishes we had eaten, and I suddenly realized that this is similar to a buffet, and the dishes that are not “chosen” just need to be left on the table.
I don’t know what my friends think about my “sweeping table” behavior just now. And I am also curious, if a customer just steals a small bite of a certain dish, will the waiter find out?
After bidding farewell to the local Indonesian friends, I immediately contacted Camel, a Chinese friend who can speak Indonesian, and asked for a companion. It was also the first time he came to Indonesia. When he was traveling elsewhere, I had no choice but to book a cheap hotel near him and wait.
Super bat eating fruit at the market
This hotel is close to poor East Jakarta, completely different from the brightly lit scene of West Jakarta. The next day I came out to breathe, and found that there were mostly second-hand electronics, toys and other sundries on the roadside stalls. Probably few tourists wander around like this on the road, and people will stare at me when I walk by.
Nearby is a market that resembles a flower and bird market. After I walked in, I discovered that there are all kinds of animals here. Goldfish, birds, cats, snakes, and lizards are the most common, while monkeys, civet cats, and super giant bats are rare.
The bat was more than 60 centimeters long and hung upside down in a cage to eat fruit. I believe that the bat that loves to eat fruits must be a “good bat”, but it is too hideous, and the chance of being sold as a pet is estimated to be less than the probability of being sold to a restaurant.
Two days later, I finally saw Camel, the “translator”, and immediately took refuge in him. He lives in a family dormitory for a local group. The furnishings of his room are extremely simple: an old mattress on the floor, a low table, not even quilts and pillows.
”You sleep in the room tonight, and I sleep in the living room.” He had lived there for a month and a half, and I nodded, thinking he was great.
He told me that there are two toilets in the dormitory, one is squat-style and the other is toilet-style, but I saw dead mice in the toilet a few days ago, so I suggested that I use the squat-style one, and the toilet is also a bathroom. .
Few Indonesians have a bathroom system in their homes, usually a large tank with water in it, and take a cold shower before it gets dark. Although Indonesia is a tropical country, the temperature difference between day and night is actually very large. In the dormitory where Camel was staying, there were only two plastic buckets with gaps in the darkened toilet to collect water. The water was scooped up with a scoop, both for showering and for flushing.
I don’t want to be a “little princess”. I used to live in an old bungalow where I could only use a spittoon to go to the toilet. However, I still encountered a problem: Indonesian toilets generally do not have toilet paper, so the bucket of water is also used to clean the body after going to the toilet. Then came the problem. After I cleaned my body with my hands, there was no soap to clean my hands.
I had to report this problem to Camel, and he looked at me suspiciously: “Don’t you wash your hands with clean water?”
Similar things are only trivial in our subsequent travels, but my “princess disease” has to break out from time to time, which makes me feel ashamed. Of course, there are surprises everywhere in Indonesia. I hope that after the epidemic is over, I can live there for a while.