Friday, 13 February 2015

Indonesia is different! 10 first days filled up with impressions

“Better to see something once that to hear about it thousand times”

You may think you are an expert in Indonesia because you know the facts; one of the most populated countries in the world, mostly Muslim, more than 17.000 islands to keep you entertain for a life time, corrupt government, land of active volcanos, impossible flirty Indonesian men with a bad habit of breaking women westerner hearts…however I would suggest that you forget anything you may think you know and makes you an expert on the matter because unless you have been here and travelled like a local, there is no way you know anything at all about Indonesia.

 I’m saying and writing this when it is now about then days that I’m in Indonesia and I can positively say that I have still everything to see and live however I am now ready to write some impressions because that, it does not take you that long to go experienced.

 Indonesia offers you first impressions every single day, leave you in awe often and it is also often that the shock comes for the wrong reasons. If you are expecting to read the wonders of the gigantic country, then stop. To write about only about the wonders of Indonesia, well, its own department of Tourism does a pretty good job but if you not only want to hear how this country seems to be, which it is and I will make sure to highlighted pretty clear but also the not so good staff, then you should keep reading me as I write for pleasure and I compromised only with my own opinions.

1.      Whether you like it or not, you will be not only a celebrity on its own right but also an English Teacher even if you can just speak about five words of it.

What makes the locals look at you with such indiscretion as soon as you step out of your modest accommodation place? Shouldn’t they be used to tourists by now? Yes and yes but as shocking as it seemed to me at the beginning, when you walk, shop or eat all eyes will be on you, at least for the first few minutes however be afraid not, they are normally kind and curious, there is no harm other than the fact that you would prefer some anonymity at least when eating but hey, the perks of having a lighter skin. I always thought they would be exotic ones but this exotic concepts takes on a whole new level here and suddenly you are the exotic…mmm…sounds better than it is because after a while, you just want to be ignore! If it has never happened to you, it does get easier and there are so many benefits for you such being in a country where everyone thinks you are beautiful. I mean, how great is that??

You will be asked more times that you can smile to have your picture taken with them and well…I leave it with you how many times you are willing to stop when trying to have a quiet walk on the beach… This does NEVER get better.

2.      English teacher

Yes, you didn’t know but here you become one and guess what, no one cares whether you can speak a word of it because your lighter skin it means to them that you speak English and that gives them right to stop you any time and ask you to improvise for them with a street class. After a while, it becomes a habit and because of it, it has also become a habit for me to be in a rush somewhere because honestly, from time to time, I can be almost delighted but here and on certain sites (like the Burubundur Temple) it becomes almost harassment! There is almost a habit of breaking the boundaries that they are not aware of.

3.      The colours of the landscapes are almost unreal

 This is a hard one to write about because not only I’m in a permanent awe about the colours of Indonesia but how to explain something of such extreme beauty without the risk of not describing it with justice. Of course I may say that these intense colours are now in full potential because it is rainy season here and everything blooms but nevertheless, not even the most beautiful picture prepares you to be so in love with the intense green colours of the rice fields, coconut plantations… This green becomes for me almost a new colour altogether, such is the intensity of it. I have seen beauty that I will not forget. When you drive or are in a scooter and pass these fields, there is just nowhere else in the whole that you want to be but here. This is the Indonesia I’m falling in love with, my own “Eat, Pray, Love” moment.

 4.      Beware of taxi drivers, they can be…persistent

I’m sorry to bring you from the extreme beauty of the fields to an ugly terrain; taxi drivers. Again, this is my very objective opinion but if something has spoilt so far some moments here for me are these very persistent men not always in the nicest way. It is a given that when you get off the bus or you are dropped in the middle of nowhere, also from nowhere these men will start appearing and surround you (plenty of them) wanting to take you to the moon if you ask them as long as you pay them and yes, money here is the key and the problem, too. There are several different taxis and positively, the private ones are the worse, they will ask you for crazy fares and not only that, but if you pre-arrange on a fare (always do!!) sometimes if the journey takes them longer than they thought, they will ask you for more upon arrival to your destination. Ok, so I’m not proud to say that I have been here only ten days and already had two really big arguments about this. If you feel they are ripping you of or taking the piss, they for sure are. Stick to your guts, insist on a meter taxi (they normally start at 7.000 IRP) and never ever arrived to Bandung on a Saturday J

 5.      The shows are free and happen on board the public buses

I can’t stress you enough that the way to travel in Indonesia is like a local. It is cheap and genuine, can become a rather nice experience given the already mentioned before curiosity towards us and this can often lead to nice interactions with random people (as long as they don’t ask you to teach them English!). It is even possible to find peace while on the long journey bus rides but don’t get too comfortable because as soon as it stops, the inside of the bus becomes a market and a concert. The vendors coming in and out are a given because they do so in the whole SE Asia and well, you just have to ignore them if you do not wish to purchase anything but the guitar players…well, that is different, just like the country! They will wake you up, take your attention for a little while and make you desperate 10 minutes later because they are not only loud but the songs sometimes are…too much to bear and you just want them to s.t.o.p

This, added to the karaoke music full blast on the bus playing during the whole journey makes the whole bus ride experience very artistic!

6.      Love is not real but you would wished it was

I’m not going to personalised much this entry because each to their own but if you are a female reader, single and you are thinking to travel to Indonesia, I would just say to you to beware. They are dark, exotic, charming and often beautifully different to our eyes. They will whisper pretty words that you will badly want to believe and eventually break your heart unless you keep it real but that is just…difficult. I think it’s important to keep reality present, if anything, Indonesian men make you dream with professional proficiency and it does not take long to be approached. It will happen, I can only say that it will make you intensely happy followed by a similar intense pain as passion combined with freedom makes it dangerous. Enough said.

Of course there are several more impression from these days but I think this is just enough for now. I still have a long way to go until my next destination, I’m sure many more intense experiences and adventures will come my way and I will be just ready to share them with you all.






1 comment:

  1. You have such a comic way of describing things darling, I love reading your entries it makes me smile all the time :) x