Friday, September 18, 2009

Destination: Indonesia

My mate is going to visit me this October. This is his first visit to South East Asia. He asked, why Indonesia? Right, good question. There are pristine beaches in Thailand, huge majestic limestone in Vietnam, grandiose Angkor Wat in Cambodia, "gaudy-asian-package" in Malaysia and compact, reliable, mini USA in Singapore. What is so special about Indonesia? I have some reasons. I made a list of it and hopefully I can get some more from my patriotic, imaginative and intrepid traveling friends in here (get you fingers ready for adding the list please =D)

1. Indonesia is a place where the less money you have, the tanner you will be. Don't bother lying inside that hideous Victoria-Beckham-style tanning capsule device. Simply rent a rickshaw for a day, go around the city and enjoy. No, I don't mean to sit inside the rickshaw. To get the best result, drive the rickshaw on your own. If you're lucky enough, you might get some passengers and money. And muscle too! (attention: it is very healthy for professionals. For beginners, I encourage you to consult your gym trainer in advance).

2. Indonesia is an adventurous place. Seriously. The limitation of possible amazing holiday story in a lifetime
is just your imagination. For example, two guys got to know each other in Wamena because they both jumped from their room's window during the fire due to Papua sepation's riots in 2001. Note: there was no appropriate fire exit in poxy inns in Indonesia. The fire instruction apparently read: "jump from any possible exits in case of fire". Since then they became very close traveling buddies (and are still happily alive, FYI).

3. Indonesia has three different time zones, thousands of inhabited islands, Asian and Australasian fauna (including komodo dragon, orang utan and birds of paradise), about 700 (seven-hundreds) local languages. Why those things matter? The first one is important for making a phone call. Once I spent all my phone credit because I forgot I was in the different time zone. My mobile provider had "after 5 o'clock rate" discount scheme. But I called from Bali without considering that my mobile's number had been registered in Java, so Java's time was applied. Always considering your time zone, otherwise you may make call at 6 in the morning instead of 8 (so fun!). Secondly, there is still possibility you can buy an island here. I once went to Flores and I saw an island surrounded by high fence like a castle. Some said it belonged to a filthy rich English man. Well, perhaps it is true, an Englishman's island is his castle. Thirdly, you can track back your ancestor's trait from the high level of biodiversity. Take an example of orang utan. It might reflect our natural forces in general ^_^. Lastly, the local language is fantastic. If I go further afield, to more dense part of Indonesia outside my own island, I can pretend I am abroad e.g. in Amazon or Tuvalu. Even if you speak impeccable Indonesian, you're quite hopeless here. That's why people need a local travel guide to trek to villages in some deserted part of Indonesia.

4. Indonesia is a perfect place for shopping trip. Before you argue that other places might be better, cool yourself down because I will explain why. Shopping experience is different here. You have to practise to haggle like a pro. You might not want to sweat for a few rupiah less. Let me tell you, it's not about the money. It's about winning and conquering. My mom is a tough buyer and she thinks that supermarket with its fixed price is so boring. Open-traditional market is her battle field. She can debate, argue, disprove, reason, agitate and oppose on a pair of slipper's price. For her, everything she wants should be a bargain. You are also trained to be very assertive because street hawkers and touts can be very rude and persuasive. Whatever you buy, you have to use all your tricks, tactics, cunning, proficiency and expertise to be "a smart buyer". Then you can shop till your account balance drops.

5. If Malaysia claims itself as a "handy-asia" you might find Indonesia as a complicated version of Asia. To travel from one place to another can be tricky, because we are a vast archipelago. So how c
an this be a reason? Because you will see reality. If Malaysia is just a garish display of culture and stuffs, we have the real things that you have to dig in and not served in a silver plate. Malaysia is like a zoo when we are the wildlife (David Attenborough will agree with me). As a wildlife, our culture lives on its own, in its own habitat. Some of them survive and some become half-extinct or get bombed. That is real life (life is hard, man!)

6. If you hate your neighbour, you can tell the police that they are terrorists. They will kill them for free (and check their identity later).

7. If you forget the rule, just keep money or cigarette handy. It's a justification to let you free.

8. Indonesia is the best place to make friends. Most of us are over familiar and just extremely friendly that you may find a lot of people asking you personal questions as if they know you for ages. My friend used to get greeting addressed to his family back home from passers by.

9. Indonesia is the best place to know about new gadgets available in the market. Forget Japan. This is t
he place. (P.S. you should see my brother's).

Indonesia is the best place if you wonder whether you are allergic to certain food or not. We put many kind of spices in our food. And we cook all ingredients imaginable such as buffalo's skin, dog's meat, cow's blood, cow's intestine, cow's brain, cow's liver (in short, nothing left from dead cow, poor girl!), snake, king cobra's meat, chicken's feet, chicken's intestine, bekicot, duren, pete, jack fruit, frogs, and many mollusk in the ocean. If you a true food adventurer, here is your challenge to go!

11. I dare you to start your toilet training once again! Our squatting toilet is not just to squat on, but also
to practise cleaning your bottom with a bucket of water. Without wetting your T-shirt or trouser! Mostly the toilet has no hose, toilet paper will be a wishful thinking. Just a bucket of water and a small bucket to get the water from the bigger one. We call the later ciduk. With this wonderful device, you splash water to clean yourself after urinating or defecating. The trick is, don't wet your clothes because they will get wet anyway when you put them back on. ^_^

Anyway, I have to admit that I (painfully) love my country. With all its flaws and weaknesses, it's still a beautiful place to where I come home. I don't need any reason for this. My home is where my heart is.


sibaho way said...

hehehehe... tuh temannya yang ada malah kabur... :), anyway, sindiran yang menggigit...

ada yang ketinggalan. di no. 5 tuh tambahin, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) juga meng-claim diri 'the truly Asia' tapi Indonesia (Porong Sidoarjo) 'the truly Kuala Lumpur'

Sri Riyati Sugiarto & Kristina Melani Budiman said...

Bhwahahahahahaa. Setujuh! Saya sudah pernah ke Porong dan lihat tuh, sang Kuala Lumpur. Hahaha. Original deh. Lucu banget! Salam kenal yah....

Sri Riyati Sugiarto & Kristina Melani Budiman said...

hai sibaho way..salam kenal..thanks sudah mengunjungi blog kami. iya...porong itu bener2 ga bakalan ada di negara lain. siapa tau berabad2 kemudian porong akan digali dan anak cucu kita akan mengira bahwa porong itu the next "mancu picu" (bener rak ki nulise).

bener2 artikel yang mengharukan tentang indonesia..semoga pada berkunjung ke sini.
o iya..satu lagi yang ada di indo..para preman2 yang suka nagihin parkir...terutama yang berani2nya masang tarif 3rb buat parkir mobil di depan restoran seafood sementara di tempat lain cuma 2rb ( di luar mall lho)


Sri Riyati Sugiarto & Kristina Melani Budiman said...

Kris rasah nyindir tho. Tapi muakasih banget atas tambahannya huehehe...


Sejujurnya, inilah Ria dan Kristina...

Ria dan Kristina, sama-sama punya ide-ide yang nggak masuk akal saking nggak bangetnya pikiran kami berdua. Obrolan kami ini, berkat kemajuan jaman dan menjamurnya aplikasi internet (hiduplah Indonesia Raya!), kami sekarang bisa tuangkan di blog. Dulu kami suka ngetik-ngetik pake mesin ketik manual di belakang kertas HVS A4 bekas fotokopian. Tapi tetep aja kami tidak berhenti menulis. Kata pepatah: setipis-tipisnya tinta masih lebih tajam dari ingatan manusia. Kata Pramoedya: menulis berarti memetakan sejarah. Halah, kalo tulisan kita mah sebenernya gak ada hubungannya ama sejarah. Cuma mengukirkan betapa masa muda kami ini sangat indah. Dan jelas nggak mutu isinya. Jadi, mending kalo sisa-sisa waktu dan pengen baca yang tidak terlalu berguna sajalah baru buka blog kami... Tapi apapun komentar, masukan dan pendapat teman-teman, semuanya adalah cendera mata yang indah buat kami...

Ria dan Kristina (hualah, koyok undangan penganten. Amit2 deh. Lesbong juga pilih-pilih ah...)

About Us

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pindah2..tergantung mood, Indonesia
Sri Riyati Sugiarto (aka Ria) adalah cewek kelahiran limpung..(pinggiran kota Pekalongan)..habis sekolah di SMU St. Bernardus Pekalongan trus kuliah kedokteran di Undip Semarang..sementara Kristina Melani Budiman (aka Kristina) juga lahir di Pekalongan trus satu SMU ama Ria dan kuliah di Atma Jaya Jogjakarta. kami kenal di kelas 3 SMU tapi mo duduk bareng selalu ga bisa gara2 terlalu cerewet dan kalo duduk sebangku selalu bikin keributan karena hobinya menggosip jadi terpaksa sampai sekarang tidak pernah duduk bareng..untungnya kita ga satu kampus :p