This blog is not an official Department of State Web site and the views and information presented are my own, not those of the CLS Program, the Fulbright Program, the Department of State, or American Councils.
Jamu is a general term for traditional Indonesian remedies/elixirs. It is sold on the street, stored in used bottles and served in a shared cup. Some types of jamu are said to help with diabetes, others to increase fertility, make men stronger or even increase milk production. I tried a kind that is meant to be good for the skin. It tasted a bit like turmeric though it was warm, orange and bitter.
Nestle responded to activist pressure after this video went viral.
"Nestle stated that under new sourcing guidelines it will only use palm oil suppliers that do not break local laws, protect high conservation forests and any forests with 'high carbon' value, protect carbon-important peatlands, and support free prior and informed consent for indigenous and local communities." http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0517-hance_nestle.html
Toured a few home industries yesterday--tempe, fruit chips and ceramics. I've been told it is very easy to get a license to open a business in Indonesia. If I understand correctly, rather than massive factories using machinery/economies of scale to bring down the cost of production and therefore the price, with home industries there are tons of individual producers/suppliers in the market and therefore high competition, low prices and higher employment.
I finally acquired an internet connection. I adore it here. Thankful to be back in Indonesia.
Today my program had an Indonesian cooking class. We went to a traditional market (pasar) this morning and then got together this evening to cook. We made a soto dish from Sulawesi, boiled sugary desserts, something similar to es kelapa and more soto.
Boiled glutinous rice cake balls filled with coconut sugar.
3 AM: I'm touring a butterfly garden, luggage in tow before buying a shower for $8, towel and shampoo included.
I'm currently waiting out a 7 hour layover in Singapore. I had been expecting this to be incredibly painful--flash to 17 sleep deprived young people sprawled out on various pieces of airport furniture and floor space. In reality this is kind of fun. I slept for most of my 6 1/2 hour flight from Japan to Singapore so I'm feeling good.
Singapore Changi Airport is a traveler's paradise. In addition to gyms, salons, a movie theater, entertainment lounge and butterfly garden, this airport sells canned ice coffee. Hello heaven. Now Chumbawamba is playing? Double heaven.
I recently found out i'll be living with a HIndu family this summer: "Pak Bagus" is the head of the household. His name technically means Mr. Good. He has an 85-year-old mother or father. Pronouns in Indonesian are unisex so I can't tell which one yet. And two anak anak (children). They are 26 and it was unclear to me if they still live at home. Also unclear on their genders.
Got a stress fracture. Terrible. No running, kickboxing, or excessive walking for 3-6 months. The "no excessive walking" part I plan to ignore. I'll be exploring this country on foot--stress fracture be damned. Though finding a yoga studio and a pool conducive to swimming laps has risen higher on my to do list.
Almost all packed. Getting my final round of vaccines today. H1N1-check, Japanese Encephalitis-check, Rabies-still need to get one more of that vaccine today. Apparently rabies are endemic in Bali. I don't plan to visit Bali over the summer but just in case...
Below are a few photos of Bali from my time there is 2008:
This is a picture of a daily Balinese offering.
They are set out as gifts for benevolent spirits or as a way to appease mischievous ones.
I will be returning to Indonesia this week. I had my first taste in 2008 in Yogyakarta where I studied Indonesian for 2 1/2 months. Yes, "Indonesian" is the national language of Indonesia. Some people refer to it as "Bahasa" though "Bahasa" really just means "language." Bahasa Indonesia=Language of Indonesia or for example Bahasa Belanda=Language of the Netherlands (Dutch). Whatever you choose to call it, I love it and I hope to introduce more of the language to all of you as well. I will try to introduce Indonesian words in italics.
The banner above was taken in 2008 atop Mt. Merapi (Gunung Merapi). Gunung Merapi is an active volcano that last went off in 2006. I hiked this volcano with a group of friends and three guides. We began around 11 pm and hiked to the top in time to witness the most magnificent sunrise I have ever seen. Our guides prepared us Nasi Goreng, fried rice--in this case with egg on it. Here are a few more pictures I took during that adventure: