Tuesday, February 22, 2011

KALAWEIT, Indonesia - 24 Dec 2009 - AM

Five hours of sleep it seems will suffice for now.

Breakfast was good - some fresh fruits, great coffee and toast. And then, some rice, pak choi and chicken! Why not?! It was rather yum, but I didn't overindulge as the table next t
o me were looking at me. I realised that, although I have leggings on with my just-longer-than-knee-length skirt, I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, thus showing my arm. Perhaps this wasn't the best idea, so, donning a hoodie (remember the heat - day temps around 30!) and shades, I ventured out.

What an experience it all was. When I went out, I felt pretty awkward and very vulnerable. There were so many men just hanging out by the food stalls, of which there were also so many. And they were all staring, staring at me. I was 'trying to hide' under a hat and shades, but clearly clothes were not going to conceal the fact that I was not a local.

I got quite freaked out and contemplated hiding in my hotel room all day! That would have been a complete waste, so I persevered.

Fortunately, I stumbled across a hotel Ibis and I decided to ask in there about the internet cafe I thought I would never find. It turned out to be quite the refuge, catching up on mails and finding a little tour/travel office. I was able to book a little half day tour for the afternoon - things were looking up. They gave me info. and directions too for my subsequent shopping mission - I was, and still am, on the hunt for disposable cameras!!

Walking to the department store meant enduring a whole heap more stares. It's different from Japan, more intense stares, especially as I am a single white female wandering down the street. The stares felt intense but surprisingly not threatening I had read (and learnt along the way) just to ignore them and that is all you had to do.

I almost walked past the department store. It looked kind of shabby and derelict. It was off the road, with a 'Dunkin' Donuts' sign peeping out the corner. I took this as my cue and went in, the entrance honking of piss - nice.

Inside, it was all rather 'proper' like a regular department store, meaning that yes, I was expecting some run down one-storey sham...But it looked great with some nice fashion
s too. Of course, everyone was staring at me, customers and sales assistants alike, but I carried on.

The third had lots of kids stuff and there were also scarves and general attire for the Muslim girl. This is something I cannot comprehend, the girls I have seen thus far, (albeit on TV mostly) were quite dressed up, revealing their shape with tight leggings and tops. And then, there was me, melting in the heat and still getting stared at!

Anyway, I carried on up the escalators to the top floor, which was all batik stuff - awesome! Shame I couldn't buy more, but I had already had a mare fitting things in before I left Japan!
So, with a few souvenirs in tow as well as more anti mosquito sprays and creams (Indonesian stuff is the best! Japanese drug store supplies don't even compare!)

I got a lovely call from Jarrod back in Oz, which made me realise how far away we were and also made me think to get off the phone - the whole idea of being 'white & wealthy' (not that I am, you must understand, but it's all about impressions..)

Walking back to the hotel was better; I felt a bit stronger and more self assured. I dumped the shopping and headed back to the Hotel Ibis for my tour. With time to spare, I was able to m
ake a stop off en route for a lush lunch.I pigged out on pak choi and satay / sate and felt very glad indeed. Nom Nom. Do you see that bowl of peanut sauce?>!>!>!>!>!>? Mmmm...Did not last long on the plate, I tell ya!

Location:Jakarta, Indonesia.

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