Wednesday, September 21, 2011

INDO DIARIES 2010 - Thursday 15th July

At 6am, we woke to the soundtrack of the couple talking next door, so maybe not an entirely sound sleep, including the 4.30am call to prayer, but we weren't going to complain.

With a toaster at our table and a box of brown and white bread with homemade (!) jams by our side, we were very happy indeed. 

At our round table, we were joined by two elderly men. I said 'Good morning', three times before I was heard, so I wasn't sure what to make of them. BUt, then Eric, the man to my left started up a conversation with us about our holiday and theirs too. He was travelling with Gerard, and 84 year old(Dutch) war veteran who was in Indonesia 60 years ago. They were on a tour revisiting old memories and seeing the sights to create new ones. Their story was interesting to hear and we talked of Malang and the things we should see and do. Again 'Oen' was mentioned as was Mount Bromo. It was all food for thought. I was inspired, quite literally too. Gerard's personal story, the war connection and the setting - Indonesia, it could be a veritable Faulk's moment! We exchanged emails and parted company with the promise of a lunch in Ubud at thhe end of the month.

Suddenly inspired, Ian and I were so grestful to be on teh travelling road, to be able to have such encounters, to be able too make plans to see things so bizarre, so new....We made some plans about the things we wanted to do in Java. The problem? There are so many things in Java and Java is so huge. We were both keen to travel down to Yogyarta, the culture capital, but East Java too had its pull on us, and for now, Malang.

The courtyard at Fendi's
We changed hotels as planned. It was an easy task as they were not far from each other. 
Fendi's was different, the room was much smaller, but it would do. We were off to see the city in any case. (I wasn't much impressed by the bird in the cage, but the singing was delightful.)

The cathedral
We walked the long and dusty Jalan that led straight to the centre after twenty minutes on foot. We found 'Oen' very easily. It was opposite the cathedral in the main square.
And, welcome!!!


Lots of Indo snacks on display

Indo snacks

Toko Oen from post war times, People from today times
Toko Oen, (tok meaning shop) is a wide and tall restaurant with a great cake display to lure you in, There were sweet and savoury pastries on offer. I ventured to try something like a sausage roll which proved to be really delicious. 

After lunch, we decided to wander down to the markets. The area was really dilapidated with some homeless people begging on the pavements. We saw the location of the 'blind massages' (something we had read about, very cheap apparently, and very effective) and we continued down to the most exquisite flower/plant market I have ever seen. Just have a look for yourself.....

 No wonder Enny's had the most beautiful gardens. I wanted to buy everything in sight! Imagine if that was your local garden centre...!

Further down, the road joined the bird market. I braced myself. I understood the need for pets and I knew there would be many tears I would have to hold back. I didn't actually realise ho w bad it really would be. The birds were almost the best looked after creatures in their over-packed, dirty cages. We saw hamsters for sale, but they looked cloned. There were 15 in one box, and all exactly the same. There were chickens crammed into really small cages. There were squirrels, cats, thoroughbred cat, so beautiful, I had never seen them before. They looked so sad, but I couldn't dawdle.

We carried on. The cages continued. On the bridge, there were puppies, that was cruel. Then I saw the monkeys in the cage next to them. Ian spotted a wombat-like creature and there was also a kitten-like cat that was most certainly not a domestic cat. I did some research since, and I believed it to be the leopard cat (( Wild Cats | Wildlife Conservation | Endangered Wildlife|Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)))

I was stupid enough to loiter, such was the shock. I could barely believe what I had seen and was trying to take it in. I left just in time for Ian to tell me off for not paying attention. The sinister stares from the sellers could have easily turned into sinister actions.

I couldn't and still cannot get those faces out of my mind. We went for a massage. My body was wrecked as I lay down and my mind occupied. Towards the end, as I sat up, I felt some clarity and definitely felt better physically. I knew I would have to talk with Pro Fauna, but it made me wonder what they were actually doing to prevent this. The fact that the market existed in Malang, like their offices, yet no one was patrolling the place. It was time to find out more.

In Malang itself, we wondered through a book store, a batik shop and that was it. The city itself didn't have much too it except hustle and bustle. We needed to be more relaxed, much more relaxed, so we headed back to the hotel. We needed dinner, despite eating heaps for lunch. We needed something good. We needed local cuisine.

En route, we stopped at the shopping centre. The food didn't delight us, but I did get a haircut (much needed!) and just 300yen! Bargain.

So much yummy food!

There was the best little street resto opposite our hotel where we had the best strawberry juice and an array of delights like deep fried prawns, noodles and various dumplings.

We also came to the conclusion that we were done with Malang. We didn't need to be here right now. Even Mount Bromo wasn't our vibe for the time being. We needed quiet. We figured Batu was the place for us or even Selekta (based solely on the name), but we needed to change scenery.

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