I decided to come back into the city today. I needed to get some laundry done, visit an ATM, and use the Internet. Could have done most of that near Desta's house but a look at the city, a bike ride over the route I did in the dark last night, and giving the family some space, all seemed a good option. Desta is one of 10 siblings. Not all live at home, but the home has a real feel of many comings and goings. Desta also had two other "couch surfers", and I'm very conscious of being a burden. Desta seems to pick up many traveller's and give them a roof. A lovely guy, with an out going personality, and a understanding and generous family. I'm unsure where everyone slept last night, but we all fitted, and everyone except Desta and his guests had left before we got up. Perhaps the close to midnight going to bed explains that. Desta was up and cooking us all breakfast, and planning a day at the beach.....with the young ladies from the Kareoke.
I can't get used to how hot it is here, but then I'm not far from the equator. Eating breakfast this morning at 8am I was sweating. Lying in bed last night I could feel my arms and shoulders wet, as if I'd just showered. Tonight, sitting at a roadside food stall, in the dusk, my shirt was soaked, my hands slippery from sweat. Everytime I cycle, my clothes become sodden. I'm a little worried, as I'm drinking 4 to 6 liters of fluid each day, but seldom need to pee. Hmmmm. Just have to keep pumping it in I suppose.
I've developed a proactive reaction, does that make sense, to all the Hello Misters . A Hello Mister is followed very closely by 20 other questions in Indonesian, with a few English ones mixed in....where are you going, where are you from....... On a bicycle you are going slow enough for this conversation to continue, but fast enough not to be able to answer all the questions. As a result, I feel a little rude, but if I slowed and answered all the questions, every time, I'd still be in Bali. So, if I'm quick enough, I throw out a "Gidday guys. How's your day going? Kiaora" This sort of stumps most of them into silence, just long enough for the me to make my getaway. I'm looking forward to Graham A arriving, so as he can deflect some of the barrage.
Graham is arriving Saturday. He's bringing me a few things, like a pack horse on a resupply mission. It'll be like a birthday, with loadsa presents. He has booked us a hotel for his first night here. I visited it today, thinking I might book in the night before......oh my goodness....flash...and there were Europeans there. I saw three guys, two Aussies and a German, who were the tallest people I've seen in two months. Normally I'm the tallest. Hey Mr Allan. Hope you're not too shocked when we downgrade to Indonesian Hotels on night two.
I spent a couple of hours at McDs, using the free Internet, which is really slow, and frustrating when I was trying to Skype Ju. There were a bunch of six young Americans feeding up large on comfort food. Made me grin. Adventure starts outside MacDonalds kids, except if you use the Macca's toilet. No toilet paper here, and none of the normal water works you normally find at Indonesian toilets. Hmmmm. As yet I haven't had to puzzle through a solution here.
I've been in Indonesia seven weeks, and I'm still struggling with all the zeros on the money. Conversion is easy. 50,000R is approximately $5. 10,000 $1. The notes go: 50000, 20000, 10000, 5000, 2000, 1000 (that's 50c, 20c, 10c), then the coins go 1000, 500, 200, and 100. (that's 10c, 5c, 2c, and 1c). Seems easy enough, but oh my, the zeros stuff me up. I've taken to everyday sorting the notes into a neat pile in denomination order, but still make mistakes. The locals are really understanding and patient, and always get a laugh at the stupid foriegner.
I'm constantly amazed at how helpful the locals are. Approaching a stall, or even an hotel reception, you can see the worried look in their eyes....oh oh English. But so many, many times, someone will turn up to help translate. Today I was asking for a Losman (Hotel). A guy on a scooter zoomed up. He pointed out where I needed to go, and then followed me, to make sure I had understood. It happens all the time. Eating dinner tonight at the food stall across from the hotel. The owner was ill at ease, trying to explain what various items were. However, several passerbys stopped to help explain, then stood around to see whether I agreed with their choices of what was yummy. Had a great feed, a lot of laughs all around, and the owner probably charged me twice the usual fee.....everyone happy.
Oh my goodness. It's raining. The very first time in Indonesia. Could the Monsoon Season be here at last? It's normally due mid to late September. Maybe it's arrived just in time for Graham A to enjoy.