You don't get what you deserve.
You get what you take.

-Nemi

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Pulau Seribu!


Last weekend was amazing. One of the branch managers took me and another intern girl to Tidung Island, which is one of the Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu) outside of Jakarta. The boat ride took about two and half hours and we ended up in paradise. It was a really small island but the beaches were pure white and the ocean was turquoise and so clear that you could see the bottom even if it was meters deep. We were staying in a nice small “hostel” which was a little house with two rooms and a very small toilet. The whole island was populated by cats, who all seemed to be pregnant (maybe for the same alfa male, as there weren't too many male cats around). And they all seemed a bit needy for some love, as I noticed from just touching one cat and she wouldn't let me be alone for the rest of the day.

Saturday we spent on snorkelling, and being as smart as I always am, I did put sun screen everywhere else, BUT my back.. (I still can't sleep on my back, it hurts so much!) On Saturday night you were basically able to smell the bacon on my skin. But the day was amazing! I saw so many acid coloured fish, most of the fish I've had on my aquarium, corals with the brightest colours, camouflaged fish, you name it! And because most of you know already how obsessed I'm with open water, just swimming in the Java Sea was out of this world for me, but being able to see how the natives of the sea lived! And it was so warm as well... Ah, there's nothing better than swimming in the ocean! In the evening we went to see the sunset on the beach and as you can imagine, it was stunning. After that we back to the hostel as sunset meant that our guides were finally able to eat (because of the fasting month) and after a small break we went for a barbecue on the beach. The fish we had was just amazing but also attracted about 10 hungry cats to sit and carefully watch our eating, each of them casually trying to get into our food. It was quite creepy, and though I love cats, but when there's about 10 of them around you staring at you with their hungry eyes, I started to feel a bit uneasy.

That night I was just trying to find a position where it didn't hurt my burnt skin. That was quite useless as during the fasting people apparently don't sleep too much either and there were calls for praying on all the time, people came knocking on our door at ridiculous hours to remind our guides that soon they were able to have breakfast and all other noises. And because we had to get up at 5 in order to go see the sunrise at the beach, you can imagine that the black circles under my eyes were huge. After sunrise we got back and me and Katka finally got our breakfast. Around 7 we went back to the beach to ride donut boat, which was so much fun! It's basically this round air mattress that you has handles and then the jet ski starts speeding and tries to make you fall from the ride. Falling was probably the most fun part, but unfortunately the ride didn't take too long. Around 9 we started to head back to the decks as the boat was supposed to leave at 10 but we waited for reasons unknown for about an hour or so extra. In the evening, I FINALLY got to see the new Batman!!!
Sunrise
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! Batman is my ultimate favourite superhero and I've been waiting for this movie so long! I'm not going to spoil anything, as I would have literally killed anyone spoiling it for me. The only thing that prevented me from enjoying it too much was the fact that it ended at 11 pm and I was on the other side of the city and and I was alone. I wasn't sure how to get home because I figured there weren't too many taxis around that time and without speaking the language I might have difficulties finding a ride. Luckily about the fifth taxi was willing to take me home and he didn't even charge anything extra, so I gave him 5000 Rp. anyway as a tip (about 30 cents, but it's still considered good tip by the locals).

Friday, 20 July 2012

Ramadan!

Today (or tomorrow for some) started ramadan, the fasting month of muslims. I'm quite excited to see how it is shown in everyday life, though I'm quite sad that my experiments with Indonesian food is now mainly on halt for a month, as most of the restaurants are not open during ramadan. Also, I think that all of my coworkers are muslims, so I hope I wont be offending anyone by drinking water etc. at work. Because no matter how much I'd like to try fasting, I can barely survive 2 hours without drinking, not to mention 12 hours! And there's no way I'm waking up at 3 am to eat... I can stay up until there, but I'm not waking up at that time. I probably need to stack up with snacks and other food that doesn't need cooking so I can have feast in my room without offending anyone. Cup noodles it is then! Luckily I found my favourite Korean noodles from the supermarket.

This week I've finally noticed that Indonesian people living in cities never walk anywhere. I realised this when I decided to have a small adventure of my own and after dark walk to the closest supermarket, of which location I only kind of knew. During that about 3 km, there were absolutely no sidewalks, so I walked on the motorcycle shoulder, getting a lot of weird looks. The walk would have been fine if it wasn't so bloody hot even in the evening! When I got back home I was soaking wet from sweat and not really enjoying my state. But I lost my shit only once, and that was when a rat ran about half a meter away from my feet. I'm really terrified of rats, because they are so intelligent and they have the eyes that look straight into your soul to find out your darkest secrets and fears. At least I think that no one would have robbed me because they'd think that I was so poor that I can't even afford a motorcycle, so it was still a win-win situation! Not that I need to be afraid of thieves in this area, as there are absolutely no tourists, and some how only the tourist areas are the most thief-ridden and corrupted places, so Bekasi is really safe city (also, there's nothing “special” in here to see, and it's so close to Jakarta, so this city is not even on Lonely Planet's all-inclusive guide). Of course, I'm using my common sense when walking in here, and because there's not much tourists, I wear jeans/long trousers and long sleeve t-shirt to avoid offending locals and to avoid any unwanted attention.

I'm still trying to find out where goes the line between extremely friendly, and creepy. I gave my phone number to one of my neighbours because I thought that it would be nice to have someone outside of work to show me around etc. and he doesn't seem too creepy or pushing when I see him in the house, but maybe it's just different habits with text messages, that make me feel a bit uneasy. Luckily he probably moves to Jakarta soon after he got a job there, so I don't have to decide if he's too creepy or not :P


I promise to post photos soon!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

"What, so you don't eat rice three times a day?"

Finland feels so distant already, though I've only been here for a week so far. But especially Rob's visit seems to be ages ago already. Oh well, I still have so much to do and experience here, though I only have free time during weekends. I just hope that I'll get used to the weather soonish, it's such a pain to sweat all the time. If only I could at least wear tops and shorts... If I thought that it was hot when I was hiking on Koli with Rob, I knew nothing (also, you know you're on to something when your guy offers to carry you 1/4 of the most annoying up hill).

So far on my job I've been visiting classes for about 15 minutes and let the children ask questions from me about myself and Finland. It's quite funny because especially younger ones seem to be in awe of "bule" and don't dare to ask anything. Mainly I get asked how I like Indonesia, what's my favourite food, etc.  All the things you learn during your first years of studying a language. However, yesterday I was having a class full of teenagers and I was surprised how little they asked, but it was late at night and they were probably bored. I was surprised by one boy, who asked "How are the human rights in Finland?". I really didn't know what to say to that, because obviously our things are a lot better than theirs, but I already feel like I'm bragging all the time when I tell about the free education and even the fact that I've visited few countries. In Europe and among my friends I really don't feel like well travelled, because my family is relatively poor and we haven't had too many opportunities to travel and I have so many friends who have travelled the world. But here, I seem like the most privileged person they've ever seen and I don't like portraying as one. In the school so far I haven't met anyone who has travelled abroad.

Luckily people don't treat me like some spoiled brat, and everyone has been so friendly. For example, my neighbour today took me to his friends restaurant for lunch and later helped me to buy some fruits because he had been worrying that I don't get enough to eat because I'm never around the communal areas at the house. I'm still a bit worried of using the public transportation, so it'll take some time before I can get around Bekasi better and do other things than just stay in my room watching movies in the evenings after work.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sunday

Yesterday two teachers of IEC took me to Jakarta to see the city's museum, Wayang puppet museum and the national monument. I enjoyed the most of the puppet museum, as I had seen Indonesian puppets earlier on different museums but now I got to see them first time in their homeland. At the end of the tour there was also a puppet show, of which I was really excited, but unfortunately the show was on a language that even my guides didn't understand (there's over 700 languages in Indonesia), so we didn't stay until the end.

Unfortunately, after that museum the sun and heat got me and I started to feel dizzy and faint. I must have gotten a sun stroke because my head hurt so much and I was barely able to stand still. The walk to the national monument was pain, and when we finally got there we just sat on the basement for an hour or so, but though the sun didn't get us there, it was by no means cold or cool in there. It's weird how horribly the sun can shine in here, though you can't even see it through the pollution! And when coming back to Bekasi, the non air conditioned transportation didn't exactly help my condition. Luckily when we got back we went to see Ice Age 4 in this huge mall, and I was finally able to hide in the cool and dark.

Also, yesterday I got to try the lifestyle of rich and famous, because Indonesians are extremely curious about “bule”s (white people from the west), so even though we were in Jakarta on popular attractions, people were staring at me and wanted to take a picture with me.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I've survived the first days.

When I got here there was a bit too much hassle for my taste, as I had gotten wrong contact information from the agency and as a result I sat 6 hours on the airport waiting for someone to pick me up to anywhere. Finally the people (who I thought were my contacts) picked me up and took me to a hotel, where my real company picked me up next day. After that I've changed the branch of the company couple of times, as even the people here didn't know when I was coming and to do what. So in short, a lot of confusion and too much wasted time. Luckily I now got my placement finalised and today I finally got my own little room 10 mins walk away from my branch. And I have my own bathroom and there's HOT WATER coming from shower!!! It's a real luxury room.

I don't have internet in my room, so my posts will be irregular as usual, and I don't know when I'll get to post pictures (I haven't even taken too many of them yet).

However, I'm so far definitely loving it here! People are so friendly and happy, streets are full of colours and life and food is so cheap! As most know, I love food and eating and Indonesian food is amazing. It's HOT in here, but I guess I'll get used to it. The only bad thing is that I have to use jeans or trousers at work and long sleeve, so it's not really helping. And I have to see what to wear on my time off, because I don't want to get too much unwanted attention while walking by myself, as I will get it anyway for being an European by myself.

Also, such a small world! There's two other interns from the Netherlands, and one of them was at the same time in Oklahoma with my friends from Aberdeen!

Monday, 9 July 2012

No direction home vol. ??

Last week was amazing, having my man around and I was able to share important places and people of Finland with him, to show him where I come from. I'll try to post pictures later, as I don't have much time to get into anything right now, as I'm waiting for my transfer flight to HONG KONG!!!

Though I'm not looking forward to that 12 hour flight (+4 hours from there to Jakarta), I can't wait to get to Indonesia already.


My current emotions are pretty much portrayed in these pictures.