Monday, February 25, 2008

Why didn't you just say so?

Here’s the scene: John and I are at one of our favorite restaurants, a dim-sum place. A popular drink here is a lime squash, which is basically lime juice, sugar, and club soda. We ordered two lime squashes and they brought us two lemon squashes. The whole conversation was in Indonesian, by the way.

Hillary: We ordered lime squashes.

Waitress: Yes, lime squash.

Hill: This is lemon, not lime.

Waitress: Lemon?

Hill: Yes, this is lemon. We ordered lime.

Waitress: Yes, lime squash.

Hill: But this is not lime, this is lemon. Lime is green, lemon is yellow. (Pointing to the lemon slice in the drink) This is lemon. We ordered lime.

Waitress: Lemon squash?

Hill: No, see here on the menu? (Pointing) We ordered lime squash. See? Lime squash.

(She brings over another waitress and we go through the charade again.)

Lemon. Lime. Lemon. Lime etc.

(She finally brings a manager over. He is holding a lemon.)

Manager: This is a lemon.

Hill: Yes.

Manager: Different than lime, yes?

Hill: Yes.

Manager: We are out of limes!

Hill: Oh, I see. Thank you.

Only in Indonesia would it take 20 minutes to get to that point!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Brooke comes to visit

We finally had our first visitor! My sister made it halfway around the world to see us and check out Indonesia. When I met her at the airport, you never would have guessed she'd just been traveling for almost 30 hours. What a trouper! We left the very next day for 5 nights in Bali and had a great time. Perfect weather the whole trip. One highlight was this amazing hidden beach we discovered (with a little help). The area is famous with surfers, although it is reef-protected, so the waves break far from shore and keep the water crystal clear and perfect for swimming!

Towards the center of the large island of Bali is a town called Ubud, which is Bali's cultural area. Lots of art, dance, rituals, performances, etc happen here. First thing on our agenda? The Monkey Forest, of course! This is a dedicated area that surrounds old Hindu temples deep in the forest. It is inhabited by a TON of long-tailed macaque monkeys. They are not shy, and will do anything to get food from you. One of them rummaged through my sister's purse and stole off with her entrance ticket! In the photo below, you can see one of them starting to take Brooke's sunglasses off her head. Just like that, the monkey had them in its hands and took off, disappearing over a wall with them. Apparently, sunglasses are their favorite thing to steal after food!After Bali it was back to Jakarta for 4 more nights before Brooke went home. We spent the time relaxing, taking her to some of our favorite spots to eat, and of course got her a massage. So what's next? She just might come visit again next year!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Not Quite 40 days and 40 nights

Jakarta is a big city. It's also a low-lying coastal city. As Jakarta continues to grow in sprawl, forests are replaced by roads and houses. And roads and houses don't soak up water.
Two nights ago, our friend Brent arrived and we took him out for dinner. By the time we got home at around 11 p.m., it had started to rain...hard. The rain didn't stop until the next afternoon around 3 p.m. In around 16 hours, Jakarta got a month's worth of rain according to some news reports. That spells bad news.

The airport reopened today, but there's no way to reach it because all the roads to it are still flooded. Over 40 flights had to turn around and go back yesterday. We're praying that since the rain seems to have stopped, our friends coming in late tonight
won't have any problems.
Yesterday many neighborhoods of Jakarta had water that was around 3 feet deep. This happens every year, but construction still runs rampant and apparently someone thinks it would be a waste of money to make drainage improvements. T.I.I.