Month' archive for April 2008
17 is the year to celebrate for Indonesian youngsters! That is when they come of age and traditionally it will be celebrated with a big feast. But don’t think that you might be surrounded by a bunch of bloody drunk teens – no! Due to the Islamic tradition drinking alcohol is not a custom in Indonesia, at least for 95% of the country.
We got invited to this 17th birthday as special guests, as it is always a honor to have western visitors at your table. It was really a special experience to witness this happening. The buffet was tasty (Chinese cuisine due to their original background), the music was extremely loud that you couldn’t understand a single word and most surprising, they had hired three transvestites as moderators (dressed with "Bavarian Dirndl")! My brother said that this happened often, no good party without transvestites!
Here you can see a part of one of PalembangÂ´s market places. Visiting an Asian market is an experience for all senses. You witness how one slaughters chicken, others sell live fish or weird looking testis… And also of course you will find all sorts of vegetables, fruits and spices there.
But the main attraction of all will be yourself – or me and my brothers in this case! I think it doesn’t happen very often, that three white and tall people enter such a market. Everybody tried to get our attention by calling "mister mister!" or touching our white skin and making jokes about the shape of our noses.
This experience was so different compared to my visit of Moroccan markets where the people seem to be uncommunicative.
I found this boy sleeping in his parent’s little sales booth on my way to a market place in Palembang. This peaceful situation immediately caught my eye. It was just so cozy how he laid there, while his sleeping was protected by his “Hello Kitty” kindergarden bag. It looked like that he didn’t had time to eat his lunch snack, instead he used the two bananas as a pillow.
I asked his parents if it was o.k. to take a photo of him. It looked like they were proud that a stranger had found interest in their little boy – they happily agreed.
After having arrived in Jakarta, me and my brother drove to the city of Bandung, south east of the capital.
My brother’s friend, a Chinese businessman, let us stay in one of his stylish apartments and we even had his driver at our command. It took me some time to consider this "as normal".
The days in the area of Bandung went by very quickly. We explored the city, got a taste of its horrible traffic, drove to the near by tea plantations and treated ourselves with numerous restaurant visits.
What a start for my Indonesia trip! A soft and easy one, as I found out later in Sumatra. Because later there where no fancy apartments any more and also the climate wasn’t as comforting as in Bandung…
So stay tuned, it will be worthwhile to follow my stream afterwards. I hope to bring back loads of interesting insights, stories and photographs about the people from Indonesia. Especially on Sumatra I will stay off the beaten track, to catch most of the real live there.
I will be back on the 11th of May.