I LOVE SATE AYAM! Yes, I will shout it, thankyouverymuch. Sate Ayam is chicken kabob covered in peanut sauce, and it is fantastic. I was beginning to get worried that I wouldn’t find any Indonesian cuisine appealing and would live solely on Pringles and fruit juice when last night in the middle of a mall food court, God smiled down at me. Many thanks to Nalini and her friend ( 🙁 I’m ashamed I can’t remember her name now) who introduced me to this delicious dish. I now have renewed confidence in acclimating to the food.
Beyond this breakthrough, there have been overwhelmingly positive moments in my first few “independent” (I use this term very loosely) days. I have ventured out from my hotel to take walks in search of food and just to explore. The first walk successfully led to a convenient store – where said Pringles and fruit juice were purchased. Here is where I had my first encounter with durian. There is was, in whole fruit form and in individualized “pod” packages. The entire store smelled of it. I was going to take my time and buy some adventurous food, but I grabbed the Pringles as my eyes began to water and headed for the checkout. I thought after my first experience with durian, perhaps we could still be friends, but no, durian, I will not be your friend. And, Nana, there is a restriction against bringing durian into the hotel :). My second outing, was just that, an outing. It did, however, result in my first “Hey Mister!” call – a common call from Indonesians with limited English to any bule.
I’m so grateful for my colleagues at Sebasa. They have gone out of there way to help me settle in here. Yesterday, I met with Ibu S’oegma, Ibu Ani, Ibu Vera, and Ibu Shantie. On top of helping me get immigration paper work filled out, they took me to Ancor…a beach and, believe it or not, Seaworld. Seaworld was a much smaller version of its American counterparts, but it was still great fun. I saw fish from the Amazon river; got to pet some stingrays, sharks, and starfish; and experienced fish therapy. This is a new concept to me, but apparently it’s very popular in Asia. After doing a double take…”fish what?”, I agreed and was led to a small room where I was told to take off my shoes and wash my feet. There were four square pools in the middle of the room. Each was just deep enough to dangle your legs in. And, dangle we did. Ibu S’oegma and I dipped our feet into the water and stiffled giggles as dozens of tiny (one or two inches) swarmed our feet and legs. According to our wonderful guide, the fish eat the dead skin off your legs. So, there we sat with tiny fish nibbling at our toes (…we’re all alone, more or less…Red Dwarf anyone? No?… Fine.). I’ve included some pictures so you don’t think I’m making this up.
Meet Ibu S’oegma, my counterpart and lifeline for the next 10 months. The fish liked her more. Jealous.
Today, I’m off to do more apartment hunting. I’m sure there will be a whole other blog devoted to this experience, so you’ll hear from me soon. 🙂