Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bikram Yoga & Eating

Lights in the restaurant
So one Friday night in January I got a random text from Amy saying - Hey want to do bikram yoga in Jkt. I agreed because yoga's my thing. I didn't think we would do it the next day - I thought it was a hypothetical question. But no the next morning I found myself having a chat with my Americans in Tamini (my local mall) before heading over to the yoga studio in Jl. Kemang. Note: This is the same area with the cool Turkish food restaurant. People in Jakarta should check out this street/area for fun.

My cheese and tomato sandwhich on ciabatta bread.
It was real cheese!!! And a salad!! Unheard of in Jkt

     We missed the early class so we decided to go look around for a bit. This was the wrong day to wear flip flops. We were searching for a cool secret restaurant or something. That had us asking a million people, going the wrong direction, and walking on forever. we found lots of other cool restaurants though to try out next time. The restuarant in question was actually being torn down and rebuilt. We had lunch after that at Casa - I believe it was called. It was a cool little restaurant thing - lots of hip looking people were there so I guess we chose well. And the food - after 5 months of rice everyday it was amazing.

After yoga - hence the sweat and the crazy eyes
After a really good meal we caught a taxi to the yoga studio, got dressed and headed in. Our studio's name is Yoga @ 42 because that is the temperature of the room in which you do Bikram Yoga. 42 degrees Celsius in Fahrenheit is 107.6 - this is what the internet tells me. That seems like a really high number to me but it was crazy hot so it's believable. I thought oh it's always hot in Indonesia so how much worse could it get. Wrong - Jakarta heat did not prepare me for doing yoga in this heat. By the end of the class you go - Did all this water come out of me? You feel all loose and clean too. It was great great great. The people were really cool too. The teacher was actually from Los Angeles too. Yaay for LA people in Jkt.
We survived (and enjoyed) Bikram Yoga
After taking and drinking coconut water and showering we decided to go eat again. We were super hungry. Because Jl. Kemang is filled with tons of Arab restuarants we decided to go to one we had seen earlier - the Shisha Cafe I believe it was called. Not actually sure. Food - hmm just ok. Hummus - not my favorite. Tea - it was a tiny pot and was weak. It was very pretty though - lights and red couches and mosiac-y tables. And tons of foreigners were there. A french girl was having her birthday there and they sang and brought a cake - we peeked out from the secret side room we were in. Then in the bathroom we met these australian girls who go to international school in Jkt. Meeting random foreigners our age is the coolest thing ever.

Wow a fountain too?
Look you can actually see where we hung out and ate
We took a taxi back to my house. And that was us in Jakarta - they just keep coming back cuz it's so fun. I love living here in the city.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Caca's 17th

Caca is my host sister remember (also pronounced chacha remember) and in January she turned 17. 17 is a big deal in Indonesia because that's when your legal I think.Classmates had had birthdays in school with cake and singing but for my host sister – Chacha’s birthday the family went all out. They decided to make it a surprise party. For the week leading up to it we were all hush hush laughing about our deception in secret.
    She thought she was going to celebrate her birthday the following weekend because the restaurant had already been fully booked. She made plans to go shopping for a birthday outfit. Because she shared her birthday with other classmates she was sad when they got 'happy birthday's' and present in school. She thought that we were just going to have a family dinner.
The day of the party I came home a bit earlier from school and help h. Mama make cream soup and decide on dessert. Caca came in and asked why we were making enough cream soup for 50 people. My answer, oh the orphans from the neighborhood are coming and are going to eat cream soup. She started asking me questions about her new DSLR she had gotten that morning. I was running between the pot of cream soup, her room trying to keep her distracted from all the craziness, and on high alert because my American friends were roaming the city getting ready to head to the restaurant where the party was to be.
        Eventually I went and got changed for the party. Which prompted more questions. Why was I going out looking so nice when it was only a family dinner? I was simultaneously being rushed out the door so I could collect my americans and get to the restuarant before the surprise part. It was explained that my friends wanted to come to dinner with us too then later hang out in the city. I was shouting behind me ' Now that I'm dressed nice you have to too. and Bring your camera you have to take more pictures. I was harried - it was so exciting.
Then I picked up Amy, Andrew, and Nathan and we went to the restuarant. Caca's whole class was invited along with a few members of my class.
preparing for the surprise
A group of 40 16-18 year olds are hard to quiet but we did it. We hid in the restaurant and she came in and SURPRISE!
she enters!
Caca cried as did a few of her classmates so I think it was a hit.

We spent the rest of the night singing - there was karaoke at the restaurant, and dancing. They sand S&M by Rihanna which was very hilarious. Ayu Ting Ting was very popular as well. It was a Sundanese restaurant (my family is Sundanese- from Bandung). The food was great some fish, some vegetables, pudding. We ate ice cream instead of cake.
Yum the cream soup was good too.

The the party wound down just a few friends left. Dancing Queen was the last real song before we packed up and left.Get it because she's 17 get it?! I had an awesome time. I hope she had a better time and remembers this birthday for a looooong time. I love surprises.

Yaaay Caca's 17th!!!!
Also great - Caca, Nanda, and I all had on very similar colored, themed dresses - like Twins! 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The Ubi Sickness

Bogor comes back with a venegence
Does that sound menacing or dangerous or serious? I didn't die or go to the hospital so it wasn't too too bad.
So I went to Bogor and ate lots of delicious food and was happy. Part of what I ate was ubi - or sweet potatoes.

While stuck in traffic I ate 2 or so. Then ate home, hungry again I ate more. Then it was late and I decided it would make an ok dinner so I ate another. But I had a dilema. To wait 5-10 minutes for the ubi to heat up in the rice cooker OR to just add already hot rice making it hot by association AND making me fuller. The second choice made so much sense to me but every Indonesian has laughed at me for it. Apparently you're not allowed to mix rice and ubi together. Ad then because I wasn't totally full - I ate an egg. Worst decision ever.
Which I found out when I was sick the next 3 days. This was my first time being stomach sick - everyone else usually gets sick in the first few months as they adjust to the food. Not me! It took super delicious ubi and an egg to bring me down.
I forgot how much throwing up and being sick sucks. You're awake at all these random hours, then you have to clean it up, then you're afraid to eat for the next day, you don't get to go to school on fun kelas meeting days. The second and third day of school I missed because I was so weak from not eating. I just slept and limped around the house. I lost 5 pounds so I was legit (legit yes I know) weak - this wasn't me just lounging for the sake of lounging.

So that was me getting sick in Jakarta - hopefully a 1 time thing. Even now 2 -3 months later I don't eat ubi or fried eggs. Too many bad memories ...
Me healthy and alive and all that stuff. Even got my 5lbs back.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Bogor Picnic - or Mountain Traffic

I think I mentioned in my Kelas Meeting post that I went to Bogor a while ago. There isn't much to the story but I took many pictures so ...

I accompanied my host father and mother to Bogor one Sunday morning to pick up Nanda (younger host sister) from her school's religious retreat. It wasn't to long a way up the mountain but they have this traffic system where you can only go up certain hours and down at others. Once we were actually moving up the mountain though it was beautiful. Why does no one ever talk about the mountains in Indonesia? People are always like beaches, Bali, snorkelling but the mountains are great too. It's probably because comparatively they're not super tall.
They have a river. A river they can wash clothes in and other river things. I want a river.
So we went to a restaurant at the top of the mountain. You can see all the fields below where they grow tea. We ate, took pictures, felt a nice wind then headed down to pick up Nanda.
the tea fields - the tea was delicious too

Same fields but after our meal. Mountain weather - I can't think of a time where I saw fog in Jakarta

Lunch - and look tea from the tea fields

But alas the direction of traffic had changed without us knowing so we could not go down the mountain. We sat in the car not moving. We turned into a gas station - ate a little more, slept a bit, got gas maybe. Finally maybe 3 or so hours later we were on our way.
Ice cream - kiwi flavor. Yup eating again in the car - what else is there to do?
It began to rain
What happened to Nanda? She rode back to school with her school and we picked her up there. So we might not have accomplished the main goal of the trip but it was beautiful so Job Well Done!

But then again this day led to my sickness the next days so ...
Koi ponds make the world go round - this was on the way to the bathroom

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Pasantren & the Night Out

Another weekend spent in Bogor. Well a Monday. And quite a while ago actually. On Sunday me and all my fellow Americans (Natalie from Surabaya too which is like a day away by train) came to help out with interviews for possible YES applicants for next year. Helping involved timing the interviews and calling people's names. We weren't actually allowed to interview people - you have to be 21. I was very impressed though because the interviews were almost entirely in English.We talked to some of the students, tried to play like Duck Duck Goose or something. Hanging out.
The next day however we got up early to drive to some place past Bogor to look at a religious school. The students come from lower income families and live at the school. First we sat through a long introduction about the school. The students study 5 or 6 days a week and then have a day where they clean up their spaces. They also do a lot of farming work.

When we went to take a look around the school we first met some of the students. They were currently cleaning their rooms and washing laundry but they came out to say hi. It was a mixed group of girls and boys and some very young. I believe a few were my age though. They live in dorms I guess you would call them. Next we went to see the fields. There were many fruit trees as well as vegetables. By now I don't remember what they were.

After seeing their fields we took a short bus ride to their animals. They have cows, goats, I'm sure chickens too. And we even saw how they use the cow dung to make gas for their school. The school is impressively economically friendly - I felt inspired when I saw the yoghurt they make themselves from their goat's milk.And those baby goats - I wish I had a goat now.

Two cutie things

Then we had lunch - Nasi Padang. I remember because that's now one of my favorite foods here. It's like a curry almost with cassava leaves and hot peppers. It's so spicy and delicious. Usually it uses chicken - but its amazing vegetarian style too. We also tried some of their homemade yoghurt - it was really good.

Afterwards we took the longish bus ride back to Jakarta and because Natalie so rarely comes here we decided to go out. We started at the mall then taxied to this really cool Turkish restaurant - Annatolia that was not too far away. We spent the rest of the night there. 
Our really good food - mine (the froneter-most) was a mushroom cheese (real cheese) thing. So good.

Blurry but the lights look cool
I'm trying to get rid of all my pictures - so many.