Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Kampung Betawi & Masjid Kubah Emas

A few weeks ago was out mid-year orientation. Yeah I know crazy it's been 6 months already. (By now it's been like 7 ha) So Chapter Jakarta decided to take us on a little field trip. So me and Nathan and our contact people Kak Dila, Kak Tanti, Kak Putra, Kak Amri, and Kak Ninit went first to Kampung Betawi. Kampung Betawi is a area where you can see original Betawi culture - the people that first lived in Jakarta. They speak Bahasa Betawi. Their culture is a mix of Indonesian and of the different people that came here and colonized so a little Dutch and Portuguese even I was told.
In Kampung Betawi you can see houses done in their original architectual style - such as the little points on the house above. The house above is actually a hero's house. I'm not sure of the story but he's famous. So we walked and saw some of the houses and the huge man made lake. Kampung Betawi was incredibly clean and empty - surprising for Indonesia.
 You can take boat rides on the lake and so that was what we did.
Prahu Speda Bebek - Duck Bike Boats
Don't be mistaken - this was not a gentle ride. There was wind and you have to pedal really hard. at one point we went out the appointed circle and had to turn around and struggle the 5 feet back into the circle. After that we decided to eat traditional Betawi food. We ate kerak telor which I have photo-ed for you below. We tried the traditional Betawi drink - Bir Pletok which is a gingery 'beer'. It's not really alcohol. As a Muslim you're not allowed to drink alcohol. This is what the Betawi people came up with to mimic all the alcohol that the Dutch and Portuguese were drinking when they were here. I also tasted something curry-like called Laksi I believe. It was spicy and delicious but I don't have a picture
Later he'll flip the pan over and it'll be upside down

Ingrediants: eggs, hot stuff, stuff that's like coconut shreds but  I was told are not

feel the gingery burn - I'm joking it's not burny at all 
Then we left and went on to our next stop - Masjid Kubah Emas. It's a large mosque with kubahe (sorry I don't know the word in English. It's the top dome parts) made of gold. When you enter the whole parkesque area surrounding it it's like you're not in Indonesia. It's hotter because they only have small palm trees. All the AFS kakak said it was like being in the Middle East - I dont know so...

Hair is pretty much covered inside the mosque - not as strictly as I was expecting though
The mosque itself is made of granite stones which makes it crazy hot to walk across. You start and you go ok this is kind of hot. Halfway there you go OHMYGOSH THIS IS BURNING and start running. Happened everytime I swear. I watched lots of others cross it too. It was beautiful though.

The walk up. Here the guys separated from the girls
As they pray the opposite genders don't see each other or well the men don't see the women. Men enter from a different side and then inside the mosque the men are in front so women face their backs. In the mosque in my school they're divided by a wall so there is no seeing each other at all.
The entrance to the long fiery walk

I did enter for a while just to see the interior which was also great with a huge chandelier and a cloud painted ceiling but then I opted to go take pictures of the grounds.
You aren't allowed to take pictures inside but I did take this as we were entering.

There was one lady with her daughter outside playing. The daughter was just roaming and playing around which I found cute and funny. You can also see a bit what prayer looks like.

After our masjid visit we went and had lunch and the official evaluation part of the day. We ate Saung Talaga, a restaurant on the water. After a meal was over the waiters fed the leftovers to the fish who leaped out of the water pirahnna-like to get it.
    The actual evaluation consisted of Kak Ninit and Kak Ambri asking us about what we feel we had accomplished, our goals for the future. But we had to express this in a collage that will later be revealed to us at the end of our time here. I barely remember what I said but wow 6 months - or 7 months already gone. I'll be home in no time. What a weird feeling.
There was a monkey too!

I took a lot of fotos of randoms - one of my favs

Monday, 12 March 2012

Another Wedding

So I went to another wedding.  Both my h.sisters didn't go so it was just me and my host parents who both had friends to catch up with.I took the liberty of exploring a bit for myself. This time I knew what to expect - food and more food.
Inside food & outside food so you can eat everywhere
This wedding was apparently a bit different the usual ones. It was in a hotel as opposed to just the usual hall. It also had a lot of western touches I noticed. They were still in traditional wear but the live music was all American jazzy love songs. They even came down from their stage to do a first dance - which I've never seen before. I could see how they would be very american influenced. There were a lot of bule - foreigners there. A lot of the announcements were in English.
first dance

wedding singers behind fancily dressed guests in front
I ate a lot. Started with fruit then to the tempura table. There was pasta and fish. Sushi even. Dessert was either a crepe with mandarin orange sauce and ice cream or a waffle with the same toppings. There was even salad with real toppings. Very happy.
It was a cool wedding.
Can you see his sword - this is traditional dress for you.

Friday, 9 March 2012

A Quick Durian Trip

Happy people enjoying their durian.
One friday after school my friends from school and I decided to take a quick durian eating trip. From school we rode angkot some ways down the street until we came to one of the many little street stalls where you can buy durian. They chose a good ripe one and the guy opened it for us with his machete like knife.

The outside of a durian is spiky while the insides are white and gooey. It's smell is famous for being horrible and clingy. They have mint commercials where a person will knock their friends out with the smell of durian on their breath. No lie. It was raining at the same time though so you could basically ignore it. I don't think it's too bad though.
Those bulbous things are the part you eat
Is it delicious though? It's terribly sweet. I can't describe the taste much beyond that. The texture is where I find it the strangest. It's like when you try and eat the little bit of fruit left around the seed of a mango but softer. It's kind of slimy too so it stays in your teeth. Sometimes it seemed like there was no difference between chewing it and swallowing it. It kind of just goes down but you still feel the slimy-ness everywhere. My friend said she could eat 1 whole durian by herself she likes it so much. I could not imagine doing so. It's really sweet and there's maybe 9 or more pieces inside. The picture above is just it cut in half - it opens up more and more.
So after this food adventure we headed to a friend's house and hung out for a couple of hours. Then my friend took me home on the back of her motorcycle.  It's quick, and breezy and if you're a pro you don't have to hold on (actually it doesn't feel dangerous at all. I can't imagine myself ever wanting to hold on to the driver). I would say that wearing pants is probably better. The long school skirt makes it harder to get on, it gets shorter and also takes up space on the motor. Just a tip for future motor riders. I got cheers from all the people standing on the streets watching me ride motor for the first time. They were probably laughing to see me so excited to be on a motor. Best way to travel ever.
Duck reading a gravestone. On the way home. Had to take a picture