Sunday, April 6, 2014


We were sitting at a coffee shop in Seoul, checking our emails and getting the web-dates on that Sunday the plane went missing.  And it took everything I had not to freak out about the flight to Jakarta I was due to get on the next day.  Might I remind you of the whacked out thoughts I have every time the plane goes bu-bum-bump, and now you're telling me a plane is missing?  As in GONE?  And it's gone missing in a country just over from the one I'm headed to?  What is going on?!  Is this part of something bigger??  Are more planes just gonna go missing?!?  I feel like I could freak out now just writing about it.  So, back to the coffee shop in Seoul... I managed to talk myself down by considering that the odds of another plane crashing or being hijacked or going missing in any way the very next day were slim-to-none, so MY flight was probably gonna be just fine.  (Thanks for sacrificing yourselves, passengers who were part of this tragedy, so that I may live.)  But that didn't make me feel less terrible about the fact that something had gone down on another flight, even if it wasn't mine.

That said, witness what a trooper I was to adult-up and get on the damn flight to Jakarta the next day. Yay, me.  While we're heaping praise on the nutcase that is me, I can also tell you that I kept it together pretty well *most* of the time I was in Indonesia, too.  I know that there is a big sect of people in that country that doesn't like me as an American, and I know that this same group is pretty skilled with bombs and known for surrepticious attacks in popular places to maximize casualties.  And when the driver quickly assured me that it was thunder making the bombing, er... booming noise on my first morning's drive to the office, it really didn't calm me at all.  And when the craziest storm woke me up at 2 am one night with thunder and lightning such that only happens over islands in remote parts of the ocean/world, I took cover in the bathroom (I am from tornado country in the US) because surely this was gonna kill us all (now it was the heavens bombing us), I didn't feel calm either.  And when I realized that the flight my local colleague had booked me on to fly within Java island was with a carrier not allowed to fly into EU airspace and whose pilots had had issues with meth use, I was pretty calm but I did call the travel department in Stockholm right away to rebook on a less-shady carrier.  But when the flight on the less-shady carrier was swaying and bouncing and bumping over who-knows-what-part of Java, I was white-knuckling the armrests (germs be damned) and talking to myself out loud a little bit because of course the shitty meth pilots were gonna have the fluffiest marshmallow landing while my re-booked flight was the one that would crash because I totally saw that made-for-tv movie and I know how fate/karma/irony/etc works.  But I would be lying if I told you that I didn't lose it (and I mean crying lose it) when I got to the hotel the same local colleague booked for me in a lovely city called Bandung in central Java and I had to walk by a public restroom to get to my 1st floor room, which did not contain a window nor an extra lock and which also had brown pillowcases.  I went downstairs to pay the approximate equivalent of 30 dollars to move to a "deluxe" room, which had a window but now had YELLOW pillowcases.  And that's when I finally lost my shit.

I did like Indonesia and am glad I visited some other parts of Java besides Jakarta, despite the getting there and the accommodations in these places.  Now that I'm through it, I can praise my adventurous spirit and survival instincts.  (Heh.)  Though I'm not ready to be dropped in the jungle or something anytime soon...

And now, the photos!

Nom nom nasi bali, which I ate 2 out of the 5 nights I was in Indonesia.  How about that palm cone?

This is snake fruit, which is totally chic but also totally delicious.  Check the link and you'll see that it is filled with what looks to be large garlic cloves.  It is not too sweet and, come to think of it, might be exactly what I am craving right now.  Yum.

Some random shots outside of Bandung.

Bad iphone shot of brown pillowcases.  I promise you they were way more skeevy in person.

A fancy lady in Bandung showing off her colored Pomeranian puppy.  Colored dogs are totally trending, I know because I saw some in Seoul, too.

Snacks at the rest stop along the route to Bandung.

Speaking of food, the Indonesians have a thing for donuts... but with CHEESE?

Yep. With cheese.

And I spotted these interesting pastries in flavors like "salami brown sauce" and "lady finger beer." Hmmm....

I sneaky shot this guy at the airport in Bandung.  All the dudes were rocking some batik prints there, but this guy really brought the style.  I mean, look at that scarf!  

Gender bending.