Wow, yesterday was quite a day. We had training and language class all day, plus our medical briefing on malaria and… some things even less savoury.
We had a guest speaker come and show a PowerPoint presentation with photos of her life in Indonesia; she came as a high school senior to study here and has does various types of aid work here at different times since graduating and getting her bachelor’s and master’s. She told us a lot about the Indonesian sex industry, social change since the Reformasi post-Suharto, and other sub-cultures (street kids!) and social issues. This may sound strange, but it was nice to have a reality check; we’ve been living in a sheltered paradise since arriving here, and seeing pictures from outside Jakarta and especially those from brothels in Yogyakarta was sobering. Of course, we’re aware, but… really, it’s been fantasy land here in our hotel.
We had the evening free after our bahasa Indonesia classes and dinner at the hotel. It’s been so nice to share meals and spend most of our time together; we haven’t yet gotten sick of each other (I don’t think we will) and we always seem to have great conversations, no matter the mix of people that end up together at a table. So, we chatted after dinner for quite a long time before a small group of us went out to a big shopping mall down the road.
At the mall, we spent a lot of time on the floor devoted entirely to batik wear. An entire floor (this mall is bigger than anything we have in anywhere near me… I think there were about 14 floors and a basement)! There were shirts, dresses, scarves, accessories, pillows, etc. So beautiful. Actually, our financial lady had bought us all batik shirts and passed them out yesterday, and I wore mine to the mall. I wanted to buy another but I think I’ll wait until we’re out of the city, which is full of expensive stuff.
After returning from the mall, we gathered more people and went out to a cafe. We ate gelato and drank Bintang, a beer brewed in East Java. It was so great to sit around and relax and talk! I got a chance to take a few pictures, as did a couple of other volunteers. We sat outside and listened to a band play covers of 90’s American music… Alanis, Michael Jackson, the Cranberries, etc. So excellent. We may have danced… we may have ruffled some feathers. We certainly sang and applauded like Americans do. And we spent about $200 after all was said and done… it’s so expensive here. That’s about Rp 2,000,000!
We came back and I thought I’d sleep the whole night through, but I ended up getting about five hours of sleep, and now I’m here, in the dining room of the hotel, hanging out with everyone else who’s already awake. I’m going to go drink some jackfruit juice!