Sunday 12th February 2017- Day 13

I began my day with a fruit breakfast. Some rambutan, some of the tiny Indonesian bananas, and a couple of salak. I had never eaten salak before, it is sometimes called snake fruit because the skin is brown and looks like a scaly reptile skin. It was really good, and it also made a change from rice! I actually did try the bubur this morning, which is a kind of rice porridge, but half a spoonful of that was more than enough.

We went to the animal and bird market this morning. It was fascinating, but also disturbing in respect to the number and types of animals they had there, and the conditions in which they are kept. Birds are quite a big part of Javanese culture, and a lot of shops and businesses and homes have birds out the front. The types of birds are really varied, and the cages are sometimes very fancy but always very small. So going to the bird market was an aspect of Javanese culture that I thought would be interesting, even if it did make me feel a bit bad. Which, it pretty much did. I mean, it was amazing the kinds of animals they had there- a huge number of different bird species of course, but we also saw dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, gerbils, snakes, iguanas, other kinds of lizards that I can’t identify, turtles, hermit crabs, owls, squirrels, a racoon, something that might have been a ferret or might have been something else, and a sugar glider. And a baby monkey- that was the hardest one. Monkeys shouldn’t be in markets at all, but a baby that little should still be hanging off his mother and drinking milk.

Alyssa and I had planned to visit the bird market and then take Emma on a pokemon walk up towards the kraton and Malioboro, but the weather was not going to cooperate with that. We walked for a while, catching pokemon and looking at street art and taking photos, which was really quite fun. But it started spitting rain at us, so we took shelter in a very Melbourne-hipster-type café and had a snack. I had a lemon squash and a bubble waffle with ice-cream, syrup, a wafer and tiny marshmallows on it. It was funny, because waffles are definitely not an Indonesian food, but the amount of sugary sweet stuff all over it was definitely an Indonesian thing! In Java they like things sweet- the coffee Alyssa ordered at the same place came with a tiny jug of liquid sugar to add to it.

We walked for a bit more after that, but the rain just kept going and quite frankly I just didn’t want to spend the afternoon walking around getting wet. So we took a car to the big Gramedia bookshop in hopes of completing Alyssa’s collection of Indonesian Sailor Moon books, or the Indonesian themed fake Lego set. Neither of which we were able to do, despite the shop having three floors! I bought four cd collections of kids’ songs in Indonesian for school, and managed to resist buying a completely unnecessary backpack (but they had so many cute ones! I still don’t know if I regret not getting it!) so I suppose it was a win for me.

The shops are so weird here though. I picked up the cds and just carried them around, but apparently you’re not meant to do that. Instead you’re supposed to give them to one of the staff (and there were a million staff in this shop, seriously half of them were just standing around in small groups because there is only so much tidying that can be done) and they put them behind the counter and give you a little piece of paper with what you have chosen, and then when you’re ready to go you hand over your little piece of paper and they find your goods behind the counter and you can pay for them. They did this in the department store too. I guess it’s nice not to have to carry your things around, and it does give the multitude of staff something to do, but it all seems to complicate things a bit for no real reason!

I love hearing the Muslim call to prayer here. Yes, when I was having a breakdown in Probolinggo it made me cry, but as long as you’re not right next to the mosque it’s lovely.

We’re going out for dinner tonight with Alyssa’s family. Well, some of them, depending on who is here and who wants to come. Almost the whole extended family live here in this house – there is Alyssa’s mama and bapak, and then they have four kids are all married, and who between them have six (?) children. I think that both the married daughters and their husbands live here, and one of the son’s wives, and five of the grandchildren. And there now appears to be two elderly aunts staying too. Or I could have that all wrong. I’d have to consult with the family tree Alyssa drew for me, but the point is that there is a lot of people here! The littlest one is Dega, who is about two and adorable beyond words. He’s just so happy, he’s always singing little songs (which of course I don’t understand) and just wandering around smiling at his family and being cheerful. He’s adorable. There’s also Addo and Hana and Firza, who are all sort of in the kinder/ primary school age range, and then Nisa, who is thirteen, the same as Emma.

The house is giant, to fit all these people in. Alyssa is currently trying to draw me a floor plan, because even after walking around it I have no idea how all these millions of rooms fit together! They have western toilets, but also the traditional bak mandi in some of the bathrooms, and they have two kitchens but no laundry. The floors are all tiled, which is the most common thing here, and makes sense for the climate. But if you have the extended family living situation, this house with all it’s different little areas and nooks and crannies would definitely be the best way to do it. Not that I would want to do it, even in a house with fifteen different bathrooms!


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