One of the customs here in Indonesia is that people do not wear shoes into their homes. The shoes are deposited near the front door and you walk bare foot or in your socks. This custom is also observed in many of the Red Cross branches we have visited. When we’re working on the radios we are constantly going inside then outside, then back inside, on and on. Each time we transit the door we have to remember to shed the shoes going in and re-don them going out.
More than once I’ve found myself two, or three, steps into an office only to stop dead and beat a retreat to the door. No one has said anything but we’re trying to observe their customs as best we can. Fortunately the one pair of shoes I brought along can have the laces tied very loose so I can step in and out of the shoes easily. Glen brought along some Teva sandals and they work very well. A pair of Crocs would be wonderful.
In most branches the toilets are out of the back door and require shoes. Perhaps more on that in a future blog but then again that may be TMI. You have to remember to go to the front door, collect your shoes, carry them to the back door and put them on there before heading into the loo.
Today in the Bener Mariah branch the branch leader insisted that we did not take off our shoes and I can tell you it was a funny feeling to walk through the door into the inside of the building and walk around in shoes.
Today we fixed the radio installation in Bireuen then drove up into the mountains from sea level to over 5000’ over a winding, sometimes rough, narrow road full of trucks. The drive from Bireuen to Takengon is 101 km and took us almost 4 hours. The scenery was spectacular and the time went quickly. We kept hoping a Sumatran tiger would leap across the road but no luck. In fact we saw almost no wildlife at all.
We fixed the radio installation at Bener Mariah before heading to our hotel on the shores of the lake called "Danau Laut Tawar" some 4600’ up.