Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Adapting to Life in Indonesia.

Here are a few questions, that come to mind, as someone adapting to life in Indonesia ...

Question:  You have a breakfast buffet at the hotel to choose from including dishes from around the world. You choose:

  a. An egg omelet with bacon and toast
  b. Fresh fruit and yogurt
  c. Ham, cheese, and bread
  d. Rice, spicy chicken, and bok choy

Answer:  (d.) – The Indonesians eat very similar food for all three meals. There are some things specifically eaten at breakfast but the meal can often resemble lunch and dinner to Westerners.

Question:  You get back to your hotel room after a particularly hot and sweaty day. Your hotel room offers both a shower and cistern full of cold water and a ladle. You …

  a. Take a hot shower
  b. Take a cold shower
  c. Reach for the ladle and start pouring cold water over your head

Answer:  (c) – It’s unbelievable how good this feels …

Question:  On an airplane your meal is served and it’s spaghetti. You have a full complement of cutlery. You ...

  a. Take the fork in your left hand, knife in your right, 
      and eat with the fork.
  b. Take the spoon in your left hand, fork in your right, 
      and eat with the fork.
  c. Take the fork in your left hand, the spoon in your right hand, 
      and eat with the spoon.

Answer:  (c) – Most Indonesians use a dessert spoon for eating things like fried rice, noodles, etc. They will often, especially in Aceh, eat plain white rice with the fingers of their right hand. Eating with a spoon is easy to adapt to.

Question:  You’re dressing for work and know you may be visiting a Red Cross branch or Indonesian Office. You …

  a. Wear your work boots
  b. Wear your best pair of shoes
  c. Wear Crocs
  d. Wear flip-flops

Answer:  (c) or (d) – You’re probably going to be taking your shoes off when you enter the Red Cross branch or office and walking around in bare feet. Easy to remove footwear makes it much simpler.

Question:  Your meal is served and you immediately …

  a. Reach for the salt shaker and sprinkle some all over your food.
  b. Dig right in.
  c. Reach for the sambal bottle and squeeze a teaspoon size 
      dollup of sambal on the side of your plate – or all over your food. 
      Sambal is a hot spicy sauce with the consistency of ketchup.

Answer:  (c) – It's second nature!

Question:  After getting dressed and before leaving for work you …

  a. Liberally cover all exposed flesh with suntan lotion 
      and insect repellant.
  b. Grab a hat.
  c. Make sure your mobile phone is in your pocket.
  d. Make sure you’re carrying your passport.
  e. Make sure you have a pocket-pack of tissues with you.

Answer:  All of the above! And (e) refers to the fact that many Indonesian toilets do not provide tissue – bring your own.

Question:  You see an Indonesian man wearing a sarong and you think …

  a. Why would a man wear something akin to a skirt 
      (Scots are included here as well)
  b. It’s looks very comfortable for the environment but you’d 
      have to be Indonesian to wear one
  c. Damn that looks comfortable and I think I’d look good in one!

Answer:  Maybe (c) but (b) is the best answer!

Question:  You’re getting ready to go in for a swim at a local beach. You …

  a. Strip down to your swim suit and walk into the water.
  b. Remove the legs from your convertible shorts, 
      leave your shirt on, and wade in.
  c. Walk in to the water wearing long pants and a shirt.

Answer:  (c) is probably most correct but (b) is OK too. (a) is definitely out especially if you’re a woman. I’ve seen the men remove their shirts once in the water but put it back on to walk back to the beach.

Question:  You’re out on the street and need to find a ride to another location. A becak comes by and slows down. You …

  a. Wave the becak on by and wait for a taxi
  b. Wave the becak on by and start walking
  c. Hop in the becak, say a quick prayer, and head off
  d. Hop in the becak and don’t think about it

Answer:  (d) Note: If you read my comments about the becak you may be inclined to think that (a) is the right answer but, what the heck, go local!! You may be inclined to offer up a prayer mid-journey!!

Question:  You want a cup of coffee and go the kitchen area to find Indonesian coffee, Nescafe instant coffee, powdered creamer, and sugar. You …

  a. Make a cup of coffee with the Nescafe instant and powdered creamer
  b. Put a table spoon of finely ground Indonesian coffee in the mug, 
      add hot water and two teaspoons of sugar
  c. Opt for tea

Answer: (b) -- The Sumatran coffee is delicious if you don't mind a pile of grounds in your cup. And it does taste better sweet.

1 comment:

  1. I like the Sarong part :-)

    how are you Pak Roger?