Sunday, April 16, 2006

Indonesia or Bust 2

Put on your orange robe. Save your head til it shines in the morning sun and take the pathway to enlightenment. Once you reach the cross roads take a left and soon you will have arrived in a small hamlet occupied by kinky dwarfs in lederhosen wielding leeks menacingly. This place is Ben land. Welcom to the Second installment of my Big slimy Indo Adventure.

I would start by doing the typical English silence breaker of mentioning the weather, but I cannot comment on how goos it is. For alas monsoon season is upon us and your poor humble narrator was swept into the heart of the waters from hell and drenched in a matter of seconds where the roads within the minute are turned to rivers flowing with filth, cats and a poor pedal taxi driver who seemed very bemused til some one chucked him a lifebhoy and towed him to the side.
The weather here can be wondrous one moment and the next it can rain hippos and elephants. But while playing football with the over touchy locals in what can only be described as a rice paddy field I took the opportunity of the increasing water level to hoist one of the tiny Indo's on to my shoulder in a firemans lifet and Klinsmann dive in the mud resluting in much laughter and a very muddly little man.

So then my eager readers who regularly tune into my emails like I am the BBC in the 1950's what news and juicy filth do I have for your eager eyes this time.
Well today was the day of our first CAD (Community action day). We all met at 7am in some remote village outside Malang where we were told that we were building some sort of meeting hall for the local community action group or young mothers club. Well anyway we were helping to build this room for somone or something and so we got there all decked out for a day of action. But work and Indonesians are two words that you wont normall find together in a ormal sentance. A it transpired the Indo's like to work a little and loaf and rest a lot. But this just made me work even harder to encourage them. This didnt have the desired effect though. Soon as I was lifting big sacks full of black volcanic sand on my shoulders, bags twice the size of the sacks that it took two Indos to carry. I became something of a freak show. Soon the world and his wife alsong with the bloody moer in law were gathered arounf the sweaty, sand covered whiteman. Soon I had children runing around me and locals cheering as I hoisted the heavy sacks up on to my shoulders. The local men all took me for some muscle man in my vest and cowboy hat. A muscle man!! I was even called Tarzan as I pulled massive carts full of sand from the road side up the small pathways between the ramshackle buildings with pagoda style roofs, all the way to the place where the girls in out group were mixing cement. All the while the Indnesians looked on in awe and bewilderment. The things with Indo culture is that it is the being there that is significant and 9 whitepeople were symbolica rather than significant. Before long I was invited to eat two lunches, made to pose with random women ad babies in photographs and also invited to play football for what I though was a local team, but ended up being a match or mudfest where you couldnt stand up on the local overgrwn child infested pitch.

It was a geat fun day with all sorts of things going on apart from building. But once again we had to perform the ritual of the singing and hand clapping song as though we are performing monkeys. Oh speaking of which I was walking through the Malang town centre known as the Alun-alun where I saw somehting that made me blink, rubb my eyes and have a couble take.
Surely there wasnt a monkey in a crash helmet on a bike juts riding past me. I looked again thinking that I must be going ga-ga. But there was this little poor chap on a sodding bike on a cahin being made to ride around for coins. Just when I thought you couldnt get anyore random I was filmed for national TV and swore at the cameras!

Malang itself is quite a charming little city. It's population is about 710,000 but I cannot vouch for that as I havnt done a head count personally. But it is easy to find your way and has many recgonisable things that you can remember your journey by. Such as I walk past the Buddhist club and over the footbrifge and throught the bird market to get to our meeting place which is the Malang Gerakan Pramuka HQ (Scout hut).
The bird market is an amaizing place to paruse. The area is situated down two streets and accross a bridge. Birsda of all colours and sizes fill cages of ornate and plain design. The poor things woyuld look so much happier and beautiful sitting in a tree I think and I can close my eyes and imagine letting free thousands of chirping birds who would fly to freedom and come to my aid when I do a particular whislte!
But it is not only birds that can be found in this amaizing yet cruel market. Rabbits, mice and tiny little monkeys are all for sale. The monkeys touch me mots of all as they lok so sad in their confined cages. One seller was trying to flog his primate to some geezer who must have commented that the monkey in question looked a bit lifeless. So the seller in all his animal rights best attitude squirted the poor thing with water to make it jump around. It worled as the man paid in full and took the monkey away. I hope that it esaped and shit all over his clothes!

The local Malang paper came ut the other day. I opened its odd pages and there was an article about 'Ingriss' volunteers coming to town. But who should be in the picture but none other than Mr. Bing. How did he get in on the media action? All he did was make us play odd games and a human version of paper scissors and stones. Instead we used giants, witches and dwarfs. The ginats kills the witch, but she killes the dwarf, while the little one can kill the ginat. But these human manouvers all had actions! the dwarfs one was practivcally perverted as he fiddles with the ginats bits to win the battle!!! Mr. Bing seemed very keen that we should also learn the actions to the dwarfs fiddling actions if the ginat was a woman!. The two actions resembled milling a cow with one giant udder for a male giant, and a etch a sketch action that could resemble boobies for the female human monolith. I think Mr. Buing should nt be let to hang aroubnd with children or animals. But I will adopt him if he puts himself up for it!
Anyway old Bingbony was there grinning on the photo with 4 volunteers and a ransom woman who got in on the action and proably juts came to the ceremony for the free food. But if you look between the volunteers heads you can see a splodge taht is me. Fame at last the Malang local reg. What an achievement. One to put on the CV me thinks!

I have a mission with some of the other volunteers. We are trying to fins a traditional maret to procure a traditional farmers hat that looks like a lampshade. These things rock. You see the pedal taxi drivers wit them on and I want one to blend in more! I have so far only used the pedal taxis oce. I do think that they are far too touristy and ike to walk as you see more. But on this one occason we all paired up and raced back to our HQ. I was in a edal taxi with Lucy one of the Brit volunteers, now she weighs about a stone and herefore as I am no chubber I thiugh that we would win the race. But we were pushed back into second place by two Indo's called Rizky and Anhah (both male) and then suddenly coming frombehing was Miftah in his own pedal taxi. He roared past us and screaminged some Indo abuse as he raced on to win the final home straight. When we wre all back our pedeller seemed to be having a heat attack, so I paid him anyway and was off like a shot. In truthy he was an old boy but stopped panting as soon as his 20p in rupiah arrived in his palm!

We were supposed to be helping out the local Pramuka (scouts) with a sex education day. But due to certain aspects we are now juts turning up for their seminar to give moral support and not talk or but condoms on bananas as they wanted. This is for the best as in Indoonesia se education is done very, very strangely. Firstly, when talking of sex in school and educating children they dont use the examples of men and women. They use plants as the process of pollination. Therefore when a child comes out of school they are none the wiser about sex. Also as the country is predominately muslim and they believe in no sex before merriage or 'self abuse' mots Indonesians are in the dark about the whole thing. Therefore us Brits with our 'liberal' views on sex will probabloy blow the young peoples minds with our points of view and telas. Ergo it is best not to get too involved as we have only been here about 2 weeks and it is best not to indoctrinate the locals that safe sex is ok and suddenly mass orgies pop up around the city or they think safe sex is sex with the front door locked and lots of babies arrived from the stalk.

But as we are not doing that there is something else that amaizes us and we are organising an educational actvity day on. I am talking about none other than theinfamous 'Ladyboys'. I kid you not. There is an actial ladyboy institute here in Malang. I am not sure what type tey are (trans or cross dresser) and how educational it will be. But it will be fasinating. As I am I sure I saw one in the town. Lady like, but with big hands and stubble!! Well time will only tell what happens with te lady boys but be rest assured that I will take photos and stand a lady boy next to an Indonesian girl so you can play spot the difference!

I must also report a breakthrough on the old beer front. We all were divided up into groups of a female counterpart pairs and one male. Then we had to embark on tasks around the city. This was basically to get us to orientate ourselves with the city. But while the Indonesians went to the mosque with its call to prayer that can be heard in the next region we went to an ex-pat bar and sampled the delightfully crisp Bintang lager stuff that went down a treat. Since then I founf a place actually called Indo mart and bought some cheap beers that I have hidden away from Miftah and have shared out. I am like the contrband man. While in the mountains at our catholic retreat I was the tea bag man with my special stach and now I am bers wines and spirits. Minus the wines and spirits as I cantfind any here at all. The good things is that all this very little drinking mularky means that I will save an incredible amount of cash. I am not spending hardly anything anyway. We even get about 150,000 rupiah a week for living allowances, food and travel to and from our respective work placements. So not only will I also be saving money but I will be detoxing my liver after years of abuse. I may come back as healthy as a pure thing of the purest purity that did a degree in purity!
One thing I must stop doing is making sexual inuendo ridden comments to the Indonesian volunteers who are very innocent. How they will survive when we go to Glasgow I have no idea. Oh talking of Glasgow I have been told that we are part of the Edinburgh festival opening parade. Yes the legendary Fringe comedy and art festival with see the sights of Miftah the Human lightbulb eater. He is a legend, but was very lazy today at the building site.
The best thing about Mlang is that on my way to Paleng merah to work each mornign I gaze into the distance and see the cloud capped wondrous sight of the volcano in the back ground. What a sight to behold. The wonder never seases to amaize men. I am planning a wee trip up there as long as it doesnt erupt and also I am planning on checking out there lovely and enchanting Buddhist temples and monuments around the city suburbs.
We have a mid project review where we all go away and discuss how things have been going and also if there are any problems to arise. I championed a bid to the Temple of Borbudur, but alas it has been quashed as it is too far away. My heart sank when I heard that. The most amaizing Buddhist templ;e in all the world, the wonders of the 9 storey pathway to enlightenment. It has been quashed. I want to cry or shack at up warung (food stall). I can see the point of why we cannot go as it takes about a day to get two and we only have 3 days away, but I set my heart on climbing to the top to see the Buddha encased in their bell chambers. Now it will remain a dream until I return. Or I could get ejected from the programme by running off!!!!!!

Seroiusly I know I am a trpouble maker but I am quite serious here even though I am subject to outburts of mentalness where I race kids in the street or when I am shouted at for being white saluting them and bowing. I get called boss, Bule (whiteman) and also sir a lot. I have also been called John. I think people juts shout the only English name they can think of out loud. Like a form of look there's a stranger tourette's!

I have made one fatal error while being here thoigh. I told my host father about little Britain. He seemed to get the wrong end of the stick about 'Bitty'. I caught him talking to one of the English volunteers yesterday and he said to her 'are you missing your mothers breasts'. Now this girl is 21 and I think she now believes that I live with a paragliding mentalist. But one can only wonder what wittisisms he will come out with when I tell him about toilet humur.

I will now for once be serious in an email. I know that I am never such but I want to tell you about a rather special and courageous person who juts so happens to be one of the Indonesians volunteers.
There is a very small Indonesian volunteer called Hajrah. She come from the island of Sumatra. From a town at the northern most tip, a town called Banda Aceh. If that name rings a bell it is because that was one of the worst decimated places by the tsunami. Hajrah is an inspiration to me, but I can never tell her as she would be far too imnarrassed and could possibly become upset. But this courageous soul lots her sister amongts other members of her famly when that fateful wave hit. The tragedy, the pain, the suffering that she muts have d\gone through. I feel deeply for her. The fact that she not yet 2 years later is here on this GX VSO voluntteer scheme is a remarkable feat. I praise her strength and courage. She has a geat sense of humour and the naughtiest laugh I have ever herad. But when I hear about her tragic loss I became in awe of her strength and determinatin to make the mots out of life. The lesson here is that no matter what hapens you can never lose your spirit. She is full of spirit and the very best kind it is two. I take my hat off to her and salut and toast her to the end. Peope like that are true and few and far between.

Well thats all I can write for now as my poor eyes cannot focus on the screen anymore and the man in the internet cafe is trying to sell me coffee and a monkey or Kopi and monyet as it is here in Indoland.
Take care my fearless readers. Sleep tight and remember above all think of the chain monkey in the tree outside my host houise that sticks his tongue out at you when you squeek.

With mush love, cheecky winks and klots of Indo Bitty.

Waalaikum Salam as Miftah says


Remember all my blogs and a few photos that you can check out and lick can be found at: and



Post a Comment

<< Home