Saturday, April 22, 2006

Indonesia or bust 4

In a city far away, out of reach in a land of history intrigue and a distict lack of alcohol, where it would be a detox if it wasnt for the copius amount of glorius coffee consumed!

Rise up from the blood splattered canvas one last time. Look your foe in the eye and then land a solid uppercut that crushes his lower jaw and sends him flat on his arse for the count of ten. Shake off the sweat beads from your brow and gulped down that needed life giving water. You are going to need something stronger as you get ready to stomach number four in Mon Capitano Benjy's exploits in South East Asia. Welcom my dance cub enthusiasts and fat fighters to Indonesia or Bust, number Eman as they say here.
I will start this little ditty with an introduction into the normality of life in the host home. The little rambling place ful of photos of Pa Agung in differening stages of paraglliding landings on the walls and the many cats that roam and shit freely all over the place.
Pa Agung muts have a bob or two stasked away somewhere as he does have the biggest DVD collection one has ever seen. He has all these Asians pirates that are not even out in the UK yet and are incredible playable quality. But the mian problem happens to be his penchant for bloody Jacmie Chan movies.
Pa Agung which actually translates as Mr. Big lives with his slave, sorry I mean daughter who even though she told me she is a student never seems to leave the house. Meanwhile Pa Agung gounges himself on all sorts of exotic foodstuffs and tries to feed me up. He cannot understand the term 'I am full'. But he is a delightful cook as he owned a reatuarent in Amstedam for about 13 years. He said that his flat would shake from the noise made from the Amsterdam arena when Ajax scored.
The house apart rom me and Miftah has only two people living in it. Pa Agung and his 17 year old daughetr Invy. But why are there always hundreds of randoms hanging about the place. I know that the upsiars are student accommmodation. I never see them but can hear them. Indo students are nothing like British students. You do hear their loud music, but as soon as ten pm comes they all are tucked up in bed like good little citizens. Very odd. I want to track them down and go to a rave with them, but alas I dont think late night antics have been invented here.
o what is there to do on a Friday night?
Answers on a postcard to Ben, bewildered in Indonesia.
Saturday 22nd April
A group of jovial and randomly singing persons all rammed into the back of an Angkot and headed to the utsj\kirts of Malang for out first injection of Buddhist architecture administered by yours truly. Ever since I knew I was off to Indonesia I wanted to sample as many Buddhist and Hindu ancient temples as physically possible. So therefore we started at the local and small but absolutely stunning and so rnate temple of Candi Badut. Next week via the aid of a loaned Red Cross ambulance we are off to see the majesty and intrigue of the largest temple in our area, the temple of candi ingosare. Nestling in the village of the same name it has been described to me as a jem of East Java.
But that is next week for today we went to Candi Badut where I instantly fell in love with the overwhelming scale of beauty and craftsmanship. Tis ancient monument looked every bit the ancient weather beaten monument that is was. The only thing that took away from its historica beauty wre the botched repairs made in the 1920's and the carved grafiti that littered the inside. I walked every accessable inch of the temple and felth all the carvings and ancient inscriptures on the walls with my out strectehd finger tips. I even attracted a small crowd of onlookers to my disgust as I sat in the sun with the palm tress swaying in the breeze at my back sketching the only surviving statue of an ancitn Buddhist woman in one of the fur large outer alcoves in the mighty walls surrounded by worn carvings. The statue was old and had ong since lost its head but still it has a calming presece as though it even with no visable head could still see you.
Buddhist temples have one entrance with steps leading into a small inclosed room with an altar. The one entrance represents the pathway to enlightenment and the temples are all built on 9 levesl representing the 9 steps that we muts take to reach Nirvana. They levels may only be a small rising in the carved blocks of volcanic stone that make up the temple, but in some cases (Borobudur) they can be giant levels with many statues and Buddhas situated on them.
I am amaized and in compleat love with the ancient culture that lurks under the Muslim exterior of Indonesia. But the Indonesia as a race must be comended for their remarkable inter-faith tolerance and acceptance that many countries could learn a thing or two from (hint hint Britain). This country even though it does have its developing nation problems has got so many thing right. Even though I cannot abide the fact that their alcohol policy leave me less than satisfied they are a great nation steeped in culture. On the alcohol front though there is a strange man in our office with rotten teeth who seems to have an inexhaustable supply of Chinese rice wine and loves to dish out large helping to me on a regular basis. I am now regarded as a heavy drinker as I can down the glass in one. In Britain that is normal practice, but here it causes gasps of shear delight at the magic of the whiote man from lands far away where there is not sun and all people live in red phone boxes!!
On the news front I have been invited to join Rudy from works karate club which is in some school every Wednesday. So soon I will be kung fu kicking all the beggers out of the way and also I have been made an honoury mamber of the Gerakan Pramuka gym where the men doing weight training love nothing better than to train in their skimpy pants and nothing else. Great!!!
So all in all I have fun, fun, fun galore planned. Rock on!!
Monday 24th April
Yesterday I ressed Miftah up in an Englsn shirt, matching george cross sweatbands and made him chant the traditional English terrace songs such as 'your going home in the back of an ambulance' and 'your schmit and you know you are'!!!!
Todays juicy gossip is the fact that not only was I obducted to Mr. Ame's house where he made me drink coffee that was definately laced with something before he tried to put large golden dragon bracelets on me and sell me rings. It was very scary. Mr. Ame is a massive hulk of a man with the worst mullet in the world and three whispy hairs on his top lip which he considers to be a moustache. He is also something of a spiritaul guru, but in all honesty I think is a proper fraud. What sort of man doubles as a traditional heler who has hoards of chinese come to his house and a red cross ambulace driver. Something smells fishy. But that could be the river which is next to his house where all the locals, wash, use as a rubbish dump and also do a dump in. The most unhygienic place in the world, exept maybe for our kitchin at our host home where there are more cats than crockery!
But apart from the surrealness of a house full of bizarrely shaped ornamental daggers where I half expected would gut me and I would wake up in a tub of ice with my kidneys removed on the walls, we escaped and went somewhere rather special. For today we went to Candi Singosari after our fruitless day of trying to coax people in Malang alun-alun to give blood. Canid Singosari is the most wondrous ancient Hindu-Buddhist temple in the Malang region. Whats more we had it all to our selves. It was a case of 'what shall we do now' so the bllod bus rocked up to the small village of Singosari and soon the gang (me, Miftah, some nurse dude and Mr. Ame) were clabering up the temple and our nostrils burnt with the essence of lotus and other exotic oils which had been burnt there. What a sight to behold as I reached out to touch the tangible enbodiment of enlightenment. As you can tell everytime I see one of these temples my writing becomes all fruity and I fall in love with the place.
Candi Singosari was more complete that Candi Badut. There was a complete arched high roof with all sorts of ornate and wonderful carvings in the dark stone formed in the firey mouths of volcanos. Oh speaking of which we are on amber alert for a volcanic eruption. The South East Asia ring of fire as it it know has over 100 active volcanos in this counyt alone. Therefore when one starts to rumble and spew ash and billowing smoke into the air the next volcano is not far behind. Mount Bromo is the next in line to the current ones that are rumbling and that is very very close to us. So close in fact that we are planing a small trip there to see it. But if she blows then all hell will break lose and we will have to all be evacuated somewhere on high ground. Its all action out here!
But back at the tranquility of Candi Singosari where the biords are even respectful and quit it felt like the world was standing still. Not a sound penetrates you when you are in te presence of a mighty monument from an age of Buddhas, Vishu and other exotic gods. There were ginat statues all draped in flowers which date back beyond memory, standing aloft in their resting places almots as if they could see you and pierce you with their all seeing and enlightened and wisened eyes.
The temple of course has been fiddled with during the Dutch occupency and the Japaneses invasion. So therefore the temple is not in the exact origional state that it once was. There are a row of tall ominous looking statues that once occupied plinths in and around the temple but now are standing in a row facing the entrance as if on a constant holy vigil, standing guard watching their one great home. Sometimes things would look better left alone.
Soon we left the temple and rocked back to the area known as Kwarcab to abuse the free gym which I discovered last week. This gym in question is prehistoric and the people that come to it are either so big that they are cripples where they have developed their chest and arms but not back and legs and cannot support their own weight or they are so puny that you want to laught and point at them. Anyway I have been accepted their as I showed them all some new tecniques and now I am the old wise one. Or as one shout at me 'Bulldog' because on the walls there are lots of posters of rather massively deveolped men. There also is a picture of the late and great British Bulldog from Wrestling fame. So as I am British I must be the same person in their eyes!!! Anyway at least I can keep fit and do a workout a few times a week, as running in the city is near enough out of the qiuestion. Horse carts, large oxon pulling massive oloads and so much traffic juts makes that ridiculously hazardous.
The weekend gone a few of us went exploring to try and find this place where translated they have a thing caled the hoprse trance dance. But alas this bizarre masochistic ritual where they eat glass and stab themselves with pointy things has moved and closed down. But we stumbled upon the mots cruel small and free entry zoo in the world. I have never wanted to beak open the padlocks so much to cages before in my life. Massive eagles couldnet even spread their wings as kids pushed their faces up to the bars. But the thing that made my blood boil was the three monkeys living in a faeces infested and rotting cage no bigger than a toilet cubicle. They rattled the bars and made loud noises jut begging to be free. I hand fed the calmer of the trio though the bars a banana and then one grabbed Emma and she screamed at its little flea infested hand took hold of her top. But her noise scared the bugger even more and he returned to rattling the cage as all these people looked on in vivid interset not even realising that this is cruel and wrong.
Sometimes small thing like that really annoy you. But later on in the day Hugh and I went to find this infamous tradidional market which so many of the Indo volunteers had been bleating on about. So fater the monsoon which lasted well over two hours had finished and we had come out from cowering in the warung drinking teh with loads of sugar that the little lady put in it and laughing at the man who's umbrell blew away and was soaked to the skin instantly, we explored.
Soon Hughy and I or Huggy as the Indonesians call him as they cannot pronounce his name, but they can saw Hew which means shark! Very strange people the Indo's. I secretly think they are all very kinky, that would explain all the smiling. Ayway old Huggy and I stumbled accross this undergrounf labayrinth, a maze of tunnels and alleys all bustling with people and stalls sellign everyhting from entire cows heads to small wooden seats for midgets. Hugh described the place as a fires starters dream as their were two ways out by what we coud tell. In we dived, always going deeper and deeper at everystep. Soon we were so deep that the people we had met hadnt seen daylight for years and vlinked at the whiteness of our teeths and skin. The beams overhead wre so thick with cobwebs that you could stick a man in them and make a hammock out of them, the hole place was a dingy, dark and crepy wonder. The sort of place you imagine a lurking besta to come out and festa on the flesh of a man who stumbles downt he wrong corridor. But as we neared the end we discovered to out delight the traditional farmers hats called Capengs. We bought one each for the equivalent of about 20pence and soon we were causing scuh a stir as we walked back to the entrance through the hustle and shiouts of people. everyone stared and made gestures to us. But when we emerged nto the drizzle and humidity of the city we caused even more cat calls and randoms to come up to us shouting all sorts of things. As it transpires they were juts being nice but I had my fists clenched ready for action the entire time
was walking along yesterday and the bloody Indo's try and play chicken with you. They tryand barge into you. But I thought sod it and stood my ground, dropped my shoulder a little and led the sod bounce off me and go flying into the railings with a cletter. Ha ha hat a tool. The poor little Indo didnt know what to think. But that serves him right for thinking that I am some pushover.
Well thats my Indonesian life so far. Tomorrow I am back on the blood bus aw we travell to the university of Malang (yet another campus) and try to recruit victims to give their vein juice to us. I will be in my element running around the uni with my bad Bahasan accent and my sly winks to ivite people to come to me. So far I have been banned from the office as at the Red cross mani markas canbang building I piss around on the tannoy. They asked me to summon the next people to come out to give blood. But I said the 'silikan masuk' bit so fruitily that they now want me out of the office at all times. especially as we have a proper Islamic alky onnthe top floor who keeps giving me Chinese rice wine.
Oh well, once more into the breach dear friends.
So where every you are, whom ever you are with, what every you are doing (stop it if its is naughty) remember one thing. Pregnant cats can still jump up and pull all your clothes down from the washing line and piss al over them. Dont let their pot belliedness fool you. They are evil!
Peace and love to all who have read all this arse hole bullshit

Ben (Rabu Bule Kopi is my Indonesian name)


P.S. Alan Shearer I salute you, happy retirement!

P.P.S. Aresenal for Europe!!!!


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