Monday, April 17, 2006

Indonesia or bust 3
























INSONESIA OR BUST 3
Hark! Can you hear that sound. That rustling in the bushes. What can it be a child whispers. Its it the Sex pest from the west or the champion of touch and run. Surely it cant be the beast from the east!
Its somthing much worse, the lights in the auditorium dim, the temperature suddenly drops so that the frost on your breath can be sen. Then out of nowjere it springs upon its prey like an old man armed with rohypnol laced drinking cocoa.
Its that time again the white man cometh, its Indonesia or bust number 3 in this inthralling set of stories that has you on the edge of your seats and weaching for the tissues. Ben is back and this one is even more filthy. Let the unbridled fun unfold........
I fell to the floor from my wooden plank of a bed aching in places that only gymnasts and hypno gimps ach in. I asuntered my way to the bathromm and dosed myself with lashin of ice cold water that made me make the noises that a horse does when they see hay. I was awake and then in the heat of the morning which was ever increasing I had to put on my msart attiore. Why in a place as hot as Indonesia are shorts and sandals at the workplace deemed 'impolite', but burping aftre meals or picking your nose and putting the contents of your elopgated left hand nails onto the side of the plate fro which you are eating then prodding the giant lump of greenish yellow filth a few times is perfectly acceptable.
You wopuld think that the Indo's woulf realise that covered all your body in impracticle heat is juts folly, but oh now we have to look smartfor the Red Cross. So I donned my best cowboy shirt with jeans and headed off to catch the angkot to work. Once again I was told that I was a state and far too scruffy. The chief of the Palang merah then to prove his point showed me a photo of Prince Charles decked out in the best that saville row can offer. So armed with an image of the first in line I went to town and tried to get some smart clothes for work. The first port of call were shops that sold trousers. But the problem there lies with my size. Back home in England I am a small man. Five feet seven inches is two inches below the UK national average but I hasten to add half an intch above the world average. Thank goodness for the pigmioes and these fellows that I live with. The Indonesian are tiny, teeny weeny chaps with cheeky grins and really poor facial hair that tree hairs on an upper lip constitue a full moustache. Occasionally you see a chap with a full on Lord Kitchener tash but most of them cant grow facial hair for tofee.
I looked and searched for anything smartish that I could wear as trousers and drew a blank. The blessed things wouldnt go over my hips. You see here I am a bloody giant. I am taler than most and also much much much wider and more bulky. I get called Kuat a lot which means strong. Rnadoms shout it at me as compared to them I look like old Arnie the governor and ex-pat Austrian at his peak. The same goes for finding shoes to fit as the sizes go up to and not over 8. Being a size nine I am right and royal buggered. So no matter how hard I try I cannot look as dapper as old Charlie boy in his charcoal grey suit especially cut to boot.
Monday 17th April 2006Today I jumped aboard the palang Merah blood transfusion bus and headed accross the city to the army barracks. Our aim for the day was to collect a whopping 70 pint of thick red blood. I was full of aprehension as I thought that I was going to be the one sticking needles in random soldier boys. But I was relieved as a team of nurses in white uniforms and all smiles came with us to be stared at by the Indo army.My first impresions were that I could have taken on the entire battalion one by one and defeated them all. The soldiesr I saw were so weedy and puny that I wandered juts how many I could fell if I went windmilling in before I was over powered.The whole situation today was rather bizarre as we were surrounded by large machine guns that were stacked in to pyramids. But thery were so cose that if I wanted to I could have reached out and touched them. I didnt f course!When we arrived a large drill was in session and hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers in fatigues were marching around doing there bizarre Indo army thing with a march that really is nothing short of comical.Then they all stacked up thei weapon and started to go through one massive karate session. Soon flying high kicks and kung pow chop suey stiff was bombarding my vision. Most of it looked comical and I had to estrain myself from shouting 'no Kato no!' out loud.I started the day as bag filler boy. Where I put post blood giving goodies including some suspect vitamins pills into bags. Then I was promoted to bag handerout. But this became a blody nightmare as the queue piled up as every soldier wanted to try out their English skills on me. o I have been asked every concievable question in pigin English under the sun today. But I was in luck as juts as I was begiing to get bored ou of my tiny mind I was promoted to the lofty heights of blood boy. I walked around the cmp beds with soldiers lying on shaking at the site of their own blood collecting the pint bags of the warm syrup from the vein. I collected armfulls of these sachet bags and diposited them into the cool boxes and then transported them to the air conditioned blood bus parked outside with its giant stomached driver with the orst mullet in the world. This action by me muts have caused a stir as Malang Batu television turned up to film the action and many times did I see them pointing the camera at the token blood collection boy! So tonigfht I may have found fame on Batu TV as the news is aired at 7.30. Who knows I may get picked up by a talent scout and be cast in a police drama. I could be the Indo Kojak!!Who knows....
Tuesday 18th April
The blood bus fresh from the army barracks and the wimpy boys in green wearing soppy camo hats that you can buy on Southend sea front with kiss me quick on the front, rocked up to the University of Malang today. The Wibya Gama university is the Economic campus in the South of the city and it was to be our base for the day.
Unlike the soldier boys the students didnt have the orders f the general telling them to give blood. So we or I as I should say had the job of persuading them. We were based in this little room with Buddhist emblems on the wall and one looked quite like and offputtingy ike a swastika. I ignored that and then went into my very best pigin Indonesian and said in Bahas to passing student 'Salamut pagi, mocha jaidi donor darah' (good morning \, would you like to give blood0. Many students seeing my bad pronounciation ran a ile at the siht of me. The nurses were getting bored now as only about seven people had given blood today so I stepped into the breach once more and tried a different tactic. I said the same above sentance but in my very best quintessential Leslie Phillip's English to all pass girls. Guess what? It bloody worked I had all the girls who came with reach of my mucky grasp giggling like naughty school girls who had juts seen their teacher in his y front. The token white man talking Bahasa Indonesian in a strange yet alluing and somewhat erotic tone seemed to have worked and soon we were actually turning people away as the queue was getting too long.
The problem with attracting the ladies like this was I also attracted all the nutter. The nutters who canbe found at most universities (you know the ones, wear black, live in the dark and have pictures of Rolf Harris on the walls) were attracted too.
These nutters would slowly edge up to me and then when my guard was down, bang! It was like a cheeky pinch to the byum. They would bombard me with questions and start asking me all this rubbish about my beliefs and have I been to America. The trouble is that I had tio tell each and everyone of them (including the giggling lasses) that I wasnt a septic and was in fact bloody British. The cowboy hat is a great invention but does make people think that you come from accross the pond. Tomorrow I will wear my flat cap to remedy the yanky calls. The ambulance driver a Pac Ame was really into me getting involved as all he normaly does is drive the ambulance and then pester the women. So as I had emassed a crowd he was in his element ad after wards when the work was all done and we were loading up the warm gloopy vein tonic into the cool ambulances fridge he invited me and Miftah who was ever present and bewildered through this to his house. His actual words were as Miftah translated 'come to my house to see my antique rings'. Needless to say I made up some excuse about pmeeting my host father for a Kopi dan teh but Miftah jumped at the chance and now we have apparantly arranged to go to the mulleted mans house on Friday. Antique rings!
The word must have spread throught he campus that a white man in a cowboy hat andtalking in a strange tone and accent was about. Beacuse soon all the lecturers came to look at me like I was a monkey fiddling with himself in the zoo. But the lecturers had come to practice their English on me. The nurses who were working on overdrive by now thought I was the funniest thing they had ever seena nd called me luchu which means funny I think. Or it culd be an insult to my manhood.
Finally we escaped from the screaming girls who all had either rotten teeth or wonky eyes and drove through the motorbike infested streets. The noise of the city is a symphony of hinks, hoots and yells. The smells that waft through the wiondows come fast and go even quicker but the BO smell of the driver lingered. Suddenly I was aware that we were not going in the right direction and with our shipment of freshly transused blood we were heading out of the city. Oh no I though they are going to do some sort of satanic blood bum pump thing on me. But my alarm was short lived as the old craggy nurse (the other one was quite nice actually) wanted to introduce me to her kids, or were they her cousins or nieces or juts people she kept in her house for the fun of it. Anyway we were taken to a house outside the city where I was introduced to the 3 most gorgeous Asian beatuies that I have ever had the pleasue to witness. What was said to me while I shook their hands and placed my hand over my heart which is the custom out here was lots. I wasnt paying attention and was mentally transferring dirty thought to the three of them. Unfortuantely my telepathic skills are rubbish and soo we left the beautiful views behind and headed to the blood bank. When we wre transfering the blood to the large fridges ready for testing I made many a vampire jokes as I was holding the schate of blood and acting out drinking motions, but they all juts stared at me in silence and disbelief.
Finally my day was over and I could go to the internet. You should know that I wrote a long old email but the lovely Indo electricity board becided to switch itself off juts as my finger was poised to press send. Juts my luck that is. I got back to my host home past te hained monkey who now rolls his eyes at me and makes his ears wobble. I liked it best when he stuck his ongue out at me personally. I got to the host home and Pac Agung was being spoon fed by his daughter so he could still use th computer and eat at the same time. I stared in amazement as the noodles ran down his chin. I wondered why Ivy was even bothering to do this. But then thought oh sod it and sat half naked in the sun causing som passing Muslim women in head scarfs to blink and seem to scurry off.
Thursday 20th April
Another day andother Rupiah!
Let me tel you about our First Educational Activity day. It was suposed to be themed about adyboys as there is an actual Ladyboy sanctuay near us. The ladyboys were due to come in and talk or dance or do a show and tell story or some bollocks like that. But they actually got scared and blew us out (no inuendo intended).
I personally think that a man wandering round in skimpy vests, a cowboy hat, unshaven with ripped jean shots and wild eyes will put anyone off but I was dussapinted that the lady boys were a no show.
This is where the dilemma lies. With hardly anytime to re-organise a new EAD the counterpart pair in charge os this forst one did a splendid job and endeavoured to arrange something for us all. In the end we had a team of recycling experts come from Surabuya to teach the Indo's about recycling while the Brits tried desperately to stay awake in this talk that was proably priomary school level. But we also got to make paper from mashed up and blended old nwewspapers which of course ended up in a full on much gfight where I got some fantastic facial shots off at passers by until I was told off by my Indonesian counterparts.
Then for some ereason or another the childish activities are the best as we had to pair up and make clothes out of newspapers for aur partner. Before Rizky could protest I had made him a codpiece, a chest and back plate with flying shoulder pads and a fantastic head dress with all sorts of bits coming from it. Then he juts turned me into a gimp by covereing me with newspaper and even gave me a mask with two small eye holes. Very Pulp fiction!
That day while our Muslim counterparts went off to the Mosque thr entrepis Brits went on search of beer and by jove those cheeky fun loving hedonist found it and the sweet froathy beverage went down better than probably what those ladyboys could do!
What a hectic day I have had. Juts when I thought my token white man status couldnt get any more bizarre Palang Merah chucked me head firt into the deep end without any speedo's. Mr. Hari one of the big wigs at the Red Cross who seems to love me aftre I designed them a Give blood save lives poster , took me to the Islamic univsrsit of Malang. We all loaded up into the ambulance/utility vehicle and son after rusiing through ramdom crowded streets we arrived blearin out the sirens to scare off the motorbikes and sepedor motors that fill the streets like flies around a rotting carcass.
Why we had come to this university I was compleately unsure of the reasons. But I juts go with the flow. After Africa and now here I am used to expecting the unexpected and have got used to not knowing what on earth is going on. But what was in store for me made me really question Mr. Hari's sanity. He lead us down corridors, stairs, yet more corridors until we were in the catacoombes of the university. There lurking in the shadows, like timid rabbits caught in a poachers trap were his Red Cross cadets. What an odd bunch they are. Soon we were in a class troom with prehistoric chairs and desk combo things with 50 plus students staring vacantly at us. Then out of a dusty book filled cupboard there appeared a particularly shifty looking cadet cluthisng the oldest and most rotten resuscitation mannequin that I have ever seen in all my days. This thing stunk of decaying rubber and was the Asian version which inclded jet black hair on its wrinkle and sun bleached yellow body. It could have been a mutilated corpse for all I knew.
Then out of the blue Mr. Hari told me that I was teaching firt aid, examining the students afterwards and also giving them a lecture on the benefits of frast aid and HIV/AIDS prevention. But there was a catch none of the class spoke English. I speak as much Bahasa as a sparrow does. So quickly I copied down a few sentences in Bahasa from my lingo book and began. It went well at first but when I resulted to English I was met my wild eyed stares and expressionless faces in a sea all looking at me. I encumbered on regardless and soon had them all doing compressions, breaths and the whols doctor ABC routine. How much of it they understtod was unknown to me but they were really reluctant to give breaths to the dunny as later Mr. Hari told me that many students considered it to be intimate. Intimate with a plastic dummy!!!!
Finally I could escape but as soon as I stepped into the brillient sunshine for some air I was collared by the student paper. Once again I had to pose with all the students gathered around me while I snarled at the camera. I muts have looked a rite old state as I was in my trusty flat cap at the time. Sort of a combat Farmer but more rock and roll with a hint of insanity I think was given off.
Our work was finally done and after I had escaped all the girls who in their gilbabs (headscarfs) were giggling around me and trying to hold my hands and make me sing, we went o eat Cwie mie' at a local dirty and uniquely wondrous warnung. Cwie mie translates as noodles with sauce and they are a delight to the taste buds. But every now and again a small explosion occurs in your mouth when you encounter a hidden chilli pepper. Mr. hari then slapped the cook's bottom and he happen to be a young boy. I dont know wy this make me nervous but he also did it to me and Miftah earlier in the day. So in my best Bahasa I insulted him by calling him 'Kamu Hamil'. You are pregnant! This went down a treat and now he slaps not only my botty but my thighs like I am in a bloody panto. Thankfully I am back with the bllod bus tomorrow and can escape his touching wandering hands.
Candi Badut
When I discovered that Malang was surrounded by ancient spendour and majesty that can only be found in certain things I immediately wanted to sample what I personally see a a highlight to my time here in South East Asia. I am talking none other than the ancient Buddhist temples of reals long fallen and years past. Malang is surrounded by a ring of Singosare temples that date back far longer than many records go. Therefore I have been looking at many ways to travels and see the symbols of enlightenment. This morning I was given a sneaky peak at one. Candi Badut is a beautifully small and unique temple nestling in dense undergrowth outside the city. It is far enough to be a silent place for contemplation but still near enough the city limits to be able to get there withour let or hindrance. On Saturday I am organising a trip to this very temple where we can walk up to it, inside it and spend as long as we want touching it and feeling enlightened. But as for todays when Pa Agung took me there in his paragliding adorned daihatsu jobby all I could do to content myself was gae from a distance as some tool has erected a fence around it. There fore come saturday I am hurdling that fence and jumping in for a bit of ancient Buddhist architecture and exploring the remains. The main temple stood tall, eresct, prominent and proud while the grounds around were littered with rubble of falen monuments and the proturding foundations from the ground. Soon I will get up close and personal.
This is the life eh. All I need now is a cool beer. But thats just not going to happen as Miftah walked past me in nothing but his Camo pants! It doesnt matter where you go in the world or whom you see. Underpants will always make me giggle!
Well I have written a load of old horse muck and now I must go to the kamil kecir where I satisfyingly swat mosquitos with my book and leave a trail of splattered bllod up the wall.
See ya

Peace and love

Ben

xxxxx

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