I was so exhausted when I arrived in Indonesia. I didn’t sleep for more than an hour on the planes, and my body was so exhausted from jetlag and being sick. When we got to Malang, Pak Joko and Bu Menik were hungry and wanted to stop for food. Luckily, Sam convinced them that it would be best for me to just go home so I could nap.
I never thought a three letter word could make me soooo happy!!!! We stopped at a little shop to get some Sari Roti, which are little pre-packaged sandwiches, kind of like the ‘Smuckers: Uncrustables’ in the US. My stomach was feeling pretty ok, and I needed something safe to eat… Although, I passed out and didn’t eat them all until the next day! Sam and I slept for about 4 hours. We woke up and just kind of hung out. Sam got some food, but I still was so light headed and slightly nauseated, and didn’t have much of an appetite. She had Nasi Pecel, which is a Javanese rice dish served with steamed veggies, usually an egg, tempeh and spicy peanut sauce. It is normally a breakfast food, but some places serve it all day. It smelled delicious! I tried a bite and it was sooo good! The sauce was sweet and spicy and the rice was so soft. I didn’t want to push my stomach too far so I had one of my Sari Roti. It was like two little strawberry flavored pancakes filled with a strawberry filling. It was great and it was gentle enough that I felt ok eating it.
In Sam’s house (picture tour below!!), the bathroom is a little room with a squatty potty and a basin filled with water. There is no sink in the kitchen or the bathroom or anywhere in the house. There is running water in the kitchen, with a little spigot with a rubber tube attached that acts as a faucet. For most other things, the basin in the bathroom acts as a sink. You wash your hands with the water from there, brush your teeth, and take a ‘shower’ etc. I was drinking a lot of water to rehydrate, and it was finally time to face the squatty potty. There is no toilet paper, the floor of the bathroom is always soaked, and you clean up by using your left hand as toilet paper, and then splash water on yourself. Your left hand is your unsanitary hand, so you don’t eat with it or touch people with it. So, I put o some flip flops and ventured into the bathroom. I had been given lots of instructions and felt confident. Turns out, it’s totally fine! I didn’t pee on my foot or fall over. I’d say it was pretty successful.
I had heard of the ‘bucket bath’ before, but never experienced it. As evening rolled around, all I wanted to do was take a bath and go to sleep. At around 5pm, I decided to take a shower. In Indonesian, a bath or shower is called a ‘mandi’. Sam gave me a super tiny towel, and told me to go into the bathroom, close the door, pick up the little bucket and take water from the basin and pour it on myself, soap up, then rinse off. Seemed easy enough. It was so hot so I thought the mandi would be at least a little warm.
I was wrong.
I took the first bucket of water, leaned over and dumped it on my hair. It was ice cold! I didn’t want to stand up and have the water run down my back, so I kind of stood there, wide-eyed, frozen, and contemplating what to do next. I felt so gross from all of the travel so I decided I needed to get it over with. I picked up the bucket, took a breath, and slowly dumped the water onto my legs, stomach, arms and back. It was soooo cold! So, I soaped up, quickly, and started to try to rinse off. This is the tricky part… how to heck do you rinse your armpit off when you have to hold a bucket of water to dump on yourself and also rub off the soap?! It turns out, taking a mandi is pretty much an art form. I did figure it out though! All you do is hold the bucket in the hand of the arm that you want to rinse, and dump it backwards, onto your arm, and with your free arm, rub the soap off!
When I was finished, I got dressed and went back into the bedroom. Sam was laughing and asked how my mandi was. I said it was sooo cold but it felt good to be clean. Sam then told me that it’s funny to hear people mandi for the first time, because you just can hear little drips and trickles of water, but when you hear Indoneisans do it or people who have done it daily, it’s more like ‘WOOSH WOOSH WOOSH’ because they dump the water on themselves so quickly. Now of course, my goal is to mandi like a local!
I was clean, refreshed and ready for bed. I tried to fight the sleep, but lost, passing out at 6pm. Sleeping felt sooo good! And I was hoping to wake up refreshed the next day, and ready to take on Malang!