The First 24: Motorcycles, Tempeh, and My Milky Skin

The first full day that I was here was a whirlwind! I had gone to bed at 6pm the night before, and woke up at 1:30am. I tried to go back to sleep, but no luck. I grabbed my phone and began texting mom and L. It was really nice to chat with them both! Being in a different time zone is a weird experience.

At 2 or so I went to use the bathroom. While I was in there, a call to prayer from the nearby mosque started. It was really loud and cool to hear it. I went back to bed and tried to sleep, but ended up laying there awake until it was time to get up.

Sami got up around 5, and the day began. We talked about getting food but my stomach was still kind of iffy, so I had the last three Sari Roti’s. The schedule for the day was pretty relaxed, which I was grateful for. We rode on Sam’s motorcycle to the laundry mat to pick up Sam’s clean laundry and drop off dirty clothes. It was a short ride but it was so crazy to be on a motorcycle, weaving through traffic! It was so sunny and so hot, but being on the motorcycle cooled me down. I have been wearing a masker, like a surgical mask, so the skin around my mouth and nose gets really sweaty! I must really trust Sam because I don’t think I would even get on a motorcycle with L… let alone in this kind of traffic! After the laundry, we went to put air in the tires, then home to grab our backpacks.

Fun fact: Indonesia is tropical! I mean, duh, right? I knew that going in.. I expected the heat, the humidity, the sun, the bugs, and the rain. But what I didn’t really think about was the fruit!!! The fruit in Indonesia is so fresh and beautiful and in season ALWAYS!!! It’s L’s fantasy world! There are carts lining the street selling all kinds of food, but the fruit carts are the best. They are so beautiful! There are seemingly endless rows and baskets of beautiful, vibrant fruit. Some I have never heard of or tasted before. Rambutan, dragon fruit, melon, guava, mango, star fruit, durian (I have yet to try durian), Lychee, soursop… It’s endless!  What else comes with fresh fruit??


The juice that I have had here is unlike anything I’ve had in the US or even Mexico. Sam and I went to this awesome cafe called Java Dancer, and I ordered fresh Lychee juice. It came out in a large, cold glass and was juice and a ton pulp sitting happily on top, and absolutely delicious. It also came with a little cup of a sugary syrup in case you want it, but I wanted the juice as it is. It was so sweet and fresh, the sugar really wasn’t necessary.

Anyway, back to the cafe: Java Dancer is so cool! Like many buildings in Indonesia, it isn’t really a building, meaning it is open to the outside. It doesn’t really have walls, just a roof and little walls that go 1/4 of the way is so nice! You are breathing in the fresh air and you can watch what is going on around you outside. I really liked it when it started to rain when we were there. The breeze from the rain was beautiful and the air smelled so fresh! Plus it was fun to watch all of the motorcyclists pull over and put on these big plastic rain suits.

Sam and I hung out at the cafe for a while, and then went back to her place. Vriz picked us up, along with her sister, Ufik. Ufik needed to be dropped off at a big fancy hotel for training to help with the Indonesian Census. We went and dropped her off and then went to lunch. By this time, my stomach was feeling pretty OK, and I was excited to have my first Indonesian meal!! We went to a restaurant called Warung Spesial Sambal, and ordered Nasi (rice), Tempe (tempeh), Tahu (tofu), Pete (stinky beans), Telur (egg), Jamur Krispi (fried mushrooms), Cah Kankunql (greens), Sambal Bawang (garlic chili paste), Jus Alpokat (avocado juice (avocados with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate sauce)), Jus Stroberi (can you figure out what that was?), and Jeruk Nipis Hanqet (hot lime juice).

I WOULD LIKE TO INTERJECT: Sam just spelled all of those words to me… in Indonesian and would not speak English and it took a good 5 minutes to type it all out.

The food was all served in individual bowls, and we got plates with big banana leaves on them. You scoop some rice and then pick your toppings! You eat with your right hand, and grab some rice, kind of smush it into a ball, rip off a piece of your topping, and place it on your first three fingers. Then, you take your thumb and push the food into your mouth! This is so you don’t actually put your fingers in your mouth while eating. I did really well and the food was incredible. The tempeh was so savory and the egg was cooked like an omelette with chives, and the greens were nice and spicy. The three of us ate everything that was served! And better yet, I didn’t get a stomach ache! Success!! I didn’t like Sam’s avocado juice… it was weird to have avocado prepared in such a sweet way! Avocado is always sweet in Indonesia. Sam said that the concept of guacamole is disgusting! But my strawberry juice was sooo good! So summery and fresh! I want all of the juice! I didn’t try any of the lime juice but I’m assuming it was good!

Eating with your hands is so satisfying and I really believe it makes the food taste better!! I can’t wait to try more amazing Indonesian food!!

After lunch we drove to Vriz’s house and I got to meet her adorable 2 year old niece, Baby K! She was very shy at first but very cute. In Indonesia, in a familial setting, saliming (salim), is where you take your elders hand and gently touch it to your face, as a sign of respect. This could be your family, a friend’s family, etc. For example, Sam salims her host parents when she greets them. Baby K ran around for a while, and everyone was telling her to salim me, and eventually she did! First she walked over to Sam, grabbed her hand and touched it to her cheek, and then did the same to me. It was very interesting to see. Respecting your elders is a huge part of Indonesian culture and seeing the traditions in action is very cool. At first, I told Sam that it was ok if she was shy and didn’t want to salim me, but then Sam explained how important it is in their culture, to show respect in this way and that she needed to do it.

While we were at Novriska’s house, Bu Menik began talking about how white I am! She referred to Sam and I as ‘coffee and milk’. Sam being the coffee and me being the milk. This made Sam sooo happy. She said that most of the time, she is referred to as the milk, and she was glad that I was there so she could finally be the coffee. It’s true though, I am the milk! Sam is very tan and because it’s been winter in the states, I am soooo pale. I pretty much glow in the dark!! Oh well, hopefully I can be coffee by the end of the trip!




4 thoughts on “The First 24: Motorcycles, Tempeh, and My Milky Skin

  1. This sounds so amazing! Your descriptions of everything make me feel like I am there with you. Perhaps you should be a writer! I miss you like crazy and I’m glad you are having a wonderful time. HI SAM!! A big hug to both of you!! ❤❤❤❤


  2. Seriously your mom stole my compliment! You writing is amazing, makes everything visual and easy to imagine. And I definitely laughed the most with this one! Glad to hear you’re having an amazing time! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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