|On Thursday night I moved to the house of different hosts, as I did not want to overburden anyone for an entire week. I was sorry to say goodbye to Debi, since I had so much fun with her, but she was kind enough to drive me out to Kasongan, where Wim and Phillip (my new hosts) live. They have been living in this fantastic slice of heaven for the last several years, and it is the kind of fabulously and exquisitely designed and decorated place that could only have been dreamed up and executed by gay men. Or award-winning architects. Or both. :)|
As a result I have become quite lazy and barely willing to leave the house ;) Which is kinda good since I needed a little bit of R and R anyway. I have been to some extent practiciing Bahasa with W & P's staff, but need to practice more. There is endless amusement from their menagerie (Indonesia: "kebun binatang") of all different kinds of birds, an iguana, and two very rambunctious golden retrievers who enjoy play-fighting when not lying down on top of my feet. And even more amusement from Wim, who is a master storyteller of the kind of stories that can only come from one's actual real life as it is lived. Last night's story was an amazing mixture of international intrigue, sex, some degree of religion, and, dare I say, espionage. I won't rehash it here as it is his alone to tell, and I think it would make a great film on the big screaen. We are still in discussions about who would play the police inspector, and whether Wim would star as himself... Top secret ;-)
The night before last we had a guy come to the house to give me a massage, which I was really looking forward to, thinking it would be Indonesian/Javanese style. Instead I found out that he was training in Chinese refloxology --> which of course translated into the "Chinese foot torture" I have previously described. I learned two new words: "pijat" which is massage, and "keras"-- which apparently means rough or hard and which I erroneously thought meant soft, never having heard that word before. So, I was in effect asking him to torment me *more*, not less. When I figured out my mistake, it got better and I was able to fall asleep for parts of it. I did feel pretty good after, and no strange bruising that would lead people to question abuse ;-)
Last night I did a little stint as a guest-chef at their home-restaurant, http://thesawah.com. They feature different international cuisine on different weekend days. I cooked Thai. It was interesting to discover which ingredients (most of them) were available here, and which were not. Good news about kaffir lime leaves ("daun jeruk lapis"), shrimp paste ('terasi"), and lemongrass ("serai"), but sadly no red curry paste to be found, nor was there cilantro or Thai basil. I did the best I could with an awful lot of help from Erwan, one of their staff, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.
I think I managed not to poison anyone with fried taro balls, a chicken and eggplant dish in what was supposed to be red curry but instead heavily featured garlic, lele (similar to small catfish) in a turmeric sauce, tom yam goong, and mangoes with sticky rice. Did I mention how absolutely perfect the mangoes are here? So are the bananas. And the jackfruit. I don't see why people bother trying to find "European" type fruits around here, except for novelty. The locally grown stuff is so excellent.
Anyway today my plan is to meet up with Debi again, who in her ongoing march toward sainthood is going to take me to Borobudur, the incredible 9th century Buddhist temple about 2 hours away from Jogja (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur). I called two travel agencies who generally take a minivan of tourists to see this unforgettable place, and guess what? It's low season for tourists, so no one else wanted to go and they would only take a minimum of 2 people. So I have once again lucked out by knowing a lovely local saint.
More later! :)