Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Night in Bangkok (and Bonus Grocery Games!)

Welp, we've moved and spent one night in Bangkok (and the world's our oyster). It was relatively smooth.  The cats are alive, our luggage got here, our apartment has a bed and a responsive office manager (yay!).

The cats were not happy about their journey... unlike when I took Lincoln from DC to Jakarta (via Tokyo and Singapore), they were not allowed to join us in the cabin.  We had to check them as "excess baggage," which is a bit nerve-wracking.  But they were kitted out pretty well:

But they've found their groove in the new place, particularly Tiga, who enjoys the built-in cubbies in the closet area:

I, personally, am enjoying the view:

Grocery Games, courtesy of a quick trip to the local 7-11.

Our quest for drinking water and something for breakfast resulted in this gem of a purchase: 
"Yoghurt with cereal beans and lotus nuts Dutchie." 

I find the description misleading, but the label art to be pretty spot on: this is a sweet vanilla-y yogurt with a) red kidney beans, b) corn, and c) weird little barley looking things that I think might be a grain called "Job's tears."  I think lotus seeds are bigger than this:

Not as bad as you might think!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Goodbye Party and a Mountain of Rice

Tim's colleagues held a lovely going-away lunch for us this week.  The main dish at the lunch was tumpeng, a traditional Javanese ceremonial/celebratory dish featuring a large cone-shaped mountain of rice surrounded by a variety of meat and veggie dishes (tempe, stuffed chilis, sambal eggs, and omelette, among many other things in our case).  The cone can be regular white rice (nasi putih), but more often it's more fancily prepared with coconut milk for richness and turmeric for the pretty yellow color, like we had:

(please note that it is also decorated with shrimp and quail eggs)

The cone of rice mimics Indonesia's mountains and is usually served at ceremonies/events to show gratitude. 

The guest of honor gets the top slice of the cone, and from what I've seen, a VIP also typically cuts the top off ceremonially.   Tim got cutting duties (although he was instructed to hand over the precious top slice to me, along with a full plate of food, mwa ha ha!):

Here we are, in front of the tumpeng and other goodies (and yes, this is an iPhone photo of a Polaroid, well, Fuji, photo):

And here is Tim and I with his colleagues, who are an awesome bunch.  They have been nothing but welcoming, helpful, friendly and sweet to us, making our 2 years here go pretty smoothly!  Thank you guys!!

(we thought this looked a bit like a wedding photo, but they insisted that we be front and center, which required us sitting)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Our Last Car Free Day in Jakarta

Since we're moving soon, we wanted to squeeze in one more Car Free Day bike ride here in Jakarta.  Car Free Day has been one of our favorite things to do.  You can't go wrong a little exercise and a lot of amazing people watching.  I just love looking at all of the people on their bikes, the various lima kaki (which means five legs: the nickname for street carts, three legs on the cart, two on the guy pushing it), etc.:

But I also love that Car Free Day never fails to produce someone doing something kooky or interesting, whether for my entertainment or their own. This week was no exception, as we stumbled upon a group of civet cat enthusiasts parading their animals around near Bundaran HI amidst the chaos of hundreds of bikers/rollerbladers/pedestrians as well as an ondel-ondel performance. 

Remember civets?  The raccoon-like creatures that literally shit out the world's most expensive coffee?  Yeah.  (Also, please take note of the guy's civet cat t-shirt.):

And remember ondel-ondel, the big sparkly-haired street-performing puppet guys?  Yup.

I'll miss you, Car Free Day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Deep Thoughts on Moving

The cats have mixed feelings about moving to Bangkok.

On one hand, Tiga has been helpful with the packing:

On the other hand, she seems blissfully unconcerned about the potential communication problems she might face in Thailand.  She mainly speaks Bahasa Indonesia and barely seems to understand a word of English, so I can't imagine a tonal language like Thai will come easily to her.  She doesn't seem worried:

In contrast, Lincoln has expressed a deep anxiety about his access to kreteks, Indonesian clove cigarettes, once in Thailand.  He's become as addicted as that baby on the internet and is thus trying to squeeze in as much kretek time as possible until the move:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bangkok Bound!

I realize I sort of already let the cat out of the bag over on the other blog, but here it is again: we're moving to Bangkok!!  This, of course, means I have to get the cat(s) back into the bag(s) for the flight.  Ha.  In any case, I have updated the blog's title to be indicative of our location change.

But seriously: we're really excited for the move, to see what Bangkok has to offer, although we will definitely miss some of the awesomeness that Indonesia has going on (Jakarta, less so).  Lincoln and Tiga are less excited, but I'm sure once we're settled in they'll be fine.

Things I am looking forward to:

Thai food: sweet, sour, spicy and crazy appetizing
Public transportation: woooooo!
Thai silk: don't mind if I do
Mr. Ben, Erin and baby Zoey: neighbors again

Things I'll miss:

Indonesians: super nice people who are sooo happy when you learn even just a little bit of their language... "Mister, sudah lancar!" is what they'll tell you ("Already fluent!") when you're really just barely proficient

Batik and ikat: my favorites

Crazy creatures: both fuzzy and scaly

Beef rendang, Manado-style food (extra pedas!), urap pakis, tempe, babi guling, avocado shakes and other delights: so tasty

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Amed Amusements

The final stop on Martha's whirlwind Indonesian trip was Amed, my favorite beaching/snorkeling/chilling spot on east Bali.  I love the mountains sitting right next to the sea in the Amed area... it makes for some pretty beautiful scenery:


The mountain and sea views from our hotel room at Baliku ("my Bali")... please note the frequent rooster and pig noises:

Jukung fishing boats all lined up along the black sand beach:

I just liked these vintage-looking matches:

Baliku's delicious bubur hitam (black rice pudding, topped with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup)... the rest of the food at Baliku was pretty awesome, too.  Particularly their beef rendang, which is served fusion style with pita and cucumber yogurt sauce- awwwwwwesome.

While in Amed I was actually successful in getting Martha to snorkel!!  Score!  We had tried in the past with little success, but I was determined for her to see the beautiful coral and fish just under the surface in the Amed area.  Turns out the key is: rent a life vest!!

We saw a ton of stuff, too (although I forgot my underwater camera... doh!).  Right in front of our hotel, we saw some sweet coral as well as the coral-covered Japanese wreck.  Then we spent some time at nearby Lipah beach (having hopped motorbike taxis to get there- exciting!), where there was more lovely coral and lots of fish, including Moorish idols, titan triggerfish (which we saw picking up and transporting bits of coral), trumpetfish, giant clams, a Spanish dancer nudibranch eggs, and approximately a zillion other fish.

Lipah beach is pretty awesome- rent a chair and umbrella for the day, snorkel and swim, listen to the gamelan being played behind you:

We also did a sunset cruise on the junkung (like Tim and I did for my birthday last year), which was lovely:


We also saw some amazing sunsets from our hotel's balcony area... the perfect happy hour drink spot:

From our balcony we could also see the top of Lombok's Mt. Rinjani looking imposing in the distance. Check out Colleen and Steve's insane photos from the top of Rinjani!

And lots and lots of jukung fishing boats, out quite early in the morning (this is them coming back in at 7 am) with their beautifully colored sails:

Miss you, Amed!