Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scraps and loose ends

It is currently four in the morning here and because I decided to take a nap at two in the afternoon only to sleep for about 12 hours (my mother would say I 'probably needed it'), I'm going to add somethings I have forgotten in previous posts.  It might be a bit random, but it's the little things you notice about different countries that seem to blur out against the obvious.

In Indonesia, you do nothing with you left hand. You might be familiar with this, but the left hand is considered 'unclean'. It really doesn't have anything to do with religion. It's based in hygiene practices. You use your left hand to clean yourself after you use the toilet. Often toilets do not have tissue. They have bidets, which are fascinating devices that spray water up. (see: Crocodile Dundee) This practise of right handed-ness is a bit tricky to get used to, but glaringly apparent. You won't be berated, but it's really unkind.

Dogs and cats are everywhere. They are not kept as we do; pampering, bathing, or treating with the utmost care. Not to say that they aren't cared for, but PETA would have a heart attack. There are regions where they eat their dogs when times are tough. It happens. Actually doesn't really bother me, because the condition that the dogs live in, it sorta makes sense. They aren't raised as family. They are raised more like livestock. I don't think I could describe it better, because it's really something you'd have to see for yourself.

All school children wear uniforms. It's really sweet to see a yard full, or street full of kids in identical blue or beige skirts and pants with little ties.

Indonesia is a lenient place religiously. There are five main religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and the last one I currently forget. Because of this it is not uncommon to see woman in hajibs or Christian churches. (Fun fact: All Catholic churches have exposed bricks, unlike most buildings which are a smooth surface.)

Mangosteens have a little flower like mark on the bottom and the number of petals is the number of pieces on the inside.

Bargaining is a must, but I'm no good at it. Even if I did know the language, it feels really pushy. Negotiating is different. This is where looking like a dumb American really comes in handy.

Sumatra is sorta a dirty place. The homes and buildings are very clean on the inside, but the streets are always lined in litter and it is not uncommon to see piles of garbage on fire. It seems to me that the culture here supports that. The infrastructure cannot support a trash system and due to the lush ecosystem, the earth kinda swallows it up. It is very strange to see people throw things out windows and onto streets though. In the US, you can be fined. Also, we are now breeding in the guilt of waste. Not here.

Even food is made in "wasteful" quantities. When you order a dish, it is HUGE and often you share it, but I have yet to see a dish empty. Now I doubt that the food is wasted, but in the US we make exactly what we need for who is there. (and if you're parents are anything like mine, 'you clean your plate little lady!' {not a problem for this girl})

Water is always served warm. It is boiled before it's served so no one gets sick, but even when water is taken out of water coolers, it is always taken out warm. Takes getting used to, but frankly I've been so thirsty I don't care.

That's all for now.
I'm going to get some more sleep.

Anya out.

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