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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ants in My Pants

So I woke up yesterday morning to find dozens of tiny ants crawling in my backpack and all over my clothes!!! That and 6 mysterious bites on my right arm that are so itchy! When I looked up at the wall above my bed I saw a trail of ants! Luckily they weren’t in the bed, just on the wall and my suitcase. I had to wash practically all my clothes, but I’m ant free now!

We had breakfast with Meza’s family, and met her dad. He speaks English pretty well and is a really funny guy, and really nice too! Meza’s mom knows how much I like mangos so she bought 3 different kinds for me to try! Meza’s family is very welcoming and made us feel right at home! All her sisters speak English really well, which made communicating really easy! Her second youngest sister also studied in the United States with AFS, and her youngest sister is going next year! Two of her sisters started their own business, they are shoe artists. They design shoes and drawings then paint them onto the shoes. Some of the shoes are so cool! They even have a website where you can buy them and they sell about 200 pairs a month! They said they would make me a pair and I really hope they do!

We went to Bandung today with Meza and two of her sisters. It’s a smaller city about 2 hours from Jakarta. We stopped at a tea plantation and took some pictures and bought some fresh pineapple from someone selling them in a little hut next to the plantation.

Me, Meza and Katie at a tea plantation

The area is full of tea plantations, there were tea leaves as far as you could see. We also drove by a pick your own strawberry field. I had no idea they grew strawberries in Indonesia. We bought some and they were so good and so fresh!

After this we drove up to Tangkuban Perahu, an active volcano in Bandung. I’ve never seen the creator of a volcano before so that was pretty cool! But the air smelled like sulfur from the volcano, it was pretty gross.

The 5 of us on top of the Volcano

We went to Saung Mang ujo afterwards, which is a music and performing arts center in Bandung. We saw a show put on by mostly kids, ages 3-15, and they sang traditional songs, danced the traditional dances and played the angklung, the traditional bamboo instrument from this part of western Java (the Island we are on). Everyone in the audience learned how to play it and Katie and I were also pulled up on stage by two little girls to learn the dances.

They are performing a dance that takes place when a boy is circumsized

Learning how to dance with the cutest dance partner, Flor,she's 4.

Katie and Meza playing the angklung

We went to dinner at this great restaurant. It’s all outdoors, with waterfalls and bridges and paths you walk through to get to your table in a private hut. I tried ox tail, a food that is very common here, and I actually really liked it!

Ox Tail

I also tried some great tea, seeing that we were in tea country. I had a tea called Bandrek which is ginger tea with brown sugar and coconut pieces. And I also tried Bajigur, which is tea made from coconut milk with pieces of aloe.

The Ginger and coconut tea, and the coconut milk tea

After dinner we stopped by Meza’s grandma’s house because she lives in Bandung. Meza’s grandma is so sweet and served us mango and chocolate, two of my favorite things. She also handed me a notebook and asked me to write my name and where I was from in it. I couldn’t get over this because I’ve never seen anyone else ever do this except my own grandmother!! I told her and we both laughed.

Today we went to a park that reminded me of Epcot, with replicas of traditional houses from all the different Islands of Indonesia. They were all so different and it was really interesting to see that since we are only able to visit two Islands on this trip. Many of them were closed, we could walk around the outside but couldn’t go in, because just like America, museums are closed on Mondays! So we decided to go to the mall and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out and shopping with Meza’s sister and her friend.

Katie in front of a typical house found in West Sumatera


Thank god for AFS, otherwise I don’t think Katie and I would ever have come to Indonesia, let alone Jakarta.

The three of us at Meza's house

Something really interesting that I’ve noticed here is that many restaurants do not serve alcohol. 90% of the population is Muslim, and since they don’t drink alcohol it does make sense. We’ve been to very few restaurants that have a minimal drink list but a big Mocktail list, it’s funny to see that!

Now we are in the airport waiting to board our plane to Bali for a few days of beach and relaxation!

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