1. i have a new ojek (scooter taxi). his name is mr. minh, and it was the scooter pimp who picked him specially for me. the way it works is you can't just walk up to a scooter guy and ask him to take you somewhere, you have to go to the pimp guy who runs the scene.
you tell scooter pimp where you want to go and he scans his team, usually a bunch of guys asleep against a wall or something, yet he is a lieutenant with his police force. he'll call out the destination, like it's an honor.
scooter pimp points to... mr. minh! you'e the man for the job!
mr. minh is bad assss. he has an old school leather helmet, matching vest with rivets and chaps, which he wears with...plastic flip flops (of course). he suped up his suzuki so it makes tons of noise, like a hog, everyone hears him coming. he has one of those really loud clown horns instead of the whiny factory installed beeeeep. he is the chinese easy rider.
mr. minh has no mercy, and he is a man of opportunity. when that space is closing between two vehicles, mr. minh goes for it, like indiana jones we make it just in time.
mr. minh is a super fast scooter walker. when the going gets tight and you have to walk your scooter between the cars, he scoots around everyone else, maybe even via the sidewalk and takes us to the front of the line, mr. minh is the leader of the pack.
and mr. minh doesn't talk. i hate these guys who blab and gab when you want them to shut up and pay attention to the dangers of the road. mr. minh just listens. mr. minh is my new scooter man.
2. i finally started getting some exercise. i got kicked out of the gym, because my only footwear are flip flops. whatever, i don't enjoy working out in a nightclub atmosphere anyway (blaring techno music, blinking lights, what?). well they they can't keep me from the pool! with the turtle fountain in the middle of a figure 8 thing, it's an endless lap. and they certainly can't keep me from peeing in it. ha. and a jacuzzi? in 98 degree weather? heat stroke? why not?
3. a swiss intern needed new photos for a travel visa to papua. her pictures were on blue background, and she needed red background. go figure. instead of getting a new picture taken, there's a guy who can scan and photoshop them onto a new background, cheaper and quicker. so this indonesian intern, puteri takes us to a place over lunch. we're trying to cross the road, and traffic is nuts, puteri says, you have to just go! indonesian style! and she walks confidently right out into traffic, with her hand out - but no one stops. poor girl! she is in the middle of 4 lanes and we're terrified and she is all, come on! you have to just go! i got a nice picture of her.
4. i bought something called "beef floss" at the bread king. ummmm. there's chicken floss too. 5. i have a good scam going with the hotel where i get free dry cleaning. the key is to call late at night, like 10:30 and ask for an iron. they're usually out of them at that time and so you make a stink like, i have a big meeting! i'm important! i can't wear wrinkled clothes! and they give you free dry cleaning for 2 pieces of clothing. since i only have a total of 4 shirts anyway, i only need to do this twice a week. perfect!
6. I had a nightmare about orangutans last night. they were sortof like zombies, slowing climbing inside open windows, forcing open doors and yearning for brains, with their glowing yellow laser eyes. a japanese woman i work with here had the antedote. i haven't seen any orangutans yet, but the indonesian word for person is 'orang' so i'm reminded of them pretty often. and i call my students my little orangutans. maybe this is their revenge.
7. our office is very thin and small, but very vertical. there are actually 6 1/2 floors (dutch guy works in a storage room under the roof). there are days when i think i do the equivelent of a hundred floors, up down up down as the elevator takes too long and i need the exercise. i'm terrified i'm going to slip and smash my face on the while tile. sometimes we use the phone, but people move around a lot, so we end us sending text messages. right before lunch, my phone will start buzzing with messages. messages like "want to come for gado gado to makanan jajanan with us?" loveit!
8. there's a guy nearby who has a small monkey as a pet, and treats it horribly. it was a tight chain around its neck and he sortof swings it around, the chain is so short the monkey's feet barely touch the ground. so the swiss girl and i think we should pool our money together and buy it off him and set it free somewhere. the indonesians think we're nuts.
oki says "silly girls, that guy will never sell his monkey to a bule!"
so we say, congratulations oki, you have just volunteered to buy a monkey for us!
papua guy sitting next to us overhears the last sentence "what on earth are you guys talking about?"
we ignore him. i think we should steal the monkey, because if we buy it, it will give him an inventive to get another one to sell it.
oki becomes sad. "someone in my village keeps stealing my cats, probably to sell them. they are very beautiful cats. i still have 10 left though!"
operation monkey is currently on hold.