Monday, December 31, 2007

December 13, 2007

If you’re ever in Southeast Asia, try this at Black Canyon Coffee.

“Hot Espresso with Coffee: Creamy coffee, tasty forming of the Viennese people since their ancestors, a cinnamon stick spices destroying the unpleasant taste of cream, specially and incomparably fragrant.”

It’s pretty good.

Well, it’s time for another update on life in Indonesia – specifically Makassar, Sulawesi and its affect on your friends Peter and Sarah.

We’ve pretty much settled in now near the four-month mark. We’ve gotten through the culture-shock/rage-and-anger stage without offending anyone significantly. (Though there was that driver I splashed with water that got too close and honked at me as I tried crossing an intersection. Hey. I had the green light and he had red… But you should’ve seen his face, dripping with water.) We can now give directions to a taxi driver, order food without being laughed at, and shop at a grocery store without much confusion.

Life has fallen into a routine here. Sarah spends her mornings at the gym, and I spend mine writing. Indonesia feels far less overwhelming now. At school, part of the ceiling fell in (no one was hurt, thank God), my air conditioner has quit working and the power still goes out still, though it’s for a multitude of reasons now… not just one. But these are things that are just part of the scene in Makassar. We just kind of shrug it off now. The ceiling fell in because half-inch thick sheetrock was glued up instead of nailed or screwed. The power went out one day because someone was putting diesel in the wrong opening and it ran out of fuel; another time it went out because an electrical box was sparking and wires were melting. I’m no longer surprised. This is Indonesia. And I don’t feel like my life is in danger.

I’m finding out from observing Indonesian culture – the driving, the construction workers’ conditions (they work barefoot mostly, use ladders and scaffolding made of bamboo), the kids in the street, the infants carried on motorcycles – a lot has to happen before things really go horribly wrong. Americans are way too afraid. Sarah saw some barefoot guys using a concrete saw on a sidewalk the other week. I’ve seen motorcycle passengers carrying ladders and chairs. Somehow everyone seems fine. I have not yet seen an accident where anyone was hurt.

I would not have tolerated lizards in my home in the West either. Now I find myself talking to the geckos here. The one who spends a lot of time under our toaster oven is named Phil. Phil’s all right. We used to have an ant problem in the kitchen. Not anymore, thanks to Phil. But sometimes Phil tries to sneak a taste of Sarah’s cookies when she bakes. We have to talk firmly with Phil then. The other night Phil or one of his little cronies was trying to get into a box of chocolates. Little pieces of chocolate were left on the floor. We threw that box out. There are limits to this alliance.

Oh yeah. And when I get back to the States someday, my ceiling better not collapse. After all, I’m still an American.

No comments: