Thursday, October 8, 2009

DW Week 1: Still Vacation, No School, Puncak Pass

Above: Puncak Pass

My first week at Dwiwarna was the last week of the students' Idul Fitri vacation, so I had some time to go to the grocery store, eat out, and kill mosquitoes in my room. (Saturday night the VIP room was filled with mosquitoes. I slept in 1-2 hour blocks, if that, while the mosquitoes feasted. When I killed them, I spilled my own blood. I covered the walls, the sheets, the pillowsheets. The next day I had probably a hundred or so bites on my arms and shoulders. That was fun.) I met some cool peeps, like Tauffic, a jolly late-20s cook at the De We Cafe. Fascinatingly, he goes by the nickname Opick. He took care of me all week. I've been telling people here that I have high cholesterol and they have been very respectful. I think this may be an opportunity to get red meat out of my regular diet completely - and I quit ice cream last night. They don't have sour candy in this country or fruit snacks so I'm all clear there. We'll see how long the ice cream thing lasts. Opick and others make it easy for me to avoid red meat and other cholesterol no-nos by denying me even the temptation. "No, he can't have that. High cholesterol." And then they all raise their eyebrows as if to say, 'this one's fragile.' I even had time for a trip to Puncak Pass, a green mountainous area just one hour or so from Bogor. The weather is known to be quite cool (comparatively speaking, of course) and Puncak's proximity to the long arm of Jakarta makes it an enormously popular getaway. Traffic was terrible getting up, but check out these views. Yes, that is a stream of trash thrown by countless visitors from the viewing area on the right in the first picture:

I also went to an English debate competition in Jakarta with students. None of the English is perfect, of course, and I've never heard someone say "ladies and gentlemen" (their go-to phrase for the beginning, middle, and end of every sentence) so fast as these Indonesian high-school students. Over the weekend a group of us ETAs went to Jakarta (1.5-2 hour drive one way) and hung around in the mall, talking about our first week's experience. It was a nice getaway.

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