The beginning of our travels
12th of January Sara, Peter and Kuba, had the opportunity to find out if this saying also goes for all the other aspects of life. Spoiler alert – it is working!
Adjusting to traveling life
First, coming from our countries and our journey in Norway we only knew two things – the flag of Indonesia has the same shape and colors as the Polish one – opposite direction and the weather is completely different than the one in Norway. Cars in Indonesia are driving on the left like in the UK and trust me, this is hard to get used to when you drive on your own.
Secondly, for the first time in our lives, we become millionaires! A nice feeling, even if only because of the Indonesian currency and on top of that we got to experience what it feels like to be treated like celebrities. In one of the smaller cities, there was a welcome show waiting for us, one with dances, costumes and time for photos with us with both viewers and performers.Even though all went great getting to know.
We planned to stay in Jakarta for only one night, but because of Joshua and his family, we decided to stay and discover Jakarta for few more days. Just because they were best Couchsurfing hosts you can have in the beginning – not only because they were kind, helpful and spoke English very well, they were also home school teachers so that we could learn a lot. We found that in Indonesia children could, instead of typical school as we know in Europe, attend English speaking home school, which is approved by the government. Joshua, his younger sister, and mum have one just like that!
Seven students between age 8-14, have lessons in English, five days per week for 7 hours, for all the necessary topics – geography, history, math, etc. Studies finish with exams that grant them higher education. An incredible discovery that only wasn’t fun to find out but also we enjoyed participating in teaching these children. To be honest, their level of English, especially in the aspect if accent and pronunciation, was in many cases even better than ours, but in European geography and history, they learned a lot from us!On the other hand, massive problem in Indonesia is recycling, or how we should say, lack of it.
Trash in horrible and in significant amount is everywhere – big cities, villages, beaches and jungles, streets and households. Way to get rid of it the Indonesian way – collect and burn or put more and more in one place, creating islands of thrash. Lack of knowledge is not a problem- all of the people we talked about this realize the possible consequences, but if nobody is forcing to get this fixed is, nobody will do anything.
We spend a whole three weeks trying to sort our stuff, always finding rubbish bins, talking and explaining, but they don’t believe that three people can change anything even in the small community they live ( and small for Indonesia is around 2 000 000 close neighbors). Our acts in this matter were more fun facts than a lesson for the future, but we will not stop.
Indonesia is too beautiful to be covered by thrash!
Another opposite aspect which was essential for us, animal lovers, was treating the animals. Cats are the pets people have at home, both in Indonesia and Malaysia, but dogs are homeless and wild, or even worst – shame on you, people from Solo – best regional dish! Cats are in the role of European dogs, which made me like cats much more, but dogs as food, not a best friend! Sometimes cultural differences can be shocking, that one for sure.
Biggest problem of Indonesia and Malaysia
To end our first report on a funny note with we want to talk about the biggest problem in Indonesia and Malaysia. In Malaysia, we were only for three days but we could see here the issue is terrifying. It is worse than thrash, overcrowded cities, style of driving, crimes and probably global warming. One word – durian. Some people call it fruit, we call it torture. Taste, smell, even how it looks. Scariest thing I ever saw in my life. If one of us will become a king or president here, durian will be illegal forever.
First month, Indonesia plus 72 hours in Malaysia for Peter and Kuba, the Philippines for Sara was a great success. Mostly because of all these opposites we found here that made us love this area even more. Cultural shock rocks!!!
Sara, Peter, Kuba FWP