Sunday, August 14, 2005


What, no yoga in Yogya?

Ahhh, two days of downtime before traveling again. I have gone from Kuta, Bali, over to Yogyakarta on Java. Lots to tell you about so forget about a properly short blog entry ...

Surfing school could not have been better! Three women, two men. I wasn't the weakest or the largest in the class, so I had an advantage at that even if it's pathetic. We spent an hour paddling around the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel before we went to the ocean. The only thing distracting me at the hotel "beach" was the little boy who was using his prosthetic foot as a sand toy, bless his heart and ingenuity. We then hauled our surfboards to the real deal. I have never felt cooler, my friends, than walking to the beach with a surfboard under my arm. They paired each of us up with a surfing instructor and we set out into the waves. I swear one of the men in my class was crying. Over and over, I got in trim on that board and tried my best to pop up, hunker down and surf. I actually did it about three times for two seconds each, and it felt great! The rest of the time was spent falling, slipping and laughing. I got some cool scrapes on my knees and one cut that I have hopes will turn into a scar. So glad I tried surfing. Photo to come ...

Found myself in Surabaya, Indo's second biggest city, this week. Not another white person, black person or even Japanese person in sight. I went to the huge mall to enjoy some air conditioning. People followed me around. Children hid in their mothers' skirts when they got a look at me. Men pointed and broke into gales of laughter at the sight of me. I thought I had forgotten my clothes, but no. It was just the giant white lady again. I will get used to it. I stopped for soup, and outside the restaurant window, people stopped and watched me eat. I tried to keep a sense of humor, but it was pretty weird.

Next stop was Yogya, where I am now. Met some girls (women, sorry) from Australia last night. We had some beers and swapped stories. That's what I have been waiting for, and I look forward to meeting many more folks as I go along.

Jakarta is next. It will be the largest city I visit, almost 10 million people. A little nervous about it, but caution and being aware help quite a bit. A man today tried to lead me down an empty alley to get me to the entrance of the sultan's temple. That's when I turned and walked quickly in the opposite direction.

Saw a jaguar and a lion at the zoo in Surabaya. The jaguar looked pretty bad ass. I suppose the lion did, too.

This mall in Surabaya was the largest building I have entered in my life. I can easily estimate more than 1,000 stores there. Six levels, each about as big as Northtown in Spokane (anyone remember Skagg's?). At various open spaces in the mall, stores were doing product "game shows" to sell merchandise: Clearasil, stereos, beds. Shoppers would step up onto a stage and do karaoke or dance to earn better discounts or samples. It was a sight. One store that sold bathroom fixtures had an entire bathroom in Hello Kitty. What would be cuter than taking a bubble bath in a Hello Kitty tub? Nothing! A bottle of OPI nail polish costs $14.50, but a night at a hotel is $10, figure that out.

The man on the train next to me going to Yogya talked me up for a couple of minutes before we got rolling. He then rose from his seat and addressed the rest of the passengers in the car to tell them I was a tourist named Amy from Canada.

On the train was a teen-age Japanese basketball team. They shrieked and screamed and laughed the entire eight hours. It must have been penance for my own behavior when I was 15.

See you in Jakarta!

You go girl. Sounds the the adventure really started after I left. Be safe!
That would REALLY make me self-conscious. I don't care how secure you are -- when an entire populations stops and stares, it would have to be unnerving. GOOD FOR YOU!
Sounds like visiting Idaho
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