So after landing in Palembang it has been a whirlwind number of days! Since so much has happened I am going to break these down into several blog entries just so reading one very long one does not get too exhausting for those of you following, lol. Thank you for following too!
Well the first night we went out to eat with Pak Rinaldo and two teachers from William’s school before we even made it to our lodging. We stopped at a local restaurant and tried Pempek (a fish and flourish ball that is boiled or steamed). Palembang is famous for it and a lot of people here ask us if we’ve tried it, they think it’s hilarious when we say we like it a lot. I didn’t think it tasted too bad and when we go out to eat now we look for places that have it.
After dinner we were driving and someone mentioned Dorian (the spiky fruit that really smells) and next thing we know Pak Rinaldo is pulling over at a fruit stand and ordering us up some as well as 1 kg of Duku (a small walnut sized fruit that kind of taste very similar to very sweet grapes and grapefruit). I can now say I’ve tried Durian, but am not a fan. The smell really did not get to me, but the texture is very sticky almost like a paste and the taste is indescribably strong. Duku on the other hand is awesome and provides a great snack anytime.
After dinner we drove around the city for a little bit so we could get our bearings somewhat. It’s heard because traffic is crazy. For one thing they drive on the left side of the road and for another there does not seem to be any order to anything. They just go what speed they want, swerve to get around people, and the motorbikes move in swarms! They just come out of everywhere, and if you’re a pedestrian forget it! You cross the street at your own risk here. The volume of traffic never seems to get any better no matter what time of day you are out either.
At about 8 or 9pm we finally made it to our boarding house and met our landlord and his wife and then pretty much headed straight to bed. They are very nice people and they run their own primary school as well. Since the type of school that William is teaching at is franchised, our landlord owns a satellite school of Pak Rinaldo’s school. We live on the second floor and it is pretty nice. I have my own room (which is bigger, and I have the fridge, and the TV :P but we all still pretty much share everything anyway) and the guys share one between the two of them. Both rooms are air conditioned, which after a long day at school is a welcome luxury.
The next day we were able to sleep in a bit and then met Pak Rinaldo and his family at 9ish to go for the traditional breakfast of noodles at a restaurant called Aloi, it was pretty much Indonesia’s version of IHOP, they only serve breakfast and then a different version of the restaurant serves food in the evening. The noodles were great and it was actually within walking distance of our place so we all pretty agreed this was probably going to be a weekly stop for us.
Once we finished breakfast we went around to the bank and visited both schools we will be working out. The academy Sasha and I will be working out was pretty deserted because Sunday is the only day of the week the students get to leave, but it was nice to see the facilities before going to work on Monday. We then went to William’s school and toured the building and the grounds. It was very nice and even has its own fruit garden planted and taken care of by the students.
In between both school visits we stopped at the big stadium in the new part of town. It is surrounded by a nice sports complex with a number of playing fields, a public pool, and several walking gardens and ponds. Definitely someplace to spend a weekend or evening just relaxing and walking around.
We then had lunch/dinner at a nice restaurant called Bumbu Desa (the Village Ingredient in English). They have everything laid out in a line by the cook and you just pick what you want. They then prepare it and bring it to you. We got sat down and also had watermelon juice (juice here is served more smoothie style with more of the whole fruit blended in than just the liquid). The drinks and the food were delicious and very filling! The one thing that is hard to adjust to here is that most times you eat with your hands and a spoon, sometimes a fork and/or chopsticks, but it just depends on the place.
Before heading home for the day Pak Rinaldo took us to his house to relax for a bit and I think we were all pretty impressed by its design and layout. He had many nice gardens and the house itself was enormous. We also got to meet his parents and more of his family, but we didn’t really understand each other because they didn’t speak English and we only know a little Bahasa Indonesian. Overall it was a pretty nice day and we all went home pretty excited and nervous for our first day of classes!