|To save water, simply bathe|
during the rainy season.
Pictured is our shower from Rama Villas, Denpasar, which was actually a very nice bathroom. Open-air with potted plants and a bed of river stones, and it was unique in that you could control hot and cold water.
|Children glance at us disapprovingly|
during a wedding "celebration" on
We didn't interact with anyone enough on Kalimantan for me to form an impression. They're Muslim there too, but everyone we met in Pangkalan Bun was gracious and polite. In Banjarmasin, however, I would surmise they don't see many Western tourists, as one man in a djellaba nearly got himself into a traffic accident on his scooter, veering off the road as he stared at us, grinning with hilarity. The uniformed staff at Gramedia (book store) were polite in greeting us but giggled uncontrollably behind our backs as soon as we passed. Nervous? Derisive? No way for me to know.
|Java doesn't seem to sufficiently|
understand why this isn't cool to put
on a t-shirt (Malioboro Mall,
Java was downright menacing. Everywhere we went in Indonesia, traffic was a riot of scooters lacing themselves between cars, tailgating, snaking between lanes or along the shoulder, even into oncoming traffic when they thought the coast was clear. But on most islands they had a system, everyone worked well with each other and I never saw an accident. On our way to our hotel in Surabaya, however, our taxi driver gave a "love tap" to a woman on a scooter because he didn't feel she'd pulled up far enough at a red light and he wanted to be a few inches closer to cross traffic. He didn't bump her scooter: he drove the corner of his bumper into her thigh. She yelled at him and he responded in condescending, whining tones, clearly not taking her seriously, whatever was being said. Later that evening, my wife went to find a convenience store and a group of men catcalled at her. Nowhere else in Indonesia did we encounter such a thing and to experience it suddenly was especially threatening (consider that the sun goes down before 6:30 PM so most of the evening looks like the middle of the night).
So if you're looking to travel somewhere and not have it be a great challenge, I'd recommend sticking to Bali. We were fine on the other islands, we knew enough of the language to get around, and if you demonstrate a willingness to speak Bahasa Indonesia and you smile, you'll be okay. Bali is by far the pleasantest experience, however, very easy to wade into. Work up to the other islands but start with Bali--it will feel like its own unique nation in contrast to the other locations.