I have been living in Indonesia for about 7 months now. Some of the awe and wonder has worn off a little, but quite a bit of awe and wonder remains.  I am still impressed by the landscape, people, and scenery but I'm not so surprised anymore to see 100-foot bamboo; or bananas growing in a pine forest.

I have learned to drive on the wrong side of the street with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car. I'm getting braver both on the scooter and with the car. I have extended my range. I have memorized enough places that my fear of getting lost is minor.

I feel totally safe here. Even though this is a Muslim country (over 85% Muslim) there is no hostility. The people that I come in contact with are very friendly and kind. I am "Bulee" (Bo-Lay) (means white person) which is very rare here in rural Indonesia.

Where I live is mostly farming communities. It is very labor intensive at planting time and at harvest time. But that is exactly what this country needs. There is plenty of work though the pay is rather lousy by our standards. Most things that you need are really really cheap (like food). Western or modern items are fairly expensive.

Yuli's father has planted the second rice crop. It is amazing that they can get two rice crops in the rainy season and one corn crop in the dry season. The rice that Yuli's father grew is organic. I was surprised. It is so much easier to use Roundup and other chemical processes to kill insects and fertilize -- so it surprised me that Yuli's dad took the effort and time to use "organic fertilizers and pest controls". The rice is extremely tasty. Well worth the effort.

We got another 4-5 kilos of coffee from the lot that Yuli and I bought. This is the third "picking" so far this year. There is plenty more to pick. That's not going to make us rich -- but it sure is satisfying to produce and consume your own products.

My brother-in-law (Wanto) had a fairly large fishfarm. But he got attacked by varmits. A band of civets (small weasle-like critters) ate all his fish. He had 2000 fish but when he drained the pond to harvest the fish there were only 80 left. It is unfortunate that they will probably try to kill the civets. These are the creatures who eat coffee beans and poop them out. These coffee beans are processed and are the most expensive in the world -- renowned for the flavor. This is called coffee-lewat.

I have become an expert on take a bath from a tub. Cold water too.

I haven't learned much Indonesian... but I have picked up a few words... usually from the babies and children.

One of the hardest things about being here is the loneliness. I cannot take part in many conversations so that isolates me alot. Good thing I am accustomed to being alone and it really doesn't bother me. It is annoying not to know what people are talking about.

More to come.... hey. does anyone have any questions for me.

All in all, it was a good decision to come and live in Indonesia. I'm living off my social security. I can do it here. But I don't think it's possible to live in the USA on social security alone.

I went to the hospital again the other day. I thought I was having a gout attack. Turned out not to be gout... but some arthritic flareup in my feet. Got some meds and got repaired. The bill was about $14. The hospital charged $1.40. The doctor charged $1.70. The lab (blood test for uric acid) was $1.20. Meds were about $10.00.

In the US you got Obamacare. You are required to buy medical insurance. If you don't the IRS will levy a fine on you. How stupid is that.


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Stranger in a Strange Land