July 2014

The rainy season is winding down. Now it rains about every 5 days. It's winter here -- summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern half. The temperature has gotten cooler. I would say about 10 degrees cooler. It used to average in this high 80's, now it's staying in the high 70's. Much nicer for me. It's also less humid. In fact, it is really really pleasant. Like spring in Hot Springs without all the rain.

Less rain means we can use the scooter more often. It's easier than taking the car -- except that the whole family can't go with. We made the final payment on the Honda scooter so it is now officially ours. I enjoy riding the scooter -- fresh air, open road, all that. There are not very many "large" motorcycles like in the US. 250cc is considered large here. There are a few Harley's and Ninja's but not very many. I had a Honda 90 sport when I was 16 in the US. That would be about 1966-1968ish. There are still quite a few Honda 90's still on the road here. If it runs -- no matter what condition -- someone will use it.

Unlike the Philippines, there is very little pollution from automobiles and scooters here. There is a lot less pollution overall than I saw in the Philippines. The rivers are muddy and full of debris -- but that's because of all the rain and runoff. The one big river near us is a class III white water rapids river. You need 8 people to rent a raft with a guide but I can't find anyone brave enough to go with.

I turned Yuli on to internet marketing and she (we) have started buying and selling clothes. It's a nice thing. Like I said, it is very difficult to find anything here. No one really advertises. They might hang a sign outside of their storefront, but there are a million storefronts along the streets. So the idea of bringing the clothes into these small villages is a good idea. Yuli has some agents working for her, but she sells a lot all by herself. It is producing some much needed income.

She has also become famous in the area for her cakes and cupcakes. And is now taking orders for cakes and goodies. I plan to buy her a real oven soon, because cooking and baking is something she really enjoys. The kind of oven she wants doesn't have and burners. It's a standalone oven. Runs on propane (bottled gas).

There's not much I can do here... I can't really help with any of the farming. The family is afraid I will hurt myself and I'm not much help anyway. It's also difficult because I don't speak Indonesian and they don't speak English.

I am participating in Ramadan -- a month long fast. I was worried at first that I my blood sugar would get all whacked out. So I tested myself the first couple of days. But, to tell you the truth, I believe that my type 2 diabetes has been cured. I don't have any symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels.

Fasting is from sun-up to sundown. We get up at 3:30am and eat a good breakfast and then have to wait until sundown to eat again. It was really hard for the first couple of days, but isn't that hard anymore. The purpose of fasting is to strengthen your will power and it does do that. Fasting also includes liquids which is even harder than not taking any food.

We still do lots and lots of vegetables and fruit. Meat is harder to come by. The chicken here is good but beef and lamb is a real hit or miss thing. They don't cut the cows and lamb like in the US... you can't get some nice steaks or leg of lamb here. They just kinda chop the animals into small pieces. They also don't remove much fat or gristle. So lots of times beef or lamb does not taste so good. Of course, there is no pork at all. So I eat a lot chicken.

more to come


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Previously published:

Stranger in a Strange Land