We don’t always see it, but life is happening all around us, all of the time. Never have I felt this more than I have here, in rural Indonesia. The population here, of course, is positively dense. But in addition to that, there are insects, chickens, lizards, bats and cats seemingly everywhere! And as much as I love wild animals, I’ve never really gotten into insects. Unfortunately, in Indonesia, they’ve definitely gotten into me.
I’ve only been here about four months and I
guesstimate that I’ve ingested at least 217 ants, 15.4 spiders and a number of species yet identified. I’ve also been given a number of complimentary blood transfusions by highly motivated mosquitos and have been pestered to the point of madness by ONE Super-Fly (you’ve never heard a ‘buzz-by’ this loud)!
It’s all part of the game here and I accept it, but that’s not to say I don’t sometimes fantasize about the day when I will be able to sit back on a size appropriate chair with a meal and an ice cold beer hand without worrying about what member of the animal kingdom just violated my food before I’ve even taken my first bite.
Speaking of food, a word on eating. While there are
many tasty dishes that I haven’t experienced in the U.S., food sanitation standards here don’t instill a great deal of confidence. Our food standards in the U.S. are (supposedly) very strict and I’ve probably only been food sick about five times. In Japan I’d only gotten food poison once in seven years despite eating all matters of raw foods (*stay away from “The Curry House” in Nunose). In Indonesia? I’d say that I’ve had about a weeks worth of some food related issue. That’s just the way it goes. In some countries, cleanliness, particularly when it comes to food, is Godliness. In Indonesia, it appears that as long as you have a wet arse and don’t use your left hand to eat, you’re good to go! So for those of you living in countries that embrace clean food prep, I hope you are enjoying the fruits of modern dinning. Should you ever want to experience what it’s like to eat Indonesian style without purchasing a plane ticket, I’d recommend swallowing a whole chili pepper (the hotter the better), splashing some cool water on your backside, leaving your main dish sitting on a park bench for a few hours and then sit back and enjoy the harmoniously, humorous way of eating Indonesia has to offer. Don’t forget to burp, as it’s a sign of satisfaction…thank you.