Friday, November 20, 2009

Dumai, Sumatra, Indonesia

Okay, so the shock has subsided (mostly) and I'm starting to love it here.  Not true.  But I don't hate it as much as I did yesterday or the day before.  I went for a long walk today, and while I did get yelled at (called out to, whatever) just as much if not more than before, it didn't bother me as much.  I got a lot of "hey miss" and "hey mister", and even 2 "hey Mrs.".  I must be looking old.  And like a man.  I had three men try to take me around and show me their "beautiful city"... I declined.  I believe I saw most of the beautiful city in the hour that I walked around.  Mostly everything is really dirty and rundown, and very hot and humid.  But beyond that, the people are incredibly friendly.  And lots of people know at least a little English, which is a nice change from China.  Almost everyone who yelled at me at least knew "hello, how are you", and I got in the habit of saying "hello, how are you" back to them, figuring they probably wouldn't understand anything else.  However, after a few strange looks and "I'm fine, how are YOU"s, I realized they know more than I thought.  I only had one guy ask me to give him a kiss, and only one guy shook my hand and then wouldn't let it go.  And I only saw two men following me... one on a bike, and one on a motorcycle.  The one on the bike never said anything, but he kept appearing miraculously in front of me, and the motorcycle guy kept stopping me and trying to talk, but he didn't speak any English, so we didn't really get anywhere.  We resorted to signing, and I think we had a nice conversation, although I may have told him too much.  

I took a bunch of pictures, maybe more than I should have because the Fire and Rescue Unit got concerned and stopped me on the side of the road to ask what I was doing.  When I told them that my husband is working at Pertamina, that assuaged them.  Yeah, I got clout.  I found a lot of these random clothesline-esque things crisscrossed in fields with ran
dom scraps of plastic hanging from them.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what they are.  No one spoke enough English to explain it to me.  It may remain forever a mystery.  

So, all in all, I think this may not be the longest 3 weeks in my life.  It might be for Matt, though... his job is going really poorly already, and it's only the 2nd day.  Oh UOP, why do you do this to us?  Also, I have huge quarter-sized bites on my legs that itch horribly, and I don't know what to do about them.  Of course I googled "huge bites from indonesia" and got a whole plethora of sites relating to typhoid, dengue fever and malaysia, so now I'm fairly paranoid.  At least it's not as bad as it was for Jen in the Dominican Republic, when apparently both her legs swelled up to monstrous proportions.  That's what I heard, at least.  Anyway, more tomorrow when I will hopefully venture out once more into the few remaining unknown parts of the city.  

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