Tulungagung, Indonesia

February 22, 2015

A drive that might normally take 4.5 hours turned into more like 9 hours…the traffic was outrageous, so whatever rest I thought I got…well, the road claimed it back…I feel like somebody just beat me with a ‘tired’ stick….never-the-less though, saw a lot of the country side much…in fact…it looked like a computer operation of cutting and pasting for hours and hours…so much of the countryside is duplicated…rice paddies, sugar cane, corn, trees, all types of greenery and stores/shops…and of course…another million motorbikes 🙂 I posted fairly extensively on Tulungagung when I was here a few years ago, so I won’t repeat that….
But, I will post a couple of new things that really stood out. One of my great loves is just to get out and walk…take a silent observational orientation…and just watch, listen, and soak it in. During my stay in Tulungagung, this fine and wonderful pair kept me company. In fact, I have found that many households here have birds. The houses tend to be fairly simple…not a lot of clutter or, as we say, stuff…just a lot of simple things that represent life, birds, plants, pictures of elders, a tv – whether they watch it much or not – and sometimes a bit of china. The birds, like these two, are plentiful and full of life:


As my friend, Jaime in Panama, would say… “awwww…you can tell they love each other” 🙂 Yes, she is turning her neck to the side so he can nibble on her….of course it’s a male…can’t you tell by the flashy suit he has on 🙂

One of my great loves, is to just walk around a place….even at home…every night, must go out and take a stroll from time to time….really helps you to get a feel of the place…outside of the car, not just on a bike…but taking a nice slow stroll around a city and through the neighborhood. This is one of my favorite spots here…at the park…families, kids, right in front of the mosque and the local government building…


this is also where the community comes out to exercise after the “call to prayer” in the morning…literally you will see upwards of a hundred people outside walking around this small but quaint park at 5 a.m. in the morning….love to sit by this pool…and of course most bodies of water here do have some form of coy in them:


If you love fruit, this is the place you want to be. Fresh fruit is everywhere along with the trees they pic them from…you can literally just walk up to a tree and pick/eat some of the best and most flavorful fruit you can find. Crazy colorful…and you will find so much color everywhere…even in the aisles of a grocery store…


Walking through the market, I found this wonderful lady cleaning fruit inside the market – this is how she makes her living. She was most hospital and just overall – a sweet human being:


But, keep this in mind….not all fruit is for everyone…at times, they will ask you if you have any health concerns. And, take this as an important note – to all my fruit nazi crazy friends – not all fruit is for everyone to eat. Some of the fruit will send your blood pressure to ridiculous highs, and some to ridiculous lows….no need to pass out and die because you think all fruit is for you….but, these are wonderful people and they will keep you on the straight path 🙂
Now, now, and now…this thing here – a fruit – is called Durian…and they are absolutely crazy about it here….I will tell you, it looks funny, and smells even stranger….you open it up, and there is a nut inside covered by the fruit…it is mushy and smelly, and it is even against the law in some places to eat it in a public environment….YEAH…it’s like that 🙂 But, of course, I have to respect that I am in another country with another culture, so I am obligated to try it…again….In many ways it is repulsive, it feels awful in the mouth, and it tastes so “why are they eating this again….and who was the first person to look at this and thought it was a good idea to eat it”….


BUT!! As strange as it is – and mind you, somewhat disgusting, it has this thing about it that makes you go back for more and more….it pulls you in….okay…that’s enough of that 🙂
Always loving to expand my own cultural experiences, I gave up walking for a few to try one of the local major forms of transportation – the Becak. Basically, a guy peddling a bike with a carriage in the front….since I am pretty much a giant around here….I did give the guy extra/tip, as you can see, I barely fit into it 🙂


Strolling around town, really came across some interesting things….and some that were also delightful. This is a little muslim school….they are all over the place actually. As I walked I stopped to take a picture of the kids out front. Once they saw me taking a picture, they all huddled together and started screaming and giving me peace signs, asking me, “are you American are you American”…well, the answer to that was obvious….a very precious moment and a wonderful welcome!!


Another interesting experience was walking down the street and coming across a pet shop. This fellow was playing with one of the snakes inside the shop:


As usual, they were most hospitable and asked me if I wanted to hold it. Well, I am very culturally open and always looking to get another’s perspective on living….but as I said before “homey don’t play that”…I don’t do bats, snakes, spiders, and rats under any circumstances….now, if he asked me if I wanted to eat it, well, I would taste it…but, hold it…ehhhh….pass me the Durian and you can keep the snake.

Walking by the river was also an interesting experience. Along the river, there were people everywhere in the water digging through the bottom. I found it so curious that I sat for a while on the bank and watched them. They were everywhere….somewhat like 30 people per an average city block… I had no clue as to what they were doing, but was impressed by the work ethic….


They were taking nets and digging up mud from the bottom of the river and sifting through it with nets…come to find out later, each man has about 5 baskets behind him….they dump the mud in the baskets and sift through the dirt looking for worms…the worms are then sold to people who use them to feed their fish. Talk about a hell-uva-way to make a living….talk about exceptional work ethic. They were out there all day in the blazing heat, sifting through mud to find worms to sell to take care of their families. My Hat off to them, and if I ever hear of someone complaining about work, including myself, that picture of those men is an excellent reminder of how detached we can get from man’s natural conditions.

While I love the cultural experience and try to expand my own every chance I get, after a long hot day, it is one of the wonderful experiences of life to go jump in a pool 🙂 This is the pool at a new Crown Victoria Hotel in Tulungagung….absolutely delightful…

As mentioned, although this is a Muslim Country, they do tolerate other expressions very well. Temples and churches are frequent sites here. Catholic schools, churches, Buddhist temples and Confucius temples abound….beautiful places…. Anyone studying government and the use of high culture to improve society for everyone could stand to learn a few things from studying Confucius…amazing!! This is a local temple used as a burial facility and also as a place to practice your religion….
Well, my mind is feeling good, feet are better, not as cranky and full of good food and fruit! This has been a very full experience….and yet, there is still so much yet on the agenda….Getting ready for a deeper plunge into the pilgrimage….

One Response to “Tulungagung, Indonesia”

  1. aRIFIN said

    nice small town, feels lucky i was growth in their cultures….

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