Sunday, July 17, 2011

Semarang so far...

Well we left Jogjakarta a few days ago. We stopped by Muntilan, which is the town my mom grew up in, on our way to Semarang. We visited some old friends and then went over to the Buddhist temple in Mendut to visit the monk who is responsible for my name. Aruna is my Sanskrit name, and it is supposed to mean the morning light. But i heard this interesting story about the Sala Flower. Banta Panya (the monk) told us that on the bottom of the flower, there is a small mound that is supposed to represent the Buddha. Surrounding the mound is a lot of little stalks, which are supposed to represent the monks listening to his teachings. Above them are the longer stalks, which represent the deities. I thought it was pretty interesting.  Then we started the long driver to Semarang (okay only 3 hours, but long in my mind). But driving in Indonesia isnt like driving in the US. hahahaha. There may be lines on the road, but they are mere suggestions as to where cars should be. A good was to describe it is to imagine the Harry Potter night bus scene. Then dont change anything. Except that every car is like the nightbus, there are more chickens, horses, and motorcycles, and the roadsigns dont really make much sense. So yeah, if you ever come to Indonesia, i suggest trying to sleep in the car, or at least close your eyes because you will get sick if you see the kind of crap that your driver is pulling (it's a constant game of chicken). I wish i was kidding.

Well we got to Semarang still alive somehow, and then we went to dinner at some vegetarian restaurant (didnt know they existed here). It is considerably hotter in Semarang than in Jogja and Bali, and there are a ton more mosquitoes. It's not like they carry any infectious diseases though right? oh wait....

The next day we spent bumming around town. We went to the Paragon mall, found that there is nothing there, and then my brother and I went to a game place to play some more games. After i developed a mild case of carpel tunnel syndrome, we went back to the paragon mall to eat. I had the luxury of eating food that made me cry because it was so freakin spicy (that was my fauly though. we had soup and i put in three helpings of chili sauce after my mom said it wasnt hot at all. Thanks Mom). Then something very strange happened to me.

I like to think of myself as someone who is perceptive and aware of their surroundings. Not much gets passed me. Well now im pretty sure there is a lot that does after what happened. Well we were waiting in a lobbyish place of a parking garage and i sat down on a bench/couch thing. This is what happened according to what i saw: I sat down at the edge of the bench. There was some guy next to me but not too close. I started playing with a balloon with my niece. The man got up at some point and some woman sat down in his place, she was dressed completely in black, but i ddint really see anything else. didnt see her face at all. I continued playing with the balloon and then my aunt comes and sits right next to me. I thought it was strange but didnt think much of it. Then we left. Here is the story according to my aunt and brother: When the man left and the woman dressed in black sat down, she was a prostitute seeing me as a potential victim. Not just a regular prostitute though, a transvestite prostitute wearing lots of heavy makeup. "She" kept making eyes at me and playing with her ear and stuff while looking directly at me. So my aunt came to my rescue and sat between us. I NEVER NOTICED THIS! After we left, my aunt told me about it. needless to say, i kind of freaked out and was quite surprised i never noticed a thing. So this means two things: prostitutes are so subtle that i would never be able to tell a prostitute from a regular person, and i am completely oblivious of my surroundings.

Well we then went home and i got foot reflexology done on me by my aunt. Usually a foot massage is a pleasant things and i was looking forward to it. She uses these little metal tools to get pressure points too. I guess i forgot how much they hurt. Things started well as she was reteaching me all the pressure points on the foot and what part of the body they correspond to (it is, after all, one of my objectives to learn reflexology again). Then she started using the metal things. It was so freakin painful, my entire foot went numb. But she said that was normal as i screamed out in pain. I dont think i have ever made anyone elses foot least i hope not. But she said my intestines were in pain cuz of the transition from vegetarian to eating meat again.

The next day (yesterday) we went to the fruit garden. I learned a lot about the different fruits that are grown in Indonesia. There is Dragon fruit which kind of tastes like a less sweet kiwi, Rambutan (tastes like...hmm lychee sort of....), Longan (like lychee but with a pit that is hard to not eatcuz it sticks to the fruit), Durian (the king fruit, tastes very interesting and smells so strong that most hotels wont allow them in the rooms), and Papaya. It was a very interesting tour. Very informational too, or at least im sure it was. If i could understand what the tour guide was saying i might be more help....

We left there and stopped by tofu making "factory" and had some interesting soy milk...then continued on our way to koepang. In Koepang, it isnt a billion degrees but a very chilly mid 70s. Oh, and there is a high ropes course with flying foxes and all sorts of aerial obstacles. It was so much fun. My hands had all sorts of blisters afterwards though haha. maybe ill upload some real pictures soon...maybe. If i can

Well that has been my days so far in Semarang. not sure what is up next but im sure itll be not boring.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Well i made it home yesterday haha, and i didnt even die one time! After the internet cafe yesterday, i met up with my mum and some of her friends at this bakso place (bakso is a soup with what are essentially indonesian meatballs. one of my more favorite foods i must say. along with sate , rendang , and  gado-gado  to name a few.). Then we had my moms friend's driver take us to find that damned computer game place. We eventually found it and played there for three hours! after my eyes started bleeding, we decided it was a good time to leave. We went back home and my mom took us out to dinner to get the famous fried chicken at Suharti's. I think they pressure cook it because you can eat the bones of the chicken. Not the bigger ones but the rib cage and all of he wing. Pretty nifty.

All we do on this trip is eat i swear. haha. if i dont come back 300 pounds heavier itll be a miracle. After dinner we went back home and slept.

This morning i finally did a mini workout and we went to the beach. We went to the south sea, however, which is a very treacherous place. treacherous as in you swim in the ocean, you die (i kid i kid...*cough*). Well it was a nice two hour driver from Jogjakarta and the beach we went to has sentimental value for my family. It is the place which we throw the family ashes into. Although we didnt swim in the water (seriously i was scared by just looking at the waves....but i get like that at home too so my word doesnt have much weight to it...), we were able to explore the tide pools. There was a lot of different colors and we got to see some sea urchins. I think i also saw a jellyfish with a sail just sitting there. pretty cool stuff. We also ate more food on that beach haha.

Well those were some good adventures for the day. Tomorrow we are supposed to leave for Semarang, which is my final destination on this trip (ill be staying there till the 25th of August). But we are trying to stay one more night in Jogja. Who knows whatll happen.

-Aaron "Antelope" Brown

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Well my Adventures in Bali are over. But my adventures on Java begin (Java is one of the islands in Indonesia. It is the one with Jakarta on it.) I did end up going surfing one last time yesterday. met quite a few people in the ocean, some dude from Holland and another guy from Japan. Didnt catch many waves (more like 3)  but it was still fun nonetheless. I had to walk about 5 blocks in Bali in the sun and i was just roasting. I was sweating as if i had completed an intense workout. next time, perhaps, i will take a cab instead....But then we left Bali and came over to Jogjakarta, which is the big city near where my mom grew up.

So this morning my brother and i were trying to get to a place where you can play games online (like counterstrike and dota and whatnot). THe name is called Rumah Mirota.We have no clue as to where it is located and all we can say is "its a place you can play games." So we first took a becak , which is a carriage pushed by a bike rider. Now, the driver we had was old and pretty dainty. He was pushing these two rather large Americans in this carriage by a bike. I was scared he would die of exhaustion right on the spot. He did not, but he took us to this restaurant by the name of Rumah Mirota. We explained that this was the wrong place, so he then took us to a batik clothing store by the name of Rumah Mirota. We said that this was the place and just let him leave, as he clearly had no clue as to what we were talking about. My brother and i then walked a bit and asked another becak driver,(this becak was different because it was motorized) to take us to the game place. He said he knew it, and he drove us to a shopping mall by the name of Rumah Mirota Kampus. So, my brother an I, out ten bucks from transportation costs, just gave up and now we are at an internet cafe. Maybe, one day, we will find the place we are looking for....

I was at least slightly proud of myself though. I could kind of navigate a foreign city right? I mean, the places we went were of the same name. Its just like when you use autocorrect and it corrects bad to badger. sorta correct right? whatever.

So hopefully we will be able to find our way back to the hotel. Because honestly, i have no idea where we are right now. :D

-Aaron "A Hopelessly lost person" Brown 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Klapa Klab and mooooooar

Not really much more though. And there will be many spelling errors in this as the keyboard i am using is super sticky. I apologize.

Yesterday we had Padang foor for the first time since being in Indonesia. This is food from a certain region in Indonesia. The connotation, for me at least, is horrifically spicy. anyways i ate that super spicy stuff and it was quite im sure it was if i had any taste buds left. Whats interesting though is the way they serve the food. Its like a pick and choose place but they bring everything to your table. You just eat what you want and get charged for what you take.

After that we went to Klapa Klab, which i think is an exclusive place with a pool and beach access. My mom had the hookups with her friend from college haha. The waves there are just brutal though. I mean, it's fun and all but if you dont pay attention you can just get slammed by a wave. My brother was wearing goggles and i was slightly ahead of him. I saw a huge wave coming so i ran towards it to get it before it broke. By brother wasnt so lucky. He got slammed. When he came up, his goggles were gone. I also lost a good pair of sandles to the unsatiable and wrathful ocean. RIP.

Today is our last day in Bali sadly, but then we go to Jogja tomorrow. im about to go to the beach again, who knows maybe ill surf once more....

-Aaron "Adder" Brown

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kuta Beach!

Woke up at 10 am this time. I just love sleeping in and wasting the day away....okay not really but we weren't doing anything today so i had nothing better to do. Anyways, we went out to lunch at this place called Furama, which is a Chinese seafood restaurant. Good stuff! I ate beef for the first time in a really long time. We'll see how it turns out tomorrow....After Lunch we went directly to the beach. Kuta beach to be precise. We sat on the sand and my mom got a massage, and then i got a massage. It felt okay, but for as cheap as it was, i couldnt complain. Afterwards, we got up and looked for a surf instructor. They wanted 25 bucks for an hour, but my mom bargained down to 13.....

Awlright, sew tewday eye tuk aye crak att tha wip four serfing! My Instructor was a dude by the name of (something i couldnt understand or remember) and he was ....26? anyways, luckily he knew how to speak English, although i think it would have been okay if he didnt. Well we go out into the ocean and he holds the board for me as i attempt to jump on. Success! i lay down on the board and he sees a wave that is just right. He tell me to paddle with my extremely weak arms as he pushes me. I catch the wave! now he tell me to stand up on the board. This bit is slightly trickier than the flailing around i was doing before. So i push with my arms off the board and get a foot underneath me. Okay, everything okay so far. Next foot now...uh oh im losing balance. I get the other foot on the board but i am already falling off the surf board. Sploosh! I feel like a newborn dear trying to stand on its feet. Well i run back out to my instructor as he laughs and laughs and we try again. This time i am able to stand on the board and take it all the way to the shore! I was excited. So this goes on for a few more times and now he refuses to help me. He tells me i need to catch my own waves, which i agreed to. I get on the board and paddle out a ways. He tells me to catch the next one. So i eggbeater with my legs to turn the board around and lay flat. I start to paddle as fast as i can (my arms just wont do it for me though) and i surprisingly catch the wave! I do that for a while and then there is a spell with no waves whatsoever. We wait there, the two of us, talking about various things. I tell him he should come out to California sometime as the surfing is nice there too. He informed me that he is originally from Sumatra, another island in Indonesia, and he has only been living in Bali for three years. He said he moved to Bali because he loved the surfing. So now he is a grom.

Well that was a fun Experience. I highly suggest surfing if you ever find yourself in Bali. The waves arent bad and the instructors are very friendly. Also, it is super cheap out here. Oh, and the water is really warm! dont even need a wetsuit.

Tomorrow is my last day in Bali, not sure what we will do yet. Perhaps we will go Visit Uluwatu. 

-Aaron "Abalone" Brown

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Visit to Ubud!

I have completely lost track of time since coming here. I dont have a watch and i am unable to tell time with a 24 hour clock (anything past 12 is just too confusing). But i think i slept in the most i have this entire trip (all the way to 9am!). didnt do much this morning though. I did take my first official Indonesian Shower though! So what we do is we take a bucket. Fill it with warm water. Get a smaller pail and scoop water out of the bigger bucket. That's it. You use far less water this way, esp since heating water is quite harder to do here. So say what you will of the techinique, it's golden.

So after my induction to Indonesian hygenic habits (they also use bidets, which i use too now) i had some bread and waited around till we decided to go to ubud. Ubud is, to my knowledge, a small mountain village. It is home to the monkey forest, which is a forest.... that has monkeys in it. We didnt go into the forest this time just because we have done so many times beforehand. The monkeys are naughty and steal anything you have. they can even get into you backpack and take things from there. So, needless to say, it is something you only want to do a few times. well we went to ubud and...shopped. I bought a little painting for my room, but we didnt do much else. We had dinner at a restaurant called Warung Wayan and i ordered the Nasi Campur, which is a sample dish that has rice and a ton of different other dishes. Then we got lost on our way back and took super long to get home haha...

I have also been put on duty for helping to take care of the little tykes. The kids are so cuuute. But i gotta say, the 18 month old definitely has a nice set of lungs. She can shriek when she is upset. And the 4 year old can definitely be mean sometimes haha. I guess that is just the way kids are.

So anyways I have been here for a day or so and here is what i am noticing again about Bali and Indonesia in general:
SO MANY MOTORCYCLES! seriously there are too many! They are like cockroaches weaving in and out of every nook and cranny. With 5 people on them! I think it is because they are so much cheaper than buying a car. I mean if you can fit 5 people on a motorcycle, whats the point of owning a car right?

When you are shopping around for stuff, you must bargain to get a good price. There was a pair of sunglasses (obvies fake) that someone wanted to sell to me for 50000 rupiah (a little more than 5 USD as the exchange is 8500 rupiah = 1 USD). I got it down to 5000 rupiah. I mean, i still didnt want to buy it but thats not the point lol.

Anyways, tomorrow i think we are going to the beach to take surfing lessons or something. Hopefully i dont get swallowed up by the seaaaaaaaa!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finally! Bal(l)i(n')!

After i last wrote, we stayed our last night in Phuket. I bought one more banana and Cheese pancake thingy and went to bed. We woke up at 7 am the next morning to go for a morning swim in the ocean. Now most people probably think that swimming in the ocean without a huge crowd of people in it is great. I am under the assumption, however, that the less people that are in the ocean with you, the higher your chances of getting maimed/killed/eaten/stung/hurt/injured/burned/electrocuted/defenestrated by local marine life goes way up. Luckily none of those things happened for my little swim, but it could have! Worse thing that happened was i was attacked by a soggy piece of bread. Still very scary but much less lethal. Then we had our final breakfast at our hotel and packed. Oh, did i mention that we recovered our lost luggage? Apparently Frisco sent them to Honk Kong for some reason. So we were paid 400 bucks as hush money i assume and we were on our way. We were reunited in Phuket so everything worked out. Anyways, after packing our stuff up again, we got on a taxi and left for the airport.

Our taxi driver was extremely friendly. Most of the time we sit in an awkward silence, asking occasional questions to the driver. Of course the driver has no clue we are trying to speak to him, so our questions fall on deaf ears and we just give up all together. Not this guy though. He talked so much about the different fruit that grew in thailand and where it grew best. Probably would have been better if i could understand him, but i gut the gist of it. Well we got to the airport, took off with air asia, and flew into Bangkok once again. We had all our luggage, then we went to  our hotel (same hotel as our last stay a few days before) and the taxi driver was again silent as a stone. Got to the hotel, went for a swim, then hit the town. We  bought some fruit and ate diner and a pretty nice place in the food court of a mall (seriously though it was good thai  food). Bangkok was very hot! then we did nothing and woke up at 5 the next day to get to the airport yet again. We arrived in Bali and met up with some family. We went to one of my mother's friends house from college (a trillion years ago) and we went downtown for some food. I got to get to know their kids, Neva and Felicia who are 4 and 18 months respectively. So cute! Ill show some pictures once i can. Anyways, tata!

-Aaron "anteater" Brown

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Journey to Phi Phi Island!

So last Night my family and I hit the town of Kata Beach in Phuket. We stayed out way past our bedtimes till 10 oclock! Bought some small souvineers and im getting a tailored suit! We went to this massage parlor and it was very very painful, in a good way though(well at least afterwards it felt nice. During the massage...not so much). Much harder to bargain in thailand than in Indonesia. Perhaps this is attributed to the fact that i know how to speak indonesian but cant speak a lick of thai...whatever. We also got this thing that was kind of like a crepe. Inside was banana and cheese which turns out to taste really good (seriously try it. the two pair very well together). We then went home and immediately fell asleep because we had to wake up at 5:30 am (again!) to get ready for our adventures to pee pee island. I mean Phi Phi island.

Our breakfast was at the hotel. I swear every tropical ish hotel that is big enough has the same type of breakfast deal: an egg station where you can get whatever you want that was eggs, some kind of weird sausage looking stuffs that you really should learn to avoid by the 15th time but still havent, fried rice, fried noodles, some kind of chicken pooridge that was clearly been left cooking for far too long, "bacon", either french toast or waffles i have never seen pancakes, salad (why salad is served for breakfast is beyond me. I still partake however), lots of fruit (mostly pineapple, papaya, dragon fruit, and watermelon and cantelope), sweet pastry items, and some other traditional food. I am not complaining, im just saying its all the same wherever you go.

We then took a rather long bus ride to Phuket town where we disembarked on the pee pee cruiser, which was this luxurious ocean liner with many many ammenities....haha no. it was a rather nice boat with three stories. Thats about it. Oh and it had TVs with which they could play this commercial for some product that keeps your ipod dry when you go to the beach (because nothing says your sexy like a lanyard around your neck with your ipod when you are at the beach ) and Mr Bean. I dont know which program was more insufferable. So that took a good 2 hours and we got to see the Beautiful Phi Phi Islands. Then we finally got to go Snorkeling around 11 am (that is 4 hours of traveling beforehand). Let me just start that i am terrified of fish. No idea why, i am just scared that they will amass and as a single unit, engulf me and leave nothing. Slightly irrational but i still cling to that belief. So when i went out today, with the 50 or so people, i was hesitant at first. It did not help that the damned things looked a little like piranhas. But i did it anyway and jumped in and swam around for about an hour. I just always made sure i was not the furthest person in one direction and kept my arms and legs as close to myself as possible. There were some schools of fish that swam into me but none, thankfully, brutally murdered me.

Then we took this rather dingy looking boat across the bay and into a small island, one of the pee pee's. We had a buffet lunch there (some thai steamed vegetables, sweet and sour fish, "fried" chicken, rice, and spaghetti. which one doesnt fit) Oh yeah, i eat meat now. just chicken though. too scared to go for anything else. Lunch was good though and then i layed down on the nice, searing beach. I dont know how common it is in the states, but usually when i go onto the beach and lie down, i am relaxed and comfortable. Its a very different reality here. I lie down for two minutes and it is really hot and i am sweating buckets. i turnover just to see sweat dripping off me and onto my towel. I look at the person next to me and see that they are covered in sweat too. It looks like they are cooking in the sun since they have this very discomforted look on their face. But i figure that it's the norm and i stay put, literally cooking on the sand. My left arm started tingling and i couldnt see anymore since sweat was in my eyes so i figure its a good idea to jump in the ocean out of fear of overheating. So i jump in and see some people next to me. I make a remark about how i think i see flying fish and they respond in this unintelligible babble of a language. I give them a confused look, they give me a confused look, and i ask them where they are from. No so sure what they said, but i heard "australia" in the mix and all of a sudden i was relieved. They werent speaking English to me, they were speaking Australian. So i pretended to understand and told them i was from California after they gave me a series of gestures and grunts that i took to be "where are you from". Then we all got on the big boat and came back to phuket. All in all, i would say it was a rather nice trip, but there was far too much traveling and the snorkeling wasnt super great (i went to bali last last year and saw much better things and had to do no traveling whatsoever (i mean aside from the initial traveling to bali(which i just wont count because that's silly))). Hopefully I'll survive another night! And look at this pictures of James Bond Island. It's neat! 5 points if you know what movie it's from!

-Aaron "Applefish(thats a real thing right?)" Brown

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket(hehe))

Hey! i am in Thailand now, more specifically on the island of Phuket. Geographically i have no clue as to where i am in relation to the equator or really any country. And i am too lazy to look it up. Anyways ill tell you all about the flight....

It was boring and long as...something that could be described as really long. Flew out of Frisco on July 3rd at like 1130AM. Flight took about 12 hours and we arrived at 2:30pm on the 4th of July (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOMINIC!) into Beijing. I couldnt stop thinking about how I was in pressurized aluminum can travelling at 600 mph about 7 miles above ground. It helped me sleep. Then our next flight left at 5:05 pm and we arrived in Bangkok at 9:00 pm. We arrived to find that our airline lost 4 out of 5 suitcases along the way (luckily the one we did have half of my stuff) that kind of sucked. Still no word as to where the luggauge is...they claim Beijing but i dont doubt it was stolen (it would be extremeley easy to steal baggage anywhere for that matter).

We stayed a night in Bangkok, woke up at 5:30 am and we rushed to the airport to get to Phuket, just barely making it to the gate on time. So Now i am on Phuket, a really small island that i assume is in the Pacific Ocean? We are going to go to an island Phi Phi(pronounced Pee Pee (hehehe)) off the coast tomorrow to go snorkeling and shtuff. I would love to post pictures of my adventures....but i dont have a camera. Plus i wouldnt know how to do that...posting pictures.

Just a few things that i think i have learned these two days of traveling:
-When speaking to people who dont understand your language very well, only talk about one idea at a time. Anything more will confuse the hell out of them
Actually that's all i will talk about. Now im going to try and relax by lounging at the pool :D see ya!

-Aaron "Alligator" Brown

Saturday, July 2, 2011

7/2/2011 Pre-Flight

I am sitting on the back porch of my home in Watsonville, listening to the Beatles and hanging out with the fam fam (my brother happens to be eating some steak to my right). I leave my house tomorrow morning at 7 am (my santa cruz house) and my flight leave SF at sometime thereafter. I have definitely thought about packing for my trip, none of those dreams have manifested themselves into any actual packing yet but within a few hours im sure panic will set in and ill pack like the wind. Anywho, this was more of a test blog to see if i could actually do it. OH! if you want anything from Indonesia, leave a comment (i think you can do that) saying what you want. I'll see what i can do about getting my hands on it. And no, i will not bring back anything that breathes. Ta-Ta!

-Aaron "Aardvark" Brown