Jawa Tengah

Exotic Animal Market | Ambarawa | Indonesia

Welcome to the exotic animal market of Central Java. It takes place in a town about 20 minutes outside of Salatiga, every five days. Row upon row of strange and familiar animals abound as far as the eye can see.

This is a luwak (civet/ weasel). The luwak are famous in Indonesia for their poop. Yes, their poop. During harvest season, the luwak are let out of their cages to feast on coffee beans that are collected after being digested. Supposedly, the digestive process enriches the flavor of the beans. The final product is called Kopi Luwak, also known as the most expensive coffee in the world. If you want to know more about the process, you can watch this video.

This guy is a dukun (medicine man/ healer). He was selling various concoctions and herbal remedies meant to fix a variety of ailments. If you look down between his feet, you'll see an object resembling a black cucumber (it is not). During his presentation, this particular bull part was slowly extracted from the bag and explained to fix a certain male problem.

Remember the tokay that we found in our house? This is where you can sell it for a considerable amount of money, to get made into this stew, which will also "fix" a various illnesses.

Cobra blood is also believed to strengthen virility in the male gender. You can buy a shot and watch it drained from the snake, right in front of you.

A Tropical Christmas | Jogja | Indonesia

Before separating for the holidays, the girls and I hired our trusty driver and made our way past Jogja to the coast. On our way, we stopped at the beautiful warung/ overlook.

Clear water, blue skies and cool water made for a perfect day at the beach yesterday. Not only did I manage to get a little bit of a tan in December, but we got to explore the bounty of tidal pools. We saw sea urchins, a variety of crabs and even an octopus!

Yogyakarta | Indonesia

Looking for that special something, with a unique flair? Some oleh-oleh (trip gifts) that your friends back home will enjoy? Welcome to Yogyakarta (or as everyone here calls it, Jogja), shopping capital of Java, for local Indonesian crafts.

Our shopping trip today began at 9 am. Our driver, being the antithesis of every other Indonesian driver on the road, took his sweet time getting us to our destination. After lunch at McDonald's (which is a delicacy when you live in the middle of nowhere), we crossed traffic and began to walk down the main street of handicrafts and local goods called Malioboro. Think Canal Street, Asian style. Anything you could possibly want to remind you of your time in Indonesia was lined up on both sides of the street.

I also had a bit of a chuckle because every few feet, I would see something that we sold at World Market...at a fraction of the price. For instance, take these trays with a retractable mosquito net. World Market: $25, Indonesia: $3.

These guys, who drive baceks (a form of pedi-cab) line the street behind the stalls, begging you to let them take you somewhere. This guy was pretty excited to have his picture taken. 

French fries, Christmas shopping, Starbucks city mug. All around successful day. I can't wait to do it again in three weeks when Debbie, Sondra, and Jan come to visit!

Jawa Tengah | Indonesia

This weekend, I picked a random road and followed it as long as I could. I simply love wandering aimlessly through the mountains and discovering hidden gems in the midst of a simpler life.

On my jaunt, I passed the same caravan twice and as a foreign girl on a motorbike is not a common sight around here, the driver pointed me out and his passengers waved and smiled as I drove by.