Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

NYE in Batu

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Just got back from Kota Batu, a city of 170,000 Javanese and Madurese located in East Java about 2 hours from Surabaya and a bit cooler in temperature. My grand uncle’s villa turned out to be a game house where myself, my mom, and and a number of his other relatives played pool and ping pong for the last two days. It was entertaining since 70% of the time, everyone was trying to figure out what to call each other. (In the Chinese culture, relatives don’t usually call each other by their names. It’s always older brother, older female cousin, great aunt, etc.)

What I wasn’t used to was the 20 minutes of grace before every meal. My family here is very Christian, and my mom, myself, and Buddhist grandmother were caught in the wrath of my grand uncle and his brother (a pastor), who wanted to preach to us about why we should always have the Lord in our hearts. My grand uncle’s brother even made me sit there and repeat, “Oh Lord, Jesus!” for a few minutes. I was not pleased, but it was probably worse for my grandmother who looked like she was going to vomit.

Everyone has been so unbelievably hospitable. My grand uncle’s daughter, Faye, has helped me with everything under the sun. From booking my flights within and out of Indonesia, to finding me a hotel in Bali for the first night, to making sure I have enough minutes on my SIM card. Annie just offered her husband’s friend’s home for me to stay while in Kuta, since I only have that one night booked so far. I wasn’t expecting the difficulty of finding affordable accomodations during this time of year. Apparently, foreign tourists get their rates doubled (unless they are traveling with an Indonesian who can present a national passport). Even in Surabaya, I have yet to see a Westerner. It’s so bizarre after having been in so many cities where Westerners are as common as nationals.

I stopped taking photos in RAW format, so now I can post some pictures. These are mostly from the last few meals we ate, some of the sights we saw, and of the children in the family, as they were the highlight of everyone’s days…

…auntie Jeanie with her four grandchildren…
…Bubul madura (a do-it-yourself dessert)
…Nasi Goreng (spicy fried rice)
….Ikan pepes (fish with spices steamed in banana leaves)…


….the garden at Annie’s house, so beautiful…
… inside the Masjid Cheng Hoo…

…yellow (turmeric) rice with ikan laut (spicy fish)…
….hahaha, Annie with her sons Cliff and Cruz, too cute…..


…my auntie Jeanie’s brother’s home in Batu…



….going to the local market…


…Salak (a national obsession)

….large avocados….
…peas on steroids…
…Durian….



…it’s always a genius idea to place a baby in a suitcase…

…a beautiful hotel in Batu with two seemingly misplaced statues of Aliens, odd….

…my grand uncle’s villa in Batu…

…Cliff bar being a kid….








…all hail the illegal fireworks…


…the women attacking bags of Mangosteen (our new favorite fruit)…


…the kids staying up past their bedtime (I remember when I had that much energy)…
…my grand aunt killin’ it in table tennis…

…Aunt Faye…
…my mom, the pool shark….
…watching the fireworks from the front of the villa…

…little Cliff bar singing Christmas carols in Mandarin…

…cutie pie who held my hand all day and kept trying to take the cap off my D40…



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Written by winniewongsf

January 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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