I met Ferdi for dinner together with my “ex” Alvin one night before I stayed with Ferdi. We talked about the society in Indonesia. Ferdi knows a lot about political issues. He told me that in Indonesia they have a big problem with drug trafficking. Therefore, they introduced the death penalty for drug smuggle in 2004. Since then already 22 people were executed by firing squad due to drug trafficking. Ferdi believes that after the new president was elected, even harder rules are applied concerning drug trafficking.

Me on the stairs in Taman Festival
Me on the stairs in Taman Festival

In order to be part of the election for a new president in Indonesia, women and men are allowed to vote but just with a valid Indonesian ID. An Indonesian passport would not count. That is the reason why a couple of Indonesian citizens would not vote a new president as they literally would not be able to do so. Because to get a valid ID it would cost them too much money and they prefer not to have one and not to vote than to pay that price.

While I was in Indonesia big court fight was going on about a girl who was poisoned in January, her friend got a 20 years’ prison penalty without any proof – just by her appearance in court (the trial went on for 10 months). The judge said that she was faking while crying and never apologized for poisoning her friend (even though she says that she is not guilty). That kind of case law seems to be very different to what I am used to in Germany. So, in case you travel to Indonesia just don’t get involved with the Indonesian court, please.

Ferdi eating Nasi Padang food, typically with his hands
Ferdi eating Nasi Padang food, typically with his hands

Ferdi himself is from Padang, a region in Indonesia where the majority is Muslim. Ferdi is a Muslim too living on a Hindu island. So, he has to apply to some Hindu rules. For example, there is a silent day in Bali once a year for New Year where nobody is allowed to talk, nobody is on the street and the electricity is off. People have to stay in the house without talking, drinking or eating. It is the day to reflect the past year and to adapt to the “new you” with the goals you want to achieve in the following year. Balinese people also make a kind of puppet and, at the end of the day, they burn it. It represents their past which lays in ashes and from there they can live a “new me”. In less than a month we will have a New Year’s Eve. Anybody up for a silent day yourself?!

Even though Ferdi accepts the Balinese culture, he lives as a Muslim in Bali. I already realized during the first night that Ferdi went to bed very late. He told me that he went to sleep at 5:30 am. He prayed before he went to sleep at 5 am. As he is Muslim he should pray five times a day: at 5 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm and 8 pm. Therefore, during our day we stopped at a Mosque for Ferdi to pray at midday.  Ferdi also told me that Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the whole world. Around 80 % are Muslim. So, a question to you to think about: Have you ever been scared of an Indonesian person when you heard that he or she is Indonesian? I haven’t… and you? So, I really hope that the people and especially the media stops to blame the Muslim religion for any kind of violence in this world. It is not the religion anybody should be afraid of… the religion itself is not the reason for terror. Another day I talked to Balinese who are Hindu. They told me one of the reasons why they would like to separate from Indonesia is that as an Indonesian citizen it is so difficult to apply for a visa because of the Muslim background of Indonesia. So unfair that based on the believes of a person and the country they are born in, the visa policies are so different. I know that I am very lucky to be born in Germany… thanks mom and dad, thank you God.

My “ex” Alvin, Ferdi and I went to a Couchsurfing gathering which takes place every Friday in Kuta and I met a lot of interesting people there. Chen, one of them, told me that in Penang, Malaysia, thre is an old street (about 200 years old) where there are all different religions: a church, a temple, a synagogue and a mosque. If they already could live peacefully next to each other so many years ago, why does it become more difficult these days?

Ferdi showed me Padang food which you have to eat with your hands with the famous Rendang (sooo enak) and Singkong. There exists even a famous Nasi Padang song by Kvitland.

“I still remember when I tasted you
I wouldn’t believe that it could be true
It was the first time in my life
And if you were human,
I would make you my wife Nasi Padang”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McEdn-gf9gs

Who did start eating with anything else than their hands one day? Who decided that it would be uncivilized? It is so enjoyable and seems so much tastier! I would love to eat just with my hands since that day!

One evening at Ferdi’s place there was a loud voice outside and I thought the mosque was calling for praying (as it sounded similar to me). But actually, Ferdi told me, that it was a person who offers his service on shoe repairs. Hahaha… well, I never heard it before and I also didn’t understand the language though. Ferdi and I had a big laughter about my mistake. ^^

Ferdi brought me to see “Taman Festival” near Sanur which is an old amusement park (“park” in Indonesian = “taman”) which is not in use anymore. The nature re-conquests all the places. It is a very beautiful, quiet and a bit spooky place.

The most beautiful thing about this place is the sound of the incoming waves of the near ocean and your imagination how, some years ago, kids were running around, laughing and enjoying life! Some days later I met an Indonesian woman and she told me that she was in Taman Festival as a little girl and still remembers all the fun she had there with her friends and family. So impressive to see the present but at the same time to feel the beauty and happiness of the past in the present!

Afterwards we drove to Tirta Empul (Balinese for “Holy Spring”) Temple near Ubud which is a holy water temple. That special place planted so much peace in my heart. The beauty of the stones, the impressive water basins and the running ceremony of praying Hindus. A very special moment to be part of.  

Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul Temple

When you enter the holy water, you have to cover your body in a Sarong – make sure it is tight so that you won’t lose it! First, you water your head, afterwards you pray and make a wish and then you water your head again and drink the water three times. It is supposed to bring luck and turn your wish into reality. You guys can ask me later if it worked out! ^^

For all ladies out there, just so that you know in advance: when you have your period, you are not allowed to visit a temple or bath in the holy water. You are considered as “dirty” during that time.

Me praying in the holy water of Tirta Empul Temple
Me praying in the holy water of Tirta Empul Temple

In the evening, we relaxed at Brawa beach in Canggu watching the sunset with a cold bottle of beer in our hands. Perfect finish of a great day!

Sending lovely greetings out into the world,

Julie


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Juliane Boll

Juliane Boll was born in Berlin, Germany and never missed an opportunity to travel around the world, get in touch with foreign people and to learn new languages to communicate easier with locals. With her 27 years she visited already 27 countries and lived in 5 of them for longer (Germany, Canada, Belgium, Spain and Brazil). She is a medical doctor but decided to go see the world instead of working in a hospital right now. She will write about her experiences travelling alone.