The Asian Way- an interesting travel diary written by two foreigners (Becca & Pascal) of their experience travelling in Asia

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Asian Way by Becca & Pascal
We've been in Asia for almost 1 month now and we're less than a week away to flying back home. Life for us here has been such a contrast to the rest of our travels and a big contrast to life in the UK and NL. Here are some of the many interesting things we have experienced here...
  • Countryside is like a jungle and we expected to see lots of monkeys. We weren't so lucky!Instead we see palm trees, banana trees and rice paddies
  • Bali - the most friendliest people we have met, burnt grass smells from all the rice fields, incense burning, burning rubbish in the drains. Alot of smokey and smiley faces everywhere!
  • Java - very thick air, lots of people smoking clove cigarettes, dirty and busy city but happy people, especially the children
  • Sabah - more Westernised than its neighboring Indonesia, moody and aloof people, cars and no scooters, posh hotels
  • Sarawak - lushious green jungle, clean, very very beautiful. Pure nature at its best - caves, animals, rare species of plants, flowers and animals
  • We can't work out the Eastern toilet etiquette - we will save this topic for a mealtime!
  • Lots of Dutchwords used by Indonesians
  • Salary for a bus driver is 800.00 Rupiah per month for 16 hours per day/ 16 GBP per day
  • Price for 1kg of rice has risen from 400.00 Rupiah to 7,500.00 Rupiah in only a few years
  • Muslim religion is mostly practiced in a very relaxed way. They drink, smoke, dress like Westerners. They have their own categories of Muslim practices too. There are fanatics, but very few.
  • Bank holidays for all major religious days for all religions
  • Scooters/small motorbikes rule! And despite everyone driving in their own world,not alot of accidents happen
  • Rubbish collection does not seem to exist. They burn it in the open drains instead or on the side of the road
  • Everyone seems to have something to sell or is an amateur taksi driver
  • There are 2 prices: 1 for Inonesians, 1 for foreigners (this is sometimes openly displayed)
  • Loads of fresh fruit drinks
  • Petrol stations are little stalls selling litre bottles on the side of the road (at first we thought they were drinks or cooking oil!)
  • Work, work and work for most of the day and 7 days a week, although when at work they don't appear to be very productive. Eg, at the train station in Probolingo nobody worried about where the only ticket sales girl went missing for a few hours whislt she was with us!
  • Everyone at work sits around smoking clove cigarettes, chatting totheir friends who come to visit them at work, or watching the tv!
  • Up-to-date and full working order and new don't happen here - even in 5 star hotels things need TLC. The menus look like 5 million people have read and almost fall apart in your hand! But nobody is bothered - as long as it works, why change it?
  • The villages and cities all look a bit 'slap-dash'.
  • Hygiene standards are alot lower than Europe
  • Big devotion to families, apart from the fact they're never at home, as they're 'working'
    Children have very young mothers. The typical number of children per family in Java is 2 whilst in Bali they have 4
  • Bali (Hindu) is much more colourful than Java (Muslim)
  • Wash clothes and themselves in the river
  • Travel times are unpredictable and everyone has their own idea about how long journeys take
  • It's more of a 24 hour society than UK/NL. Shops close late (if at all). Streets are always busy.
  • People have lots and lots of aptience
  • Huge gap between rich and poor. 5 star means 5 star here, but if you stay in budgetplaces - beware!
  • Everyone's teeth are brilliantly white!
  • They love loud music!
  • Rice is eaten with everything - breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner
  • They look after their cars inside and outside - unlike their homes and their streets
  • It's hard to find a clock to find the time!
  • Babies don't wear nappies - yukky yuk yuk!
Info taken from