Thursday, November 17, 2016

A New Country: A New Culture

Local market

Indonesia is primarily a Muslim country where some of the women wear the head scarves and many do not. They follow a more relaxed form of Islam, only praying three times a day instead of five. We try to dress discretely while trying to stay cool. We are less than 500 miles south of the equator so it is hot! My golfing pals know how I dislike the heat!

The people of Lombok are not as strict in their religion as in other areas, but we do hear the call to prayer at all hours of the day and night. Fortunately, we are anchored off a small island (known as a “Gili”) so it comes wafting over the water which is easier to take than being on land near the loud speakers. Due to religious holidays, we heard a lot of messages over the loud speakers that reach throughout the villages.
There are many mosques throughout the main island of Lombok, just like all of the various churches in America. We visited the unique Hindu temple “Lingsar” that was built in 1714 and rebuilt in 1878 and is still pretty much intact.

What is unique about it is that four religions worship there: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhists and Catholics (which probably means Christians in general). What a fine example of Peace on Earth!

Amazing ancient carvings are everywhere.
At the site of the Holy Water fountains.

There are four flowing pipes of Holy Water: one for each of the four religions all flowing from the same source. The practice is to cup your hands and take a small drink and wipe your face with the rest of the water at each of the four. This shows unity. It was also refreshing and since it was raining, no one cared that they were getting wet.

We gals having fun in the rain!
Locals praying at the mosque
The guides all tell us that Lombok means “chili pepper.” They do not eat pork as they do on many islands including their nearby neighbor Bali. Chicken, fish, rice and vegetables are the main fare here.

The food has been very tasty and not as hot as I feared, since I am a “mild minus” kind of gal! I love the peanut sauce and a sweet soy sauce, but anything red is too hot for me! When at the market, I bought a few of the local brands of sauces that I may not find back home.

We are at the ATM to get local currency so we can buy
our SIM and data cards as we are eager for Internet time
Speaking of heat, it is hot here! The grass is even too hot for bare feet. The teak deck is a scorcher! And we have to take our shoes off before entering any structure so we end up on hot cement or stones. OUCH!

For the first stop on our World ARC group tour, we were taken to a traditional daily market about 2 km from where we landed on the mainland. Some villages have daily or weekly markets.

Our Palomino horse cart. A blonde for a blonde!
Like all markets, it is good to get there early for a good selection. There were some interesting things as usual. The Lombok people don’t mind having their picture taken; in fact, they like it and will pose. I always try to get the more natural shot, but did oblige a few of them. However, I thought the markets in the South Pacific islands were much cleaner and had more variety.

Want lunch? Here is a street vendor's cart.
On our WARC tour, we visited the capital city of Mataram and the old mosque. Since we had a huge downpour during the afternoon, the bus stopped at a pearl store and the big mall. It gave us places to go without getting wet. Let’s just say that the pearl store had a good day!

I am the lucky owner of a large gold pearl. Gold pearls are only found in this area. Happy Birthday to me! Or Happy Anniversary to us?

Sweet curious little faces everywhere.

The children are delightful - and curious about blonde hair.
The WARC family table for lunch!
We had lunch of a typical Sasak food “Ayam Taliwang” at the iconic Taliwang Raja Restaurant, which was very good. The restaurant was open -air and had a beautiful Japanese type garden at the entrance. Lunch was wonderful and the presentation quite simple by beautiful. The WARC does a nice job of finding cultural experiences for us.

It was a wonderful meal of things we had never had before.

Our new Indonesian daughter! What's one more?

We were taken to the big (and I think, only Mall to shop, check out the supermarket and buy phone cards. The young woman who helped us called us "American Mama and Papa" and wanted her picture taken with us. I guess we were a novelty to her!

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