Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New Normal: Re/tired superhero

Fallen heroes:
On Jeans Street (where vendors sell clothing), shops sport massive superhero figures that tower above the doorways.

This one tumbled from his height during a renovation. Ouch. Not so super.

New normal: Mind the gap

Wobble across or wade?

There's a moment in the walk when you decide whether to get your feet wet or use the bamboo bridge across the stream.

We waded. The bridge was neither stable nor level.

New Normal: Where did the sidewalk go?

Don't fall in!


You're walking along like always when you notice 2 gaps in the sidewalk. The pavement has been undermined and washed away during rainy season.

No one seems surprised, offended, or worried. Everyone avoids the holes without a second glance.

You peek in: the bottom of the drainage canal is 3' below. Impatiens have already seeded the gutters and are starting to bloom.

Yeah, good idea. Go around.

New Normal: Jumble sale

You want what? This baking shop is typical of the filing (oops, piling) system in specialty shops. Heaps, stacks, and piles are the norm in Indonesia.

You can ask the clerk for what you want if you've rifled through without finding it. S/he will dig through the inventory - and voila! here it is! Amazing.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

New normal: Where's the door?


There may be valet parking, but where on earth is the entry?

Got 8' between your building and next door? Why not put in another section? Your clients will have no trouble going around the piles of muck and building supplies to find the front door.

Note any safety harnesses or guardrails for the builders working on the upper floors. No? (Well, neither did we.)

New normal: Up and down we go

Not exactly disability friendly ...


This chain of department stores serves commercial and residential clients with furniture and housewares. The middle of this branch is interrupted by stairs and a landing. Why?

We're not sure. All we know is that you step lively - up and down - to get through the opening between walls. No wheelchairs allowed.

New normal: What's in that can?

Good luck in Indonesia if you've been used to tossing in "a can of this and that"...


Here is the sum total of a canned-goods aisle in a major supermarket. We might have 10-25 options.

Indonesians buy their food "fresh" at local markets. Fish and chickens are heaped unrefrigerated in the 80o+ heat - with or without ice in the bin - besides stacked vegetables and spices. Drip. drip.

(To keep our tummies happy, we buy meat from refrigerated cases in a supermarket.)

But everything about cooking changes. An example? 10-minute chili (USA) involves rummaging through the kitchen cabinet. Toss together a can of corn, 1-2 cans of beans, tomato sauce, a few spices, fried onion, and browned ground beef. Simmer until ready to eat.

I agonize. Should we make familiar foods, even if we find the ingredients? Each can costs $2-4, in a country where a worker earns $5-10/day. I splurge once in a while ... when we are overcome by cravings for what we remember.