On monkeys and fishing boats (Semarang)

My cousin offers to take me out for the day. I am not entirely sure where we will go but know that with Depi it will be fun and there will be good food.
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Speaking of food, that’s what we start with. It’s around lunch time when we depart and my cousin decides it’s time to introduce me to some more interesting Indonesian delicacies. Today it is rujak cingur (cow’s nose). The meat is served in a soup but my cousin orders an extra plate so to ensure we have enough. It’s quite delicious despite the fact that it actually looks like pieces of a cow’s nose.
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Stomachs filled it is time for us to head over to the monkey forest. It’s crowded here on the banks of the new dam with it’s view out over some volcanic mountains in the distance. Everyone seems to have decided to spend their Sunday here looking at and feeding the monkeys. These gentle little animals don’t seem to mind being disturbed by all the human viewers because they are getting plenty of food. I don’t know whether a bag of crisps or a packet of biscuits is so good for a monkey’s digestion but I am learning that this constant concern with doing things right is a luxury of the West; one I simply cannot buy into.
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I am taken by how human the monkeys seem. Their faces show expression and their eyes look intelligent. I can see how we are related to these funny little creatures of the trees. And it’s obvious from this similarity why we are all drawn here. The monkeys are cute to watch and people of all ages are enthralled.
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After leaving the monkeys we drive to Semarang’s port because I am keen to see the fishing boats and port life. I am fascinated by the lives of sailors and fishermen. They seem so adventurous and manly. I certainly wouldn’t fit in but it’s fantastic to see.
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The next generation of water men swim between the boats. They beg me to take their photos and pose happily. A couple of boys stand up to jump in when they see their friends being photographed. They want to join in and show off for “mister mister” who has walked through their part of the world. I am starting to see that personal space and privacy are luxuries many people here simply don’t have so it is not important to them. When you live on a relatively small 1,000km x 210km (620mile x 130 mile) island with 143 million other people, you don’t have a chance to experience privacy or personal space. And I guess a man with blue eyes and a balding head is a novelty in this land of balck-brown eyes and full heads of black hair.
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We pass big seafaring junks. Their shapes are ungainly with big wide bulging cargo holds and overhanging sterns.
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Small canoes and outriggers lie between the bigger boats. They seem so vulnerable so when my cousin tells me he used to paddle them out to see with his friends I am in awe.
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Colourful traditional fishing boats bob in the water. Many are tied together in big bundles of brightly painted wood. It’s easy to see why one of them has the name Mother’s Prayer. Epecially when I see some broken vessels lying on the docks with timber planks missing or salvaged for other purposes.


2 thoughts on “On monkeys and fishing boats (Semarang)

  1. Does cow’s nose taste like cow tongue at all? I used to enjoy cow tongue as a child. Have fun spending time with your family, Andrew. I hope you are over the “man flu”. đŸ™‚

    • I’ve never eaten cow’s tongue so cannot speak to the similarities.

      Yes, man flu is now under control. Spent yesterday riding the motorbike like a hoon and today am working and catching up on my blog to bring it up to date while I feel like it. Tomorrow I start another motorbike tour – this time through Central Java for a few days.

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