A day around Semarang (Central Java, Indonesia)

After almost not sleeping at all I try to perk up in the morning. My cousin is coming to take us to some cool places. He arrives at 11am and I am armed with lots of bottled water for the day. 

Our first stop is lunch. I have taken the anti nausea tablets so try to down some swikee (frog) and fried goose. It’s a struggle but I manage a few mouthfuls of frogs leg and fried goose. It tastes delicious but soon my stomach is angry with me again. For the rest of the afternoon I will become an expert at squatting and washing in the traditional way. Not a skill you want to have to master. 

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We go to Masjid Agung Jawah Tengah (Big Mosque of Central Java). Like the other places we visit today, I came here last year with my same cousin. But Paul hasn’t been and now it is dry season so will be totally different. The views from the tower next to the mosque are vast. Semarang sprawls into the distance as a mix is red tile roofs. I find it mesmerising, even in my weakened state. 

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I fall asleep in the car en route to our next stop: the monkey forest. The air con is soothing and I feel so week from almost not eating in two days. But the monkey forest cheers me up. It’s fun to watch the cheeky creatures at play. They steal food from shops and every person carrying a plastic bag becomes a target of their greed. The males are big and bossy compared with the tiny females. Many have babies and we laugh as a male shows us why. There is no romance involved at all; he just mounts the unsuspecting girl and has his way. 

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Our route home takes us past Sam Poo Kong temple. It’s big and red and magical. I don’t take in much until I am swamped by a crowd of school children. “Hello Mister. What is your name? Where are you from?” It’s the only three phrases anyone here knows. I answer and agree to pose with the children for a photo. I’ll never get used to this part of travel in Asia. But I am learning to smile about it. 

I cancel dinner with my family because I am just too unwell. And the idea of street food makes me want to retch. So Paul very kindly takes a taxi to McDonalds to buy me a burger. We could phone order but even people who speak good English struggle to understand us over the telephone with many frustrating misunderstandings being common. And so I resume my position on the shower floor while Paul is out. I force half a double cheese burger down my throat and fall into a horrible half sleep, waking about twenty times to continue my relationship with the toilet. I am ready at this point to get on a flight home. I don’t want to be in Indonesia anymore because I just feel so sick and weak. 

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2 thoughts on “A day around Semarang (Central Java, Indonesia)

  1. How horrible not to feel so well while traveling. That has been a big fear of mine when I think about traveling to countries that have lower sanitation standards and strange foods that our bodies are not used to processing! Hope you are feeling better!

    • Don’t be afraid of being sick. Just take better care than I sometimes do. And give your body rest days with a western food. I am particularly susceptible to illness because I push myself.

      And no ice … Haha. I think that was the rule I broke. Or watermelon … One of the two

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