Ice cream fondue and Semawis market (Semarang, Indonesia)

I’m feeling a bit better this morning. I actually slept last night and we don’t get picked up by my cousins until midday. That leaves plenty of time for sleeping. I have a few dry sweet cookies that Paul bought me last night with a hot unsweetened tea for breakfast in our room. We watch the IAAF Athletics World Championships on the television and relax. I feel a little more human today. 

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We’ve arranged to take my cousins and their kids to Hagen Daz for ice cream fondue. This is the only place I know where you can buy this wonderful treat made with real melted chocolate, not a mere chocolate flavoured sauce. I’ve been looking forward to this all week and am so grateful to be starting to feel better. We talk and laugh and eat ice cream. The children are especially excited by the experience, even though they are still wary of this strange blue-eyes white man they are told to call “Oom” (uncle). ( Note: Credit for the beautiful photos to my partner Paul)

We stay at the Paragon Mall together all afternoon because we have lunch there. I can just get down about three or four mouthfuls of nasi goreng (Javanese style fried rice). But at least my relationship with the bathroom isn’t as strong anymore. 

It’s after 4pm when my cousins drop us at a massage place near our hotel for reflexology. We have been missing this part of our trip in Semarang with me being sick. The shop only has one therapist so we take turns having a one hour treatment each. If you are in Semarang I cannot recommend SyncQ’s Massage in China Town strongly enough. The guy is fantastic and trains his staff so they will be good too. It’s the first time anyone treating my feet has noticed and worked around my heel spur or tight painful Achilles’ tendon. And I had to stifle a laugh when he mentioned that my feet have the same structure as a woman’s feet. Hahaha. I guess he knew what he was talking about but not why. 

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Feet massaged we walk back to our hotel. It’s now after 7pm and the Semawis Market is in full swing. We take in the sights and smells but I am not yet ready to risk local food. I am feeling about 85% of my usual self and want to be 100% tomorrow for our last day in town. So, instead we drop off our gear at the hotel and take teo becak (trishaws) to McDonalds (don’t judge … It’s  only food). The good news is that I am feeling hungry for the first time in days so have no difficulty eating my double cheese burger then stopping at Baskin Robbins for dessert (I didn’t eat much of the ice cream at Hagen Daz). 

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We end the night on a high note when we find a bookshop. Despite my being so ill, we have decided to return regularly to Indonesia. We both love it here, it is so close to home and we have enjoyed spending time with family. We have already made an arrangement with one of my cousins that we will all three train so that next year we can hike up Gn. Muria, Gn. Ungaran and Mt. Telemoyo. I might also try to organise a hike of Gn. Merbubu during the same trip. But to really enjoy these plans we need to speak some Bahasa. So we buy some children’s books, a phrase book, a dictionary and a teenage fiction book. The last one is just a personal challenge for myself. It will help me measure my progress as more of the words in the book become familiar. My vocabulary has probably tripled already since last year to cover more words and three separate base sentences:

  • A is from X (e.g. “Saya dari Australie” or “Saya sepupu dari Semarang“). 
  • B likes Y (e.g. “Saya suka coklat” or “Kau suka pisang?”)
  • C wants Z (e.g. “Saya mau tiket keretaapi” or “Nina mau minumum dingen?”)

I also know the greetings for morning, afternoon, evening and night time; how to say and respond to “How are you?”; how to ask price; my numbers up to 99 (learned the hard way after making a mistake on a bargained price by a factor of ten … Haha); mother, father, cousin, child, grandmother; many foods including hot, cold, sweet, unsweetened, salty and sour; and of course the important yes, no, thank you and delicious. It’s not enough for a conversation but just writing this I realise I have learned a lot in just two trips here. Imagine how much Paul and I can learn in a year by speaking some Bahasa together at home.

I feel good for the first time in a week. Last night I just wanted to go home. Tonight I am happy (saya senang). 

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