I have been absolutely shocked by how stubbornly habitualized I have been to walk on the right side of the sidewalk. Driving on the other side of the road is one thing – there are signs and clear rules and such. However, when I get into that awkward game of chicken with the person approaching me, I find I never veer in the correct direction!
Despite the fact that I am on a new side of the world, under the equator, on a new continent, residing in a new country, the strangest atmosphere for me has been… my apartment! It’s quiet. That, my friends, is what makes it weird – this may not seem so out of-the-ordinary to most, but I grew up with four little brothers and sisters and an impressively social pair of parents. Enough said.
Indonesia not only has American fast food beat on caloric intake, but also on honest picture menus. No more of this fake-food-looking-awesome photos that tempt the hungry customer in the States – these are straight up (awful looking) real pictures. They have, in fact, made me appreciate the fake food photographed throughout the homeland. Why have a picture menu when it will push people away!?
It’s funny how the grass is always greener on the other side – at home, women (and men) strive toward tanned bods, going to all kinds of cancer-inducing measures to accomplish this feat. Here, the vampire look is the cool thing to do. Spas actually offer skin bleaching treatments!
The inexplicable bond between all white people in this area never ceases to make me wonder at the implications behind it. It’s like an unspoken rule that every foreigner has unknowingly grown up with: if you see another person your shade at the mall, eye contact and a regarding nod are in order. You may have never seen each other, but for that moment, you are to pretend knowledge of one another. It makes me feel like I’m part of the mafia.
These are just a few of the things that I’ve been turning over in my brain recently, and I’m sure that a “Musings #2” post will eventually be in order. Honestly, though, most of these are reflections on my own life assumptions, and less about what this country is like. Who am I to say that my natural perceptions are the correct way of looking at things? I am realizing just how strong my subconscious is!
Have you had any strange realizations like the above while traveling?