Boxing Day in Sidoarjo, Central Java 

It is 2:30pm and I’m itching to return to my favourite spot on the front verandah which is hot and steamy at this time of the day. Instead I hibernate in my bedroom which has the double luxury of a fan and an air-con. I am really enjoying my stay here with Cilla, her younger sister and parents. Her Mum in particular has been extremely hospitable, and I feel one of the family rather than a guest. Typical Indonesian hospitality. This morning, Ibu took me with her to the end of the street to buy nasi pecel for breakfast. In an empty (of cars) carpark, several vendors had set up stalls. Several were selling foods like nasi bungkus (rice with various choices of accompaniments) while others were selling processed foods or fresh.  produce including eggs, vegetables and fresh meat. Just thinking about the nasi bungkus is making my stomach growl!! This morning I chose nasi pecel which is a mound of rice covered in a mixture of snake beans, beans shoots and kang kung (water spinach) and delicious peanut sauce before a sprinkling of rempeyek which are delicious wafer thin crackers made from flour, peanuts and water.  

 Tomorrow I have already decided that I will order nasi kuning (yellow rice) with pergedel jagung (corn fritters), pergedel kentang (potato fritters) and whatever appeals to me. Other options include fried fish and chicken pieces & boiled eggs. 

After writing that, I am feeling hungry again so am listening out for a passing kaki lima (food seller). They are traditionally called kaki lima (5 feet) because the stall they are pushing (before motorbike adaptions) has 3 feet which together with the 2 feet of the owner added up to the sum of 5!! Nowadays most kaki lim are either attached to a bike or motorbike. Much easier to get around, yet for me, they pass too quickly. I hear them coming up the street but by the time I head outside to see what they are selling, they’ve passed by. Each seller type has a distinctive sound. In Bali I remember the bakso (meatball soup) sellers walked along gently tapping a spoon on a china bowl. This sound carries very effectively giving customers plenty of time to grab some money and walk out to the street in time before they pass by. A seller making the sound tok, tok, tok passed just now and Cilla said he was a bakso seller!! Not at all the sound of a spoon on a bowl, more like a spoon banging on an empty bamboo cylinder. 

Here is another  video of a passing food seller that I took this morning:

Mid morning I also ventured out with Cilla to buy pulsa (phone/data credit). I rode pillion with Cilla as we zig zagged through the narrow alleys of this housing estate until we suddenly stopped in front of a tiny stall, inside which was a glass fronted cabinet displaying a variety of credit providers. As usual I chose XL and paid IR 35,000 for unlimited data over 3 months! That’s approximately AD$3.50!! A bargain compared to the AD$40 I currently pay for 8GB. 


It is almost 4:30pm and the breeze overrides the heat from the few beams of sun still reaching the verandah. I feel slightly voyeuristic sitting here on the verandah watching unsuspecting neighbours passing or pottering outside on the street.  I’ve just noticed someone else also sitting quietly watching life pass by from behind his fence and garden. Can you spot him?

Other than the sound of the breeze in the trees, I can also hear someone sweeping up leaves, a motor bike negotiating the road driving slowly over the polisi tidur (speed humps/ literally sleeping policeman) , a child calling out to Mum and music playing a few streets away. It is so peaceful. After the heat of the day, it is the sound of both the living and the non living emerging.  I’m very tempted to join them and go for a walk!


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