Here Thar Be Monsters!

From the other side of the argument to the other side of the planet, read in over 149 countries and 17 languages. We bring you news and opinion with an IndoTex® flavor. Be sure to check out Radio Far Side. Send thoughts and comments to luap.jkt at gmail, and tell all your friends. Sampai jumpa, y'all.


Blog-lodyte ®

Who could've imagined this blogging thing could be so fun!

Sometime this weekend, we here at LFS will mark the passing of several milestones all at one time. We will see our 5,000th visitor, our 100th post and we will have made $15. Not bad for 10 months worth of work.

We're not even being facetious.

It is pretty fun. We get to vent our spleen on all kinds of topics, as well as tell some of our better travel tales (we promise to finish Road to Marrakesh soon). We also get to comment on just how weird and wonderful life is here on the Far Side.

We are also approaching our third anniversary since arriving here. Back then, everything blew us away! It was all so strange and foreign and just left of normal. Now we have become inculcated into the lifestyle. We wear sandals all the time and take our shoes off at the front door out of habit. We eat with our hands and belch and fart at the table, because that is what one is upposed to do. "Better out than in," as Shrek would say. We have become conversant in five new languages, as well. Not a single one is usable outside Indonesia, but it makes for fun small talk with tourists.

When we came here, we weighed 280 lbs., and had a long, quickly whitening beard (which was begun at puberty and never fully shaved until arriving here). We are now down to 200 lbs. and our face is naked. We call it the Balikpapan diet: eat only Top Ramen and walk 12 kilometers every day for six months. It works!

We now touch our hand to our chest reflexively after shaking hands with someone, as is the custom. We call everyone 'pak' or 'bu,' if they are older than us (which is getting rarer every year), or 'mas' and 'mbak,' if younger. And everyone calls us 'om,' or 'bule kampung,' depending on the crowd.

Iyr closet is now full of batik shirts and short pants (blessedly not Burmuda shorts) and we don't remember the last time we had a hamburger, which we plan to remedy soon with a little home grillin' on the new smoker. In fact, we don't eat much American food at all these days. We do occasional whip up a batch of burritos or our world-famous spaghetti sauce, which draws folks from all over town who want to try the exotic foreign foods. We have now officially celebrated Thanksgiving here and, if the hunt is successful, will enjoy our first Christmas ham in years in two weeks. Won't be inviting the Muslim friends for that feast, we suppose.

Making physical contact with cars and other motorcycles is no longer terrifying, as it happens about five times a day (no exaggeration there). For six months of the year, we carry a change of clothese and rain gear everywhere. We have gotten used to the precisely 12-hour day, and no appreciable change in seasons (just higher or lower humidity). We have learned how to use the 'force field' when crossing streets and know the fair price of all transportation options here.

We love durien and mangosteen and star fruit, and have even developed a taste for chocolate-avocado smoothies. We have eaten things that are illegal in half the world, and unidentifiable in most of that world. We have enjoyed bugs, snakes, dogs, bats, and sea creatures that the WWF has declared extinct. We have even gotten used to having only toilet paper on the table, instead of napkins.

We have gotten used to monkeys in the trees and the idea of wild tigers and rhinos running around. We have seen orangutans in their natural state and Kimoto dragons crossing the road. We have been stung by hornets the size of hummingbirds and stepped on millipedes almost as long as our foot.

We have learned that Indonesian TV is just as inane as American, but we enjoy balancing our news intake between Anglo-American propaganda and Sino-Arabic. We have found some Indo bands and even a few movies that are really good (like "Laskar Pelangi"), but that no one will ever know outside Indonesia. We even stay up on Indonesian politics so we can start a good bar fight when things are too quiet.

And through it all, we have endeavored to report it all, good, bad and indifferent, to you, dear reader. Sometimes it comes out rather incoherently, because there's just so much to say it's hard to compress it all. We have tried to use our unique position to put a little perspective on things 'back home.' We have even managed to squeeze out a little humor in between the rants, though we will concede that is a matter of taste.

We also enjoy the amazingly thoughtful and insightful email we get from readers. That is the most gratifying part of this project (though getting rich and retiring wouldn't get kicked out of bed either). We have made some great contacts, not only in other countries, but right here in Indoland, as well. We hope that our readers will be moved to come back regularly, and pass on the link to others of equally warped mentalities.

Oh, and we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the eBay experience will be launched soon selling handcrafts from this side of the planet, all hand-made and all direct from the creator/manufacturer to your hot little hands, with only us and FedEx stinding in the middle, of course. So keep an eye out for that one.

In the meantime, thanks for stopping by the Far Side, and we hope to see you around the net.

And to our ex-girlfriend from a loooooong time ago, whose last name was Blog, do you wish you had copyrighted your name now?

We're just wondering...

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