Friday, March 17, 2006

Dictionaries

Apparently a load of slightly-imperfect dictionaries "fell off a truck" somewhere in Jakarta last night, because everywhere we go people are trying to sell them to us. They're actually really good dictionaries, Indonesian-English and English-Indonesian, the same ones I used to check out from the library in Bloomington. They don't just tell you "nasi" is "rice," they tell you how to say "nasi sudah jadi bubur," "the rice has already turned to porridge," which is how you say "no use crying over spilled milk." It's the kind of dictionary you can just open and read. There's a page missing and a couple of pages out of order in the U's, but I figure by the time I get to the U's I'll speak Indonesian already. Right?

These guys are standing on every street corner selling them, part of the ocean of commerce you wade through every time you walk around our neighborhood. Guys fixing motorbikes, people selling sate off little charcoal grills, other people selling phone cards or bottled iced tea or balls of colored string. The sidewalks are mostly made of uneven brick with pieces missing, and motorbikes are apt to pop unannounced out of little side alleys, so you have to keep your wits about you as you pick your way along.

Tomorrow we're trading in our slightly upscale $30 hotel for a $14 place in the backpacker area, Jalan Jaksa. The new hotel actually seems nice; it's a little homier than the Arcadia. We hope to stay a couple of weeks while we look for permanent housing. Tonight we have our first "date" with a potential friend, a guy I met on the Indonesian Expat message board online. And today we got a cellphone. So, life is taking shape. Someday soon we're going to stop spending money like water, and settle down and get some work done; either that or we're going to have to sell our computers to buy a ticket back to the States.

2 comments:

Stan J. said...

We'll get you both some work and some cash next week!

-- Stan J.

Stan J said...

And the more I read this, I think of Monty Python's Hungarian Phrasebook sketch. If you're not familiar with it, you can find it here:

http://bau2.uibk.ac.at/sg/python/Scripts/TheHungarianPhrasebookSketch