How to know if you stayed in Indonesia too long

Sometimes we feel that we stuck (at least I had such feeling ;)) – maybe in the same job position, in the same surrounding. All the time going to same places, eating same food, doing same things and etc. And we don’t realize when it becomes routine.

When we are traveling and stay in one place longer, we see how we start to adapt to surrounding, do things which locals do (even if in our country it wasn’t common) and somehow it’s starts to look like routine as well ;).

So what are the signs showing that you are staying in Indonesia too long?

And maybe it’s time to consider moving somewhere else or at least changing something?

  • You are driving motorbike like Indonesian: don’t show anymore turns; start to drive when traffic-light still red; not wearing helmet (at least for the short distance); on your motorbike take big amount of stuff (or big ones) or at least on motorbike already sit with 3 people; driving with slippers and dressed fully (even if outside so hot); when you are passenger, you don’t hold your hands in the back.
  • When you meet a person in a street or in front of his home – you don’t get out of motorbike, you just shout to that person what you want to say (usually even without turning off the engine).
  • You are crossing a busy street using your right arm to “stop” the traffic and go through.
  • You don’t searching ”clean” or “aesthetic” places to eat but eat in small street “warungs” where sanitary condition not the best.
  • Start to eat almost the same food – “nasi”, “sayur”, “ayam”, “tahu”,“tempe”, “nasi goreng”, “gado gado” and “soto”. As well can’t imagine food without “sambal”.
  • You wash your hands after finishing the meal instead of before.
  • You have your own rice cooker.
  • You sleep soundly through the first call of prayer at 4:30 am.
  • Indonesians no more asks pictures with you (they recognize by your behavior, attitude that you are staying already in Indonesia longer).
  • You start do things in Indonesian style (wearing sarong, eating with hands…)
  • When you meet foreigners you start to speak with them in bahasa Indonesia, at least use some Indonesian words in English sentences or in your native language sentences.
  • You start to use expression “yah” (“yes”) almost in every sentence (“Makasih, yah?” – “Thank you, yah”?).
  • You start to use question “apa” (“what”?) more often.
  • Start to be late to the meetings at least 30 min.-1 hour.
  • Even if it’s looks that you are doing something, most of the time you do nothing.
  • Start to be a bit lazy to travel, find new places for activities, eating.
  • You start to smoke or if you are smoker, start to smoke more.
  • When you have possibility – you move to a cheaper living place even if there condition a bit worse than in previous place.
  • In Indonesia nothing surprise you anymore.
  • Start to ask yourself maybe it’s time to go home (or at least somewhere else).

After almost 2 years of staying in Indonesia, I already have almost half of these signs. So it seems I need to “work” on it harder and stay here longer.



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And here is Tomas (from Belgium) thoughts how to know if you live in Indonesia for too long:

  • at dinner, you automatically grab for a spoon first, then for a fork and you don’t even think about a knife.
  • upon hearing the words “sakitnya tuh di sini” (“feels hurt in here”), you pump your first against your chest.
  • you think car taxis are for pussies and you prefer an “ojek” (motorbike taxi) or at the very least a “becak” (bicycle taxi).
  • you feel deeply unnerved when you haven’t had rice for a day.
  • you hardly notice the “Hellooooo mister!”, “Bule! Bule!” or “Mau ke mana?” (“Where to go?”) anymore.
  • a stop at “Indomaret” is an integral part of your evening routine.
  • you think it’s outrageous to pay more than a euro for a haircut.
  • you sometimes involuntarily shout “Allah Ou Akbar” (“Allah the great”) or “LURUS! LURUS!” (“straight, straight”) in your sleep.
  • you feel more natural in a squatting position than on a toilet seat (but you still use toilet paper, because there are limits to your adaptability).
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to eat noodles for breakfast.
  • you wonder how the rest of the world survives without “Beng Beng”. Or “Es jeruk”. Or “Tempeh”, “Pop Mie”, “Roti bakar”. Or…
  • you can scoop up “sambal” with a spoon as if it were ice cream.
  • it upsets you if the gasoline price rises.
  • you don’t count sheep when you can’t sleep, you count geckos.
  • you’ve stopped using the letters ‘v’ and ‘f’ altogether and have replaced them with a ‘p’. You wonder how you’ll ever order a “kopi” in Europe again without being ridiculed.
  • you can only vaguely recall the taste of cheese and you don’t even remember that there is such a thing as wine.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to put cheese on top of milk shakes, pancakes and fruit salads.
  • you know that the last two points are not contradictory.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to drink from a plastic bag.
  • you can easily distinguish between the different rings and tic-tocs from the passing street sellers and know perfectly well which ones sell “bakso”, “siomay”, ice cream or bread.
  • upon seeing a white face, you have to refrain yourself from shouting “BULE!!” out loud.
When you living in Indonesia too long
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  • Which signs show you that you stay in Indonesia already too long?
  • Do you think you could stay in Indonesia longer than only couple of months?
  • If you lived abroad for a while, which signs there can show that you already staying in that country too long?

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First time in Indonesia

I think Indonesia is a country of adventures and opportunities. Just you need to open eyes and heart, have a will to see, taste, discover, try new things, get out from your comfort zone and be curious.

I found out that during my stay in Indonesia some of the things I did or some of them happened first time in my life. No matter what, but all of them gave me new colors in my daily life. So, here is my list of things “first time in life – in Indonesia”:

First of all – Indonesia is the first Asian country which I visited in my life

And being in Indonesia gives me more opportunities to travel in Asia. Other Asian countries now are much closer than if I would travel from Europe.

I met eye to eye orangutans in Borneo island (Kalimantan)

Couple days in a jungle, living in a boat, meeting wild monkeys, birds, other animals and of course orangutans – was experience that I will never forget.

I took selfie (never before I did that)

It was on motorbike, when I was bringing mattress on my back to first home in Yogyakarta, Java island.

First time in Indonesia - selfie
Friend Otong helped me to take mattress to a new home

I learned how to drive automatic scooter

Driving scooter in Indonesia it means – I can drive now scooter anywhere in the world.

I tried trekking to a volcanoes

Even if mount Merapi defeated me  but at least I tried. But the second time was more successful. I went to Mt. Batur in Bali for sunrise. And even if in the trek beginning I was thinking why I do it, in the end I was happy that reached the top.

Batur sunrise trek in Bali

 

I was a “model” for the Yogyakarta sketchers community members

They wanted to practice and not every time it’s easy to find people who would like to spend their time doing nothing, just pose for a while.

First time in Indonesia - "model"

took a bathe” under the waterfall and was walking in volcano crater

It was in Dieng Plateau, Java island. Never before I saw waterfall and volcano crater in real. What to say about bathing under waterfall? It was powerful feeling.

First time in Indonesia

I tried sandboarding in “grey” sand beach Parangtritis

Never before I try snowboarding, so experience with sandborading was amazing. Just sand in the mouth when you felt down doesn’t “taste” so nice as snow. I got this opportunity while I was shooting in a video.

I celebrated New Year in October with Javanese Royal family members

New year in the middle of autumn? Something new, especially when you are invited to do that with Javanese Royal family members and have an honor to walk in a parade through the city with traditional Javanese clothes.

Javanese New Year

I eat fruits which I never tried before

Even I didn’t know that such fruits exist: “salak”(“snake fuit”), “jambu” (“guava”), “buah naga” (“dragon fruit”), soursop (“sirsak”) and many others.

First time in Indonesia - fruits

I try scuba diving first time ever

I really scare to be in deep water places so this experience was one of the biggest challenges for me but I faced my fairs in Bali.

I was a witness of Ramadhan and Lebaran celebrations

I heard before a bit about Muslim main celebrations Ramadhan, Lebaran but never knew how it looks like in real. But only staying in Indonesia I had this opportunity.

I eat cobra meat and I liked it

I tried “Burger cobra”, “Sate cobra bakar”, ”Steak cobra saus cina” and drink “Ramuan empedu cobra” (traditional medicine from cobra gall and marrow). I was celebrating 6 months living in Indonesia anniversary.

First time in Indonesia - cobra meat

I was bitten by bee

Never in my life before nowhere I was bitten. Probably it was Indonesian style of “farewell” before my trip to Vietnam.

First time in Indonesia - bitten by bees

I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak

First time in Indonesia - kopi luwak

I got a first job offer – to be a guide in Vietnam

I never been a tour guide before, but probably my organizational skills can be used in any area. I liked it, that’s why till now I accompany people during their trips in Indonesia as well.

I was walking in the black sand beach

First I saw grey sand beach in Yogyakarta, Parangtritis beach but soft black sand I enjoyed in Bali, Tulamben beach. When all my life I saw only yellow beaches, see black – something unreal.

I try rafting

I’m quite scared of all water activities but I wanted to try rafting. I did it in Bali when the rainy season started. And it wasn’t so dangerous, even more easier than I thought.

Rafting in Bali

I had unique experience

I participate in Balinese sacred purification ritual which aimed to purify a human body and soul in order to prevent havoc, bad luck and sickness (also achieve self-purification).

Hindu purification

One of my dreams come true

I always wanted to see dolphins in their natural surrounding and I did it, in Lovina, Bali.

I started to write articles and blogging

I would never believe that one day I will start to write and blogging. But it happen exactly in Indonesia.

I’m willing to add more things in a future to this “first time in life – in Indonesia” list.

First time in Indonesia
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  • Have you tried something for the first time in Indonesia?
  • Maybe you tried something for the first time in other Asian countries?
  • What you would like to try in Indonesia?

 

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Facing my fears – first scuba diving in Bali

Do you know that feeling when you scared of something so bad that everything what is related with it, makes you feel uncomfortable? You don’t have such fear? Then you are the lucky one.

Because of few accidents in my childhood I need to admit that I’m scared of being in deep water. I could say – scared to drown. I can swim but I never swim to a places where I can’t touch the ground. So almost all water activities, no matter how entertaining, fun they are – not for me. I never tried surfing, I tried snorkeling twice but both of the times were unsuccessful. About other activities in the water I even don’t want to think. Probably you can imagine what does it mean to try scuba diving for person with such fear?

Cuttlefish - first diving in Bali
Cuttlefish. Photo by Wira Wijoga

Indonesia is one of the best dive sites in the world and I’m not able to enjoy it? I feel like my fear punishing me double. But after seeing many colorful, inspiring photos from diving in Bali, hearing the stories and seeing how easily people do it for first time, even getting diving certificates – I took all my courage and decided to try it. I didn’t know how it will be, but I was stressed already couple days before going for scuba diving. But I did it – my first scuba diving in Bali. Here is how I cope with my fear and what I discovered.

Preparation – know what you want before choosing where to dive

Diving in Bali - pinterest
Pin it for later! Photo by Wira Wijoga

When I was thinking about my fear I wanted to feel safe. For me, the most important things were:

  • patient, experienced, knowing how to deal with people who has deep water fear instructor. And who could speak properly in English;
  • dive alone with instructor, not in a group (usually 1 instructor dives with 4 divers). So instructor could be beside me all the time and I could feel calm that in any case I will get a help immediately;
  • I wanted to go to diving site where is not so deep but as well to see the turtles (I can’t explain why – but I really wanted to see them in their natural surrounding).

You can find many good instructors for diving in Bali, beautiful diving sites like Tulamben, Amed, Pemuteran, Padang Bai. Around Bali – Lembongan, Gili islands. Everything depends what kind of underwater world you want to see.

But after talking with experienced diver about my wishes, we decided for first time dive to choose Padang Bai. Mostly because of the recommended instructor and possibility to see turtles.

How everything went – dealing with the fear

We came in early morning. I had instructions about equipment, how to use it in underwater, how to communicate with instructor when you can’t speak and many other needed to know things about diving. Later on we went by boat to the first diving site. After it I understood that I scared not only to drown but as well breath underwater. So I got more stressed.

First diving site was near the shore. No corals, only sand and some small fishes – we went there just to see how I manage with being underwater with all equipment, how I understood and can follow instructions.

The first thing I needed to deal with is to go to the water from the boat without any equipment. It’s easier to put equipment on, when you are in the water. Even holding the boat side but knowing that in that spot is ~9 m depth already was too scary for me. Instructor was convincing me that it’s safe but only after 3rd time, I resolve to do what instructor was asking. This is how big is my fear to drown.

Flying gurnet - diving in Bali
Flying gurnet. Photo by Wira Wijoga

After testing the mask and equipment we dive. My breath wasn’t normal – I was so stressed that my breathing looked like I‘m doing some heavy physical exercises. After being underwater ~30 min. and going to ~3 m depth I show the signs that I want to go up. We had some rest in the boat and I decided that I need to go back, like if I won’t do it now, I won’t do it again later.

Second time we went straight to deeper place – ~9 m. There I saw already octopus, many different size, colors fishes and etc. My wonder of the things that I saw became bigger but I still was scared and intense.

Later on, we had ~1-hour rest in the boat but probably stress, moving water, changing the pressure in the water made me sick a bit. But in the second dive site we should see more colorful fishes, corals and probably turtles. I came to see turtles – so I wanted to dive again even if felt not so good already.

Scuba diving in Bali
My body language shows how scared I was. Photo by Wira Wijoga

And here you go! Still panicky breathing but feel a bit more comfortable moving in underwater we went a bit more than ~9 m. depth. There I saw 1st turtle, then 2nd one and the 3rd one! My instructor told me later that I first time smiled when I saw a turtle. Yes, in this diving site was already similar view that I saw in all those underwater pictures before. I saw even that cute small one fish (clown-fish) from cartoon “Finding Nemo”. I still didn’t feel free, I was trying to understand how to move properly and not to hit corals or go up, down too quickly. But with instructors help everything went well.

Green turtle - diving in Padang Bai
One of seen green turtles. Photo by Wira Wijoga

But most probably because of the same stress, excitement and etc. I felt not good and showed the signs that I need go up. We reached the boat and here came after-effect of half of the day intense, stress – I felt so dizzy and weak, I felt that my blood pressure went down as well. I just wanted to reach the shore as soon as possible.

After talking with experienced divers, they explained me that it’s normal condition after 1st time scuba diving, especially with my fear. That I just need to have good rest and I will feel better later. And it was like that – after half of the day rest – sleep, proper food, next day I felt like nothing happened. Even couldn’t believe that I did scuba diving in Bali.

Here are some useful articles if you want to try scuba diving but have the fear for it:

My discoveries after first time scuba diving

  • To put on the diving costume takes much more time and effort that I thought. I even got some scrape on my fingers when was I putting it on.
  • Ocean water is so salty that after I got it to the nose and mouth (by accident) I thought it will destroy everything inside.
  • Being underwater I was so thirsty, inside mouth was so dry I even couldn’t swallow saliva.
  • I expected that just after first scuba diving I will see those beautiful colors of underwater world but being intense I was mostly concentrated to do everything correct and not to drown, so haven‘t seen everything that was around.
  • I didn’t expect that I will feel dizzy, weak and willing to vomit – it’s as well normal thing for first time divers (not for all of them but it happens).
  • Try snorkeling was harder for me than scuba diving in Bali. After second dive I didn’t feel that I can drown.
Moray eel - diving site
Moray eel. Photo by Wira Wijoga

Tips for first time scuba diving

Please note that these tips are based on my own experience and advice of professional instructors but before first time scuba diving talk about it with your instructor.

  • Day before diving is recommended not to drink any alcoholic drinks and have good rest – quality sleep. I would say, even better stay overnight before diving day near scuba diving place.
  • All preparation, diving, rest after it and etc. will take more than half of the day. Don’t plan too many activities after diving, most probably you will feel tired.
  • One of the best time for diving is in early morning when the water is still clear. But every day the condition in ocean is changing so before diving talk with instructor if it’s good time to do it.
  • Ask questions – everything that is in your mind. Once my ex-boss told me “there are no stupid questions only stupid answers”.
  • Not all diving center provide snacks during rest time, so take with you some water and snacks. Can be that you will feel hungry and thirsty.
  • Take some remedies for bathing to wash salty water from your body and towel.
  • You won’t be able to make photos underwater on your first time dive but you can ask instructors to make some pictures of you while you will be diving.
  • Things your scuba diving instructor will never tell you
Lion fish - scuba diving in Bali
Lion fish. Photo by Wira Wijoga

Where I did my first scuba diving in Bali

First of all, you should try scuba diving in Bali. Why? Here are 10 reasons for diving in Bali.

Scuba diving in Bali I did in one of the diving centers near Padang Bai fast boats harbor. It’s a small diving center (you even won’t find them in internet) but I choose it because of recommendations from experienced diver. I’m very thankful for my instructor Wayan for patient, positive energy, help, dealing with my fear and all understanding my first time scuba diving.

If you will decide to have diving or snorkeling trip in Padang Bai, here are the places where you can stay.

 

Scuba diving in Bali - pinterest
Pin it for later. Photos by Wira Wijoga

 

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you tried scuba diving in Bali? Where and how was it?
  • If you didn’t try scuba diving, would you like to do it?
  • Do you have any other favorite water activities that would recommend to try?

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How to spend 5 days in Bali
How to extend Indonesian tourist visa in Bali
Uluwatu beach in Bali – where magic happen

 

Photos made by Wira Wijoga in Padang Bai diving sites where I made my first diving.