After an overnight flight and six hours in the Kuala Lumpar airport with no sleep, I was happy to arrive to my hotel in Yogyakarta. Later to have learned that the taxi service charged me about five times the going rate, paying more than my uber ride to Sydney airport. After a delicious lunch of traditional style Indonesian street food, only costing me 20,000 rupiah ($2 AUD), nothing sounded better than a nice nap as I waited for the other students to arrive. I was asleep nearly thirty minutes before waking up to a evident voice, projecting through the streets. I went to my balcony to see what was going on, but only saw the roofs and motor bikes from across the street. The reciting voice continued, and I stood for a moment before realizing it must be the city praying. In Indonesian, they call it ‘ada adzan’ which means, there is calling for prayer. Talk about experiencing culture shock all within one day. It’s still alarming to be woken up at 4am and 7am to the prayers, but pleasurable to be able to experience the real Indonesian lifestyle.
The weather, is a universal topic and something that is always discussed when traveling to new places. In Jogja, as you may know, the weather is very tropical. But, you don’t feel the shock until you spend some time in the humid, sticky, wet streets. In the three days I’ve been here, I have experienced constant heat, with spurts of drizzle or even down pour, accompanied by the occasional thunder and lightning storms. Although we experience warm weather and rainfall in Australia, the humidity is ten times worse. In Australia, it might be the norm to throw on a singlet and some shorts, but modesty is key in this country.
Indonesia is roughly 90% or more Muslim, so it is very uncommon for them to see people exposing their shoulders and legs, especially for women. Since we are partnering with the Islamic University and spending time with students from the uni, dressing standards are encouraged as a sign of respect. Dressing appropriately and to the standards, also means less attention drawn to yourself. As a white female, who is obviously a foreigner, I don’t want to be worried about offending the culture or religion. I know I’m not the only student here who is suffocating in long pants and semi-formal tops, wishing I could be lounging around in my beach dress and thongs.
Lauren Howe 🙂