Do You Realize - that everyone you know someday will die
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes - let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round…
> The Flaming Lips
Life is short and there is no point in pissing it away so I thought I’d make a list of things you should do in Indonesia before you die. It would of course be a lot easier to compile a list of things you wanted to do, but that would be cheating. All the things on this list I’ve compiled from experience. Ok, so here’s the first part of the list:
40. Watch a football match. Forget the premiershits and take in some “real” football instead. The league games in Indonesia are unpredictable, farcical and often extremely violent – the soldiers aren’t there just to enjoy the game – so leave your personal possessions at home. The national stadium at Senayan is hugely impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Lazio play there many years back - even though the crowd in the upper stands did take to throwing piss-filled aqua cups onto the unfortunate spectators below. As for the MU debacle, well that was a huge disappointment of course – I would have loved to see them get turned over by an Indonesian XI!
39. Eat an entire durian yourself. Definitely an acquired taste, the English writer Anthony Burgess wrote that dining on this fearsome looking fruit was “a lot like eating vanilla custard in a latrine”. Nuff said methinks.
38. Visit the Badui. Just a few hours drive from the bright lights and polluted skies of Jakarta are an ancient tribe who, incredible as it may seem, eschew the modern world entirely (no handphones, IPods, electricity, machinery or even vehicles!). Houses have no water and bathing is done in the nearby stream. All good fun – well at least for a couple of days!
37. Smoke a 234 Dji Sam Soe non filter cigarette. With nicotine and tar levels well off the radar screen, these cigarettes are a two-fingered salute to the politically correct health fascism of the West.
36. Visit the Golden Mosque. Drive through the wastelands of suburban South Jakarta and eventually you will see the most incredible sight: a gold domed mosque! In Indonesia it’s known as Masjid Kubah Mas, or otherwise as Masjid Dian Al-Mahri, and it’s built on a plot of 80 hectares surrounded by fruit trees and a few other large and luxurious buildings. Amazingly, all the domes, pillars, chandeliers and other ornaments are covered by pure 24 carrat gold. Food for thought, considering all the poverty outside!
35. Feed a Komodo a chicken. These humongous-sized lizards evoke the dinosaur age and despite their large size (average length of 2 to 3 metres), they are bloody fast and can pounce on their prey in an instant. Only found on a few small islands in Indonesia; pay Rp20,000 for a chicken and feed it to a komodo in their natural habitat. And if you can’t be arsed to make the arduous trip to Komodo Island, simply visit Ragunan zoo in Jakarta, where the friendly zookeepers will let you feed these awesome beasts.
34. Attend a ngaben cremation ceremony in Bali. A joyous celebration of life over death, even the most hardened atheist cannot fail to be moved by this emotionally charged ceremony. At the beginning of the ceremony the body of the deceased is placed in a sarcophagus made in the form of a bull (Lembu) or in a wooden temple structure called a Bade. This is then carried - on a crisscross of bamboo poles - to the cremation site. Here prayers are said and other rituals performed. The sarcophagus is then burnt. Later the ashes are taken to the sea and the whole cycle is complete. In 2008 I was fortunate to attend one of the largest ngaben ceremonies ever held in Bali: a great experience.
33. Swim from one island to another. Not as difficult as it sounds as there are somewhere in the region of 18,000 islands in Indonesia and a fair number of them are within swimming distance of each other (like the idyllic Gili islands off the west Lombok mainland for example). Wear fins to make it easier and - for obvious reasons - do NOT try to make the crossing unless you are being shadowed by some sort of boat or you could easily end up having a very grisly death.
32. Wear a durian flavored condom. Fruit flavor condoms are a hit the world over, although the durian flavor (made by Simplex) might be just a bit too much of a mouthful for some!
31. Plummet down the speed slide at waterbom. The speed slides at the waterbom parks in Jakarta and Bali are bloody fast and the feeling of shooting down the steep drop at what feels like 250,000 miles per hour will either have you coming back for more or heading off to the nearest bog to puke your guts out.
30-21 to follow soon.