Saturday, August 28, 2010
Ramadan 8 – 132 lbs and cat poo coffee
132 pounds - that’s what 160 kilos is – that’s what I weigh! I haven’t weighed this little since I was 16 years old. My whole adult life I’ve gained and lost and gained some more.
I just finished a meal of warm white rice, cold French fries, warm beef & vegetable soup, a cold fried egg, an extra piece of cold beef, tomato, lettuce and cabbage. Then I came upstairs and porked out on as many dates and peanuts and a few peanut M&M’s and cookies and a few pieces of candy and a liter of water. I left the shrimp with tails on and heads with eyes and lots of legs and antennas for the 3:00am meal.
I am seriously trying to keep my weight up. Another week and a half of Ramadan. I am totally enjoying this crazy aspect of my life.
It makes me wonder, who am I really? For absolutely sure I’m not the stories that I tell about myself. That woman really does only exist in the past. This current Colleen, the one who is sitting here at her little laptop, with her glasses on, looking at the screen, listening to the TV downstairs, and the crickets outside and the Islam loudspeaker prayers being broadcast into the night sky, she’s someone I’m just getting to know and just when I think I know her she totally surprises me with something that makes me giggle.
Today I took the train to Malang. I was told at my local train station that I had to go to the Malang train station to buy tickets for the train that will take Andy and me to the end of this island, so we can go to Bali in Sept. But after the 2 hour train ride, when I asked the ticket agent in Malang, she very carefully explained that only economy trains go to Banyuwangi, and you can not buy tickets in advance for economy trains. So I bought a ticket to return home, waited for a southbound train and then another 2 hour train ride back to my town.
Trains are an adventure. It only costs 35 cents to go to Malang but it’s very easy to spend a lot more than that giving a little change to every musician, blind beggar and child train floor sweeper who gets on and asks you for a contribution. There are also salesmen who drop newspapers, books, combs, baseball hats, packets of needles, magazines and a whole variety of other stuff into your lap. You look at the item for 5 minutes or so and then the salesperson returns from his journey to the end of your train car and you either buy it or give it back to him. I told the people I was sitting with that this would never happen in America, that people would steal the stuff. And they told me that the sales people remember exactly which laps they dropped what into and that you would have to pay if you couldn’t return the item.
The picture at the top of this blog is me with a stuffed luwak. According to my book: “It’s a nocturnal animal that resembles a civet cat. It has a special taste for the ripe fruits of the coffee bushes and knows how to pick the sweetest coffee berries. The animal digests these and then excretes the hard beans. For centuries villagers have collected coffee beans from luwak dung, processed, roasted and consumed them. Luwak coffee is rare and known to be delicious. It costs $600 per pound.”
At the time the picture was taken, the man who had two of these stuffed animals was trying to sell them. He was having a lot of fun scaring me with the luwak and announcing to the whole train that there was a “bule” (foreign white person) on the train. He thought this was a lot more unusual than a wild cat who shits coffee beans.
And some students came to my house today to chat and ask for pen pals in the states so they can practice English. They are 12th graders, so I’m not allowed to teach them at school. They are dedicated, brilliant students and so shy! Anyone who is interested, please email me. (Don’t leave a comment in this blog; I really need to know who you are personally.) Tell me your address and I will connect you with a student.