B-A-N-A-N-A-Yah!

Did you know that what you believe about bananas says something about your culture?

Yup, it’s true.

For me, I grew up believing that there were two types of bananas: Dole and Chiquita.  Oh and manybe those weird little ones.  So, three types of bananas.

And then, I moved to Indonesia.

It turns out that Indonesia is the world’s 6th largest banana-producing country.  If you go to the pasar (market) to buy bananas, they will ask you what type you want.  (“Um, the yellow ones with the little blue sticker?”)  Apprently there are almost 1,000 varities of bananas in the world and more than 20 varieties are grown in Indonesia.  I personally like the Ambon variety.

Most Americans (myself included) believe that the top of the banana  is the part of the banana that connects to the stem.  This is probably because of how they are displayed in the grocery store.

However, most of the rest of the world will tell you that the opposite end of the banana is actually the top because…

if you’ve ever seen bananas growing, you would know that the top of the bananas is the part that is, well, on the top!

So, the next time you go to the grocery store, tell the guy in produce that he is displaying the bananas upside-down!

Nah Bee Ray

WE HAVE A BASE ASSIGNMENT!!!

Sometime in the coming months we will be moving to Nabire (Nah Bee Ray)!  We are so excited about this assignment!

This picture was taken by our friends, Brian and Heather Marx who are also assigned to Nabire!!  The circled part is the MAF base, right next to the runway, and right next to the ocean!

Yay!

(Nathan says I over use exclamation points, but I think they are totally justified in this post!)

6 Things

1.  According to my little digital weather station, it is 95% humidity outside right now.  But it’s only 79 degrees!

2.  My french press is slowly dying.  It got a crack in the glass and now it leaks but I’m trying to make it hang on until my new one gets here from America! (which could be several months)

3.  I have a boil.  There, I said it, it’s on the blog.  I feel like it should be some kind of right-of-passage.  Because it’s truly painful.  And I really doubt I would have it if I wasn’t living in the tropics.  I also have new sympathy for every person in the Bible who ever had a boil.  Ouch.

4.  This morning when I went out to start the laundry (my machine is outside), the towel I keep on the top of the machine (because the mice poop on it) was wet.  It’s that humid.

5.  I’m going to attempt to drive to Abe this morning because my friend April lives there, plus one of the grocery stores has Snapple and another grocery store has mayonnaise!  Yahoo!  Anyway, the road between here and Abe is a scary, scary road.  Mostly because of the people driving on it.  They’re crazy!

6.  Nathan is out flying today after two days of cancelled flights due to weather.  Isn’t he so cute in his pilot uniform?

Nachos

This is not the first time I’ve written about nachos.  And knowing my hubby, it won’t be the last!

Last week we recieved SIX (ENAM, SEIS, SECHS, SEKS, HAT) cans of nacho cheese in the mail from my dear mother-in-law.  Glorious-terrible-for-you-but-oh-so-tasty nacho cheese!

Yes, I know that there are only three cans in this picture.  We (<ahem> Nathan) may have already gone through three cans.  And somehow he still doesn’t gain weight!  How is this fair??

Thank you Rico for making this glorious-terrible-for-you-but-oh-so-tasty nacho cheese!  And thank you Walmart for selling it!  (Let’s take a moment to consider how great Walmart is…nacho cheese, DVDs and greeting cards all in the same store???  Come on, that’s awesome!)

So we grabbed a bag of Happytos, mostly because I didn’t want to take the time to make tortillas to make tortilla chips.

But don’t be deceived, Happytos don’t taste quite like the tortilla chips you know and love in America. 

But when you have 6 cans of glorious-terrible-for-you-but-oh-so-tasty nacho cheese, the chips are basically serving as a platform to get the cheese into your mouth, so it doesn’t really matter if they are good or not.

Cleaning Ze Fruit

The tropics are beautiful.

True story.

But my body doesn’t seem to want to stay healthy here. 

Sigh.

Anyway, getting better again!

Because of the sanitary conditions of food here, we have to clean everything that is not prepackaged or that will not be cooked, i.e. fruits and vegetables.

So, I when I bring any fruits of vegetables home from the store or the market, I set them in a tub of water with a few drops of GSE.

Grapefruit Seed extract is not available here, so I had to buy it in good ol’ America.  But the advantage of GSE is that it is a natural anti-microbial liquid and so it won’t hurt you if you ingest it.  The disadvantage is that it’s not available here.

Other options for fruit cleaning are bleach and PK.  Bleach, obviously, is effective in killing all of those little bugs and groodies that you don’t want to eat.  But, also obviously, you don’t want to ingest a whole lot of bleach.  PK is another sort of chemical.  I’m not really sure what is is exactly, but it turns your sink and hands purple and is also not very good to ingest.  The good part of both of these products is that they are plentiful in Indonesia!  So, a lot of people use them for cleaning veggies and do just fine.

Favorite Things

I love my French Press!

It’s the perfect size for me.  It makes exactly 1 cup of coffee!

Step One: Heat water on stove.

Step Two:  Put coffee grounds in the bottom of the French Press.  Plus a pinch of salt. 

(Trust me on that!  The salt helps to make the coffee less bitter!)

Step Three:  Wait for kettle to whistle.

Step Four: Add hot water to French Press.  Let steep for 3 minutes.

Step Five: Press!

Yum!

Flying Solo

 Today was Nathan’s first solo flight in Indonesia!!

Twelve years of training led up to this moment!   He was so excited!  And I am so proud!

MAF tradition is to soak the pilot with water when he lands after his first solo.  Since everyone here seems to love the chance to throw buckets of water on people, there was quite a little crowd waiting for him on the ground!

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story…

The crowd.

Getting the water ready!

Nathan quickly shut the door so that the cockpit wouldn’t get wet!

I love the expressions on the guys’ faces on the left of the picture!

The Deal with Uang

The Indonesian word for money is “uang” and Indonesian money is called Rupiah. 

When you come to Indonesian to visit us (because it’s beautiful here and we’d love to see you), call it “Rupes” and they’ll think you’re an insider! 

Today the exchange rate is Rp. 8,785 to $1.  When we first came to Indonesia it was about Rp. 12,000 to $1.  I’m so glad that we bought our motorcycle then!!

The largest bill I’ve ever seen is Rp. 100,000.  So, that is equivalent of $8.78.  Which is pretty hilarious when you’re buying anything remotely expensive because you hand them a pile of cash (everything is paid for with cash here.  We rarely use a credit card.)  So, when we bought our fridge, we handed over a 3-inch pile of 100,000 bills! 

We are literally millionaires in Indonesia!  (Because one million rupiah is about $87.85)

The smallest coin in Indonesia is, apparently Rp. 25, which I have never ever seen, ever!  In fact, I had actually typed that the smallest coin was Rp. 100, because that is the smallest I’ve ever seen but then I found this picture and I’m dumbfounded!  Who knew?? 

Well, the Rp. 50 and Rp. 25 coins are extremely rare.  A Rp. 50 coin would be worth only slightly more than half a penny, so it’s not even really worth it, right? 

So, back to my original statement, the smallest coin (that I’ve ever seen) is Rp. 100 which is worth slightly more than a penny.

The problem comes when you buy something and your total comes to, for example, Rp. 104,285.  So, I hand over Rp. 105,000, but because the smallest coin is Rp. 100, I will only get Rp. 700 in change and I lose Rp. 15. 

And that, folks, is the most math I have done all month!

Really, losing Rp. 15 isn’t very much money at all, but over time it adds up, right??  Maybe those Rp. 50 and Rp. 25 coins are worth it after all!

Anyway, that is the deal with uang!