Papa ik ben Azië-moe

Inmiddels 83 dagen geleden zijn we vertrokken uit Nederland. Dat is bijna 3 maanden. Zo lang ben ik nog nooit weg geweest en volgens mij Kevin ook niet. We streven een ideaal na. Iets wat veel mensen graag hadden willen doen of zouden willen gaan doen maar vaak het geld of lef er niet voor hebben. Een droom om niet meer vast te zitten in het leven zoals het hoort en tot een besef te komen waar het echt om gaat. Hoe staat het er nu voor?

Gisteren stuurde ik een whatsapp bericht naar mijn vader. “Papa ik ben Azië-moe”, stond er in. Die zin speelde vanochtend weer door mijn gedachten. Waarom kan ik niet gewoon lekker genieten van Azië met haar prachtige natuur en zonneschijn?

Zoals de meeste mensen wellicht weten reizen Kevin en ik low budget. Dat wil zeggen we proberen ons aan een budget te houden van ongeveer 25 euro per dag. Daar doen we alles van: vervoer, eten, drinken, een slaapplaats en het kopen van tandpasta en shampoo.

De eerste reden is dat we zo lang mogelijk willen genieten van het reizen. De meeste reizigers kijken erg op tegen de dag dat je moet zeggen: ‘Mijn geld is op, ik moet terug.’

De tweede reden is vooral van mij. Ik voel me zo ontzettend gelukkig dat ik deze kans heb gekregen dat ik me erg verantwoordelijk voel om het geld goed te gebruiken. Mijn eerste doel is om een boek te schrijven over de verhalen die we meemaken en daarmee een boodschap voor de wereld achter te laten. En mijn tweede doel is om een goed doel te vinden waar ik mijn ‘rest budget’ aan kan doneren. Het geld dat ik over houd – omdat ik heb gewerkt of ergens gratis kon slapen of eten – geef ik weg. Aan wat of wie? Dat weet ik nog niet. Ideeën zijn van harte welkom.

Om binnen het budget te blijven kopen we ons eten zo goedkoop mogelijk. Daarvoor moeten we soms verder lopen om buiten de toeristische gebieden te komen maar dat vinden we geen probleem. Het probleem is alleen dat we overal, maar vooral in Indonesië, merken dat de mensen ons een ‘witte prijs’ geven. Als een lokale prijs normaal gesproken 10.000 roepie is dan vragen ze aan blanke mensen vaak het dubbele.

Meestal gaat daaraan vooraf dat ze vragen waar je vandaan komt en hoe lang je hier bent. Dan kunnen ze een goede inschatting maken hoeveel geld ze aan je kunnen vragen. Inmiddels proberen we hier creatief mee om te gaan. We stellen de vraag terug en hebben veel verschillende reacties geprobeerd. We komen van de planeet aarde, we komen uit onze moeder, we wonen nu hier, we komen van Mars, we komen uit Utopia (deze hebben we van de Chief Happiness Officer van Ticket To The Moon). En dan hebben we ook een paar creatieve antwoorden op de vraag van de tientallen taxi chauffeurs of straatverkopers die van alle kanten op ons af komen: ‘Waar ga je naartoe?’.  We gaan naar de wc, naar de hel (ga je mee?), naar de maan, naar de haaien. Of stellen ook deze vraag meestal terug. Waar ga jij naartoe?

Zodra we weten wat een normale prijs is en iemand vraagt meer, dan lopen we direct door naar de volgende. Tot we iemand tegen komen die ons een eerlijke prijs geeft. Zo was er gisteren een man die ons een heerlijke nasi goreng maakte voor een eerlijke prijs 12.000 roepie. Toen hij aan het koken was kwam zijn vrouw er aan en vonden we de prijs van een flesje ice-tea ineens toch wat duurder worden, ze vroeg er 5000 roepie voor. Uiteindelijk mochten we met de vrouw afrekenen, die ineens 15.000 rekende voor de nasi goreng die haar man voor 12.000 roepie aan ons had verkocht. En zo gaat het elke dag, overal. Zodra je denkt een eerlijk persoon te hebben gevonden en je blij bent met iemand die zijn prijs niet baseert op je huidskleur, komt er al snel weer iemand voorbij die geld ruikt en je meer wil laten betalen.

Vandaag heeft Kevin gezocht naar een eerlijke prijs om een boot ticket te kopen naar de Gili eilanden. Bij de rederijen zelf vroegen ze 1.500.000 per persoon enkele reis. En uiteindelijk na 5 uur te hebben rondgereden met de scooter hebben we voor 2 personen een retour ticket gekocht voor 1.000.400 roepie. Vermoeiend om zo ontzettend veel moeite te moeten steken in het vinden van iemand die je een ‘eerlijke’ prijs wil geven.

Bij het inchecken eergisteren ging het ook behoorlijk mis. We hadden iets geboekt via booking.com en zagen bij aankomst dat de foto’s totaal niet overeen kwamen met de werkelijkheid. De bedden waren vies, het zag eruit als een bouwval, ze hadden lekkage en de wc’s waren zo vies dat je nog liever een luier om zou doen. We hebben ons geld pas terug gekregen nadat de politie erbij gekomen was omdat ik gedreigd had de balie medewerker zijn telefoon door de wc te spoelen.

Het laatste probleem dat we hebben is dat in de niet toeristische gebieden iedereen met ons op de foto wil. Ze zien witte mensen als speciaal en willen een foto maken die ze op Instagram kunnen delen. Op de vraag waarom ze een foto willen maken krijg ik nooit een goed argument dus krijgen ze ook geen foto. Het enige wat ik blijf zeggen is dat witte mensen niet anders zijn. We zijn hetzelfde, één grote familie. Ik ben niet speciaal. Het gevoel hun idee te ondersteunen dat witte mensen speciaal zijn gaat mij te ver en ik wordt er treurig van dat witte mensen in Azië zo ontzettend positief én negatief gediscrimineerd worden. Op dit moment zitten we binnen terwijl het een prachtige dag is. We willen rust. Even niet de confrontatie aangaan en we genieten nu van heerlijk Balinees eten dat onze Airbnb-gastvrouw ons net gebracht heeft.

Papa ik ben Azië-moe. Iedereen hier wil me te veel laten betalen, overal vallen ze me lastig omdat ze me iets willen verkopen en ze vinden me speciaal omdat ik wit ben.

Hopelijk wordt mijn visumaanvraag voor Nieuw-Zeeland snel goedgekeurd.

Singapore

Elegant, clean, organized, western, hyper modern, futuristic, comfortable, expensive (beer), Asian Las Vegas, light shows, live music, salsa dancing, electric steps, runners, perfect parks and botanic gardens, old fort Canning and winning 200 dollar to spend in a mall!

A couple of days before her 52nd birthday we arrived in Singapore. The most futuristic city in the world. The combination of clean, modern designed buildings and gardens and the electric steps or boards that people like to use for transportation makes you feel like you are living in the future. Especially when you compare it to the other Asian countries.

We walked a big part of the city and used the metro, which was also very safe, clean and affordable. The first place we visited was Fort Canning Park. An old historical fort in a beautiful park. Singapore provides a lot of signs in the park to explain you everything about the fort and all the trees and plants which you can find next to the path.

After this we walked through the Istana park to the Orchard road. The most important shopping street of Singapore. Here we found so many shopping malls that we almost started to buy things that we didn’t needed. In the Lucky mall we visited our new friend Eric. He works at one for the Taka Juwelerys and after he cleaned Janneke’s bracelet he took us out for a really good coffee and a delicious lunch.

When we walked back on the Orchard road towards the big wheel, Singapore Flyer, we passed by Swissotel the Stamford and took the elevator to the 70 floor to enjoy an amazing view over the city. When we saw the prices for a drink we decided not to stay but the staff was still very kind to us and we could make some nice pictures. Probably they knew since we walked in to the restaurant that we wouldn’t stay.

There was a light show around 20:00 h. at the Marina bay. Every evening they practiced for their national birthday. This year they celebrate their 52 years of independence. It made the marina Bay, where we also stayed in the Port hostel, which vent more special.

We took the bridge to the Gardens by the bay. The famous park with the supertree grove. Everything here is so perfect and clean, it gives you the feeling that you are part of a movie about a very wealthy kingdom as you can see in the movie Going to America. And then you can add some futuristic lights and people on electric steps.

When you walk under the supertrees you feel like you are in the movie Avatar. Really amazing. I think you should just go there to experience this.

We found out that the flight tickets were cheaper on Tuesday and we could stay at Jasmine’s place, an old friend of Kevin. She works in Singapore since a couple of months and was so kind to give us her sleeping couch. We went with her and her friends to the botanic garden to have lunch and on Sunday we planned a barbecue on the rooftop of her fiends place. Unfortunately it began to rain that evening but we still had a great dinner. Thanks again!

Tips:

  • All tap water is drinkable! You don’t have to buy bottled water.
  • The metro is affordable, about 1,60 to 1,90 Singapore dollar to get everywhere.
  • Buy food and beer at the fair price supermarket, a difference of 2 dollar or 13 dollar for a beer if you drink in a bar.
  • Go to the Esplanade outdoor theater, get food from the food court nearby and take your own drinks from the supermarket. Sit at the waterside and enjoy your dinner with an amazing view.
  • Second nice affordable food court is satay by the bay. Here you can also take your food and sit somewhere in the garden in stead of sitting in the bright lights of the food court itself. If you take a blanket you can make it a picknick.

Chicken church – Bukit Rhema Gereja Ayam

 

Finally! The big Day of the chickenchurch was there. Kevin read already a few years ago an article about a mysterious church with the shape of a chicken in the middle of the jungle of Java – Indonesia. The church was started to build in 1988. With almost no money and lot’t of help of local people a man with a vision could realize his project of a church for every kind of believs. In this place, muslims, buddists, christians prayed next to each other. Until the year 2000 the building was even used as a therapie centrum for everybody who needed help. Drug addicts came here as well as people with mental problems to get new energy and hope on this mystical place. After this the church stood empty in the middle of the jungle for years.

Story that I read 2 years ago

Normally Kevin was not interested in churches and praying, but this information fascinated him so much, he couldn’t get it out of his head. Maybe it was the idea of united believing in good instead of separating in religions, maybe it was the idea that everybody who needed it could get new energy, maybe just the idea of the building in the middle of nowhere with the funny chicken shape or simply just the fact that all of this so unrealistic and seems to be so unreachable as it’s at the other side of the world. But this unique combinations were just worth it to be seen.

 

We started from our hostel in Yogyakarta on a scooter at 6 am for the 1,5 h ride on a busy street with a crazy mix of trucks, cars, scooters and even lot’s of cyclers. Most of this people on the road went to the famous temple Budurbudur and probably never heard about the real attraction in the area. The fresh morning breeze let us forget all the noise and dirty smog around us and we were just happy and excited for our highlight. After we passed by the temple there was no traffic anymore and the roads got worse. When we arrived in a small town next to the chicken church we could already feel the peaceful atmosphere. It felt like no tourist ever passed by here even if the big famous temple is just a few kilometer away.

Suddenly we stood in front of a guy who wanted us to leave the scooter on a payed parking spot in the middle of the jungle. He explained us that we have to park the scooter here for our own safety as the further road is too dangerous to drive for us. In the moment a local just passed by on the road with his scooter. To dangerous? Haha! This is totally not what we expected. We wanted to see the chicken church because it’s NOT and tourist attraction and we DON’t have to pay for every stupid thing. After a short discussion we turned around and drove away. After 500 m we took a small road in the jungle and parked the scooter next to a small house. When we stepped off, we realized that we could already see the head of the chicken church behind the jungle. We arrived!

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After a 5 minutes jungle trek we stood in front of this incredible building. It was exactly as impressive as I expected but also totally renovated. A investor bought it and wants to make an tourist attraction out of this. Therefore they even added some balconys on the tail of the chicken for a café. When we wanted to enter the inside of the church DSCF7589somebody asked for entrance tickets. What? Come on! That’s really not the meaning behind this building! We realized that we just skipped the ticket counter with our jungle trek and made up a story that we forgot the tickets in the scooter. They finally believed us and we could enter the chicken. After we passes by the entrance later and saw the tourist discrimination we were even happier not to support this thing with paying the entrance fee. Tourist should really pay double the price than locals. In Europe this would be unbelievable.

The architecture with the light flooded cross on the roof and the round windows on the sides was incredible. Especially if you make yourself clear that you stand in a building with the shape of a chicken in the jungle of Java, build by local people with natural building material. In the basement where some separated and hidden praying rooms. A further highlight was going up to the top in the head of the chicken. Everywhere in the head we could see paintings on the wall.

They must be from the time when it was still used as a therapy centrum. Finally we entered the top of the head and enjoyed the incredible few. What a feeling! My dream came true and even if the church starts to become a tourist attraction it was still a mysterious place. I also did what I never expected to do here. I went down in one of the praying rooms and just let my thought go in this positive vibe. Before we headed back we just stood in front of the chicken for a couple of minutes and stared on it. Just wow!

Back at the scooter we saw a old guy sitting in front of his house. His didn’t weared a shirt and we could see his bones trough the skin. He just sit on the ground and smoked a big self made cigarette. He almost didn’t had any teeth in his mouth and gave us a big smile when he realized us. We decided to give him some money as a parking fee for our scooter.

Honestly, after I saw the chicken church I could not imagine a better place to get some positive energy and believing in the good for every kind of problems.

Melaka – UNESCO World Heritage Site

This beginning is such a surprise….. we hitchhiked 😉 from Broga to Seremban. After finishing the terrace for Liang he dropped us off at Semenyih. This was first a little bit confusing because we were not sure which way would be more logical but finally, with some help, we found a nice spot. The police officer who took us (no we didn’t do anything wrong) said it’s very cheap and much easier to take the bus to Melaka. He insisted on helping us to get to the bus and drove us to the bus terminal in Seremban. There he also helped us to buy a cheap ticket for the local bus. The tickets were 7 MYR each. After this we said thank you and goodbye to the kind police officer. We still had 15 minutes and Kevin saw a Dunkin Donuts… I think you can guess what happened.

In Melaka we stepped out of the bus at the Dutch square :). This is a square with lots of red buldings and a famous Christ Church. The first thing we did here is making a picture with a windmill. This felt like home, just without the wooden shoes or cheese. We learned that this beautifull historical city is so special because it has been captured by the Portugese, Dutch and Brittisch. The Portugese captured Melaka in 1511 and built a fort called A Famosa. When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) had overtaken Melaka (1641-1795), they expanded the city fort and built a great amount of infrastucture. So that’s why they build this beautifull windmill at the riverside 😉

We had to find a wifi spot to tell our new friend Alanneh that we arrived. He wrote us in the morning to meet him at the Jonker Walk so we bought a Cendol – which is a traditional ice cream with red beans and green jelly – and used the wifi to contact our host. Apparently on friday, saterday and sunday it’s not possible to drive through the street where the jonker walk is, because it’s totally full with the night market so we had to walk to Casa del Rio.

Alanneh drove us to his photostudio where we would stay the rest of the week. He invited us to paint his studio and in exchange of this we had a place to sleep and food. He showed us so many different local food places and took us for the best cendol and coconut shake in town. The funny thing about this was that we never knew exactly what we would get. He mostly just ordered anything and we always liked it. We met up with his friends in the eveing for drinks and in this way could really experience the life of a Malay in Melaka. At one point he asked us if we wanted to do a photoshoot with him. He had a concept to build the story of western couples and the oriental cultural wedding. Of course we were exited to do this and had two days of modeling work. Kevin is thinking about a career change now ;).

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At wednesday we visited the cinema to see the movie Dinkirk. We both couldn’t remember the last time we went to a cinema but because we didn’t take our beamer or tv it was really nice to see something on a big screen again. In Melaka they have a promotion that you just pay 8 RM for the cinema on wednesday.

We walked at the side of the Melaka river and biked through the old part of the city with tipical old Malay houses. In the weekend we visited the Jonker Walk and at the last tuesday Alanneh and his wife took us to a local market where we got a burger for just 2,50 rm! Lots of delicious food for a very good price.