This store, called Toko (which means store) Metro Jaya, is often referred too as "Walmart", mainly because it has a little of everything...
|Look at that handsome guy with the helmet on!|
From trash cans to underwear, kids toys to upholstery fabric, this place has about anything you can think of...and many things you probably wouldn't think of. As you can see it's stacked floor to ceiling with stuff, and the more I dig, the more I find. Although it's hard to just look around as there is perpetually a worker standing at my elbow asking me what I want or just watching me...that gets me all flustered and then I start to sweat-well I start to sweat more than usual, which is a lot especially when I am ensconced within the tall stacks of wares without a breath of air...except for the sales person breathing down my neck that is! On this particular trip we were buying foam to make our couch cushions a little cushier and to create some cushions for the back of our couch. Somehow we managed to carry all this foam on the motorcycle from the store to our house-it was a little crazy!
Another place we often go is Toko Hawaii-the closest place to a Home Depot here in Tarakan. I have no idea what the store has to do with Hawaii, but it does have some very nice hardware store-type items. There are other hardware stores in town, but this one seems to have the best selection.
Note the pastel tile and fancy (some would say gaudy...I would be a part of that some) light fixtures. The home furnishing here are by and large very formal, and usually involve some sort of faux gold...nothing wrong with them exactly, just not quite my style!
Many stores here, these two included, don't have doors on them, they are open to the street. When they close for the evening, which usually happens around 5:00pm, the owners pull shut and lock metal garage-type doors or accordion-type doors. You will notice the multi-colored urinals-they love to make sinks, toilets, tubs and urinals colored-it is often hard to find white ones. They especially enjoy pastel pink, yellow and blue, although in one of our colleague's houses they have a bright frog-green bathtub in their kid's bathroom. I think it is pretty fun! Toko Hawaii also has this bad boy parked outside, I assume to make deliveries of small items. One of these would make grocery shopping so much easier!
Nothing like a motorcycle/pick-up truck to fulfill all of your hauling needs!
There is also a grocery store across town that people call Sam's Club because it is big and they sell larger quantities of items and just more items in general. I have only been there once, and I didn't think to take any pictures-maybe another time.
I have been busy working on learning language, and I feel like I am understanding more. I can understand a lot of single words, but constructing sentences is very challenging. I am enjoying working with my language tutor. She is a college student studying to teach English and she is good teacher-very friendly and pretty patient with me. It is fun when she has a question about English because I feel like I can help her learn just like she is helping me. We often discuss the differences between the cultures we grew up in-I try to tell her stories and details about America in broken Indonesian, because if I try to speak English too much she says "Speak Indonesian, you must try!" (she says that in Indonesian though). It is interesting to get her perspective on life and share mine. As much as there are difficulties to living here in Tarakan, there are experiences that are so rich that I couldn't have any other way. I am truly thankful to be here.
Chris has been getting back up to speed with his flying. If all goes according to plan he should be flying solo next week, which he is pretty excited about. He was also able to use his avionics skills (if you want more info on what avionics are, click this link) to build an antenna for one of the villages that has not been able to communicate well with the MAF hanger in Tarakan for some time. He and another pilot flew into the village last Thursday to install the antenna and I guess it works great-the people in the village were very excited about being able to communicate more easily.
Oh, the conclusion of the the Stove Saga...they refused to return the stove. Chris tried and tried to convince them to at least give us store credit, but they would not do it-they just kept saying "we don't do that in Indonesia". Good to know. Wish we would have known that BEFORE we bought the stove! Oh well, live and learn. They at least gave us a new stove that hopefully works. We kept it in the box for fear of touching it, because if it didn't work again we would surely be blamed for breaking it because we attempted to use it! We contacted another MAF family that is due to arrive in Tarakan in January and they were happy to buy the stove from us, so everything worked out. At least I hope it is worked out...we will see when they try to actually use the stove. The parts to fix our oven should be coming late this week or next week-I am praying sooner than later because it would be great to have a stove for Thanksgiving. The whole MAF team gets together for a big Thanksgiving dinner, and I mean big, like with all adults and kids it is 40+ people! It should be fun and crazy and hopefully tasty! I am looking for it to help chase away the blues of not being with family. I so wish I would have recorded the Macy's and America's Thanksgiving Day Parades and brought them with me to watch while I am cooking on Thanksgiving-it just won't seem like Turkey Day without Al Roker in earmuffs describing the same balloons and floats that I have watched every year since I can remember. Also, I'm sure I will be missing an unforgettable performance by Justin Bieber or some such tween sensation...ah well. The good thing is I can almost be sure when I return to America that the parades will be nearly exactly as I remember them-that is such a comforting thought!
Not too much else to report, except that I have been having pretty rough headaches and a general sense of ickiness (vaguely dizzy, tired, upset tummy) for the last week. I'm not sure what is causing it, although there is a bug going around, so I may have a mild form of that. Headaches, especially in the heat, are no fun, so prayers for heath would be appreciated. We actually just got back from a dinner for my birthday, which turned out to be both humorous and memorable...along with some other things that have happened today. More about the celebration of my 31st coming soon-maybe tomorrow. I am headed to bed early to try and sleep off this headache. Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon.