Saturday, January 21, 2012

To Market, To Market

But not to buy a fat pig!  No pigs for sale at the Tarakan market, or pasar as it is called in Indonesian, but lots of these…

Live chickens getting unloaded from the back of a truck

and very soon they look like this…

 There are also many fish…

And big hunks of beef too, although I didn’t get a picture of those.  The meat section is pretty smelly, so I didn’t linger for too long!

The last day of the year Chris and I went to the pasar to pick up some broccoli and I snapped a few pictures.  It was really busy!  It seemed like everyone was out buying food for New Year celebrations. 

On our way to the pasar-motorcycles were parked and double parked everywhere, although this picture doesn't show it very well 

Another view of the outside of the pasar

Besides meat all types of vegetables are sold, things that are familiar and things I have never seen or heard of before. 

Local spices hang in little baggies and there are big bags of candlenuts, peppers, peas, and beans. 

They also sell eggs, regular chicken eggs, small quail eggs, and these eggs, which I believe are buried in the ground to ferment for a period of time.  I have never tried one, but they look pretty interesting.

The merchants often sit or lay (even take naps) on top of the tables where their goods are spread out.  They are constantly calling out to patrons, trying to get people to stop and buy from their stand.  A thick stream of men, women, and children move up and down the narrow main artery of the market stopping here and there to examine vegetables and haggle for the best price.  Stray cats slink around in search of tasty morsels left behind or dropped in the chaos…and even in broad daylight the occasional rat runs across a table or scurries under a booth.  Above all this the humid heat lingers and various scents accost the nose…livestock, raw meat, fresh produce, stinky durian fruit, cigarette smoke, and humanity.  It’s crowded and sticky and interesting, and so very…third world countryish.  I must admit that I am happy to send someone there to get our food every week and keep my trips few and far between.  I have decided that in the case of the conditions of where my food comes from that ignorance is definitely bliss.  I came to that conclusion around the time I saw a cockroach about the size of the palm of my hand happily wandering around in an open vat of potatoes.  Yeah, super disgusting.  That gives you a bit of the feeling of going to the open market here, although it's pretty hard to truly understand until you actually go there or somewhere like it.

2012 brought our first visitor from the U.S.; my cousin Lisa made the LONG trek from Minnesota to Tarakan for a 10-day visit in the first week of January.  It was fun to show her the island of Tarakan and have her experience everyday life in this part of Indonesia.  We also visited the pasar (some of the pictures are from my trip with her as well as my New Years Eve trip), the Monkey Forest, the beach, the pool, the mall, and various grocery stores.  Lisa has spent time in Ecuador and Brazil, so she was used to culture in a third world equatorial country, but this was her first time in Asia, so that was a new experience.  It was good to have her visit to remind me of all the neat things about living here.  It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday life and forget to notice the beautiful sunsets, the gorgeous flowers, the uniqueness of being able to pick mangoes and limes from our own yard, and the blessing of wearing short sleeves and flip flops in January!

Lisa and I all dolled up for dinner out 

Lisa left on Thursday of this week, so it’s back to the usual routine of cooking, laundry, cleaning, visiting, and whatever else comes up.  I am really looking forward to a month from now when my mom comes to visit-yay!  It will be so great to see her, just thinking about it gets me all misty-eyed with happiness.  

One more fun and notable thing has happened in 2012, Chris became an uncle again, and I became an aunt again when Chris's brother and his brother's fiance had a baby boy.  Sylas Xavier was born on January 5th, making our fifth nephew on Chris's side of the family.  He is a real cutie, look at those eyes!


That’s what has been going on so far this year.  Chris is in bed early with what seems to be a mild stomach bug, and I am planning to continue my quest to learn how to crochet using a book and YouTube videos.  So far I have thought I learned how to do two basic stitches only to realize that I was doing them completely wrong.  Twice.  It’s been quite the humbling experience trying to learn how to crochet let me tell you.  I feel like such an idiot, I mean, how hard can it be?!  It looks so easy when I watch people on videos crocheting!  I am fighting my perfectionist tendencies to quit because I can’t instantly pick up the skill and become good at it (a description of what happens pretty much every time I try a new hobby or attempt to master something new, pathetic, I know).  Mostly I just want to make something cool, like right now…doing rows and rows of pointless ugly stitches isn’t thrilling my soul…really I’m impatient and yes, whiny, so there you have it.  So here I go, back to crochet school and I’m going to like it darn it!  Have a great weekend!


  1. Maybe we will crochet together on my next trip out to see you! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year!

  2. Maybe you can teach me how to do it right Linda! Happy New Year to you!

  3. My crochet story: Around 1994, my Grandma Graham taught me how to crochet on my birthday. Then my Aunt Helen bought me a bunch of yarn for Christmas that year. I only knew how to do a basic stitch, and I'm left-handed so I had to figure that out. Thank God I generally learn many things pretty quickly. So, I began making a blanket. Last winter I finally finished the blanket. IT took me over 15 years to crochet that thing. There were two main reasons it took so long. One, I didn't always have a lot of time to work on it. Two, I didn't have room to leave it out so I'd remember to work on it. That blanket even made it into a stage production during my senior year of high school. We performed the musical "The Music Man" and I was Mrs. Paroo. I actually crocheted on set in some of the scenes. Talk about multi-tasking!

    1. Oh, and I plan to crochet another blanket at some point when I have the extra money to buy all the yarn.