This trip has been so unique and so awesome. The reason for this is the people. I've met so many awesome, friendly, generous people and I've gotten to experience daily life in Indonesia. This is because I chased every lead and followed through on everything. I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, I'm recognizing all that I wouldn't have done if I didn't contact friends of friends or check out recommendations.
So many opportunities come by that are never acted on. Small things usually. The reasons are numerous but include general laziness and the fear of being rejected. When a waitress I just met told me that she had a friend in Indonesia, I was hesitant to contact them—after all, when people say: "You should get in touch with my friend" a lot of times they don't mean it. How well do they really know that person? What do you say? "Uh, hey, this woman I just met said I should contact you. So, um, how's it going?" But I did. I followed every lead I was given. Some of them fell through, but some of them have been fantastic and some of them look like they're going to be fantastic.
One of the best recommendations was CouchSurfing. I'd heard about it a couple times but never checked it out. I'm really glad I eventually did. After 1 day in Indonesia I had 29 new friends. In the last week I've probably made 50 new friends from CouchSurfing. Some of these people text me every day to see if I want to explore a new part of town, go to the museum or just join them for food and drinks. Some of my new friends I expect to be in touch with for the rest of my life.
It's been such an awesome way to explore the city. There's no way I would have seen so many things or tried so many different foods if it wasn't for all my local friends. I'm talking about the non-tourist things. I'm talking about alley labyrinths that lead to stunning rooftop vistas. I'm talking foods you never dreamed existed.
I'm proud that I've cleared all but one plate since I've been here, leaving nothing more than bones. At times this meant I overate, but it always meant I tried new things. I've really pushed my boundaries with food since I got here, especially considering that I'm not too fond of seafood.
Just in my first week in Indonesia I think I've eaten every part of the cow—at least the parts I don't usually eat at home. This includes when I ate cow brain. The taste was ok but the texture was very unfamiliar to me. I've eaten all sorts of organs and other odd parts.
The moral of the story is that the people and the food here are amazing and I almost certainly wouldn't have experienced as much of either of those things if I didn't take every opportunity I could. It also helps to have free plans, an open mind and a willingness to try new things.
Tomorrow I leave for Green Canyon for the weekend and then I'll probably head straight to Yogyakarta from there so I may not have internet access for a while.