Category Archives: Up From the Streets

Up From the Streets – Part 7

16 Sep 11
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While living in Indonesia, I was always surprised to find something that seems so out of place in a predominantly Muslim country. So imagine my surprise to see a somewhat risque T-Shirt on a guy riding the train somewhere on Java. I couldn’t get a picture, but here’s what it said:


“Your boyfriend is gay, so U better with me.”

Strength in Undergarments

14 Jul 11
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We were in Jakarta recently visiting a few museums. While Jakarta is a major city, its public transport systems are in pretty bad shape. The city has a bus system that may eventually get you to where you want to go. Angkots – mini-buses that have fixed routes – provide a cheaper, if slower alternative. But other than taxis there isn’t much else. There are no subways (although they hope to build one), and the only signs of an abortive attempt to create a skyway a few years ago are a number of poles built before the money ended.

There is one fun way to travel though – it’s the auto rickshaw. These three-wheeled vehicles are a staple of Southeast Asian cities. In Thailand they call them Tuk-Tuks. In Jakarta, they are Bajaj.

The vehicle narrows into a wedge – wide at the back, where the passengers sit, and narrow up front for the driver. They usually seat three people, although we have at times squeezed four and some luggage inside.

Besides museum visits, on this particular trip we were also looking for a couple of geocaches. So we jumped in a Bajaj and headed to a cemetery near the center of town, where we quickly found one of the few geocaches in all of Indonesia.

Leaving the cemetery we hailed another Bajaj. This one was a little smaller than most, so we were quite cramped. But the advertising inside the vehicle made the trip back to Jakarta’s Gambier train station worth it.

Peering over the driver’s shoulder I saw an odd sign, just beneath the window. It was for a company called ‘Rider.’ And the ad was selling underwear.

Move over cheese. “Ah, the power of underwear!”

Up From the Streets – Part 6

11 Apr 11
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Poorly translated signs are generally always fun. They can be found just about anywhere, including in the United States. This particular sign was found on Bali, at a wonderful facility called Tirta Gangga, or Water Palace.

It’s a beautiful garden with ponds and other water features. It was restored through the guidance of an American, Emerald Starr, who now operates a few bungalows there. But there is also a small hotel, and its operators are not as fastidious as Emerald for doing the right thing. The sign below was posted outside a restroom door at the hotel. If you visit the Water Palace, be sure to stay with Emerald, unless you like to be inconvenienced.


Up From the Streets – Part 5

04 Mar 11
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Before Bluetooth headsets, crafty entrepreneurs in the U.S. tried to find any number of ways to make cellphones hands-free. But as Ockham’s Razor tells us, it’s usually the simplest conclusion that provides the best answer (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch – but you get the idea). And so it is for hands-free cellphone use in Indonesia.

It’s really hard to argue with this – it works! I watched as she had a long conversation with someone.


Up From the Streets – Part 4

01 Feb 11
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This was found recently in the kid’s section of one of our local supermarket chains, Giant. It’s the label from a children’s blanket. I’m not sure, but might it refer to how the child was conceived?



Up from the Streets – Part 3

30 Dec 10
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Another great business. It seems the t-shirt companies really try the hardest to stand out. Read the yellow one:



Up From the Streets – Part 2

25 Sep 10
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One of the best things about traveling overseas is having the opportunity to learn about other cultures. And of course a large part of any culture is the food.We love Indonesian food. Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles) and so much more – it’s been a culinary joy to be here.

I went to Jakarta to start the paperwork one day before Beth and the kids, and for dinner I wandered over to a restaurant just down the street from the hotel in Jakarta’s Menteng district. We hadn’t been able to eat much Indonesian food yet, so I really wanted to try something different. I was interested in a particular item on the menu:

Usus Goreng Suharti

That is, until I saw the translation just below:

Fried Bowels Suhartis Style

I’m still hoping it was a typo, although for the life of me I can’t figure out what else they may have meant.

Up From the Streets – Part 1

19 Sep 10
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A real business in downtown Bandung. They even have a website:

It appears that one of their brands is called “Black ID.” Its slogan? “Every day is hell.”

Enough said.