It just so happens that this year the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday fell on the same weekend as the Indonesian Eid al Adha holiday, so I ended up getting a long weekend, even though the reason was to sacrifice goats and cows for a Muslim tradition rather than turkey for an American one. In any case, my friend Amber visited me in Semarang for the holiday weekend. The highlight was a trip to the nearby town of Bandungan, where 9 Hindu temples are scattered on
the side of an inactive volcano. You can hike the temples or tour them on horseback. Being the adventurous types that we are, we were chomping at the bit to do the latter. This was fun but a bit scary because, being located on the side of a mountain,the trails involved a lot of steep hills. Going uphill on a narrow stony trail on horseback is a little bit scary, especially when the saddle doesn’t have a saddle horn and there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to hold onto to keep your balance. Going downhill is even scarier (yes, I squealed a few times). In fact, for the final two trails back to the base we opted to walk rather than ride our not-so-trusty steeds. But visiting the temple ruins in the fresh mountain air and enjoying mist-shrouded views of the surrounding area was a perfect way to spend the holiday. Plus, on our drive back to Semarang, we stopped for scenic photos of rice paddies, complete with two volcanoes as the backdrop. Sometimes I am amazed at what a beautiful country I am living in.
Unfortunately, the lowlight of the visit was an upset tummy for me, something all too common in Indonesia. Because I wasn’t up for horsing around showing off Semarang’s local attractions, we took it easy with $10 manis and pedis at a nice spa and a movie marathon at my house instead. Still fun.
And my appetite was back just in time to end the holiday weekend with a traditional Thanksgiving meal with coworkers (cooked by my American coworker’s family). We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberries, and even home-made pumpkin pie. I ate like a horse (you saw that one coming, right?). The only thing missing was some football, but I was too busy chatting with friends and explaining the proper application of gravy to really notice. I appreciate that I can enjoy exotic surroundings and local culture along with a few comforts of home all in one place.