A Travellerspoint blog

Match Day in Malang

sunny 32 °C

I had the opportunity of coaching my first league game in Indonesia..it was a u21, Division 1 game....I got picked up on a scooter at 1:30...the "field" was supposed to be about a 15 minute drive...with magnetic board in one hand and the other hand on rear of seat we were off...we went down many alleys/backroads before finally merging onto a main street...hundreds of scooters, vehicles inches away...we finally turned off into a more rural setting and drove by acres and acres of rice fields...we were literally in the middle of nowhere...we passed sights that you just had to be there for...about 35 minutes later we are on a very narrow dirt road that approached 2 buildings...once we passed them there was suddenly a pitch on the right...we parked our scooter in a dirt area (which we were to be charged 2000 rupiah later) to park....all over Indonesia there are people that help you park and pull out of parking spots or lots at the cost of 2000 rupiah...the bule (white guy) price is often 5000 rupiah (50cents) ...we approached the field and I wished I had brought my camera...right behind one of the goals (not regulation height) was thick jungle...I thought if any player should shoot the ball high, it is gone...on the far side of the field was the same thing...the side closest to us had a ditch which the ball continually went into....the field had 2 player benches which were bamboo poles set length wise...I managed to sit about 1/2 the match on it but had to stand after that...a lot of our players were there already...a few more came across an area that I couldn't believe people would be crossing...at about 2:20 I asked one of the other coaches "where is the equipment and uniforms"?...he said he did not know...he asked someone else and they said someone brings it ..about 2:35 some guy shows up with 4 corner flags and a banner...I watch him and he somehow gets the poles into the very hard ground (it has not rained in 2 months)...the flags were less then 3' high..Tiberio Defrias (head ref ) would not have let the game be played back home (ha!)...he then put up a banner on a rickety scoreboard with name of Porlis written on it...that is the name of the sponsor of our Academy team.....interesting that when another "official" showed up with the team uniforms, the name on the back was Polris.....so I'm not sure which was correct... they obviously were not made at Team Sales...we were playing DFK...the players change right there as there are no change rooms or any facilities...more officials show up...one brings a net of 5 balls...2 are flat...there is no pump...then the opposition shows up in a large van-style vehicle with Barca uniforms on...they come from a village that I'm told is a long way away... .it is now about 2:50...no one is warming up and no sign of match referees...I thought "this game is not going to start at 3pm" as scheduled....cones appear from nowhere...another official with lineup forms to be completed...surprisingly enough, player cards were produced...the field was bumpy and extremely hard.. a vast array of people started to show up to watch the match...a couple of "food" carts appeared...then referees and more "officials"...both teams were warming up and at about 3:25 the ref had the teams line up...FIFA handshake and the match was on...considering the field and conditions, the game was very well played...even though the ball went into the jungle on occasion, they would find it...the Malang FC academy team (Porlis or Polris) is composed of 15-17 year olds...they handily out played their much older opposition and won 2-nil (it all comes down to coaching, really).....actually if the ball did not continually take such huge bounces in front of goal it would have been 5 or 6 nil....our 2nd goal was an exceptional header...the player that scored is a fantastic player from the island of Papua...he turned 15 in August...his name Michael Jeckson (pronounced Jackson)..and yes he celebrated his goal with a brief "Moonwalk"...after the game the players were each given a green banana which they all ate...no Gatorade or power bars here...then they were fed a meal of some sort post game which is a tradition...they also all pray before and after games...Muslim/Christian,etc together (the world should take notice)...they all shake the coaches hands after and also some of the boys, depending on what area from Indonesia they come from, place their forehead on your right hand as a sign of respect....all the officials (who knows their actual role?) left on scooters...rupiah was paid to the parking "police"...I jumped on the back of the scooter and off we went having secured a victory, which seemed secondary in importance....40 minute ride back as we took the main route after going past the rice fields...traffic was much heavier but we managed....by the way, this is our HOME field...a local professional team Persema trains there...we play there again next Friday so I will be posting photos next weekend...as I reflected much later on the experience all I can say it was worth every minute...that is why football is the BEAUTIFUL GAME....Frank

Posted by wildwoods 05:21 Archived in Indonesia Comments (11)

"interesting" things in Indonesia

sunny 29 °C

~Weddings that go on for three days...blaring 80's power ballads...24/7!

~4-D cinemas in the middle of nowhere

~The obsession with previously-mentioned 80's power ballads. We've become intimately reacquainted with Richard Marx, Michael Bolton and Kenny G

~The only English we can find on TV as we speak is "Rocky" movie marathons

~Fascinating restaurant names such as, "Monopoli", "Lego", "Madonna" and "GFC" which is fried chicken...the staff wear chicken hats...only thing missing is the Colonel.

~Road kill in Indonesia is giant frogs...copious amounts...

~A blast from the past - Indoor smoking

~"Do Not Urinate" signs in malls!

~Scooters everywhere, with adults dutifully wearing helmets....but NONE of the children on said scooters wear helmets!

~You can buy Edam cheese...if you're willing to pay 23$ for a small chunk....but a 5 gallon jug of water - delivered - is 50 cents!

~There are very few dogs in Indonesia......




Posted by wildwoods 21:28 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

whirlwinds and rollercoasters

sunny 27 °C

I cannot believe it’s been two weeks since we arrived in Indonesia. In some ways it feels like we’ve been here for months. At the same time, the last weeks have just flown by.
I will try to fill in the gaps in diary-fashion….and then perhaps delve a little deeper into the emotional process that has been going on – although, it’s difficult to put that into words.
Two weeks ago, we were enduring the Singapore airport. We had to change airlines and, unbeknownst to us before hand, we had to leave the secure area to collect our luggage before boarding our next flight. Well, our next flight wasn’t until 24 hours later, but we’d heard that the Singapore airport was the BEST airport in the world for keeping weary travelers occupied during long layovers. What we didn’t realize, though, is outside of the secure area, Changi Airport is just as dreary as any other…and we were not allowed to re-enter the secure area until the next day! The ensuing 24 hours was an intense test of our endurance…Frank got about 4 hours of sleep on a trio of chairs, and I got about an hour on a hard bench. The funny thing is, it was a welcome treat to be horizontal after so many hours in an airplane seat!
We finally got into the secure area about 4 hours before our flight to Surabaya, Indonesia, but by that time, we were way past being impressed by the Gucci, Hugo Boss, Coach and Guess stores, however, we WERE slightly intrigued by the “Redemption Booth”….maybe you CAN buy a stairway to Heaven…
The short flight (2 ½ hours) to Surabaya was delightfully uneventful. When I saw the city shining below me just before we landed, I got a strange sensation of “home”….a tickle in my tummy….the old familiar rumble of Adventure, that I feared would never be felt again, bubbling up…
The swarm of mayhem upon disembarking was expected, but still a little disconcerting. It was a happy rabble, though….so many joyful Indonesians obviously coming home after various exciting adventures. What I didn’t expect was to be fingerprinted and photographed at the Immigration Desk! Customs was a breeze and it was a welcome relief to see our new friends, L & G, whom we had never met, amid the throng of Indonesian faces. They were over-the-top kind enough to have taken a long detour time and schedule-wise, to come and meet us and have us stay at their house for the night. It took just under two hours to get to Malang from Surabaya, where we finally had a horizontal, comfy and clean place to lay our weary bones.
I have to say, though, throughout all the travels, I am reminded of family stories of heroic predecessors voyaging from Scotland and England and travelling across the prairies in days gone by. Our few days of discomfort are nothing compared to what many people do out of necessity….
I awoke to another new friend…and an old friend coming to get us…and a bit of a disoriented scramble (that turned out fine in the end), and a check-in at the local hotel. Our wonderful friends, who we followed from Victoria, had come to Malang three weeks ahead of us and had been fixing up their rental house since they’d arrived (OMG! The “fixing up rental before moving in” thing is NUTS!) and had just moved into their place a couple of days before we arrived, so we stayed in the hotel for two nights before coming to live with them.
So, that’s where we have been for the last nearly two weeks. We have made a side trip to the charming “village” of Batu 2013-08-24_001_023.jpg, become acquainted with many of the ex-pats in the area, started language lessons, gone to more “unique” stores than I thought possible. We went to “the bird market” yesterday 2013-08-30_001_021.jpg 2013-08-30_001_007.jpg 2013-08-30_001_024.jpg and I had a mini meltdown because of the sensory over-stimulation….plus, I was chatting on Facebook with my oldest daughter…and felt so far away from home. Again, thank God for technology! I can’t imagine what my own mother must have gone through when I was away in Ethiopia at the age of 19! I admire her for letting go and allowing me to have that experience and adventure in freedom. (Thanks mom).
We are now about to expand our living situation. After two wonderful, safe and comfortable weeks with our friends from Victoria, We feel it is time to spread our wings…and also allow our friends to settle in as a family. They have adapted and responded with the greatest of grace and dignity during this topsy-turvy time of getting their house livable, helping their two kids to settle into a new environment and school, and finding their feet. We certainly tip our hats to them – and appreciate all they have done for us!
There is not much in the way of explanation I can offer regarding our housing situation except to say, “it’s just the way it is”….we will be staying at a local hotel for 2 or 3 weeks, then we may be able to stay in teacher’s housing at the nearby International school for a couple of months. Our apartment’s move-in date has been pushed back to mid to late November. Don’t worry, though, we are seeing this as more adventure! I am actually glad I have spent a majority of my life as a penniless nomad! HA!
We miss our families very much…and Charlie-the-cat…but we are also continuing to cling together, be kind and support each other…..and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on things that transcend momentary inconveniences and irritations.
I pray Grace and Blessings come your way….

Posted by wildwoods 20:08 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

Welcome to life in Indonesia

sunny 32 °C

We landed in Surabaya about midnight a week ago Monday and after a 2 hr trip to Malang, we finally got to sleep for the first time in over 36 hours….we were driven to Wesley school where the Football academy is and the head coach Timo drove up on his scooter…he asked me to lead the training session for u15 boys...Actually it was the best thing he could have done as I never suffered from jet lag at all from this trip….Timo seemed to like what he saw and I have coached twice a day every day since, except Sunday….the 3 Indonesian assistant coaches are fantastic…..very knowledgeable and friendly…being the white guy, in their culture they assume I’m going to lead every session..Heri has been coaching for 13 years at the academy and has been to Germany for licencing…I told him I will lead the outdoor session and he can lead the futsal….they are only allowed to train one session a day on the “grass” field …the 2nd session is always in the futsal gym…the field is interesting…try to run a training session with NO lines on the field…the grass is a kind of scrub grass..similar to the quality of a school field like Landsdowne in summer only somewhat green…it does make skill training more challenging but it did not seem to affect my receiving or passing…the field is made for 9 a side not 11 aside….most of the fields are like that due to lack of field space….of course the big stadiums are full size…I was asked to attend the Danone Cup (u12 World tournament) training in Batu for the Indonesian team which Timo is taking to London 2013-08-24_003_007.jpg…they are in a 4 team group that includes Ireland, Belgium and Germany…last year they came 22 out of 40 nations (I’m sure ahead of Canada) and Timo said this year’s team is much better…they were very, very good…the striker’s name may be Beckham but he finishes like Van Persie…he will be a professional player one day if all goes right…Indonesia sends a club team…most other countries like Canada send a select team from the whole country…this team won out over 5000 teams that entered…there are 33 provinces in Indonesia….will let you know how they do..competition starts in mid Sept..the boys and 2013-08-23_001_010.jpgfamous waterfall in the mountains near an active volcano..it was packed, and coach Timo and I were the only white guys so I was continually asked to have my photo taken with everyone…was like the paparazzi…FYI, in Malang the population is 2.5 million…there are only 185 ex-pats…. enough about football for now…just want to close on giving you a bit of reality that happens when in Indonesia which I assume is similar to other 3rd world countries…when living in a city like Malang, firstly, you are NOT on a vacation…we are not at the beach…foul smells/garbage on side of the road,etc…we are trying to find a place to live as our longer term accommodation has been put back to late Nov…we looked at a place yesterday and thousands of ants were in the upstairs bedroom..termites in a few rooms along with a cockroach scurrying across the kitchen floor…and that was the best place we have seen..this is normal for here so this will be a challenge…our current place with friends has been fun…water/electricity just turn off…the light switches are on the outside of the bathroom as nothing is grounded!..I’m struggling a little bit with food…there are a few “western” places but not too much is the same…traffic is chaos..driving on the other side of the road is really strange when there is so much traffic..in 1 week we have been involved in 2 accidents with scooter riders…driver’s literally pass you or drive next to you inches away…there are no rules…weather has been “cool” for them…26-30 degrees…food is very cheap here..McDonald’s ice cream cone for 30 cents…lastly, you get woken up every morning with 3 loud bangs on your iron gate near your place at 3am..this is just what they do…people get up at 5am…just went to immigration for fingerprinting and photo…interesting experience… miss you all…off to language school….
Mr. Frank

Posted by wildwoods 19:30 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

It's a Simple Game

31 °C

Hi All,

All flights went very well and smoothly, with the exception of a 24 hour layover in the Singapore Airport (in the ARRIVALS area, not the Departures). KFC was the only restaurant open! HA! But not-so-finger-licking good.

Arrived at midnight in Surabaya, after a 2 hour trek to Malang we crashed out. I (Frank) was woken up at 4AM by the Muslim call-to prayer over loud speakers. I had never heard this before and I was surprised at how long it went on and how haunting it was.

Driving is something that cannot really be explained…not only driving on the other side of the road, but scooters are passing you at will. There are very few traffic lights and no one obeys them anyway. It is complete chaos. A friend from Victoria who arrived three weeks ahead of us, picked us up and struck a motor-cyclist 5 minutes later. He was not at fault, but he took him to a medical clinic and hospital…and then the police got involved. Thankfully, it all ended well…with our friend paying a total of about 50,000 Rupiah, which is about $5.00 Canadian for repairs to the motor cycle. The motor-cyclist got a stitch in his eyebrow for a total cost of about $2.00.

Off I went to the Academy to watch, feeling jet-lagged and suffering from very little sleep. The head of the academy, Timo, met me and asked me if I would like to lead the first part of the session! The other coach is Indonesian and doesn’t speak English. He took it that I was going to run the whole 90 minute session, so I did! And Timo apparently liked what he saw. He has scheduled me for 5 nights a week. He is off to the Danone Cup in London. Right after the session, some U21 and pro players showed up. We played 4 vs 1 and the old man never went in the middle once – so my streak continues.

It’s a simple game.




Posted by wildwoods 06:03 Archived in Indonesia Comments (10)

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