Up in the hills of East Java, just an hour away from Malang lies a sleepy little town full of apple orchards, mountains, and natural delights. The air up there is a little more crisp, the weather a little cooler, and the sights a bit more natural than the surrounding areas in East Java. It’s a popular travel getaway for Indonesians, often overlooked by foreign tourists, preserving the natural culture and environment.
I met Shane’s training host family and was promptly fed on arrival a lunch of several courses. Serving ourselves buffet style we enjoyed Ibu Mariam’s specialties spicy tempeh, veggies, fried noodles and rice. You think when you’re serving yourself you have some kind of control over how much you eat, but that is not the case. Once your plate is almost empty, you’re urged to “Makan lagi!” (Eat more!). A happy person is a fat person. Several servings after full, we headed out in a van up into the hills of Batu to see it’s most famous attraction: Coban Rondo Waterfall. Tons of people line up to see the tumbling water. Mist rises from the rushing water and kisses viewers from meters away.
Monkeys running around stealing snacks gave me a panic attack. In America we aren’t issued standard rabies vaccines in our health regimen; I found that out after I’d already been here for several months petting stray cats and unknowingly risking my life. I mean, if a rabid monkey mistakes one of my fingers for a treat, I could die an insane person foaming at the mouth like I saw in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I’ve never liked monkeys.
Warung Bambu was our stop for dinner. We feasted on the most delicious gurami while seated on the floor in bamboo huts on stilts. It had a beautiful ambiance and each table has bags of Koi food for the patrons to feed the fish. They’re such friendly koi that they’ll suck the pellets of food right from your palm. Fishie kissies.
I tried not to feel guilty about eating fish after making so many new friends, and after the first few bites any buds of guilt had withered and died. It was delicious! We had a barbecued fish and a spicy fried curried one.