Indonesian Fashion: Rule Number One


It’s been well over a week now since I’ve written my blog and I’m beginning to get just a teeny, tiny bit antsy. I’ve not posted anything for days and it feels very weird having to take an enforced break from the writing that has become so much a part of my routine now. I rarely have a problem thinking of something to write about, but it’s finding the mental space and time to write that is proving difficult because I currently have to share my laptop with 2 daughters. With their Facebook addiction, email and Skype needs, plus various other guests that we’ve had to stay over the past fortnight, I’ve reluctantly had to put my blog to one side until this moment when I’ve now finally cracked and can’t bear it another minute. I’ve wrestled my laptop back and retreated into a quiet(ish) corner to write. They can fight over it the minute that I hit the publish button, but until then I am in ownership of this fine machine and I shall do my best (albeit a little self-consciously since I’ve not posted for so long) to get back up to speed with my life in Bali and Jakarta.

For the past week the Irishman and I have had two of our daughters, and a friend from London staying with us. I have to come clean now and confess that I don’t know what I was more excited about; their long awaited arrival in Bali last Friday, or the large bottle of duty free vodka that they’d promised to bring out with them. As it turned out, not one of the little darlings had remembered to bring ‘Mothers ruin’ despite my constant daily email reminders in the weeks and days leading up to their long awaited visit. Turning a deaf ear to Mother’s modest request is truly shocking since they know full well the scarcity of such nectar in Jakarta and how much happiness such a simple gift would have brought to me. Despite this blatant act of disobedience and churlishness, they seem extraordinarily happy to drain the fridge dry of any alcoholic refreshments that lurk within it, namely copious amounts of Bintang and the odd box of over priced local white wine so, I have taken the precaution of hiding the dregs of my last bottle of vodka (bought by an extremely kind and thoughtful visitor some months ago) under my bed, lest it find it’s way into some fancy cocktail the minute that my back is turned.

Having said all of that, I don’t want to miss out on a second of each precious day that we have with them staying with us as it’s such a treat to have them here and be back to something that in some way resembles family life once again. It goes without saying that I miss them when they are not here so I’m relishing their company, their shrieks of laughter, the constant requests for food, the endless banter and chit chat and that wonderful feeling of sitting around a table at the end of the day with those you love, sharing stories, telling jokes and unmercifully teasing each other.

With hungry mouths to feed I seem to spend much of my time planning meals. It’s a bit like running a crazy hotel at the moment but I am extremely lucky in having Wayan to help me and she is the most fantastic cook. You could go to any restaurant on Bali and I doubt you would ever find a meal as delicious or as good as the one’s that she cooks lovingly from scratch  for us here at home.

Our locust visitors had once again stripped the cupboards and fridge bare so Wayan and I took a trip out of the village to Sanur, which is our nearest small town with a supermarket. As we got into the car I noticed Wayan giving me a very sniffy look and I smiled to myself, as I knew exactly why. I was wearing my dastah or duster as I like to call it. I’m sure that I’ve mentioned dastahs before but just in case I haven’t I shall briefly recap. Dastah’s are the Indonesian equivalent both practically and socially speaking of what’s known as a Housecoat in the UK. They are designed for comfort not style and no self-respecting Indonesian lady would ever be seen dead wearing one outside of her house. I blame the lady from 9B entirely for introducing them to me as thanks to her, I now sport one pretty much all of the time and the Irishman absolutely hates it. He thinks that they are, quote ‘the most sexless and worst invention ever’ and maybe he’s right because with my new choice of wardrobe, I’ve rapidly made the decline from snappy dresser to slattern in just a few months.

Having piled the supermarket trolley with enough food to hopefully get us through the next 3 days, Wayan and I made our way to the checkout where, in the queue just in front of us was stood a very elegant, and chic Indonesian lady. I turned to Wayan and whispered to her ‘What a beautiful lady, look at her lovely clothes and fabulous haircut’. Wayan folded her arms, rolled her eyes and said to me ‘Well Lottie, it is such a shame you do not make more effort. You are always wearing your dastah and everyone staring at you in shop, you look terrible, it is not good’. We both burst out laughing so that the chic Indonesian lady then turned around to see what was happening. She looked me up and down in such a way that confirmed everything that Wayan had just told me.

The following morning Wayan arrived at work cheerful and smiling as ever. I put the kettle on to make us some tea and then noticed the t-shirt that she was wearing with ROCK OUT WITH YOUR COCK OUT emblazoned across the front of it. ‘Wayan, that’s an interesting shirt you are wearing today’ ‘Oh yes’ she replied, ‘One of my friends gave it to me, it was a sample’. ‘Umm’ I replied. ‘Do you know what it means ROCK OUT WITH YOUR COCK OUT?’ ‘No, not really’ was her deliciously honest reply. By the time I had finished explaining, tears of laughter were running down our faces and I am quite sure that the sound of the dastah- wearing bule’s mirth could be heard way across the padi fields to the other side of the village.

15 Comments

    1. Wayan laughed so much, it was hysterical. After she had got over her initial embarrasment there was no stopping her. Now we are planning another visit to the supermarket but this time with her in her rock cock t-shirt and me in an even more lurid and hideous duster. Double the fun, double the stares!

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  1. So glad you managed to resume your posting. I’ve missed reading them. How mean are those daughters, denying you your ‘Mother’s Ruin’!

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  2. I loved reading this post, from beginning (wrestling the laptop away from your daughters), middle (how could they forget to bring their mom vodka!), and end! Rock out, indeed! lol

    Really enjoyed all the lovely photos, too. Thanks, Lottie! 🙂

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