After two days of airplane travel from Toronto, a smoggy stop over in Jakarta and a long delay in the airport I have arrived at my new home base in Jambi. Jambi city is the capital of Jambi province on the island of Sumatra. Sumatra, and especially Jambi, does not see many tourists. My current celebrity status whenever I venture out attests to that. On my two minute walk to the office scooters frequently slow down to gawk at me. Two young boys that I pass every morning get very excited, jump up and down and scream with glee. A teenagereven whipped out a camera and took my picture. For my part all I can do is smile and blurt out niceties in very poor Bahasa Indonesian, the principal language of Indonesia.
Starting a new job is daunting at the best of times. I am starting a new job in a new culture with a new language and culinary palate. It is very apparent both to me and the many curious onlooker that I am far from home. Yet I have felt extremely welcomed by my new Indonesian roommates and coworkers. I am already beginning to dabble in the local language. I am also far from starving, although some of my taste buds may not recover from the 3rd degree burns. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all amply spiced. Luckily not all food here is spicy, mangoes are in season and overflow every fruit stand.