Josh and I work six days a week. While this schedule suits us just fine (in fact, Saturday classes are my favorite), it admittedly isn’t very conducive to traveling on the weekends. We’re looking forward to seeing more of Indonesia at some point, but by the time Sunday comes around, we’re ready to spend a good part of the day relaxing. As a result, we’re starting to find plenty of things to do in our own area.

While many of the things we do for entertainment here are similar to things we do back home, there are some small differences, so I wanted to write about what we get up to on a typical Sunday. I also thought I would include prices in US dollars, in case anybody is curious about costs here.

Having spent the morning catching up on sleep and then ordering in a breakfast of pancakes and hashbrowns from McDonalds ($5 including delivery fee), we decide to head to a nearby mall for a movie and dinner date.


A taxi would only cost a few dollars and an angkot (mini-vans that operate on a fixed route) would be about 25 cents per person, but we decide to take the scenic route and just walk. First along the sewer path that takes us to work every day and then through abandoned parking lots that house the remains of forgotten bonfires and finally down a street that would benefit from the addition of a sidewalk. Angkots constantly beep their horns as they drive by to let us know they can give us a ride; in Indonesia, it is extremely unusual to walk somewhere when there are other options, so we stick out as we amble along the side of the road.

Sewer Adventure

Twenty minutes later, we climb up a pedestrian overpass to cross to the mall on the other side of the street. At this point, we are drenched in sweat, but no more than we usually are after walking somewhere in the intense Indonesian heat.

The blast of air conditioning that hits us when we walk in is a wonderful welcome. We start to cool off a little as we ride the escalators to the theater on the third floor. Out of the seven movies that are showing, one is Indonesian, one is South Korean, and the other five are English. Three of the English movies are fairly new, and the other two are random movies that were released in the US two or three years ago.

Purchasing our ticket is easy enough—the workers here all speak a little English. In Indonesia, you pick out your movie seats when you buy your tickets, so we ask for a row in the middle. The only other way buying a movie ticket here is different from America is the price: tickets to see Gravity in 3D set us back a mere $5 each.

There is plenty of time before the movie starts, so we head downstairs for a meal at the cute Indian place. I order my favorite fresh strawberry juice and vegetable curry, while Josh tests out avocado juice and opts for the Indonesian entrée of fish fried rice. Both of us are very pleased with our food. We pay our bill ($10, tipping is not expected) and head back up to the cinema.

Indian Food

At the concession counter, we half-heartedly bemoan the outrageous price of snacks ($4 for a large caramel popcorn and a water bottle). We head into the theater a few minutes late, but the lights are just dimming and the previews begin as we take our assigned seats and put on our 3D glasses. The rules flash on the screen—no talking, no phones, no kicking the seat—with cinema etiquette here the same as in the US. I always freeze in movie theaters, and those in Indonesia are no exception. I put on the sweater and scarf stashed in my bag, and we dig into the popcorn as the movie starts.

People trickle in late during the first half-hour of the movie, which is to be expected–punctuality isn’t really a thing in Indonesia. Since it’s an English-language movie, the subtitles are in Bahasa. At first, I try to see if I can pick up any new words by paying attention to the subtitles while listening to the English dialogue, but eventually I forget about them and just watch the movie like a normal person.

When the movie is over, we leave the air-conditioned mall and head back out into the muggy heat for our journey home. Just as before, we pick our way along the trash-strewn streets and parking lots, angkots honking at us in an attempt to attract our business. We wave them off, enjoying our hazy evening walk.

As we pass through the gates of our neighborhood, the smog clears enough for vivid orange sunbeams to pass through the smoky clouds. We rush back to our house and climb to the roof to admire the view of the sun setting over the red-tile roofs and tropical flowering trees.


It’s been another lovely day in Indonesia.

Love, Elizabeth

*All pictures were taken by my hot date, Josh!