Welcome to our blog about everything Indonesia! As you may already know, Alison and I have been in Indonesia for almost three weeks. We wanted to set up this space much earlier, but we have been caught in the bureaucratic whirlwind that is the research permit process. During the past three weeks, we visited offices in Jakarta, Java; Makassar, Sulawesi and Maros, Sulawesi to pick up documents, fill out forms, sign letters, and wait for letters to be signed and sent to the appropriate offices. Apparently, the only way to get research approval here is to hand deliver letters to everyone we could possibly come in contact with (and even to offices we will never set foot in!). It was definitely amusing! I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that we are officially experts on the research permit process, have our approvals in hand, and can being our projects! Hooray!
I guess that brings me to this moment. I am currently writing from the balcony of our room, waiting for Alison to get back from an afternoon of surveying potential gardens to place camera traps. It’s 6pm, and about 5 days into the month of Ramadan, which means it’s time to buka puasa (break the fast) for the day. The Trans-Sulawesi highway runs through our village, and down the road from our house are two mosques, so here I am, listening to the sweet melodies of two separate calls to prayer combined with loud honks and revving motorcycle engines. The sun is just setting behind our house, illuminating the mountains across the road, and there is a cool breeze rustling the leaves of the banana tree in the garden next door. Despite the highway noise, it is all quite peaceful and (dare I say?) homey. I think we are slowly settling in to the way of life here.
Speaking of life in the village, the entire desa (town) is having internet troubles, so posts may be somewhat erratic. Our plan for this blog is not only to write a bit about our thesis projects, but also to share photos and experiences of everyday life here. We hope you enjoy reading about funny things that happen on the way to the forest 🙂
Some posts-in-the-making to look forward to:
– How to (gracefully) navigate forest karst: KT’s daily routine
– How many primatologists does it take to set up a camera trap? : Alison’s daily routine
– Fasting ain’t so bad: a guide to Ramadan desserts
– Sudah lancar?….belum: learning Bahasa Indonesia