Is this Costa Rica?


Well, the rainy season is definitely here in Indonesia. Actually, it’s been going on for more than a month but the intensity and frequency of storms has been increasing in December. It’s a lot like Costa Rica, with a few differences.

Rainy season in Costa Rica starts earlier (July) and ends sooner, as well (November), even though both countries are in similar tropical regions. And the rain, at least in Jaco where I was located, seemed to last far longer and dumped much more water than we are experiencing here.

That is probably because of the geography. Jaco had a wall of mountains behind it holding the storms in place until they could lighten their loads and climb over the peaks. Here, there is nothing but islands and water, so the storm systems tend to keep moving.

As I sit in my office at 11:30 a.m. today, however, there is a beauty of a storm raging outside my window. We turned off our server just in time to avoid a near lightning strike on the building that tripped one of the breakers, leaving me in the dark and with my computer suddenly off. The jolt jarred me and left a smoky odor.

But this storm will probably last less than a hour, unlike the frequent all-day heavy rains that I experienced in Jaco in October and November, with the heavy rain sometimes lasting for days.

End of the world party

The Mayans supposedly predicted the end of the world would come Dec. 21 or 22, and although that is mere myth and not fact, we’re going to have some fun with it. So Friday, our normal free beer happy hour day, will this week be “Goodies’ Free Beer End of the World Party.” Should be fun and ya’ll are welcome!

Christmas in Indonesia

christmas tree

A tiny tree for Christmas

I find it interesting how big Christmas is here is this predominantly Muslim country. The main holiday here is Hari Raya, the end-of-Ramadan-fasting holiday that was held in August. In fact, airline ticket prices are higher during the Christmas holidays than they were during Hari Raya. I know because I purchased tickets for Putrie’s daughter to visit Batam both times. She arrives Dec. 23 and the miniscule tree Putrie bought for my apartment is already crowded with gifts for a 7-year-old girl.

I haven’t had much of a Christmas for maybe four years so this year might be a little more fun, although I will miss my children and brothers back in the States. This year, for the first time in years, there will be opening gifts beside the tree. There will be a child’s surprise and delight as she opens gifts. There will be a woman appreciative of what Santa has brought her. There will be a turkey and ham Christmas Day buffet at Goodies with scores of expats from around the world in attendance.

And, yes, the Muslims here will be receiving gifts from Mr. Ken. All the office and Goodies wait staff have been taken care of. I’ve asked why they would want gifts on a Christian holiday and they just smile or laugh. Doesn’t matter. It feels good to give.

New Year’s

New Year’s is also a big holiday here but I’m not sure how it is celebrated. For me, there will be a New Year’s Eve Italian dinner at my friend Mike’s new restaurant – Café Mauro.

Mike, the gold and silver trader I’ve mentioned previously, has been working furiously on his new restaurant and hopes to have a grand opening Dec. 22 and then reservation-only, no-customer-turnover dinners Christmas and New Year’s eves. The menus are extravagant and he promises an extensive wine list. I briefly saw the New Year’s menu, which included several appetizers, as well as three main entrees – beef, veal and prawns. About $40 per person, plus drinks. An all-night affair if you can stay up that late. I’ll post the specifics on the menu later.

This will also be the first time in years I will celebrate New Year’s – and with a date, no less.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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