Getting to Paciran made me think about the pros and cons of taking business class or executive class on the train. There are clear advantages and clear disadvantages for each, and so in the end I’m not sure which one I prefer. Let me explain. First, you should know that there are three classes in Indonesia, from most expensive to least, or should I say, the least cheapest to the cheapest.

Arguments for taking Executive Class, and against taking Business Class:

–        Executive class is air conditioned, Business class is not

–        Executive class is generally cleaner, Business class is generally dirtier. (I had to brush aside a small nasty cockroach that was crawling on the seat at 4am)

–        Executive class has movies and karaoke, Business class does not

–        Executive class has reclining seats, Business class does not\

–        You are not allowed to smoke in Executive class, but you can in Business class

–        You get a blanket in Executive class, but not in Business

Arguments for taking Business class, and against Executive class:

–        You can open the windows in Business class, and you can feel a nice breeze, which is almost preferable to the FREEZING air-con in Executive. They seriously make it so it’s a fridge inside

–        Business class is arguably dirtier BUT I did see something scurrying across the floor 3 times on an Executive train and there are still insects. You cannot escape the insects in Indonesia. Unless maybe in Jakarta and you have 4 household staff to clean for you.

–        Business class is quiet, and you can sleep (if you can on non-reclinable seats), whereas in Executive class, they dictate the time you sleep and the times you are awake by blasting loud movies and music videos (which some people sing along to) and Just for laughs (oddly enough, some European version from the 80s, which people laugh at, including me)

–        The seats in Business class are benches, so you can cuddle with your seatmate, whereas there is an annoying divide in the seats in Executive

–        You get a pillow in Business class, but not in Executive

–        Business class is cheaper

So, you can decide for yourself which class you would prefer… I haven’t decided yet. One more thing, the bathrooms are about the same. If one had a dirtier bathroom, I would definitely be chosing the cleaner one….

But anyways, I made it to Paciran and it’s now 5:50am. And I’m having tea, maybe going to the market in a bit. This market closes at 7am. I was supposed to go yesterday, but I got to mbak Mida’s house at 6:30am, and it was too late. Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve been getting up progressively earlier: first morning, aku tangi jam 6:30 esok; second morning, tangi jam 6:00 esok; third morning, tangi jam 5:27 esok (only after hitting the snooze alarm 3 times). Maybe sometime in the future, I’ll be getting up at 4:00am, which is when most people get up here for subuk, the morning prayer. Although, when I think of actually getting up at 4:00am, the thought of it makes me shudder. I think I’ll be content at getting up at some time in the 5 o’clock range. Not that I have too much of a choice, though (unless I buy some better ear plugs). There are so many morning sounds, that it seems somewhat of a waste to not be in the thick of all the activity: call to morning prayer, people cooking, babies screaming, a few motorbikes running down the street, the tv blaring.

The call to morning prayer is beautiful. The speakers around where I live in Paciran work suprisingly well. I’m impressed because I’ve heard many horrible call to prayers, just because the amplifying speakers are not good quality or they are broken, so it mangles the voice and turns it into some horrible crackled, stuttering chant. But where I’m located, there is layer upon layer of voices worshipping Allah in a non-crackled, non-stuttering way and it’s quite nice. I live about 5 houses down from a mosque, and this morning, I had a new surprise: in addition to the call to prayer, the sermon was also announced to the whole neighbourhood via amplification (at least I think it was some kind of sermon; maybe it was actually someone telling about a sale somewhere…haha).

Speaking about all these sounds, I wonder if I’ll be able to get good recordings…Indonesians love to have the tv on, just as background sound. And there are so many children around, but I think they are generally well-behaved. But it might be an issue, because they aren’t used to seeing a bule around, so  when I’m around, it’s a big deal and they gather and just look at me, or if I happen to make eye contact, they run away screaming/laughing. I think some of the kids are getting used to me in the neighbourhood. I taught them how to play frisbee yesterday. I was only playing with the girls, and then there was a group of about 6 boys behind me just watching, and if I attempted to throw the frisbee their way, again the running away laughing and screaming thing happened. I will just stick to hanging out with the girls, I think. And then back to sounds around town, the motorbikes going around are so loud. Sometimes people on the other end of a phone call can even hear a motorbike that is 50m away. So we’ll see…

(**images taken from google)


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