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Borneo Day 1: Friday, July 21, 2017

Wong Solo delivers

Wong Solo delivers. And it is guaranteed to be halal.

We rested for about an hour as Nazar went and picked up his two daughters and son, then came back for us at the hotel. The two oldest sat in the very back of the car, Craig and I in the middle seats, and Nazar and his wife holding the youngest on her lap up front. I am still trying to get used to drivers sitting on the right side of the car and driving on the left side of the roads, but at least the traffic here is nowhere are bad as Jakarta.

We drove back toward the Sabilal Muhtadin mosque and stopped at – you guessed it – a Wong Solo restaurant nearby. Since I was showing so much interest in taking photos, Nazar thought we ought to try one out. They are a kind of Indonesian fast food place, and are about as representative of Indonesian food as McDonalds is representative of American food. The menu has a number of pan-Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng (fried rice) and ayam goreng (fried chicken), which is what I ordered.

While we were waiting for our food, we went over our schedules for the coming week. Nazar told us on the way from the airport that he had a surprise for us, and the surprise was that he was working out a trip to Loksado on Friday where we could go rafting on a river in the rain forest in the Meratus Mountains and see the Dayak people. It would be a long day, and he had to work out the price with our driver and guide, but Craig and I agreed to pay for all of us whatever the cost would be. I knew it would be much cheaper than anything I could negotiate on TripAdvisor or Viator or other online service, and that we would get a better guide. He had seen the sign about the free trips to Lok Baintan in the hotel lobby and had worked out a trip for the four of us on Sunday morning. Tomorrow we would be going to see the Cempaka diamond mines. This left us four days to be at the school and teach classes. He also wanted to be sure we didn’t over do it and had worked out to get us back to the hotel by about 5:00 each day, given we aren’t used to the heat or humidity.

Hidden Wong Solo

A sign for Wong Solo. This must be Han’s long lost brother. The sign also advertises  ayam bakar (grilled chicken) and ayam penyet (some other type of chicken). And of course, they have ayam goreng (fried chicken).

The food was good. My fried chicken was tasty, served with steamed rice and sambal sauce. I also had a strawberry drink that was kind of like an Italian soda. We tried to talk with his children in English and the few phrases of Indonesian we know. The youngest daughter is about five and not in school yet. The middle child is a daughter of about 14, a bit shy at first and not too sure of her English. Nazar’s son is the oldest at 17 and has pretty good English skills. He won’t be able to join us for many of our adventures because he has been chosen to represent his school in the citywide Indonesian Independence Day celebrations on Aug. 17, and has practices every day. This is quite an honor.

After the meal we got back in the car and drove back to the hotel. I spent the balance of the evening settling in and uploading and cleaning up photos.

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