When I Spilled Bee Jelly All Over My Pants

Ruth wakes up in a gray room. She is shackled to a cold metal chair. A woman sits opposite her, dressed to match the walls.

“You know why you’re here.”

“But I don’t.” Ruth says, confused. The woman continues on, undeterred.

“You told us it would never happen again. And it has.” The realization hits Ruth and she feels a pang of fear.

“You don’t understand. I’ve been really busy, but I’ll post. I promise.”

“We’re done with your false promises.” The woman pulls out a place of sliced tomatoes. Ruth looks around, wondering where on earth it came from. The red is blinding, a splash of color in a muted world. Red, for danger.

I promise. I will post. Let me go and I’ll post right away. I swear. Don’t make me eat the tomatoes. Please.” Ruth begs.

“It’s too late.” The woman stands up and closes the distance. 

“Please! No!” Ruth screams as the woman shoves a slice into her open mouth.

And that, dear friends, is my excuse and story for why this post is late.

I’m actually going to split this post in two.

We’re going to start with my one month anniversary and excursion to Bandung. I went with my host mom, grandma, aunt, and uncle. We dropped off my host mom for a college reunion and then went to an angklung concert place. For those of you that don’t know, an angklung is a traditional Sunda restaurant made of hollow bamboo pipes and rods.

Like this:


Unfortunately, the place was booked for a reunion, so we browsed through the souvenir shop and a random person asked to take a photo with me.

After, we went and ate lunch at a restaurant. While we were eating, a random lady came up to our table sold us bee jelly.

Yes. I did say bee jelly. Upon drinking this mysterious fluid, I found this out about bee jelly:

~It is not jelly. It is a liquid.

~It tastes sweet, but spiked in a way. (note: it wasn’t spiked)

~It soaks through cloth much quicker than water.

I found out this last part of information rather unfortunately. I thought I had screwed on the lid on the bottle. When the bottle fell sideways (and was resting on my lap), it spilled.

No, I did not wet my pants. I spilled bee jelly all over them.

The story sounds very valid.

After my bee jelly encounter, we visited several factory outlets. Bandung is called the “Paris” of Indonesia for this reason. I got a really cute violet dress and a white knit shirt.

I also tried my first batagor. Batagor is street vendor food. We got some fried something-or-other and dragonfruit juice.


Later that night, after picking up my host mom, we ate at another restaurant. They had live music, and the musicians told us that they could play any song we wanted. So my aunt found out my favorite song (Unintended by Muse) and had them play it for me. It is not a song I hear often, so it made it that much more special to me.

And that was my day excursion in Bandung.

On the next day, I went to church. In the afternoon, I went to Kebun Raya with my host parents. Kebun Raya is Bogor’s Botanical Gardens. And it is huge and very beautiful. I saw at least 5 bules there, and I was gaping as much as the Indonesians were.

(photos compliments of my host mom because I forgot my camera)

Actually I'm in San Francisco not Indonesia.

Actually I’m in San Francisco not Indonesia.

Kebun Raya.

Kebun Raya.

After Kebun Raya, I rode my first angkot with my host mom. An angkot is part of the public transportation here. It’s normally a little green bus that will stop anywhere.


And then after THAT we went to a traditional Indonesian market.

I’ve been really looking forward to going. And it was all I hoped it would be. The air smelled like meat, compliments of the many stalls with raw chickens. Other stalls had little transportable ponds with just enough water to keep fish alive. Others had dead fish on ice. There were stalls with hordes of vegetables, fruits, manufactured goods, you name it.

It was so alive, so bright. I loved it.

On the 21st, it rained.

Now I’ve heard that Bogor is the rain city, but I haven’t seen it.

It rained, and when it rains, it pours. It’s not the gentle sprinkles of Utah; it’s like dumping water overhead.

I loved it. And to top it off, I got my first letter (which was the best. If you want to make my life, write me a letter in the mail or a letter at all).

Tuesday, I got to pick out a goat for Idul Adha (explanation for that tomorrow).

With Ayah's Lebaran goat (Socrates).

Tuesday night, I went to Al Falakiyah (Islamic boarding school) with my host family. The boys were at the mosque. Once they finished praying, they decided to sing the Qur’an for me with drum accompaniment.

I really enjoyed it. They sang in Arabic. I feel that I have gained a much greater appreciation for Islam while I’ve been here, and this was one of the experiences that sort of summed up that feeling.

The boys singing/accompanying/listening to the Qur'an.

The boys singing/accompanying/listening to the Qur’an.

With my host sister and the boys singing/playing to the Qur'an.

With my host sister and the boys singing/playing to the Qur’an.

They also let me try playing one of the drums. I was awful, of course.

?"Playing" one of the drums at Al Falakiyah.

Anyway, the next post (tomorrow! check back tomorrow!) will not only cover the rest of my week but the exciting holiday of Idul Adha!


2 thoughts on “When I Spilled Bee Jelly All Over My Pants

  1. Alison Snyder says:

    Oh how I wish you had brought your camera! It would have been awesome to see non-cell phone pictures of that beautiful market. And dragonfruit juice?! I die. It’s great you got to go to church, too – were the members there excited to see you? The Quran singing sounds wonderful, too.


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