May 13, 2012


I apologize if any of you feel this particular blog post lacks content of any particular significance. You are mostly right. But, maybe we can be so bold as to say - metaphorically - that it is but an 'taste' of the culture I have experienced here, hence rendering it an experience useful in helping me mould a well rounded societal experience and understanding of a country far from my homeland. Plus, come on, look at the picture below, how could I not post this.

In an earlier post I mentioned a gym I try to visit a couple times a week, located in downtown Salatiga. It was introduced to me by fellow MAF'er Daniel Perez, and it may be the smallest, dirtiest gym I have ever gone to, but it surely has personality. It is owned/operated by Atek Dharmo, formerly known as "Eddy Darmo" in his Indonesian action-flick-movie-star days. How did I know this? Well, the large movie posters on one wall in the gym were my first clue. Recently, I asked him about one such movie called "Pembalasan Rambu". This loosely translates as "Signs of Revenge". But, as this movie was released in 1985, right around when "Rambo" was going strong, I don't know if Rambu was supposed to mean anything more than the guys' name...Hence, maybe it means "The Revenge of Rambu". And, just look at him, he looks just like an Indonesian Rambo:
Pak (Mr.) Atek graciously lent me his only copy of the movie, and, well, I laughed, I cried, and I made it maybe 25 min.'s into it...that was all I could handle in one dose. It was all I expected and more. Luckily, Daniel was able to make a few copies of it for posterity sake, so maybe someday I will be able to show y'all my favourite scenes - if you come visit!

Pak Atek is very friendly to us "not-from-here" folks, as his gym is a little off the beaten tourist path. Although, it is kind of Javanese culture to smile and still be friendly even towards those you don't have a fond opinion of. That said, I've always felt welcome there. Quite often guys in the gym want to try out the bit of English they actually know, so I present a perfect opportunity. So what you end up with is an Indonesian speaking broken English to me, and me responding in broken Indonesian, it is kind of comical.

Besides meeting people and practicing language, Pak Atek would not want me to forget about 'pumping iron'. Besides, if you want to look like Rambu, you just have to take a quick glance up at the poster once in a while for inspiration, and, if you're extra lucky, maybe even get some tips from Rambu himself!  But don't forget, if you need a cigarette, there is a bench right outside the front door strategically placed for just such an occasion.

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