After Istiqlal mosque, we went for lunch to a five star restaurant rated by Trip Advisor called Dapur Babah.
It was a mix of traditional and modern Indonesian food as well as Dutch inspired food.
It was definitely a culinary experience, I love sharing dishes. The Mahedeva mocktail was the best with strawberry, lime and lychee. Experiencing a culture on a 5 star level and on a street level can be so different. Both food tastes amazing, the only difference is AC.
After Istiqlal mosque, we did some shopping at Kasablanca mall. All four of us squished in the back of a taxi. Sarah wanted to ask permission from the taxi driver if it was ok to have four people in the back, I was like just get in and wait till he says no!
I went to The Coffee Bean in Kasablanka mall, I asked for a Mobollo but the barista was too worried to make something he didn’t know. As i was there, a server, Sarwo came over and told me to explain what a Mobollo is. We talked about our passion for coffee and how much we love the taste and culture of it.He told me that if I ever come again, he make one. It’s these experiences with strangers that I love the most. Had I not been alone, I’m not even sure Sarwo would of come for the chat. He added me on Facebook, and now we’re friends!
The next morning we were to go off to Cirebon to sleep in a Pesantren (Muslim boarding school) and then meet the prince. It was very exciting.
When we entered the school. we heard music, and behold – there was a whole marching band ready to greet us! The boys and girls did a number of performances, they were very talented and disciplined.
Sarah said that the Cirebon local cuisine is her favourite so far as we ate the homemade food. My favourite was a deliciously simple chicken and vegetable soup (soup de proteins) with rice and potatoes balls the wonderful head mistress of the school cooked for us.
We had more time to look around the Pesantren. The grave of Dr Kh Ali Fahmi Syarief (Alm) who started a Pesantren Boarding school in Cirebon was in the centre of the school.
There were pictures on a banner of his family who live in the Pesantren and help run it: his wife, four sons and daughter.
The next morning, we saw fresh green coconuts in the trailer of a motorcycle. Sarah recalls that “during the drive over we mentioned that we’d never had coconuts in Indonesia, an hour later were sitting on the front porch and their daily produce delivery had a truck full of them. The generosity of our hosts is overwhelming, it’s the first time the school has had overseas guests stay the night.”
The Pesantren is a humble school, meet the kids was lovely; we were greeted with a percussion band. We stayed there for one night. It was pretty good conditions, but different to what we’re used to. We all had a chance to experience a bucket shower and squat toilet. It was a humbling experience. Food was yum and the spirit of Umi as the matriarch of the whole place left us with quite an expression of Indonesian women.