I've been putting off doing a big cleanup of all our stuff here in Palembang for quite awhile. This house is very spacious but it has very little storage space so, I really need to either get rid of some things or send them back to Ipoh with my mother when she leaves. I finally started on it on Monday. Things got dusty, I got grouchy and tired, and that in turn probably set off a few of Aaron's whining episodes (which makes me all the more grouchy). Hence, the two day blogging break.
I've trimmed down to the bare essentials now. Especially in the clothes department. When we first moved here to Palembang, I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know much of Indonesia at all and had the impression that it was a conservative place. After all, it is the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world.
The bulk of the clothes that I initially brought here were shirts with sleeves, long pants and calf length skirts. Everything that I disliked wearing when I was in Malaysia. Don't ask me why I even own them.
Needless to say, it was hotter than hot when we arrived here. The temperature has reversed since then but in February of 2007, Palembang was a hotter place than Ipoh. We arrived on a Saturday and on the Sunday, we went to Mass and I wore a proper shirt and longish skirt.....and nearly fainted from the heat. After a few days in Palembang, I was back to my shorts and sleeveless t-shirts. Its actually quite acceptable to dress this way and I've noticed that more and more people are wearing shorts over the past two years. The Muslim girls are of course more conservative but while they don't show much skin, many of them dress in extremely tight fitting clothes - skinny jeans and snug t-shirts.
Actually, the Muslim women here seem to be much more practical with their clothes. When they are at home, or in their own neighborhood, I've often seen them in sleeveless dresses. I don't think this happens very often at all in Malaysia. (Remember the dress code at the state library?)
So, if you're planning to visit Palembang, you don't need to get all covered up. But don't go to the extreme of spaghetti straps or hot pants (no, I haven't tried that), you'll get too many unwanted stares. The staring here seems to cause extra discomfort...maybe because they stare openly and for longer periods of time and there is often some leering involved.