R. I. O. – Random Indonesian Objects

I (Matt) have decided to start posting some RIOs.  I’ll try to throw a new one here and there for an interesting taste of life here.  We quickly become used to things here, but so much is very different!  Even when we have an equivalent item in America, it can look very different here. 

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This is our oven.  While we can get a more traditional 4-burner stove and oven here, we are waiting until next year because our home right now doesn’t have room in the kitchen.  These are by far more common here, since they are so inexpensive.  Made out of aluminum, you just set it on top of a gas burner.  They are surprisingly effective and easy to use, though the entire room gets pretty hot.  So far we’ve made a cake, roasted vegetables, and this week we’ll be making a pecan pie (thanks for the pecans, Grandma and Grandpa!) and some muffins.  I’ll let you know how they turn out!

They do need to be baby-sat more than our oven back in the US, since the temperature can vary and food cooks a little differently in it.  Also, they are small, so we’ll be making 6 muffins at a time, not 12.  And our casserole dish is about half-size. 

Because this is the first in my very long and extensive series of lectures on RIOs, here’s a second object:

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The are our LPG (Liquid Propane Gas, or in Indonesian, elpiji) tanks, which power our water heater and stove.  LPG is hugely popular here, and we’re thrilled because it is cheap and clean-burning (fewer wood fires smoking up the neighborhood).  LPG is sold on an exchange system here, very similar to the ones in the US for your tank you use on your grill. 

The big blue ones are 15 kg (33 lbs) and the small green one is 3 kg (6.6 lbs) of LPG.  We normally use the two large blue tanks and keep the small green one as a spare.  Our pembantu (house helper) told us that LPG is a relatively new development here that was encouraged by the current President, now in his second term.  Before that she says she burned oil for cooking, but it made a lot more smoke.  The prices of LPG, gasoline, rice, and other basic staples here are regulated by the government to keep the price affordable for everyone.

Hope you enjoyed the first of many RIOs!

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