|Notice the chicken feet sticking out of the bags|
While in Jogja, a small group of us decided to go on a "Jamu tour" to find out more about this tradition that spans the archipelago. We started by crawling into the local transportation: a becek.
Jogja is a good sized city, without all the macet and smog of Jakarta. Instead of the bajai, most people get around by these pedal-powered carts.
So, there we were. Cruising down the streets of Jogja in our eco-friendly transportation...right next to cars and trucks of all shapes and sizes. Hey, these guys know what they're doing...right? We headed to the local market to find a woman who sells herbs and roots specifically for jamu mixtures. She's I guess what you would call a jamu wholesaler. She sat surrounded by every root and leaf imaginable while our guide explained and let us sample them all. Some were familiar (cinnamon, etc), and some were completely new.
I picked out an herbal face wash and body scrub for about a dollar total. Let's see if it gives St. Ives a run for its money.
Next, we climbed back into our beceks and headed to a massage house that is run entirely by the blind. Here I had the most wonderful massage of my entire life for about $2.50. All this without being able to sustain any sort of real communication with my masseuse. It was, as my friend Noreen would say, "Amaz-balls."
Then our beceks took us to the home of a retired jamu woman. First, our adorable tour guide showed us how to make a face mask from sticky rice and cinnamon. I tried my hand at grinding the rice with the mortar and pestle. It's harder than it looks!
Next up, the jamu woman pounded, squished, rolled, and squeezed three different ingredients into submission.The main ingredient was turmeric, which gives the drink its yellowish-orange color. She also added a sour vegetable called, "asam" and some palm sugar to make the whole mixture a bit more palatable.
Once mixed together, strained, and poured into glasses, this elixir is meant to relieve menstrual cramps. Since not one of the five of us was experiencing this particular affliction at the time, we were unfortunately unable to test its effectiveness. I have to say, that despite our tour guide's stories of Indonesian parents threatening to make their children drink jamu when they're being bad, it wasn't half-bad. Bottoms up!
Michaela's blog...because she did all the work for you already.)
|Picture courtesy of Julianne|
|Again, a great shot from Jules!|