Eric and I stopped for lunch at a place that had been advertising food every kilometer for the past 10 kilometers. I could even translate some of the dishes from Bahasa Indonesian to English: oxtail soup, fried duck, grilled carp (goldfish is what I call them). We pulled off the highway and out of the midday sun. We chose a table outside because the noise from the traffic seemed less than the music blaring from the television inside.
We ordered our lunches – oxtail soup for me and grilled duck for Eric. Soup is turning out to be a good choice because it is served very hot so we hope the germs have been killed. Eric, on the other hand, was not so lucky. His grilled duck was stone cold so he spit out the first bite and shared mine.
After our noonday meal, Eric usual settles down for a nap and I pull out my book. But today our rest time was interrupted by a very long, very loud, very unmelodic prayer call streaming into our left hear. I think one of the prerequisites for Imams in Indonesia is to be tone deaf.
Pouring into our right hear was very loud, very slow, overly dramatic love songs from what I thought was a show like “Indonesian Idol” if there is such a thing.
I looked at the television inside and noticed a middle-aged woman holding a microphone and singing karaoke (in a very lovely voice I might add) along with the TV. Laying on the table was a spare microphone. She motioned me to come in and join her.
“Why not?” I thought. “I might learn some pronunciation even if I don’t know what I’m singing.”
I walked over, sat down, grabbed a microphone and tried to follow along. I listened to her while the words flashed across the screen. I listened to the sound of the Indonesian Pop which has similar riffs and beats to American country rock.. The songs followed a very specific pattern: Refrain, verse, refrain, verse, instrumental interlude, modulation to a higher key, refrain, verse, long retardant (slow down) at the end. The used of only 4 chords made it quite easy to follow/guess where the song was going and to harmonize.
I didn’t want to detract from her pleasant voice, so I never did actually turn on my mic, but I did sing along for about five songs. She could hear me even if the large, mostly empty restaurant could not. I wish I could have asked her to repeat a song, because then I could have sung the whole thing with her and we might have sounded like professionals….professional karaoke singers, that is.
I enjoyed this musical interlude today. I felt rested and relaxed and ready for more traffic, pollution, and bumpy roads.