nameless roadside stalls: Toys and household items
They are lining the road in a long row on both sides, perhaps half a km long. Nameless stalls with much the same merchandise in all of them: toys, in particular wooden truck models; aluminium pots and pans, in particular the Chinese wok type; vases, kitchenware of wood and rattan. Everything is hand made.
In a few years they have increased from a handful to the present long rows. A few of them have moved into permanent kiosks provided by the government, but most are still housed in bamboo structures. One wonders how they can make a profit, it seems a lottery where passers-by will make a stop and a purchase.
- Road Trip
Koen Saleri: Rattan and more
Actually there are two neighbouring shops, specialising in artistic handicraft made of rattan and other natural materials. One of them bears a sign "Koen Saleri", the other has no name.
Here you can find lampshades, chairs, baskets and all kinds of accessories for in your home. Shipping can be arranged.
At the back of the shops you can visit the workshop where most items are made by hand.
What to buy: A chair made of dried enceng gondok stalks (see previous tip) sells for the equivalent of USD 25. Once in the USA it may cost more than tenfold that amount.
- Arts and Culture
Rawa Pening area: Enceng gondok products
Google for "enceng gondok" and you will find several suppliers of enceng gondok products. What are they made of and where does the material come from?
These products are made of water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) stalks, and a main source of the material is Rawa Pening lake north of Salatiga. Eichornia crassipes is a water plant native to South Amercia, but is has spread around the world. Aquatic plants scientists call it the worst aquatic plant in the world, because it tends to clog up lakes and rivers. So it was a big nuisance in Rawa Pening lake, until the natives learnt to put its stalks to good use. Now enceng gondok (as water hyacinth is called in Indonesian) is harvested, the stalks are dried in the sun and all kinds of products woven from them: from sandals to baskets, from chairs to flowerpots.
Actually most of the dried stalks are transported to Jambu hamlet at Bantul south of Yogyakarta, where most manufacturing takes place. But along the Salatiga-Semarang road near Rawa Pening one can find a few shops offering locally made enceng gondong products.
What to buy: Baskets, sandals, chairs, etc.
What to pay: A set of four terrace chairs may go for just Rp 400,000!
Oom Tan, and others: Oleh-oleh from Salatiga
Do as the Indonesians do and bring home some 'oleh-oleh' from Salatiga. Oleh-oleh litterally means souvenir, but usually the oleh-oleh Indonesians bring home consists of sweets and snacks. Every town has its specialties, Salatiga has at least three:
What to buy: 1. Enting-enting gepuk, sweets made from peanuts and palm sugar.
2. Abon, dried and shredded meat. The original abon is made of cows meat, but nowadays there is chicken abon too. Make sure you get the flavour you prefer: there is sweet abon and spicy abon. Abon can be eaten as part of a rice dish, but you can also put it in a sandwich.
3. Dendeng, dried cows meat conserved with sugar. Can be eaten as bought or fried with a rice dish.
What to pay: Depends of the size of the package, on average Rp 20,000 per item.
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