Not Just Another

 Greasy Spoon

I like to shear with you a few paragraphs about a place where I have spent an inordinate amount of time, the "Kios Semarang". To enlighten the unenlightened, Kios is the Indonesian version of Kiosk. Now it's up to one of you to enlighten me as to the origins of the word kiosk; Polish, Russian, or what? Send me an e-mail via FMS.

I arrived in Ujung Pandang at 2 a.m. the 27th of November 1997, having never been further east in Indonesia than Sanur Beach, Bali. After a few fitful hours of sleep in a transit hotel I was taken to my new place of employment, the Bosowa Cement Co., located 20 kilometres north of Ujung Pandang in the city of Maros. My company P.T. KKU slipped the silos and I supervised fabrication of the structural steel. Including myself, there were 6 expats working on site: one Italian, two Kiwis, one Maori, one Aussie and one Yank. At 6 p.m. we left the site and headed back to the airport where the boss rented a company house. By 7.30 all the lads were ready to go to town. I had no idea where we were going or where I was for that matter, but when we finally arrived at the "Kios Semarang" I was keen for a cold Bintang. As soon as we sat down our table was swarmed over by the beer ladies. Bintang was poured by Yuyun, Erica sold San Miguel, Sandy did the Guinness, and little Itja lugging the Anker. All the girls wore the colours of their particular beers in the form of mini skirts. Since Yuyun was the prettiest, I stuck with the Bintang.

My first impression of the place was akin to being in a New York City subway station. Predominantly white tiled walls, columns and floor trimmed in brown. The only thing missing was the 42 St sign. Being that it was my first time the lads ordered a bit of everything from the menu. I found the fried cuttlefish (cumi-cumi) with lemon particularly tasty, but for health conscience there's not much to pick from. Boiled shrimp and potatoes with steamed rice is about as good as it gets. The rest of the menu is pretty much of what one would expect from a greasy spoon, a lot of oil with a dash of MSG thrown in. Of course it is not ht e food that keeps bringing me back. For almost two years now I've had a first class view of the bay and the mile long display of pushcart "restaurants" that fill the esplanade. They set up around 3 p.m. and stay open 'til the wee hours, offering local Ujung Pandang and other Indonesian fare.

For those of you who like to exercise and drink then you'll find the Kios Semarang perfect, as it is the headquarters of the Ujung Pandang Hash House Harriers. They make two hashes (runs) a week. Look up a certain Harry Clark if you are interested and he will gladly initiate you to their strange rituals.

The Kios Semarang is the best place in Ujung Pandang to meet expats. Unlike me most have regular jobs. If you enjoy sailing there's always a few expat boat builders up from Bira enjoying a night out. The most famous of is Horst Liebner. With just a flick of a switch, he and his magic computer will design the boat of your dreams, from dinghy to yacht, no worries mate! So if you are looking for a good time, cold beer, and a good yarn meet us at the Kios Semarang.

Best regards,

Walt Weld


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