Posted 07 Aug, 2013 | 25 Comments
Posted in: Our Story

We were backpacking through Indonesia and I had one of the worst colds I’ve ever had. I had a throat infection, which in my professional opinion had to do with the fact that every man in Indonesia smokes – whether there are windows open, or not!

I had a sore throat for a few weeks and my voice would come and go as it pleased.

I drank my body weight in ginger & honey tea, tried local remedies of soy sauce mixed with garlic and chilis (drank as a shot), sucked on many throat lozenges, gargled with salt water, but nothing worked.

We made our way to Bukit Lawang on the island of Sumatra and I was still voice-impaired. We settled in and sat outside with the owner of the guesthouse, who was a very large Indonesian woman – not commonly seen in Indonesia, or Asia for that matter. We were chatting and she was growing concerned with my throat issues.

backpacking bukit lawang
View from our room in Bukit Lawang, not bad, hey?!

Her and another few local women were talking, looking at me…discussing further, looking at me again. All of which I didn’t  understand.

The owner started chewing on some herbs and uncooked grains of rice. She stuffed her mouth full, chewing and drooling with chunks of rice and greenery running down her face. She chewed for about 20 minutes and made a gross looking paste in her mouth. It was quite the sight.

Without warning, she grabbed my head and tilted it back. I had no time to react – but no amount of time could prepare me for what was about to happen.

She spat the chewed up concoction all over my neck & throat! 

a) Couldn’t she have used her hands to apply the ointment, rather than spitting on me?

b) Couldn’t she have asked if I wanted it?

c) Gross!

Stunned, gagging and trying to not throw up, I got up and ran to the bathroom to wash away the spit and mush.

When I returned, cleaned and traumatized, it was translated that I was meant to let the mixture harden on my throat and keep it on for a couple of hours. Doing so would have made my voice return. Ha!

I’m all for natural, herbal remedies for sickness, but this was definitely crossing the line for me. I sucked on a few more Halls lozenges and once we had left Indonesia, my voice returned…and the memory of this fateful day will stick in my mind forever.




Like this Post? Pin it!

The Day When…I Got Spat On By An Indonesian Woman

Disclaimer: Goats On The Road is an Amazon Associate and also an affiliate for some other retailers. This means we earn commissions if you click links on our blog and purchase from those retailers.

Share this -

Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

Connect with Nick Wharton & Dariece Swift -

You May Also Like

how to make money for travel 101 travel jobs to make money on the road
Travel Jobs Open Book

Want To Travel More?

We can help!

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and we’ll send you our 101 Ways To Earn Money For Travel eBook for Free, plus we’ll send you a series of emails to show you how to earn money and travel in a financially sustainable way.


25 thoughts on “The Day When…I Got Spat On By An Indonesian Woman

  1. Not entirely sure why I read that whilst having sushi for lunch! Gross! It’s bad enough when someone spits whilst they speak but that takes it to a whole new level!

    By the way, is it a little odd that a shot of soy sauce, chilli and garlic actually sounds pretty good to me?

  2. haha, sorry about that! Sushi and this story don’t really mix well together. But you’re right, the soy, chili and garlic wasn’t all that bad…wouldn’t mind dipping some sushi in it actually!

    Cheers for the comment 🙂

  3. Just came back from Bukit Lawang… I know exactly the homestay you’re talking about and exactly the large woman… we were advised that she was a bit scary and I can now see why!!

  4. Wow, that is freaking gross but hilarious and I’m not going to lie, if I saw that I don’t know if I would have puked or laughed….maybe both..great post.

  5. haha, OMG, I can’t believe you know the woman I’m talking about! She was scary….

    I hope you had a great time in Bukit Lawang, we did!

  6. haha, I know what you mean. Nick was dying of laughter while I was trying not to puke! So gross, but makes for a good story now 🙂


  7. Oh she so did not do that, did she? Gross! I’m sure she had your best interest at heart but still.

  8. Unfortunately, yes, she did that! I agree that she was just trying to help, but still…haha.

  9. OMG! So funny and would only happen to you Nick! I am happy to hear your cold is over perhaps in self defence.

  10. It is funny, but it happened to Dariece…not Nick 🙂 The cold is definitely over (I would hope) as it happened in 2009..hahah.


  11. Ohh wow!!! I can’t imagine how I would react! That’s so funny there wasn’t any sort of explanation or communication before she just went for it. Guess we’ll never know if it really works :-p I think I’ll stick to throat lozenges as well!

  12. exactly! A little explanation would’ve been nice 🙂 Thanks for the comment Dan

  13. Funny…..when it isn’t you…,,your stories, pictures and travels are fantastic. Thanks for entertaining us.

  14. I would havehad the same reaction! Gettingb spit on is not an ideal way to get rid of a sore throat, but I am curious to know if it has worked for anyone before

  15. Definitely not ideal! It must have worked for some people in Indonesia, but I wasn’t going to leave that mush on my throat for hours to find out 🙂

    Thanks for the comment Chanel.

  16. You’re missing the point of travelling. Don’t expect other people to behave the same way where you are from.

  17. LOL, I definitely don’t, that’s why we travel and have been for 8 years. We love learning about new cultures and ways of life…but, spitting on someone is pretty disgusting. I don’t care where you’re from!

  18. Load all Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I want to...