Saturday, February 19, 2011

Does Vagina Chalk Really Exist?

Via Via is one of my favorite restaurants in Yogya. Calling itself a 'travelers' cafe', it not only offers up a delicious mix of world cuisines and live jazz on Friday nights but it also organizes interesting sightseeing trips around town using local forms of transportation. One of the tours on offer is the 'Jamu Tour'.

Jamu is the word for traditional herbal Indonesian medicines and you can see jamu sellers all over town - these women are easily recognized by the big woven baskets of traditional medicine they carry around strapped to their backs. And yes, they're always women. This is because women are believed to have magical powers for making jamu - a carefully concocted blend of bark, leaves, roots, and fruit used to heal an array of ailments.

Anastasia, Melanie, Michaela and Jackie and I headed down to Via Via early one morning to meet our tour guide in front of the restaurant. We were interested in learning more about the traditional medicines but we were even more intrigued by the existence of something called vagina chalk. Apparently, there is a special stick of chalk that Indonesian women insert into their vaginas before sex to make themselves drier. Say what?! Yes, apparently, Indonesian men desire their women to be dry because that means they are more virtuous or something. We simply had to find out more about this.

After meeting our guide, we climbed into our three awaiting becaks, a type of bicycle rickshaw, and headed off to the local market to visit the stall of a woman who sells jamu ingredients. We stood around her stall for a good long while sampling the many fruits and leaves she had to offer. Then we piled back into our becaks and went to the house of a retired jamu seller to see these raw ingredients transformed into a special elixir.

Jamu ingredients for sale at the local market

Anastasia and Jackie in a becak

Anastasia paints a sticky rice face mask on Melanie.

Turmeric and asam are ground together for our jamu.

Jamu maker and her final product - a jamu juice to relieve menstrual cramps
All of this facial mask making and turmeric juice sampling was fine and good but when we got back to Via Via we begged our tour guide to tell us about the 'sexy' jamus we had heard about. She laughed, disappeared inside the store and reappeared a few minutes with this box of questionable items.

Note the 'Worldy Stick of Joy'!! A.k.a. 'vagina chalk' this was the item we had only heard rumors about before. And now here it was. It really exists! Women really use this!!

Vagina chalk!
The box was filled with all sorts of interesting powder and capsule jamus. There were jamus to increase sexual stamina for men, tighten the vagina, and even ones for 'late menstruation' i.e. abortion. We weren't tempted to buy anything but later one of Michaela's friends commented on her blog, "If you get me anything - anything at all [from Indonesia] - it has to be the Vagina Chalk."

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow. "Dry sex" is a practice in parts of Africa as well. Unfortunately, in addition to being (I imagine) incredibly uncomfortable for women, it also leaves them more susceptible to infections, STDs, etc etc. But not to be a total downer! Writing about HIV can do that to a person. Your tour sounds really interesting overall! --Your cuz Carolyn