Indonesia: Green Canyon; West Java

After the village encounter we drove on for our next exploration… to Green Canyon. 

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There we took a boat ride in a long narrow fibreglass craft with two blue outriggers.

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We cruised up a muddy brown river. 

DSC04071.JPGJungle foliage met overhead.

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The long-tail propeller was controlled by the leg and foot of the driver.

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As we moved into the canyon, water dripped everywhere.

DSC04075.JPGAfter about 20 minutes, we came to a point where a cascade prevented any further movement up the river.

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Our boatmen left our boats and climbed on the rocks.

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Photos were taken to record the moment.

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But before long it was time to turn around…

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…and head back down stream.  This excursion was a pleasant diversion from busy traffic on the roads.

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After the Green Canyon it was back to the Sunrise Beach Hotel in Pangandaran.  A swim, followed by a sleep seemed to be a good idea.

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Around 17.00 someone found a ramshackle stall out the back of our hotel.  It served cold beer.  Our newly found establishment was called, The Glory Cafe.  It was right on a grey, ash beach littered with flotsam and jetsam.  A tropical thunderstorm raged around us.  A brilliant lightning show added to the drama.  This, I was going to remember.tsunami2006

Pangandaran has seen many storms. And it was devastated by a tsunami on 17 July, 2006 when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake occurred at 15h19 off the island of Java. This is not the same earthquake or tsunami that occurred on Boxing Day, two years earlier, that killed so many 10’s of thousands of people. Nonetheless the Pangandaran ‘quake caused serious damage although it was not felt by many people, nor did buildings collapse. The damage and death toll resulted from the tsunami which followed. The ‘quake occurred at low tide and as there was an onshore wind blowing, no regression of the sea was obvious.  Most of the population were caught unawares when the 4.27m (14 ft.) high tsunami wave struck. Three hundred km. (190 mi) of the Java coast was inundated, an area not affected by the 2004 tsunami. Although the earthquake and tsunami were recorded in earthquake centres in Japan and America, there was no way to warn the inhabitants of the areas which were to be effected. The global warning system set up after the 2004 tsunami was not yet operational. Six hundred and sixty-eight people were killed, 65 were never found and 9,299 were injured.

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The Glory Cafe was run by two guys, Andi and Lemon. They were wonderful, jumping to meet our needs without being asked. Brian, the smoker in the group, only had to put has hand in his pocket to take out his cigarettes and an ashtray was produced. The beers came very quickly. We learnt that their much larger establishment was destroyed when the 2006 tsunami struck and some staff members had lost their lives.

I don’t know if there was a family link between the two or whether they were just business partners. Lemon seemed to be the owner and has two sons of his own.  We were to return later, and then learned more about these two guys.

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Dinner time came around and as it is one of the few included dinners we followed the rest of the group to a seafood restaurant. It was reasonably good, would have been excellent if the whole fish and baby squid were not grossly overcooked and dried out. The crab shells were mostly empty except for the legs and claws which were almost impossible to break. The Asian greens were good. Dinners in Asia don’t last all that long so it was somewhat inevitable that we’d stop off at the The Glory Cafe on our way back.

Andi and Lemon were very happy to see us again. During conversation we learnt that Lemon has a third legally adopted son, the orphaned boy of one of his former employees killed in the tsunami. He was genuinely proud to have this extra son! Lemon is an extremely impressive guy and when I paid considerably extra for my beer than the bill required and said that the extra was for his family, his wife, who was nearby, literally jumped with joy and clapped her hands together. A lovely smile split her face open. My small contribution was obviously appreciated.

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On the way back to the hotel, wandering across the road, we had to dodge a Barking Deer that had wandered into town from their nearby National Park. It was to scavenging in the street rubbish. A shame to see a ‘wild animal’ feeding this way!

It had been a long but really interesting day… what would the morrow bring?

David

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