Indonesia: Cycling Around the Countryside… Brick Making

Another place we visited on our bike ride around the countryside was a cultural centre and museum where some old artefacts were on display.


Gongs, drums and old, finely carved furniture were on display.


Detail of drums, gongs and wooden xylophones in the collection.


This screen was once the pride and joy of a wealthy merchant.


More gongs.


A few of us had a red ginger tea which was absolutely wonderful. It was made from slices of fresh root ginger, cloves, cinnamon and some bark from a Caesalpinia tree which gave the drink a lovely red colour.

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There was still more to come as next we stopped at a place where a guy was making mud bricks. He dug the soil from the field and mixed it with water to a smooth mud which he then put into a gang of moulds.

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Six bricks were made at a time… 

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…and smoothed off.

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 The mould is then carefully lifted off.  Brian just had to ‘sign’ a brick…

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…so we all had a go. These are our signed bricks. I wonder where they will end up?


The maker also signs his bricks.  Once formed bricks are left to dry…


… before being stacked on their sides to dry further. 


After a certain water level is reached, the bricks are moved and stacked into a large pile where they wait to be fired. It takes a few weeks for the guy to make enough bricks to make firing worthwhile.  A fire will be lit under the bricks to fire them.


Another fellow was trimming partially dried bricks of their rough edges before they became too dry and hard to clean. They were laid out on the ground to dry further.


When enough moisture had evaporated from the bricks for them to be handled without them deforming, these bricks were stacked off the ground for even quicker drying.


And, of course, what would a ride through the countryside be for me unless I found some plants and interest in nature to photograph!  How good is this unfurling leaf?


Senna was growing by the roadside.


Those who looked closely saw this grasshopper inspecting a pea flower.


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…and this colourful individual was having a quiet time trying to hide in some old leaves.

And so ended a delightful day out in the countryside of Central Java. I did have a rather sore ‘seat’ but it was all very worthwhile. I hope you have enjoyed the ride.


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Indonesia: Cycling Around the Countryside… Rice Farm

We were all excited about the prospect of riding bicycles out into the Central Javan countryside. But, first, we had to travel for about 20 minutes by bus to get to the place that hired out the bicycles.


Those bikes were a somewhat interesting lot.


About half the group took the less vigorous option of being driven around in motorised tri-shaws. We had the prospect of a 20 km ride with frequent stops along the way.

It only took a few metres for me to realise that the geometry of an Asian built bike is not the same as the geometry of bikes built for Western people. The seat was far too close to the handlebars, in fact it felt as though the seat was in front of the handlebars! And the seat was definitely not designed for my bottom… each time I remounted, the seat was a little more uncomfortable. I must also say that it’s been nearly 15 years since I last rode a bike any distance so that may have had something to do with it all.


Not withstanding the discomfort of the bike seat, it was fascinating riding around the paddies because the rice harvest was in full swing. There would be much of interest.

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Rice was being cut by hand.

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The knife blade was kept sharp by rubbing across a sharpening stone.

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Bundles of rice were carried across the field to the threshing machine.

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At least the threshing machine was shaded from the unrelenting sun.

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Small bundles were prepared for threshing.

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The threshing wheel is powered by foot power… hard, hot work.

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Threshed rice was spread to dry on sheets laid out on any available flat surface. 

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Older members of the family raked over the drying rice to make sure it dried evenly.


Three rice crops can be grown in this area each year.


It’s a case of one crop harvested, another planted. This is a new crop.

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Time out for a bit of a rest in the shade.

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Leaving the farmers, we rode on through the paddies to a village where we were to visit a family run tofu making business. More of that anon.


All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

More of our travel photos are on