Indonesia: to Yogyakarta

We had a lazy start to the day as we didn’t have to be in the lobby all packed and ready to go until 10.00. So, after breakfast, I wandered by the pool and in the garden.


The pool was beautifully warm, no heating needed in this environment.


The gardens surrounding the resort were very well maintained.


Water lettuce (an environmental of many tropical waterways around the world) and an unknown yellow flowered water plant.




Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminiodes) was enjoying the humid weather.


Closely related to Iris, this Yellow Walking Iris is called Neomarica longifloia.


Rickshaw wallas waiting for a passenger or two.


At the appointed hour, our mini buses arrived to take us on a one and a half hour transfer to the rail head. There, we would join our train for the 4 hour journey to Yogyakarta.


My train ticket.


The platform was deserted when we arrived.


Lush, tropical growth lined the tracks.

Watching the world go by as we rolled along the tracks, we saw snippets of life in this part of the world.  It was interesting to note that the school uniforms in the area are usually made from traditional batik patterned materials. Very colourful, and so much better than the plain old uniforms we tend to see at home.

It was a fairly long and tedious journey, but we finally arrived. Dinner was partaken and then yours truly headed back to the hotel at around 21.30.  Most of the others have gone on to some venue or other…. but as there was to be a 05.00 departure for Borobudur in the morning, this old fox decided an early night was in order… a good idea.

All members of the group were indeed in the foyer and ready to go at 05.00. The early start was so that we could get to the Borobudur Buddhist complex before the hoards of tourists … and before the day warmed up. Mind you, it was still around the mid 20’s at that early hour of the day, and still dark. We drove through the somewhat, but not completely deserted streets, for the hour’s drive to the Temple.


The sky slowly got lighter. Mt. Merapi, an active volcano, was quietly blowing smoke and steam into the sky as we drove past.

DSC04140.JPGAs the moment for sunrise drew closer, our buses pulled to the side of the road in the middle of a paddy field area. There, we all got out and waited for the sun to rise above the horizon. Some pretty pictures were taken.


An already harvested, but regrowing rice crop, formed an interesting foreground.


Soon, the sun was blasting its heat into the atmosphere.


Coconut palms growing on a paddy bund.


A rough shelter in the middle of a rice paddy.


Dew drops on young rice plants.


Rice plant reflections.


A delightful start to the day, but it was soon time to move on to visit the ancient, 9th Century, Buddhist complex of Borobudur.

More of that anon


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Indonesia: Green Canyon; West Java

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


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


We cruised up a muddy brown river. 

DSC04071.JPGJungle foliage met overhead.


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


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.


Our boatmen left our boats and climbed on the rocks.


Photos were taken to record the moment.


But before long it was time to turn around…


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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Indonesia: Visit to Village Puppeteer

It was very pleasant, if hot, to wander in this small west Javan village… with several more nature photographs to share with you all.


Rain lily (Zephyranthes rosea).






St Joseph’s spider


Gelatinous fungus.


White bracket fungus


Goatweed, (Ageratum conyzoides) is an introduced weed from South America.


In this same village we made a visit to the home of a puppeteer.


The man of the house carved and painted the puppet’s heads.


Careful work.


Part-finished puppet head.


Other members of his family made the puppet’s costumes.


The workroom was a bit of a jumble.


Hundreds of puppets were ‘in storage’ awaiting their next public performance.


And here are some close ups of some of the puppet faces he has made.  Some were gruesome, others were frightening and others were happy individuals.


Can you imagine the nightmares some young children may have after attending a show?


Some of them not so pretty!


a supercilious fellow


I wonder what the joke was?


The man who carved the heads was also the main performer.


Up to 13 other family members make up an orchestra of drums, gongs…


… and wooden xylophones.


It had been a fascinating visit to this place of unusual craft and local cultural entertainment. And we had a rather special farewell from a shy little boy… ta ta!


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Indonesia: Jakarta to Pangandaran; West Java

I was looking forward to leaving the big, sprawling city of Jakarta to spend some time in the Indonesian countryside. We were all in the lobby ready to leave by 07.00 as we had a train to catch to Purwokerto City some 4 hours and 50 minutes away.

It seemed to take forever to pass through the suburbs of Jakarta, but once clear, the train put on a reasonable turn of speed.


The train had to cross a mountain range and this is when we first experienced some heavy, but brief, rain showers.


After eating lunch on board, we arrived at Purwokerto just as another tropical thunderstorm broke. As luck would have it, our carriage was just clear of the platform canopy, so we got absolutely soaked getting off the train… but, as the rain was warm, it didn’t matter much.


We still hadn’t reached our destination of Pangandaran… that was still a longish trip by mini-bus away. It rained heavily on and off during the transfer and was still raining very heavily on arrival at the hotel.

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Most of us were hot, still wet through and very thirsty. So, when we realised that there was a little cafe across the road out the back of the hotel, that overlooked the beach and water, and that it sold cold beer, then there was no debate as to where we would go next! All but three of us ended up having our dinner there as well. Two large bottles of Bintang beer and a plate of special fried rice with a fried egg on top cost the princely sum of AUD14.


And that was the view! The rickety old jetty (I use the word loosely!) partly obscures a fishing fleet tied up just beyond.  And the horizon? – there was none, it was lost in the rain. We hoped for better weather on the morrow!


And next morning the rain had cleared and the resort’s swimming pool looked very enticing, but, some time in it had to wait until later in the day. We had this part of West Java to explore first. Our first stop for the day was at a home business where the family worked together to make krupuk, a product we know as rice or prawn crackers. The whole manufacturing process was fascinating to watch.


On getting out of our vehicle, we were met by the sight of small flexible woven split bamboo trays covered in little circles of extruded goo. We were to find out later what these were made from. They were laid out to the edge of the road to dry in the sun.


One of us wasn’t looking where he was going and began trudging across the drying trays. The neat little circles stuck to the underneath of his sandals like chewing gum.  It wasn’t the entry the group wanted to be remembered for!

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We went into a largely open building where the actual making of the goo took place. A wooden tank was being filled with water, a fish slurry and tapioca flour.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 8.14.11 PM

This was stirred by a guy with a large wooden paddle.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 8.28.14 PMWhile this was happening, a fire was rekindled under two 200 litre discarded gasoline drums filled with water. The fire was fed with rice husks. Nothing is wasted in this subsistence culture. And there are no Occupational, Health and Safety rules here… just plain old ‘be careful’, and take responsibility for your actions.

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As the water in the drums began to boil, a large plastic tube was introduced into the tank. Steam everywhere. In such a hot, humid climate this was doubly hot, sweaty work!

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The steam heated and cooked the slurry which was constantly moved around in the trough by the young man. This part of the process took about 20 minutes.


After this initial cooking, the gelatinous goo was extruded onto the perforated trays we saw drying in the sun as we arrived.


After drying, the pieces are fried at a relatively low temperature in a large wok filled with cooking oil. They are then tossed into a much larger wok, filled with hotter oil, to finish off the cooking. The hot oil puffs the crackers up into the familiar tasty crisp we know. The heat for these two cooking processes was also generated from a fire fed with rice husks.


The cooked crackers are then put into long, narrow plastic bags and tied shut. This little family business produced two kinds of krupuk, a white one and a yellow one. 


The routine of this little guy’s  normal day was somewhat changed by our arrival. He seemed somewhat bemused… but we had enjoyed our visit to his family. Seeing people work so hard to make a living, makes you feel very grateful for our lifestyle.

More of our explorations anon


All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

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