Indonesia: from Yogyakarta to Minggu

Another one of those unfortunate days awaited us where our timetable was dominated by the railways. The alarm went off at 04.05 as bags had to be packed and in the lobby by 05.00. This was the time breakfast was served as well. We left for the 20 minute drive to the station through the awakening streets of Yogyakarta.

Some morning markets were in full swing with just enough room left between the parked vehicles and stalls for through traffic to get passed. Mayhem in the darkness. Add to the chaos, the muezzins were wailing their call to prayer for all good Muslims from loud speakers atop minarets… perhaps they need to take singing lessons.


Outside the station… note that the name can be spelt either Jogjakarta or Yogyakarta.


Wooden lockers inside the station.


The station sign indicates we were 512km from the capital.


Early morning trade was brisk for the stall holders on the station platforms.


We boarded our train for Minggu at 06.45… right on time, according to my ticket.


There was a three and a half hour ride ahead of us. Lots of people waited for us at the crossing gates… most of them were on bikes of one kind or another.


Away from the city, we passed many newly planted rice paddies.


For kilometre after kilometre there was nothing but flooded rice paddies.

DSC04314.JPGMany trains past us… all sorts of other trains, transporting goods around the country. But as the windows of our train became increasingly unhelpful for photography, I gave up the effort of recording the scenery and just sat back to enjoy the ride.

A mini-bus was waiting for us at Minggu even though we arrived a little late.


On the way to our overnight stop we made a brief ‘loo’ stop at a service station.  Across the road was the local recycling depot… baskets were filled with various items from paper to bottles and plastic. Not as much waste there as we generate in our cities and towns!


Finally, we arrived at our overnight accommodation… an eco-friendly resort that was surrounded by a large garden that was both ornamental and functional as it grew much of the food served in the restaurant. It reminded me very much of a similar place that Jennie and I stayed at in Costa Rica. There were chalets scattered all over the hillside.


Each chalet had a terracotta motive atop it’s roof which related to the chalet’s name.


The accommodation was rather basic with an outside loo and shower enclosed in a private courtyard. There is something rather liberating about getting one’s clothes off in the outdoors to have a shower. The loo was of the Western variety but the ‘shower’ was a large blue tile-lined tank with a dipper. The water was cold and was inclined to take one’s breath away on the first dousing.


A two bedroom/share cabin became my ‘home’ at the resort!


It was Brian’s turn to have the single room and large bed.


Dinner was at the resort’s “Pesto Alas” Restaurant. I gave the resort full marks when beer was specially brought in for us, from who knows where, even though the place was run by Muslims. Mind you, it was the most expensive beer on this trip… with the exception of what we drank in the Sky Lounge on the top of Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.


This was my choice from the somewhat limited, but adequate menu.  Freshly steamed vegetables from the garden, toasted coconut and boiled rice.  Delicious.

More 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


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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.38.13 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 6.38.51 PM.png

Six bricks were made at a time… 

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.26.31 PM.png

…and smoothed off.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.27.46 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.29.00 PM.png

…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.


Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.41.30 PM.png

…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.


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




Indonesia: Cycling Around the Countryside… Tofu Makers

Cycling on through the rice paddies, we came across an amazing old lady.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 6.58.49 PM

We wondered what she was doing in a pile of wood in the midst of a grove of banana trees.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 6.58.12 PM

As we watched, she attacked the branches with a saw.


And after that demonstration, a triumphant, delightful smile.


And before we left her, I couldn’t help taking a quick photo of her feet… never have they seen a shoe. The souls of her feet must be as ‘tough as old boots’… no need for shoes!


A little further on we stopped at a family tofu making enterprise. As you may know, Tofu is made from Soya beans.


The beans were raked and dried on large cloth mats in the sun.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.47.58 PM

 Here, soya beans are being tossed and separated prior to heating and fermenting.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.09.57 AM

The beans are poured into the shute of a grinding machine and mixed with water.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.09.01 AM

What comes out from the bottom is a milky ‘slurry’.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.23.57 AM

There seemed to be vats everywhere… some with the soya ‘slurry’ fermenting.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.50.36 PM

Every vat had a purpose in the ‘production line’.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.59.28 PM

Once ‘cooked’, the mixture was drained through a cloth inside a large wire sieve.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.57.24 PM

Some of the tofu mixture was poured into large, flat dishes to mature.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.51.54 PM

Another mixture was placed into shallow split bamboo trays lined with a porous cloth. Excess water is drained away to leave a fine tofu.  When ready it’s cut into squares…

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.54.56 PM

…and fried…

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.55.39 PM

…in a large wok over a rice husk fire in a mud stove.


And, this wonderful tofu was produced with the simplest of utensils and equipment in hot steamy conditions.  It proves that sterile, air-conditioned facilities are not needed to produce a delicious and safe product.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.17.58 AM

It had been even hotter in the tofu kitchen than outside in the already steamy, hot tropical heat where we found the animals being fed the left over soya plants. Nothing is wasted.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 7.19.12 AM

The goats, in particular, seemed to enjoy this feast.

It was time to get back onto our bikes to peddle on down the road to see what else we would come across in the countryside in Central Java.

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







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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.38.05 PM.png

Rice was being cut by hand.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.39.17 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.34.47 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.33.48 PM.png

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

.Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.32.41 PM.png

Small bundles were prepared for threshing.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.31.12 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.29.21 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.29.52 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 8.15.03 PM

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

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.40.26 PM.png

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

Indonesia: Borobudur Buddhist Temple

We were about to climb the steps to enter Borobudur Buddhist Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site, the world’s largest Buddhist Temple. It is both a shrine to Buddha and a place of pilgrimage. Certainly it attracts a huge number of tourists every year and we needed to get moving before buses arrived and people swarmed all over the place.


A map of such a huge place is always helpful! The Temple has nine platforms, stacked one on top of the other… six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. The base is approximately 118 metres (387 ft) on each side. We would enter from the east, with the newly risen sun at our backs, and exit from the north.


One of the amazing things about this massive ancient 9th Century shrine is that it was lost for many centuries, the stuff of myths and legends.


It was, in fact, buried under ash from the nearby volcanoes… Sundoro-Sumbing and Merbabu-Merapi. Over the following centuries, the jungle took over and the shrine was totally lost to sight. There were many folk stories and beliefs associated with this mythical temple… all telling of bad luck and misery. I guess that any volcanic eruptions that spewed enough ash to cover this enormous shrine must indeed have caused much misery and loss of life in the area, and so given credence to these stories and legends.

The Temple didn’t come to light again until 1814, when some natives told Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java, about its existence. There have been several periods of restoration, the most comprehensive being from 1975 to 1982.

An eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010 also had an affect on the Temple, covering it with a layer of ash up to 2.5cm (1 inch) thick. It was cleaned off fairly quickly but it was feared that the acidic ash might damage the historic site. But, once again it has survived.


Originally, every one of those niches contained a statue of Buddha… 504 in all. But they’re certainly not all there now. Many pieces were stolen or ‘souveniered’.


Some of the original pieces were given away with permission from the British Colonial authorities. And some of those can be seen today in the National Museum of Bangkok. Apparently, in 1896, the then King of Siam, was given permission to take back to Bangkok eight cartloads of sculptures… five Buddha images, two lions, thirty pieces of relief panels, one gargoyle, several motifs from the stairs and gateways, and a guardian statue.

There was even talk of completely taking down the Temple and dividing up the important pieces between museums around the world. However, an archeologist, named Groenveldt, recommended that the Temple be left intact… and for it to be restored. And so it was.


Our verbose guide told us about each Buddha, what it’s pose meant and so on until it all became a blur. I wandered a little away to do some independent photography. After all, I knew that I could learn as much as I needed to about the Temple on the web when I got home where I could concentrate a little bit more on the task at hand. I did not wish to stand around for an hour in the heat being bombarded with information that, quite frankly, under those circumstances goes in one ear and out the other! So, I wandered off, to see what might be worth a photograph in this ancient complex. And here they are!


No mortar is used between the stones of this building.


Many more steps to climb.  The main groups of steps have been encased in a metal framework which in turn supports wooden treads, thereby protecting the stone underneath.


It’s amazing how well the stone sculptures and reliefs have been preserved.  This group of figures are this colour because they were ‘cleaned’.  The cleaning agent discoloured the stone.


Detail of the above photo.


Detail of some of the hundreds of faces carved from stone.


All the friezes tell a story – far beyond my comprehension.


Another frieze, another story.


Yet another intricately carved stupa.


One of the stone heads of Buddha that survived the pillaging.


Not all carving depicted stories or were of Buddha.  Intricate borders were included on most levels.


Although restored to prevent further damage, water is obviously a problem here.


Finally, almost up to the top.


A view of one of the volcanoes that caused the Temple to be lost for so long.


On the upper platform there are seventy-two small bell shaped stupas surrounding one large central stupa. Each stupa is pierced by numerous decorative openings and in each opening sits a statue of Buddha. This section is quite impressive.


And then it was time to go back down all of those steps… this time by the northern steps. And yes, we had beaten the hordes of visitors… not one of them in sight. The process of “in by the eastern steps and out by the northern” was working. First in, first out!

As you climb up and descend these steps, it’s rather obvious that the authorities face a growing problem from the high volume of visitors causing severe wear to the stairs. I guess we all added something to that problem.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.07.34 PM

After the 40km bus ride back to the city, most of the group decided to get off the bus at one end of the major tourist street, Malioboro Street. Here there are many shops and stall holders all tempting the shoppers amongst us to purchase their wares.


Malioboro Street is also famous for it’s horse-drawn carriages and tri-shaws.


Snooze time for a tri-shaw driver!

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.08.17 PM.png

A mobile duster and mat stall in the busy street.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.12.42 PM.png

It was a hive of activity. One stall holder did manage to sell me a tee shirt for the princely sum of IDR 30,000, just a tad over AUD 3… another one for my travel tee collection!


I just had to try a tri-shaw! A fun way to get back to the hotel.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.17.21 PM.png

Other tri-shaws were powered by small motors.

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.16.40 PM.png

The streets were abuzz with the noise of motor bikes… the favoured form of transport in this area. They whizz by the tri-shaws, but everyone seems to know their space!

Safely back at the hotel, and after a shower to wash of the sweat of the day, I caught a taxi across town for a massage. It cost me AUD 8 plus a two dollar tip! It was a good massage, administered by a male, but he did give my calves a real work over. I was quite sure I’d never walk again! However, they actually felt better some hours later after I’d had a bit of a wallow in the pool back at the hotel.  And that was that for me for the day.

More 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

Indonesia: to Borobudur Buddhist Temple

We had all enjoyed the sight of sunrise over the rice paddies. But if we didn’t get a move on, the tourist hordes would descend upon us… for Borobudur Temple is a UNESCO world heritage centre, one of the most visited sites in the whole of Indonesia.


We drove on, leaving the twin volcanoes of Mt Merbabu (3145m), which last erupted in 1797, and Mt Merapi (2911m), smouldering in the morning mist.

Arriving at Borobudur, a local guide joined us to take us around and interpret for us what we were to see. However, I became a little doubtful about what he was telling us when he stopped at a Melaleuca or paperbark tree and told us that it was a Eucalyptus. And no… he didn’t believe me when I said it wasn’t a Eucalyptus. Certainly, the two plants belong to the same botanical family (Myrtaceae) and they do have similar volatile oils in their leaves. BUT, you can’t tell an Aussie that a paperbark is a gum tree! And since horticulture and Australian plants have been my career for many years… Oh, well.

DSC04164.JPGAll that aside, we walked on towards the temple, amazed as we had our first sighting of  the various terraces that make up the giant structure. On the way to it, we walked through the gardens where there were many plants to enjoy and photograph.


One was an intriguing tree I’d never seen before (Maniltoa sp.).


The new leaves are pale as they are yet to start producing chlorophyll.


A tiny mushroom struggled to stay upright in the dewy grass.


…and just because I can’t resist, here’s another photo, same mushroom. This time it looks a little like a worker in the rice paddies with a cone hat!


Arachis sp. is a dense ground cover plant with striking yellow flowers.  The peanuts we eat belong to the same genus.


A well maintained fountain in the well maintained grounds.


One of the gardeners with his barrow and broom.


We were getting closer, but the Temple was still quite a walk away.


A long path with a central garden lead the eye to the main stupa.


The list of “Don’ts” was quite long but very necessary due to the number of visitors.


Having read the rules, our next task was to venture up all those steps to explore this immense structure and discover why it attracts so many visitors every year. More 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











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


All photographs copyright © JT  and 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

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?


All photographs Copyright © JT  and 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

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!


All photographs copyright © JT  and 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

Indonesia: A village in West Java (a)

After our family visit, it was back into the mini-bus to drive to a village where we began an interesting walk.


 The fields were full of people cutting and threshing the rice harvest.


This rice crop had already been harvested and was regrowing.


When we arrived in the village, we saw rice spread out to dry.

In the village we also we saw palm sugar being made, that dark brown sweet and distinctively flavoured sweetener used extensively in Asian cooking. The palm sap is cooked for 3-4 hours before it becomes palm sugar. I didn’t take any photos of this process, it’s a bit uninteresting looking at a slowly bubbling cauldron of dark goo, but I took plenty of other photos as we walked around the village. I’ve added a few of those.


What a peaceful life – the morning chores done – now it’s time to sit and watch the world go by. And on this day, there were some interesting looking foreigners to watch.


We were also the centre of interest for these two little boys. Cute, aren’t they?


A lovely portrait.


Sculptural bracket fungus were growing on a fallen tree branch.


More fungi, this time growing out of the cut end of a tree branch.


Oh what a tangled web! But effective. The hunter watches over its larder.


Who would have thought a spider could be such a work of art!


A mother and her brood.


A big fat snail, something the duck was no doubt looking for.


The outside kitchen of a village house.  I can’t imaging how uncomfortable that chair must be to sit in.


The washing up area of another house.


Perhaps this is a wok full of palm syrup in the early stages of heating to turn it into palm sugar. I hate to think what it might be if it isn’t!


What a wonderful face.  How many stories are there behind those eyes?


Seems every boy makes mud pies, no matter what their heritage is.


A pigeon coop – I could almost smell the pigeon curry! And I could small the poop!


A beautiful bird one day, curry the next!


We were all quite surprised when a pet fruit bat was produced. This friendly bat, called Michael, hung around lapping up the attention…


… and sweat from various peoples hands and foreheads… but not mine!   Although I’ve never been so close to a bat before, and I did have plenty of sweat on my forehead, Michael didn’t get any of it! They are quite remarkable creatures, particularly this friendly fellow.

After this unexpected experience, we continued our walk through the village on our way to visit a family of puppeteers. More of that anon.


All photographs copyright © JT  and 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