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From Indonesia - Aus Indonesien

Balige, Indonesia

Horas everyone!
My first and I guess only entry from Indonesia, as I will spend my last week here traveling around the northern part of Sumatra island...
But don't worry, from next week on I plan to ahev a lot of updates from Japan, but about the last two and a half months, as I hope to have time and internet connection enough to reflect and think about everything I ahve experienced....
Indonesia so far has been very challenging and good at the same time, as we are settled close to the Toba lake in the Batak community there are virtually only christians around, and we are staying with two christian pastors, so there is a lot of worship, religion and also talk/discussion about the latter...
Also teh two pastors are working in an institution for mentally and physically disabled people, which has been a great test to me and given me a lot of gaining, valuable and good experiences...
I am looking forward to Japan very much and I will write longer and I hope more informative once I get there (also there will be more pictures!!).
Thanks to all who have been checking my blog even though I update it so infrequently and please hang on with me for another 2 weeks to get my impressions sorted out and in order.
All the best, your Malte

Horas alle miteinander,
endlich mein erster, und wohl auch einziger, Eintrag aus indonesien, da wir die naechste, letzte, Woche den Nroden der Insel Sumatra "erkunden" werden. Indonesien war bisher sehr interessant aber auch eine Herrasuforderung, wir sind hier am Toba See, und die dominante Ethnie hier sind die Batak, die eigentlich einheitlich christlich sind und wir leben mit zwei PAstoren zusammen, das heisst viel Beten, Gottesdienst, Religion und Diskussionen ueber letzteres, es ist nicht immer einfach, aber es ist auch sehr bereichernd und ich habe zum ersten Mal seit Jahren wieder das Interesse an der christlicehn Religion gefunden, zwar nciht als glaeubiger, aber als interessierter aussenstehender.
Diese beiden Pastoren arbeiten in einer Institution fuer Geistig und koerperlich Behinderte Menschen und vieles and der Erfahrung im Umgang/Alltag mit ihnen hat mir sehr viel gebracht, meine Einstellugn udn Herrangehensweise zu Behinderungen geandert und mir genrells ehr gut getan.
Ich bleibe einen ausfuehrlichen Bericht, mal wieder, schuldig, ich werde aber baldigst aus Japan schreiben, gebt mir nur ein-zwei Wocehn zeit um meien Gedanken zu sammeln, verarbeiten udn schreiben und dann gibt es mehr Berichte und auch Bilder zu bestaunen ;)
Bis dahin hoffe ich das ihr weiterhin gnaedig seit mit einem so unfleisiggem Schreiberling udn ich bedanke mich fuer alle die noch ab udn zu hier reinlesen!
Alles liebe aus Indonesien,
der Malte

permalink written by  Malle on June 12, 2008 from Balige, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Asian Adventures
tagged Indonesia, Traveling, Balige and Hephata

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Hello World

Hawaiian Beaches, United States


permalink written by  onesimpletech on November 2, 2009 from Hawaiian Beaches, United States
from the travel blog: Hello World
tagged Bali, Indonesia, Jakarta and Guam

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Where I was before Osaka

Jakarta, Indonesia

Before I went to Osaka, I was just another career woman having a blast in the modern, yet still very wild, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. You see the photos? Modern and wild at the same time!

Found out from the company that I will be going to Osaka for three months, possibly more. I was a little worried at first, because I speak zero Japanese. Even though I have visited Japan before, it was always with my mother who speaks the language fluently, and I usually went to Tokyo. Osaka was totally foreign to me.

Now that I've been here for a month, I'm starting to feel a little bit more comfortable. At least most folks here are nice. I wouldn't want to be greeted with rudeness from strangers. Hospitality is totally important, and Japan is numero uno (or at least one of the very top) in that department.

permalink written by  milkita on December 1, 2009 from Jakarta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Kansai For Business and Pleasure
tagged Indonesia and Jakarta

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Where you from? Where you go?

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Coming from KL and landing in Yogyakarta [Indonesia] was quite an experience, we knew it would be the moment an Indonesian woman tried to climb on our backs waiting to check-in at KL airport! Then when we touched down in the city [one of only two airplanes on the tarmac] we discovered that each visa would cost $25, 20 Euro or a lot of local currency, make that over 500,000 Rupiah... ...not easy to count! Wanting to keep the only 20 euro notes we had, we decided to explain that we didn't have any. Thankfully they took my passport and let me go to an ATM on the other side which meant being stopped rather abruptly by security and trying to work out how many zeros to press on the cash machine! Twenty minutes later Lenaic came looking for me and eventually we got our bags, a taxi and out of the airport! We also discovered a new kind of heat!

Partant de KL nous savions deja que l'Indonesie allait etre une sacree experience! Dans la queue pour enregistrer nos bagages, une indonesienne qui se trouvait derriere nous montait litteralement sur nos sacs a chaque avancee! sympa la proximite et toujours avec un grand sourire! Nous avons atterri a Yogjakarta (Indonesie), petit aeroport (2 avions le notre compris), ou il a fallu payer le visa d'entree. Et la ca a ete un peu complique car nous n'avions ni dollar, ni monnaie locale... expliquant notre histoire a la douane, ils laissent passer Brian en gardant son passeport pour qu'il aille retirer de l'argent au distributeur. Mais nous n'etions pas familiarise avec le ruppiah qui est environ a 13000 pour 1 euro... ca a ete un peu la galere!

Fortunately, the day before we called through and booked ourselves the unknowing certainty of a guesthouse in the southern part of the city, some guesthouse it turned out to be for our first nights in the country! As you can see from the pictures; it had a gorgeous garden with pool, lovely Java Coffee every morning and best of all - the superb staff who worked there and made our stay so great. At a price of 5-7 euros each per day what can you say, Prambanan Guesthouse - it's well recommended by us!

Mais heureusement qu'on avait reserve une superbe guest house au sud de la ville, avec jardins exotiques et piscine (pour 5 a 7 euros par personne par jour) pour nous remettre de nos emotions! Nous avons vraiment apprecie nos premiers jours en Indonesie.

Our time in Yogyakarta was spent walking around the city, relaxing by the pool and visiting Borobudur, a ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist monument. While we were at this famous local monument we were amused by the children and adults who wanted a photo - with us! So we now appear on at least half-a-dozen Indonesian family albums, rather strange but great too! On the way home from Borobudur we stopped off in a beautiful small monastery and took many pictures. We didn't visit Prambanan [another temple] because it was severely damaged in 2006 by an earthquake, in fact much of the city including our guesthouse was reduced to rubble in the same quake - one of the worst to hit Indonesia in recent years.

Nous avons passe notre temps a decouvrir la ville et ses alentours, comme borobudur, un edifice bouddhiste du 9eme siecle duquel on peut voir le mont Merapi (actif)!!! Ce qui a ete deconcertant, c'etait les enfants et les adultes qui tenaient absolument a prendre une photo avec nous... on a jamais compris pourquoi!! on doit bien apparaitre dans une demi douzaine d'albums photos! Nous avons decide de ne pas aller a Prambanan, l'autre fameux temple hindoux des alentours car les 3 principaux temples ont ete endommages par le tremblement de terre de 2006 et sont encore fermes pour restauration. en effet, Jogjakarta a ete devastee par ce tremblement de terre et les photos affichees de notre guest house quasi en ruine font froid dans le dos!

We bought our first souvenirs, enjoyed the quieter streets around the Sultan's Palace and discovered that the becak drivers don't do 'change', even if they say they do! Another thing we had to get used to was the Indonesian welcome as we walked along the streets; "Hello. Where you from? Where you go?" ...all in one go! It was quite interesting to confuse them with "France" and "England" although it often depended how we felt at the time.

They weren't harmful though and everything passed without incident. In fact we found a lot of them to be really helpful and just taking the opportunity to practice their English. There are not so many foreigners in this city and most of them are from the Netherlands or Belgium it seems! A nice 3-day stay to welcome us to Indonesia, open our eyes to the colours and sights while also marking the beginning of our 30 day voyage through the country by land and sea.

Le jour d'apres, nous avons achete nos premiers souvenirs et avons continue de nous ballader dans les petites rues de la ville, surtout dans le quartier du palais du sultan, "Kraton", au marche aux oiseaux puis avons assiste a une demonstration de fabrication de marionnettes faites en peau de buffle. Nous avons aussi vecu notre premiere petite arnaque sur le chemin du retour. Quand on s accorde avec un conducteur de becak (comme un pousse pousse) sur le prix et qu'il nous dit qu'il a la monnaie... et ben faut pas rever!

Sinon les indonesiens sont des gens tres communicatifs, heureux de parler aux etrangers pour pratiquer leur anglais, leur francais ou juste pour aider. nous avons droit toute la journee a : " Hello! where you from? Where you go?" Alors a chaque fois on leur explique, "de France et d'Angleterre" et on raconte notre periple encore et encore! En plus, il n'y a pas beaucoup de touristes pour faire diversion, c'est la saison de la mousson, donc la basse saison! En tout cas, ces premiers jours en indonsie ont ete riches en decouvertes et rencontres et nous donnent le ton pour les 30 jours que ce fameux visa nous procure... affaire a suivre!

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 6, 2010 from Yogyakarta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Indonesia, Yogyakarta and Borobudur

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Clouds Over Bromo!

Probolinggo, Indonesia

After Yogyakarta we took an 11-hour ride to a small mountain village near Mount Bromo, a ride we can only confirm as usually South-East Asian! A driver picked us up in the morning and we wondered if there would be any further passengers - anyone to join us - nope! So we endured a journey east across Java with the magical four-handed magician, he could not only smoke, call people on his phone and drive our mini-bus but also sound the horn every 3 minutes. In fact, sometimes when the roads were clear, when there was nobody there, just us, our driver would find a good reason to press the horn repeatedly, again and again! This is how we reached Yoshi's Hostel/Lodge/Guesthouse/Homestay/Tourist Trap/ whatever you want to call it, i forget! We won't talk too much about that but any place where breakfast is either coffee or toast [BUT NOT BOTH!!!] is going to annoy you further.

Apres Yogjakarta, nous avons pris un minibus direction mont Bromo. Le trajet a dure 11 heures et nous etions seuls a bord! Nous avons eu le temps d'observer la conduite incroyable de ce chauffeur (chauffard): a vive allure, portable dans la main gauche, cigarette dans la main droite et avec le doigt constamment sur le klaxon. Litteralement 11h de klaxon! Ici il sert a indiquer qu'un vehicule arrive, va tourner, s'apprete a doubler ou encore juste pour le plaisir, enfin tout quoi!

Instead we are going to tell you about our great day discovering Mount Bromo and a flight of stairs! We started by waking up at 3am, then we took a 4x4 jeep to the top of a Mount Paranbakan which overlooks Bromo. The idea was to see the sunrise but sadly there were quite a lot of clouds about so we didn't get to see much. However it was a refreshing view considering that we had been either in a busy or on buys roads previously. While waiting there we embarked on some light graffiti and as you can see in the photo we managed to write Bromo! There were some confused Indonesians, Japanese and others nearby wondering why we were [repeatedly] waving the torch around and not looking at the landscape!

Nous sommes finalement arrive le soir a notre guest house sain et sauf. Le lendemain matin, depart 3h30 en 4x4 pour le mont Paranbakan duquel on etait sense voir le leve du soleil derriere le mont Bromo. Je dis sense car il y a malheureusement eu trop de nuages... il parait que c'est fantastique. Pour tuer le temps on s'amusait avec l'appareil photo et Brian a decouvert l'option longue exposition. S'en suit plein de photo graffiti, dont voici un exemple "Bromo" [au dessous]. Pendant que les autres touristes scrutaient l'horizon, immobiles, nous nous agitions dans tous les sens avec notre lampe torche!!

After the 'suncloud' part we made our way back down the mountain and on towards Mount Bromo itself. This was great, an open valley type place with some horses ready to take tired legs to the bottom of the stairs that lead to the crater. We walked and by the time we got to the stairs, we realised that breakfast would have been a good idea if only it had been offered! Anyway, just the stairs to go i guess! Those stairs [the ones you can see in the photos] were a killer, tired legs, slowly realising that you have already been awake for 3 hours and that quite a few stairs remain!

Une fois le soleil leve, nous nous sommes rendu au pied du mont Bromo ou il y avait plein de chevaux prets a faire l'ascension jusqu'au cratere avec des touristes sur le dos! Mais braves que nous sommes, nous l'avons fait a pied (le p'tit dej etant servi au retour a l'hotel, j'avoue que l'energie est venue a me manquer a un moment donne! dur dur mais ca valait le coup!).

However, when you do reach the top it is fantastic! The smells, the backdrop [landscape] and the rest you have can really be appreciated as you start chatting to other people and learning about other places where they have been, an important part of the trip as we are travelling without a guidebook. As we talked to other people, we started to realise where we would go next, the only thing that was already sure was that we were bound for Bali!

Arrive au sommet, la vue etait deja extraordinaire mais encore plus epoustouflant, etait la proximite avec la fumee sortant du cratere et le bruit que cela faisait. On imagine tres bien qu'en 2004 ce volcan est entre en eruption! Apres toutes ces emotions, nous sommes rentres a l'hotel (pour prendre le petit dejeuner surtout!! A ce moment la, il devait bien etre 8h30) et avons attendu quelques heures le bus que nous avions reserve en partance pour Bali.

We went back to Yoshi's, rested and found a random place to get on the internet with a really nice and slightly handicapped guy who ran the place and gave a good insight into real local life. His revelation that he started his business one year ago and that he feared being beaten up because of what he had was quite something! A little sad of course but a reflection of a common theme - it seems that in some places doing well for yourself brings the wrong kind of attention. Having said that he seemed happy that he knew people too and overall it was just great to see the odd child coming in and being able to use his facilities! Oh and for Lenaic there was a very very friendly cat with no name, me and the owner decided to name him 'Glen'.

Pendant ce temps nous sommes alle sur internet dans un petit cyber local et avons discute avec le proprietaire qui a releve que son nouveau business n'etait pas du gout de tout le monde et qu'il avait peur de se faire frapper! Ce qu'on a remarque aussi bien en Malaisie qu'en Indonesie, c'est qu'il n'est pas bon d'afficher sa reussite au yeux de tous.

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 7, 2010 from Probolinggo, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Volcano, Indonesia and MountBromo

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Lovina Beach: Love the Rain!

Singaraja, Indonesia

We left Probolinggo in the early evening, escorted to an executive bus on a main road and we soon fell asleep after a busy day. When we woke up we found ourselves in Bali and heading along the north coast, our destination, Lovina Beach. We arrived around 4.30am and iwere welcomed by the rain that we would get to know very well during our stay! We asked for directions to a guesthouse and then stretched our legs, walking around 5km with backpacks to the place with the sun coming up to our right and the animals waking the locals. Finally we arrived and were met by another guesthouse owner who easily convinced us to stay in his newly finished [and very exclusive] top room, an oppotunity to relax in comfort and take a shower in the outside bathroom with sea view! Nice!

Nous avons quitte Probolinggo par le bus de nuit pour nous reveiller a Bali. Ce qui nous a marque dans le bus, c'est leur facheuse habitude de mettre la clim a fond (alors que la chaleur reste tres supportable, surtout la nuit!) pour ensuite distribuer des couvertures afin que les gens n'aient pas froid!! Nous avons carrement sorti nos sacs de couchage !! Allez comprendre... Nous sommes finalement arrive sur la cote nord a 4h30 a Lovina Beach, sous la pluie, et avons decide de marcher les 5 km qui nous separaient de notre guest house avec nos 15kg sur le dos. Nous avions besoin de nous detendre les jambes et cela nous permettait de decouvrir l'endroit ou nous etions, le temps que le soleil se leve. Enfin arrive, nous avons profite de la salle de bain sur le balcon avec vue sur mer par une bonne douche chaude bien meritee! On adoooooore!

To be honest, there was not a lot to do in Lovina Beach itself and th best part was renting a moped and shooting off into the hills to discover the GitGit Waterfalls, temples and surrounding countryside. This option is also much cheaper and convenient than taking organised trips with either the guesthouse or another local agency. The waterfalls were nice but better not talk about 'the hammock'! The temples were everywhere and after a while it became much more interesting just to roam the county roads and discover the places we would otherwise not have seen.

We also had the fortune to make it to the lakes 'danau tamblingan' and 'danau buyan' just before the rain arrived. We had a great lunch and then the heavens opened, meaning we had to stay inside for an hour before getting soaked anyway on te journey back. After ten minutes your feet and everything are soaked and there really is no getting away from it. Then there are the lorries which cover you in a blanket of water off the road too. It was an experience and introduction to the real 'rainy season'!

Lovina Beach n'etait pas vraiment ce qu'on attendait... endroit touristique pour aller nager avec les dauphins sans charme. Alors nous avons decide de louer un scooter pour decouvrir les alentours: la cascade Git-Git, les temples et les beaux points de vue du haut des montagnes proche des lacs tramblingan et buyan. Tout se passait tres bien nous mangions a l'exterieur, admirant la vue sur les lacs... jusqu'au moment ou des enormes nuages gris arrivent en un rien de temps, et une minute apres : pluie tropicale!!! hum les pates (mie goreng) a la pluie!

Optimistes, nous avons decide d'attendre a l'interieur du restaurant que la pluie se calme un peu... en vain... et il fallait bien rentrer! Alors sans aucun equipement de pluie (bien sur c'est toujours comme ca) nous avons repris la route en evitant l'aquaplanning. Nous avons mesure ce que l'expression "trempe jusqu'aux os" voulait dire! Mais a ce moment la, nous n'avions pas encore rencontre le gros camion qui venait en sens inverse... deja qu'on y voyait plus rien et qu'on avait la bouche grand ouverte pour respirer, un gros SPLACH d'eau nous a totalement submerge!! c'etait tellement enorme qu'on s'arretait plus de rire (nerveusement a ce stade!).

Equipped with our new raincoats [imagine a small tent on wheels] we decided to go west along the northern coast of Bali until Permuteran. In the morning we stopped at the local hot springs for little dip and the chance to meet local people. Lenaic felt a little uncomfortable in her swimming costume so she decided to keep some clothes on and not make any cultural statements. After this we got back on the road, passing through Pulaki and then finally landing in Permuteran, where we enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours on a nice beach and with some gorgeous food! The sun beating down and still no sign of the rain, we returned to Lovina and saw out the night at the restaurant which had become our little reliable place!

The usual entertainment was provided by the two young lads who served us each night and on the first night brought us home. They got the chance to practice both their English and French and we got a small insight into a backstreet but local place to eat, of course complete with cats and flying insects! The next morning it was time to leave but not without seeing the street dog which followed us for a good 30 minutes along the main road one last time. A sad sight but a reminder of another way of life!

Equipes de nos nouveaux ponchos de pluie, nous avons decide d'aller explorer la cote nord-ouest de Bali. En chemin nous nous sommes arretes aux hot springs, une source d'eau chaude dans laquelle vont se baigner les locaux. Par pudeur j'ai garde un vetement par dessus mon maillot de bain car les femmes se baignaient toutes habillees! et hop, de nouveau sur le scooter en partance pour Pulaki et Permuteran ou nous avons profite d'une belle plage. Magnifique! C'est la ou nous aurions du aller! Mais non, il nous a fallu repartir vers Lovina sous un soleil de plomb (toujours pas de pluie...finalement ca rafraichit la pluie!)

Nous sommes directement alle a ce qui etait devenu notre repere du soir, "kiki restaurant" avec ses insectes, ses chats et ses 2 serveurs mythiques qui ne loupaient pas une occasion de nous parler pour pratiquer leur francais et anglais. Ils etaient bien sympa. Le lendemain matin il etait deja temps de repartir mais pas avant d'avoir revu le chien sauvage qui nous avait suivi durant une demi-heure la veille le long de la rue. C'etait triste mais reflete bien la realite de Bali qui est une ile remplie de chiens qui vivent sur le bord de la route a la recherche d'ordures. Le probleme est que ces chiens dorment sur la route, traversent a tout bout de champs et qu'un accident est tres vite arrive.

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 10, 2010 from Singaraja, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged MotorBike, Waterfalls, Bali and Indonesia

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The town of meeting people and shopping!

Ubud, Indonesia

After Lovina and all the rain we arrived in Ubud, a small cultural shopping city north of Denpassar, Bali. On the bus we met a couple of French guys, a couple of Dutch girls and a German guy, Sirko. Together with Sirko we checked into a guesthouse with a swimming pool on the main street [Monkey Forest Road] and then started to discover some of the best food had on the trip so far! After the delicious curry in Permeturan i thought it would be difficult to find better on the island, however over the three days in Ubud i can't recall eating or drinking one bad thing! Gorgeous food and lots of coffee milkshakes and really fresh juices!

On the first day we did a bit of shopping in the famous tourist market there and then in the evening we went for a meal together with some Dutch people we had met in the guesthouse in Yogyakarta. We also started to spend a lot of time sorting laundry [after the rain] and the next part of our trip, leaving Bali and reaching somewhere in Flores [...and somehow more importantly!].

Apres Lovina, Ubud! La ville des rencontres! Dans le bus nous avons rencontres des francais, des hollandaises et surtout Sirko, un allemand. Nous sommes reste dans le meme homestay, proche de la foret aux singes, et avons passe nos 2 jours a profiter ensemble de la bonne nourriture et des fantastiques cocktails pur jus a tomber par terre. Le premier jour, nous sommes alle au marche (pour les touristes hein) faire quelques emplettes. Dur dur les negociations! Sinon Ubud est une ville tres agreable ou il fait bon se promener. On s'y sent bien. Et vu que c'est la ville des rencontres, nous sommes tombes par hasard sur 2 couples de hollandais qu'on avait rencontre a Yogjakarta!

On the second day of our stay, we rented a scooter and headed off into the country surrounding Ubud and in truth it didn't start that well. We went to a place called the elephant cave and neither did we see any elephants or enjoy it. It just felt like on big tourist trap with people on every corner asking you either to pay them to be their guide or to enter their 'different' temple! There wasn't anything that special about it and the most amusing part was watching a couple of europeans doing some yoga/meditation by a pool as their master had a shifty cigarette while sitting on a stone and giving the odd chant. Why would you do that in a place like that? Serenity i think not. However the afternoon got much better, plane ticket confirmed to Maumere [Flores] for the next day and the discovery of the places where they make much of the stuff for sale on the market and stalls.

While asking for directions we were invited in by a lovely lady who made plates like we had bought at GitGit waterfalls [70Rph]. She showed us the processing and even let me break a few things trying, then at a very reasonable price she sold us four coasters that we appreciate greatly. The real price of the plate was revealed as 15Rph and the starting price of the stall seller had been 150Rph! On the way home we stopped off at a sublime cafe overlooking a rice field and as the rain came and the rainbows formed, we sat back and enjoyed a few drinks!

Then on the way home i reaslied that i had lost my wallet, that sinking natural feeling that is confirmed on opening the bag! We went back as night fell and the rain fell - thankfully after another scare and breaking their toilet door - Lenaic discovered the wallet, saved me and landed me a sarong from a lady who had helped for 40Rph!!! Thankfully a good end to the day was completed with more great food in Sirko's company and in the morning we had a flight to catch...

"Le deuxieme jour, nous avons loue un scooter pour nous balader autour d'Ubud, decouvrir l'elephant cave (bof-bof sauf pour voir des europeens en pleine seance de yoga/meditation avec un maitre et tout...dans un lieu tres touristique), un vieux chaudron (qu'on a jamais trouve), et les fameuses rizieres en terrasses (magnifiques). De petites routes en petites routes, on s'est un peu perdu. Et c'est en demandant notre chemin qu'on est tombe sur une dame tres gentille qui tenaient un atelier de fabrication d'assiettes au decor de mozaique, justement les meme qu'on avait achete quelques jours plus tot ( beaucoup plus cher que son prix de vente, degoutes!). Elle nous invite a venir voir le processus de fabrication, Brian s'essaie a couper une plaque de verre pour en faire des petits bouts, pas facile, c'est un coup de main a prendre!

Une fois notre chemin retrouve, nous nous sommes arrete boire un milkshake (encore!) dans un endroit avec vue panoramique sur des rizieres. Jusque la tout allait bien mais alors qu'on rentrait sur Ubud, Brian se demande ou est son portefeuille....aie aie aie, il ne l'a pas! Et hop de retour a l'endroit du milkshake...qui entre temps avait ferme! On alerte un voisin qui gentillement nous aide. Il verifie dans les toilettes en demontant la serrure...rien. Par chance, il etait la ou on s'etait assis... ouf!"La femme du voisin n'a cependant pas perdue le nord, elle est arrivee avec ses sarongs a vendre! Brian lui en a pris un histoire de remercier.

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 13, 2010 from Ubud, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Shopping, Bali, Indonesia, Ubud and Scooter

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Dino Lopez: A Guide to Flores

Maumere, Indonesia

While in Ubud we had to make a familiar but often difficult decision for any traveller, where do we go next? Considering that we had 19 days left on our visa we chose to fly two hours eastwards to Maumere, which is the principal town on the magnificent and less touristic island of Flores. The flight was quite an experience, they gave me full responsibility for the emergency exit and we were the only plane at the two tiny airports where we landed but it actually went much better than we thought. Safe and sound at the other side we met two more of the very few westerners on the plane, a French couple who like us were between luggage reclaim and taxi. A taxi is never easy when landing as a backpacker at an Asian airport and we were soon surrounded with shouts of "Hello meeesta!". To our Surprise one man was ushered our way and in exceptionally good English we started to chat, his name was Dino Lopez.

The Dino Lopez who became our guide for the next 10/11 memorable days! On the first night and after some strange goings on we settled down and started to consider his proposition to take us across the island as a group of four. Thanks to a little internet research, an evening meal, a prior passenger from New Zealand who was hanging out at his place and finally his experience of living in Amsterdam for more than three years - we said yes! The next few entries will take you through our adventure, the people, places and events that made Flores very very memorable. We also promise to put lots of photos to make you jealous - especially near the end! ;)

Apres Ubud, nous ne savions pas vraiment ou aller et avons decide au dernier moment de nous laisser tenter par l'ile de Flores, beaucoup moins touristique! Des que nous avons atteri a Maumere, nous avons fait la connaissance d'un couple de francais qui comme nous, ne savaient pas trop ce qu'ils allaient faire sur cette ile. Et c'est la que Dino Lopez est apparu, telle la providence!

Apres mure reflexion, Dino est devenu notre guide touristique/ chauffeur durant ce memorable periple de 9 jours de Maumere a Labuan Bajo.

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 14, 2010 from Maumere, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Indonesia, Flores and DinoLopez

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The Nature of Tradition

Ende, Indonesia

The trip got started immediately as within a an hour we had arrived at a Gypsy fishing village outside Maumere. Here the Bugis [a community from Sulawesi island] build there boats and the Bajo build the houses, the result is that together they live in a wooden craftsman's paradise. They are a poor community but their richness is certainly in the strength of their community which only established itself in this particular place around 15 years ago. The children where everywhere, showing us how to walk the stilt-raised platforms which connected the village. The sight of the craftsmen at work, the smell of the seafish and the sound of "Hello meeeesstaa!" intensifying around each corner contributed to the experience greatly.

Le voyage a Flores a debute par la visite d'un village de gitans/pecheurs pas tres loin de Maumere. Ils se deplacent de region en region en fonction de la peche. Ils sont installes ici depuis 15 ans mais viennent de l'ile de Sulawesi. 2 communautes vivent ensemble: les Bugis qui construisent les bateaux et les Bajos, les maisons. Vu que chacune a besoin de l'autre, les gens vivent en harmonie. Le tsunami a aussi devastes ce village sur piloti. Pour leur venir en aide, les hollandais leur ont construit des habitations plus haut dans la montagne. Mais c'etait sans comprendre l'ame des gitans qui ont construit de nouveau le village sur l'eau (ces maisons sont encore vides aujourd'hui!).

Within a short time we found ourselves in the midst of another traditional village called Sikka. This time their traditions were very much land-based, more specifically they were Ikat weavers and true practitioners of an art passed down the generations. The ladies soon heard that we were in the village and just as the rain started they gathered us into a small hut and gave us some coffee while delicately displaying their work and goods. The funniest moment was when the head-lady snapped at the others to keep back and save the selling until after we had seen the process, as Dino told us anyway! It was really nice sitting there surrounded by these ladies, they were really friendly and transformed our environment completely.

Ensuite, direction Sikka un village bien connu pour la qualite de son artisanat "Ikat" qui se transmet de generation en generation par les femmes. Elles font principalement des habits (echarpes, jupes, etoles...). Nous avons ete bien recu: abris pour la pluie, chaises, cafe... sur les ordres de la chef du groupe (qui ne rigolait pas!). Brian s'est essaye a battre le coton pour le rendre plus doux, elle a dit qu'il etait nul car pas assez de force dans le geste! Ahahah

The rain cleared and we went outside where they proceeded to demonstrate some of the tedious and incredibly numerous stages of the process. It was very interesting to see the work they put into just one item over weeks and more often, months. The animals and children passed around us and eventually the sales part could begin - i have a magnificent souvenir of looking at each lady's work and enjoying the banter about colour, style and of course, price! One quiet lady had something attractive enough to part us with 50,000Rph and a great afternoon was had.

Nous avons pu voir le processus de fabrication, manuel bien sur et aussi que pour les pigments, ces femmes savent se servir des richesses de la nature qui les entoure. On ne se rend plus compte de tout ca de nos jours! Ni de la minutie et du temps que la fabrication peut prendre!

If this wasn't enough for one day we stopped for something to eat at Paga Beach [probably one of the most impressive beaches i have ever been to] and this man cooked us a delightful Mie Goreng. The force of the waves and the fact that nobody was there made it all the more forceful. I would love to go back there! By the end of the day, we made it to Moni, settled in for the night and began our introduction to the local Indonesian wildlife!

Nous nous sommes arretes manger dans un endroit magnifique, Paga beach qui est une plage deserte ou cet homme nous a cuisine un mie goreng. Brian en a profite pour se baigner, il avait la mer pour lui tout seul et a bien apprecie!

permalink written by  Lenameets50 on January 15, 2010 from Ende, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Indonesia & Malaysia et al 2010
tagged Indonesia, Flores, DinoLopez, GypsyVillage, IkatWeaving and PagaBeach

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toraja culture

Torajabernah, Indonesia

“We bury the babies in this tree so the wind can waft away their souls”, explained Stefan, our local guide, as we stared up at the baby-grave tree in Kembira, Sulawesi. Its trunk was patch-worked with little niches, each the poignant final resting place of a baby, dead before cutting its first tooth. Death and burial, ruled by a complex set of long-established customs, are an ever-present feature of life in Tana Toraja, an isolated, supposedly Christian, though, in fact, predominantly animist community in the centre of this little-known, octopus-shaped, Muslim island in Eastern Indonesia.

Arriving in Tana Toraja was like stumbling upon a lost valley. Hidden behind a steep wall of mountains and unknown to Europeans until the twentieth century, its peaceful, pastoral landscape could, at first glance, be taken for Austria: green fields dotted with steep-roofed houses and animals grazing against a backdrop of misty mountains. On closer inspection though you see buffaloes, not cows, wallowing in lush rice-fields and houses that are not exactly your typical Alpine chalets. They are called “tongkonan” and are lavishly carved and painted black, red and orange in intricate patterns. Their curved roofs soar skywards, symbolizing the prows of the ships that carried distant ancestors to the island long ago. They can be neither bought nor sold but pass from generation to generation. The older ones proudly display rows of buffalo horns. Why? I found out as soon as I attended my first funeral.

permalink written by  triejie on January 24, 2010 from Torajabernah, Indonesia
from the travel blog: toraja culture
tagged Culture, Indonesia and Toraja

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