2016
06.30

BROMO

ET AT VIEWPOINT

ET AT VIEWPOINT

SYNOPSIS:  About a sunrise (or the lack thereof), a new group of fellow travelers, and about a hike up smoking Mount Bromo.

I am treating myself to a nature break.  Mount Bromo, a steadily-sweltering, semi-active volcano is part of a spectacular volcanic landscape best and more fully appreciated with a bit more sun. But, getting up at 3:00 AM to board a jeep to head off to the sunrise viewing point was still worth it, even though there was not much of a sunrise at all. 

I was the last to board the jeep — a French couple, a Dutch couple and a young German guy were already on board.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.29
HOS Cigarette Labels

HOS CIGARETTE LABELS

SYNOPSIS:  The story of the House of Sampoerna.  How I missed the one thing worth doing in Surabaya.  About my first train experience from Surabaya to Probolinggo.   Meeting some fellow travelers. 

Surabaya is not exactly a tourist destination but the Lonely Planet recommends one promising thing:  A free city tour organized by the House of Sampoerna.  I admit that the neighborhood I arrived in last night scared me a bit.  I needed some safe place to acclimate and get started.  This sounded just right. 

The tour leaves three times a day.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.28
BOY LEAVING MOSQUE

BOY LEAVING MOSQUE

SYNOPSIS:  About a dusty Sultan’s palace.  Visiting the Mega Mosque in Samarinda.  Retour from the jungle to Balikpapan.  Arrival in the metropolis of Surabaya. 

Within 45 minutes of driving to the center of Surabaya, I passed 4 McDonalds, 3 Pizza Huts, 3 KFCs, and 2 ACE Hardware stores, not to count multiple world banks and other recognizable brand names of all sorts.  The 8-lane main road (four going in each direction) was lined with oversized monitors issuing travel safety warnings and flashing various ads in between.  There were neon-lit fountains and digital ads everywhere, and a downtown with numerous high-rises.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.27
LIFE AT THE RIVER-7

DAYAK EMBROIDERY

SYNOPSIS:  Mainly photos today.  🙂

I am giving myself a little break writing.  Instead, I will compile two photo essays on the images I will take with me from Kalimantan.  Much may have been lost in the Dayak culture (headhunting, for one, will not be missed!).  But there also was much to see and many wonderful people live there.  In the first set of images you will see glimpses of daily life as I observed it from my boat.   People washing clothes, bathing, buying petrol in plastic containers, preparing fish in various ways, and just socializing.

Through the second set of images, you might get a better sense of the living conditions.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.26
JAYLANI'S FAMILY

JAYLANI’S FAMILY

SYNOPSIS:  About an overall disappointing day which turned at the end, after all. 

Wifi!  With the overall absence of internet cafes, young adults without facebook or email, the last thing I expected in this little river village Muara Muntai was wifi at this now one-year-old guest house.  It goes to show what money can buy.  The guy who owns it is the richest man in town and I was told this is the only wifi spot anywhere in most likely a 200 km radius.  Well, maybe only 100 km, but close. 

But if this guy can get it, then others could, too.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.25

DAYAK

LH VIEW FROM GALLERY

LH VIEW FROM GALLERY

SYNOPSIS:  About mosque broadcasts.  About visiting two Longhouses.  About an almost funeral.   Meeting a fellow traveler from Germany. 

The last thing I would have expected in the Dayak village we reached tonight — a predominantly animist culture with some overlay of Christianity  is a nonstop blare from the local mosque…  It is Ramadan and mosque services during this period are more extensive, often in excess of one or even two hours  but there are hardly any Muslims here.  The ones who are here have moved from other areas in Kalimantan or Java.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.24

RAINFOREST

MONKEYS

MONKEYS

SYNOPSIS:  About a ride into the rain forest, wild animals dead and alive, an unusual lake, mosque broadcasts, and a few other things.

Orang Utans or Dayaks…  that was the question I had to decide.  From all I could tell, a trip to see wild Orang Utans in the National Park is a spectacular experience and one unique to Kalimantan.  But I had to make choices and as an art historian, teaching cultural studies and not biology, I had to decide in favor of the Dayaks.  I know, I will  always question this decision, perhaps even regret it someday or very soon, but both trips were not in the cards for financial reasons and for time constraints.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.23
COAL CONVEYOR BELT

COAL CONVEYOR BELT

SYNOPSIS:  About an all nighter at Denpassar, one airport, two flights and two new guides.

I don’t even remember when I last worked through an entire night.  It’s been ages!  I had all intentions to sleep a good six hours, but what at home and with fast internet would have been a task of 6 hours — that’s what I had planned for — turned into 13.  And as I am heading into the rain forest where even a bad internet connection is unlikely, I just could not bear the thought of not being caught up on all fronts:  grading for my class, posting for the blog, uploading photos, answering emails.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.22

RICE FIELDS

untitled-3

ET AT RICE FIELD

FOTO ESSAY #2 RICE FIELDS:

Rice here as in many other parts of the world is sacred.  Indonesian rice is considered superior to other rice, which is also cultivated.  It takes 5 months between planting and harvest, whereas the “other” rice only takes 3 months.  That’s what I learned today.  Rice takes communities to plant and harvest and it is a staple food.  Rice takes water  another life-giving force and it is not surprising that water sources and rice fields around here both are always lined with deities carved in stone.  At times, statues tower in the middle of rice fields and everywhere the small, hand-made, perishable offerings are found.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

2016
06.21

FOODS OF BALI

SOUP

SOUP

FOTO ESSAY #1:  FOOD:  As many of you know, I am not a cook.  I apologize much for the generic labels of this variety of Indonesian food.  To me, the aesthetics of preparation are the most amazing feature of Indonesian cooking.   But on top of that  every one of these dishes was delicious.  Lemon grass, ginger, coconut milk and oil are essential ingredients.  And it never ceases to amaze me what combinations of foods they come up with and the number of dishes they can make out of single banana.

Enjoy this feast for the eye.

P.S.  I have not yet eaten at fancy places yet.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY