Stranger in Indonesia (Java and Bali)

First of all: what a blessing it is to have such a very good, talented, experienced guide, teller of stories, such a great ambassador for his country, mr. Sutjipto Widodo!!! (When you read this, thank you again!!). Beside the beautiful country he certainly had a part in making this trip an unforgettable experience.

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How exciting: the first trip I took that made me cross the equator, to a tropical country. First impressions of Java were in Jakarta, the capital city of indonesie. This city reminded me of Cairo, but than the modern version of it. Here everyone seemed to have a car or a scooter. Maintaining your house does not have priority, washing your car or scooter does.

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In Jakarta, as in Bandung, the best houses are those remaining from the Dutch period (before 1949). You also can find lots of influences from the vernacular architecture. Visit of the tea plantation at Malabar and its kampong only underlined the importance of the Dutch influence since 1602, starting with the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

Traveling from Bandung to Yogjakarta by train gives a wonderful way to explore Java. Java has lots of agriculture. Sawa’s for rice, teaplants, banana’s and other fruits and spices, and production woods. As a result of the vulcanos the earth is very vertile. Yogjakarta is a beautiful green city. The more you get to the east of java, the greener and less crowded it gets.

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From Yogjakarta you can visit Borobodur and, which I found even more impressive, Prambanan. Prambanan is a series of buddhist tempels containing hindu statues in it. The temples are still being rebuilt from several eartquakes, and they are still looking for ca 70% of the stones, which may be used for houses and other buildings in the neigbourhood. The temples make manifest of the tolerance between the different beliefs.

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Exploring Yogjakarta by bike is a beautiful and easy way to meet the nice people of java. Do not forget to visit the head of Becak (Becak is a traditional bike cab). He has an atelier for batik, where he and his students expose and sell their batik art, really beautiful stuff. The man calls himself Picasso, after the master of modern art.

Malang, a city more to the east  of java, has a lovely citycenter with a townhall at a fine round square, surrounded by impressive waringin trees (mystical trees, symbol for tree of life). There also are a large bird- and flower market. Having a bird is one of the things on Java believed to receive hapiness in life. Others are having faith, having a family and having a good kris (ceremonial Indonesian knife).

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From Malang it is easy to visit vulcan mt Bromo. Visiting mt Bromo (2329 m) gave a miraculous view over the different mountains, one of them mt Semaru (3676 m). Both vulcans are active at the moment, what made it even more exciting to climb mt Bromo and look in the vulcanic crater, and of course offer some flowers to the Gods.

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In kalibaru we visited a plantation where we could see planst of coffee, cacao, clovces, cinnamon, ginger, kurukuma, nutmeg, and so on. It was a nice trip and good to see how these spices actually grow. From kalibaru to the coast, where we took a boat to Bali from ketapang.

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How magnificent looks Bali!! what a wonderful isle! it is not that large, but extremely warm and beautiful, it mad me feel like being in paradise!with a lack of words to describe the beauty just some pictures 😉