Archive for July, 2005

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July 31, 2005

The specific purpose of the weekend was to get up one of the Bandung area’s many volcanos to see the views and check out the crater lakes and hot springs. I’d never seen anything of that sort before. My friend and I spent much of the lovely scenic train ride rereading Lonely Planet and a couple of local mags trying to decide where in the area to stay that would put us close to a decent volcano. In the end, my tea addiction overpowered better-situated guesthouses, so Kawah Puti was the default choice — the only volcano within two hours, or 40 kilometers. But not a bad choice at all. Minimal hiking, magic to the eyes… a winding path eventually allows you to approach the lake, and you glimpse this:

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July 31, 2005

Shortly, this serene, Oz-like lake rolled off to the blue sky in front of us. The emerald-ness is caused somehow by sulphur, of which there is an immense amount, our noses told us.

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July 31, 2005

Now we can see we’re in a volcano crater…

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July 31, 2005

Signs warn people to keep to the paths… but I’ve never been one to listen and spent the rest of the weekend in green-stained sneakers. The ash is treacherous, and potentially life-threatening.

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July 31, 2005

Yes, I’m outdoors in Indonesia at about noon, not sweating, and I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt and two layers… Indeed, spring on Java is in the mountains.

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July 31, 2005

At this market, something about the way this seller’s hands were moving constantly, and quietly within a range of only a few inches from one customer to another to his wares perched on his motorcycle intrigued me. Probably doesn’t quite catch it in the pic.

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July 31, 2005

Vilalges here are called “kampungs”, and the word carries a special weight. Most of the people who live in this and any other village here are related. Most are born here and never leave. Even those who do leave the kampung for the big city often send their children back home to be raised on the kampung.

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July 31, 2005

The roads to Bandung were blocked by street markets in every kampung… many creative ways of getting piles of one’s goods to market… most of them requiring the transport to crawl carefully down the middle of the 1-lane 2-way street…

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July 31, 2005

We were really demoralized by all the traffic on the narrow roads into and out of the pretty darned massive city of Bandung… 45 miles from Bandung to Malabar took nearly 2 hours. In Bandung, yet another crowded dirty smelly Javanese city, there were occasional splashes of color, like this unmotorized bajay — anywhere you look on these streets you see folks like this man in an untradeable life…

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July 31, 2005

And these folks, eeking out survival putting their hands in places most people reading these words wouldn’t dream of…