Posted by: Mark | August 31, 2008

Brady

About three five months ago, I was browsing around in Gramedia, primarily an Indonesian-language bookstore, when I found this book in a huge clearance rack of English novels.

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Though I was incredibly tempted, I just couldn’t justify paying Rp36,000 for a book I could probably buy in Australia.

Two months ago, I went to Gramedia again, and noticed that the clearance books were still there. I found the book again, and decided to give it a more thorough examination. While I was reminscing about watching the show after school on TV1, this fell out.

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A signed photo of Marcia Brady, apparently in her mid-30’s! My mind was flooded with questions. Is the signature real? Does every copy come with the photo? Why is there a photo of Marcia in a book written by Greg? At this point, I couldn’t resist, and was happy to fork over the four Australian dollars.

Let me tell you, this book is one compelling read, and the circumstances that lead to me obtaining it prompted me to make this journal entry. While looking for a page to use as an example, I found this, and knew there could be no better choice.

Enjoy, Sam!

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Posted by: Mark | June 22, 2008

Kraton

Now that all of my final assignments have been handed in, I am once again free to travel around and photograph things. I have road trip update in the works as well once I get all the photos together. In the meantime, this:

Well, it finally happened, people. Having lived in Yogyakarta for almost a year now, I actually visited the huge, centuries-old palace complex located only 15 minutes from my house. Admittedly, this only happened because I had four hours to kill while my bike was getting serviced. While I walked the length of Malioboro, I bargained my way to purchasing a model piet onthel. I also pretended to be Spanish, and the guy who sold it to me happened to speak some Spanish, that was nice.

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While I was trying to get into the kraton, I accidentally bought a ticket for this museum, so I decided to check it out. The guy at the front gate was a gamelan teacher at Flinders for a year in the 90’s. I’ve never met any Indonesian outside of academia that has heard of Flinders. By the by, we do have a gamelan, its between Social Sciences North and South, check it out.

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I wandered around for about 15 seconds in this room filled with pictures of horse carriages, and then left. Not the greatest museum in history, to be sure.

I made my way to the kraton, where I happened upon lots of white people. Despite this, I bought a ticket, and went on in.

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This is a tad more complete than the aforementioned Flinders gamelan.

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This kraton itself seems to be filled with dozens of courtyards, each containing an open pendopo, often with a gamelan, and bordered by a number of rooms serving as museums. This is taken from one courtyard, showing the gateway to another.

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Being carried around by eight other men in a swinging chair seems a little ostentatious to me, but he is a Sultan I guess.

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Every white person bar me had an English-speaking guide, and I overheard one of them say that the earpieces indicate wisdom. I was fairly skeptical about this, but it wasn’t my place to say anything.

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This is Javanese script. It seems weird to me that they would write nine in Roman numerals. Surely there would be a way to write the Sultan’s name in his own language. If only someone else’s guide had been around, I would have asked.

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This was probably the most beautiful room I saw, most of the others were fairly plain, but I guess this one was built specifically for the museum, while the others were original used as houses and whatnot.

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Though the place is a palace by function, its not that palatial, compared to others I’ve seen. A lot of the areas were closed off, I would assume because the Sultan still lives here.

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Javanese architecture consists of lots of open verandas like this, used for performances, ceremonies, etc. Its nice and all, but you can only take so many photos of a slate floor with pillars.

On the way back to get my bike, I happened down a backroad in the kraton area, where some random guy hanging out his washing greeted me in Spanish. I havent met any Spanish speakers the whole time I’ve been here, and suddenly today I met two in the heart of old Javanese culture. He was a flamenco guitar teacher, and invited me into his house for tea before giving me a demonstration, which was pretty surreal. After leaving, I bought a big hunk of watermelon and ate it while walking down Jalan Malioboro. Good day, I finally checked off the kraton on my list of things to do. Huzzah!

Posted by: Mark | May 8, 2008

Bolo

Presently, I am continuing my policy of exploring my immediate area. Last Saturday, I finally made it to the keraton of King Boko, a partially restored elaborate Hindu palace complex from the 9th century. Incredibly, it is only 15 minutes from my kos. By comparison, in Adelaide I would be able to get to the equally impressive 20th century Westfield Marion shopping complex in the same amount of time.

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I was once again pleased to find that this tourist attraction also doubles as grazing land for goats.

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Unfortunately, very little remains of the original complex, and restoration has yet to reach the same level as at Prambanan or Borobodur.

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Thankfully, this handful of guys has been tasked with restoring the hundreds of thousands of stones that make up the various structures.

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The whole time I was walking around, I imagined myself in the Crete section of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. If you havent played that, shame on you, and this caption will make little or no sense.

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Boko was a king of the Mataram empire. Pocari Sweat is the sports drink of Japan. Guess which one I’ll be worshiping.

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This was the best preserved of the structures at the time I visited. It was King Boko’s pendopo but presently people seem to be using it to dry rice.

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People actually live on the grounds. Having this place as your backyard would surely lead to some epic games of Lock-On.

Feeling adequately burned by the midday sun, I trekked on to Surakarta, aka Solo. On the map, it seems to be pretty close, but the journey ended up taking about two hours each way. As a city, Solo is kind of the companion to Jogja. They share a royal lineage, a language, and a culture, but while Jogja is a very heavily touristed city, Solo is somewhat outside the loop.

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This is the old part of the city, around the Sultan’s palace. I wasn’t looking forward to going into the market, but it was more like Adelaide than Jogja. No one was giving me the hard sell, shouting out their wares, or even talking.

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All this politeness belies the fact that whenever something goes wrong in Indonesia, Solo is the first place to get all up in arms about it and go berserk. Probably best to make sure the price of petrol hasn’t been increased recently before you start packing your bags.

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Unfortunately, everything I wanted to see was already closed. Even the big mosque, pictured above, was in the midst of afternoon prayers, so I wasn’t game to go and take a bunch of pictures. Outcome: I’ll have to go back soon and try again.

I also found out that my head is 60cm in circumference. The more you know!

Posted by: Mark | April 2, 2008

Chinatown 2

One of the main reasons I went to Semarang was to be in day trip distance from Gedung Songo. Recommended to me by both Cak Udin, who owns my favourite warung, and Steve, who is yet to own any warungs at all, Gedung Songo is a complex of nine temples built on different levels of volcano Gunung Ungaran.

Getting there was a frustrating experience to be sure. After leaving the main road at head up to Bandungan, the climb got steeper and steeper. With 150 kilograms being propelled by a engine that makes lawn mowers look dangerously overpowered, it was a slow ride, though not as rhythmic as the Foghat song, with lots of thrashing gears and over-revving to the point of explosion. At one point, the bike just gave up, and Ibeth had to walk while I trundled up in first.

Eventually we got there, and started making our way along the 3km path that loops all the temples.

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The temples are not that impressive, but the scenery is great, if you can see it.

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The volcano actually has a vent very close to the temples. Here’s hoping it doesn’t blow it’s top any time soon, could destroy some temples that have been sitting there for over 1200 years. Oh, and kill all the people, of course.

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It makes me happy that people can still farm tourist sites. All the more scenic.

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Have to get there early, before the clouds settle in. In order to do this, you need a bike that can ascend hills at better than walking speed.

After making our way, very quickly in this case, down the hill, we made a quick ziarah to Gua Maria, a cave in the middle of a gorgeous garden and jalan salib location.

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Wow, don’t see many of these around; grass, trees, space, and breathable air are all at a premium here in Javanese cities.

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The afforementioned cave. Apparently mass here attracts hundreds of people.

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Next, the Ambarawa train museum, in a largely unused Dutch station from 1873. Lots of trains, probably very interesting to enthusiasts, but much of a muchness to me. Accidently climbed in on two high school kids bermesraan in one of the carriages. They looked scared out of their minds. Goal!

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On account of the rain, we stopped in for lunch at this lesehan fish joint in the middle of some fields. The roasted gurami was delicious, but boney.

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As the rain lessened, we headed off to Bukit Cinta, or Love Hill, which was actually a slightly raised piece of earth on the edge of Lake Rawa Pening. Wet? Check. Muddy? Check. Romantic? Not so much.

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I actually saw people walking around in motorcycle helmets to avoid getting their hair wet. Hilarious! Also, Ibeth was eaten by a dragon, but that’s by the by.

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The view from a church parking lot on the way back to Semarang. Jawa Tengah really is beautiful… sometimes. Not so much on the way home.

After dinner at a Korean restaurant and some busking action at the Chinese markets, I got a good night’s sleep and spent the next morning buying souvenirs and having breakfast. I left at about 12:30, a horrible, horrible mistake.

An hour outside of Semarang, the rain started. Knowing that if I stopped, the rain would continue, and I would end up driving home in the dark with a weak, 80’s Commodore-style headlight, that was a recipe for disaster. I put on my rain coat, basically a rectangular piece of plastic and continued on. My arms and legs were getting soaked, and the seams of the jacket were ripped apart, blowing behind me like a cape. Cars continued on, and trucks ascending the steep roads at 10kph held up traffic in both directions. I was overtaking on the left past dozens of cars, sliding between potholes and holding on for dear life. Eventually, the back half of the jacket ripped off, leaving my back and bag exposed.

I pushed on, praying that I would recognise something, but I still wasnt even in my own province. Eventually I got to Magelang again, after another two hours. It was nice having traffic lights and being able to overtake without fear, but seeing the “Welcome to Yogyakarta” really made all the difference. As I saw more and more recognisable places, I knew I was getting close, and by 4pm I was there. Soaked through and feeling terrible, but home. My shoes took three days to dry, and that was while I was wearing them. At least there weren’t too many bikes on the road; everyone sensible had stopped driving. The next day, the paper reported that the area I was driving through, Sleman, had been flooded, and that many bikes were rendered unusable. Got lucky?

All in all, good trip!

Posted by: Mark | April 2, 2008

Chinatown 1

In the spirit of doing things while I still have time to do things, in a move which shocked many an Indonesian student, I decided to drive to Semarang and back.

This requires a cultural explanation as background. In general, Indonesian people will not walk anywhere. Even the shortest distances are travelled by motorcycle, unless it’s raining, of course. However, the idea of driving between cities is mostly unheard of. What contributes to this? Perhaps the fact that thousands of people die each year in traffic accidents. Or that the cost of petrol is marginally higher than taking the bus. Perhaps they just feel that driving hundreds of kilometres on a bike is uncomfortable. All of these things are true.

To an Australian, driving 3.5 hours to another city is not that much of an accomplishment. I’m pretty sure I’ve gone further than that in one solid day of op-shopping. However, driving in Australia is an absolute cakewalk compared to driving here. Rains that never stop, no road rules at all, the bare minimum of traffic lights, 110 million other people that all seem to be driving at the same time, bus drivers that will stop anywhere, overtake on corners, blow past you at 100, so close that my handlebars have been hit, twice. The roads are terrible, with the biggest potholes you’ve ever seen, covered in sand and rocks, not to mention debris from uncovered loads. In summary, it is dangerous and not that fun, especially when you are driving 110cc’s of plastic and (hopefully) metal. By the way, if you are my mother, you probably shouldn’t have read that paragraph.

So, I set off at dawn on Friday morning, when it was fairly quiet and not especially sunny. Having passed the turnoff to Borobodur, I was in unknown territory. After about twenty minutes, I got to Magelang, which is also the name for fried rice that includes kwetiau noodles. Due to, in my opinion, a signposting error, I ended up driving all the way to the base of the impressively big volcano Gunung Sumbing, then turning around and driving all the way back to Magelang. This taught me an invaluable lesson; follow the path of most traffic, as pretty much everyone is going the same place as you.

I continued on the path to Semarang, stopping once to give my buttocks some much needed respite. At about 9:30, I arrived in in the city proper, at the kos of Universitas Diponegoro student and future corporate attorney, Elisabet, from now on referred to as Ibeth. After some forced pisang goreng, peanuts, and lukewarm water, we set off for a day of touring the city, starting with Sam Po Kong temple.

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Non-Buddhists were only allowed into the temple complex at set times, which seemed kind of strange considering Sam Po Kong was a Muslim. Also, they didn’t even ask if I was Buddhist, outrageous!

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Non-Buddhists also weren’t allowed to go up the stairs or into the old temple. Sam Po Kong was a eunuch who spread Islam in Java, and is also revered by Muslims, but apparently that doesn’t count either. Conspiracy!

Next on the agenda was Lawang Sewu, Javanese for “one thousand doors”, a Dutch colonial building that was also used for imprisoning people and lopping off their heads. Fun!

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The Dutch used it for office space and dancing (also some imprisonment). Oh, can’t you just imagine the shindigs they had.

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You can fit five guys into each of these stone holes. Most of them will probably die though. I think six, but Pak Harto knows best!

Masjid Agung was next on the agenda.

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Agung means impressive, and the mosque is just that. Those ballistic missile looking things are huge umbrellas which fold out when it’s raining. As of late that’s every day from 2-8.

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We also climbed this tower. Semarang doesn’t look that impressive from above. No skyscrapers, just a big port. Looks a bit like Adelaide actually.

Seeing as we’d already checked off Buddhism and Islam, a church seemed a good way to round off the afternoon.

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Gereja Blenduk, a nice little church from 1753 in the Outstadt. One of the clocks has seen better days. Other one is fine. Neither of them work.

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One of only two pipe organs in Indonesia, but a churchgoer confided in me that it doesn’t work, as no one has the skill to fix it. He almost begged me to find someone with the required expertise, or fix it myself. Personally, I’m not able, but if anyone has a friend graduating from the pipe organ department at UniSA, let me know.

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You can tell the Outstadt by the paved roads. Also the buildings in disrepair. If these were fixed up, and located in a different country, they’d be worth millions I say!

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Not favouring one group over the other, to balance my visiting a Protestant church I attended Friday Mass at a Catholic cathedral on Simpang Lima. I have trouble remembering the words in English at the best of times, so Indonesian was a total loss.

During the jalan salib, a dog ran in, rolled around on the floor, and then ran out. Also, it started raining, with thunder so loud it kept setting off car alarms.

Next, I went to the Chinese markets, which themselves are very ordinary, but provided the highlight of the trip. I had pork sate and barbecued rice, and it was amazing. Not only that, but there was open-air karaoke going on next to my table, and an elderly Chinese man gave a killer rendition of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by the Pretenders. In fact, I ate a lot of great stuff at the Chinese markets. I would probably drive all the way back to Semarang just to eat there again. But rather than gorging myself until the wee hours, I went home to get a good night’s sleep for another long day of driving around looking at and taking photos of things, and eating other things… speaking Indonesian all the time kind of messes up your vocabulary.

More to come!

Posted by: Mark | March 29, 2008

Sojourn

In January, I took a short jaunt to Padang, in West Sumatera, for the wedding of AIYEP alumni, Mely, and fellow Minang, Wen. Leaving on Saturday morning, Bintang and I made it to the reception at about 10am, and began eating. We also greeted the happy couple, who were dressed as such:

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The head wear weighed about four kilograms apparently. Mely didn’t seem that happy about it.

Having eaten, napped, and, in Bintang’s case, busted out a rendition of “Eternal Flame”, I was ready to do a little sightseeing. Having obtained keys, helmets, registration and a motorcycle, we were ready to go. Note that I didn’t include “directions” in that list.

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People come to Minang weddings not out of obligation, nor the free grub, but for the sweet karaoke action.

Deciding that a trip to the beach was in order, we headed west, and an hour later had arrived. Unfortunately, we were to find out that the beach is in fact east, and only 15 minutes away. Anyway, we settled down to some “young” coconuts, and took in the view.

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Looks kind of quaint and village-like. Nevertheless, about 10 metres to the right of frame is raging traffic and a bustling market.

Next on the agenda was this bridge. It has a name, and probably an interesting back story, but I’ve forgotten all of that. It was picturesque though.

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Apparently barbecued corn is the bridge specialty, but sitting around seemed unwise, considering it was getting dark and I had no idea how to get home.

After a fairly frustrating time trying to get home, with only an address and not even the vaguest idea of where it was, some good samaritans who were heading that way led us to the area. After some further searching we made it, just in time to watch Mely open her presents. Hilariously, she got about seven of the exact same tea set. I’m guessing Padang isn’t quite a shopping mecca.

The next day, we borrowed the bike again, and headed off, this time with some clearer directions. First, we took in some Minangkabau architecture, which is quite different from anything I’ve seen before. Examples as follows.

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After buying traditional Minangkabau snacks, kripik balado, a kind of cracker with sweet chilli sauce, and having lunch at a traditional Minangkabau restaurant, Pizza Hut, we decided to head home to pack, so as not to miss the flight to Jakarta. After a quick nap, Wen and Mely chauffeured us to the airport, and we were on our way back to the Big Durian.

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Throughout my time in Padang, I was rocking this haircut. This photo betrays the fact that it was getting dangerously close to mullet length at the back.

Posted by: Mark | March 27, 2008

Shadow

In an attempt to immerse myself a little more in Javanese culture, which I find a tad… dull, on Saturday night I attended my first proper, Javanese wayang performance. Technically, I had seen such a show in Kalimantan, but was informed by many a person that wasn’t a real one, for being outside of Java and all.

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Javanese attire, it’s a step above shorts and a t-shirt.

The first thing I noticed, this wasnt a wayang kulit, probably the best known kind. I was expecting a shadow play, with the characters projected onto the screen, the dalang (puppet master) and gamelan orchestra hidden from view, and the audience in front. However, this was actually a wayang kelitik. The performers had their backs to the audience, and the flat, wooden puppets manipulated by the dalang were visable, not just shadows.

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You’ll be sure to see me rocking one of these headpieces around Adelaide later this year.

The theme of the night was “dosenku, dalangku”, the idea being that various lecturers from UGM would be performing the puppet master role, manipulating the figures and narrating the story. After I arrived an hour late, the second story had just started, with a lecturer from Fakultas Teknik Mesin ndalang.

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Wayang, in all its time-consuming glory.

I assumed that wayang performances generally depict stories from Hindu epics, but in this case, the story was about a deer who wants to be a tiger, is attacked by cigarettes and a bra, amongst other things, and eventually dies trapped in the skeleton of the tiger, having fallen in while mocking the corpse. It was pretty good, punctuated by bits of pop culture, and everyone seemed to get into it. One thing I didn’t realise going in was that it would be in Javanese, though it seems obvious in hindsight. Luckily, I was with Yoesman, probably the most fluent Javanese speaker I know, so I did get the story translated as it was going along. My Javanese is not quite at the level to appreciate this… yet.

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While others are given but one drum to beat, this poor fellow was burdened with more than just a handful.

Before the next performance, there was a speech by current Minister of Education, Bambang Soedibyo, thankfully in Indonesian, about keeping the culture alive with the use of technology. Technically, ol’ Bambang and I are neighbours; he lives on my street, when he isn’t living the sweet life of a rich male in Jakarta. The closest I’ve come to him is asking permission of his guards to continue driving as I whip past by bike (so Javanese).

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One of Bambang’s minions, puckering up to kiss his ring… I’m hoping.

Next, a dosen from Fakultas Ilmu Budaya, my nominal former faculty, stepped up to the plate. This show was everything I dislike about Javanese culture. First, he spoke in krama inggil, the highest level of Javanese, used mainly in the Sultan’s palace. As a result, few in the audience, including my translator, could understand without difficulty. Second, he decided to depict some obscure aspect of a Hindu epic, with a meeting of the Gods about some unknown problem. Third, for the first THIRTY minutes, the half dozen characters just sat there, their arms slightly moving to indicate the speaker. Finally, while the first play used the gamelan music to good effect, this one just went back and forth from a loud mess of competing gongs to absolute silence, to the point where I actually saw one of the musicians fall asleep at his sitar.

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The long-haired gentleman below the big red drum buckled in the middle and nodded off more than a couple of times.

At this point, the audience, previously hitting about 250 at peak, was reduced to about 75 or less, mainly older Javanese men, donning Batik and Peci. It was kind of a shame really, UGM obviously went to a lot of trouble to put this shindig on, with free drinks (including ginger tea, awesome), bananas, and peanuts. The gamelan set and stage was impressive, with hundreds of gongs and puppets, various Javanese instruments, and a choir of elaborately dressed women. That it could draw so few attendees makes me think that Pak Soedibyo had a point indeed.

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Considering how long she had been sitting there essentially motionless, and with the prospect of many more hours to come, this women was amazingly cheerful.

Posted by: Mark | March 26, 2008

Chowland 2

In Australia, I almost always drive myself, and my ability to stomach being a passenger is significantly reduced. In Indonesia, this is almost always the case when it comes to vehicles with more than two wheels. So on the windy four-hour trip up to the Cameron Highlands, I felt quite sick. After arriving, a long nap was had, before shopping, exploring, and, finally, the eating of curry!

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Stayed here, in the village of Tanah Rata. Small place, not too much going on, but fresh.

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There was a nice convent/schoolhouse up on the hill, from where the former photo was taken.

After a quiet first day, we left on a bus tour of the highlands early the next morning.

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First was the Boh tea factory, set in the midst of lush green plantations. Bought some tea, had a look around, took some largely unflattering photos of me.

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Next was the butterfly farm, but horrified at the thought of paying lots of money to see butterflies, we didn’t go in. So the above photo is at the honey farm.

The tour also included other things, a rose garden and a hydroponic strawberry farm, but those didn’t photo well. That afternoon, after the tour, we hustled back to town and took a bus to Kuala Lumpur, then on to Melaka for a total of about 8 hours. Managed to spill black pepper sauce on myself.

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Melaka is a beautiful city, with lots of the things that I like. Old buildings, places of worship, unusual food and shopping, all available here.

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The first thing I noticed about Melaka is that the becaks are hardcore. This one was pumping out Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. It made me so happy, but not so much as to pay the exorbitant cartel prices!

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This church seemed out of place, but nice nonetheless. Named after St. Francis Xavier, who visited Melaka.

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The town square, with the Stadthuys and Christ Church, a beautiful location with a windmill and fountain in memory of Queen Elizbeth.

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They sure know how to do a temple right here. The stonework is amazing.

After one full day in Melaka, we left on the morning bus to Kuala Lumpur, for two days of shopping and eating. Fine with me!

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To Kuala Lumpur, malls are an artform. I visited at least ten enormous ones while I was there, but bought very little that wasn’t edible. Unless you like tea or keyrings, don’t expect any souvenirs.

In conclusion, go to Malaysia, it’s good.

Posted by: Mark | March 13, 2008

Chowland 1

I’ve sat down to write this a few times, but lost interest after only a couple of paragraphs in all (both) instances. As far as I can tell, it was a problem of depth. In an effort to fully illustrate my trip, I went into way too much detail, to the point where I was even bored writing it. While I was in Malaysia, Bintang took well over 600 photos; a few of these will provide a much richer portrait than an page full of my overly wordy paragraphs.

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As much as a enjoy Jakarta at times, my preference would be to live in Kuala Lumpur. So many of Jakarta’s problems are rectified here. Public transport makes (more) sense. Traffic is a breeze, compared to constant macet. It’s cleaner, not so stiflingly hot, and in many, many ways, just that much more beautiful and friendly than the Big Durian.

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Being a tourist, I was compelled to do tourist things, including a ride on the Eye on Malaysia. A beautiful setting, nice view of the city, and a friendly group of Thai evangelicals sharing our carriage made for an enjoyable afternoon.

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Jalan Bukit Bintang, in the Bukit Bintang area, part of the Golden Triangle. The most jammed up I saw traffic during my stay, and about average for 3PM on a weekday in Yogya. Except with ten thousand less motorcycles. I didn’t stay here, but in Chinatown, which was cheaper. Bought two Subways on this street though!

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Another tourist must, the Menara KL. Walked there in a roundabout fashion, Went up it, took a bunch of photos, watched the hilariously nationalistic video tour, and came down. It’s worth it, if you like that sort of thing, and I do.

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Petronas Towers. Yup, it’s lumayan besar. The adjoining mall was too. Good gelato! Had a real yiros too.

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A beautiful mosque indeed, and right in the middle of a bustling intersection. I think there is a light rail station underneath.

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“Look closer Lenny!” “Oh, I know what it is; you’re the biggest man in the world now, and you’re covered in gold.” “Fourteen karat gold!”

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After climbing a goodly number of stairs, one reaches the main of the Batu Caves, and a series of Hindu shrines. It’s a very fresh, natural place, though covered with trash which the ample number of caretakers go to no special lengths to clean. Scratched into the walls are graffiti, mostly names, a few misguided romantic gestures, and in one place, some very well carved Standard Mandarin characters. Largely depressing, but still, kudos on the last count!

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Hinduism is a much more colourful religion than most. I appreciate that, but in all honestly, I enjoy Buddhist temples that much more. Just personal preference, and as luck would have it, there would be no shortage of specimens in Melaka.

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More to come!

Posted by: Mark | March 5, 2008

Stall

So far, the greatest achievement of my time in Indonesia is the, at this time, partial assembly of an Interlex list of bizarre words and their translations. The words rather unexpectedly come from the highly recommended Kamus Indonesia Inggris by John M. Echols and Hassan Shadily.

I guess the idea for the vocab list was initially planted in January of 2007, when Kieran revealed to his fellow AIYEP kids this discovery:

Rambo /rembo/ the movie character Rambo. me- destroy completely, annihilate.

Later, after I had bought the two dictionaries myself in Banjarmasin, I found this during an Indonesian language class:

naar boven /nar bofen/ (Coll.) go to mountain resort areas, esp. for sexual adventures. Kalau pikiran tegang, kita mesti – utk santai If we feel tense, we should head for the resorts to loosen up.

However, compilation only began in earnest when, while doing some incredibly basic homework, I stumbled upon this gem:

kemet o. with the magical power to have sex with a woman from afar.

In the next Tata Bahasa class, I shared this discovery with, most importantly, Arjuna and Fe, who really ran with the idea. You may know Arjuna as the guy who went on to start the first Kamus Echols and Shadily Facebook group, but probably not.

From then on, I’ve been steadily trawling through the dictionary, letter by letter, looking for hilarious words, translations, and examples. Work stalled over the holidays, but now I’m getting back into it, and I shall share a few of these, you know, to increase anticipation of the final product.

kapurancang (Jv) ng- stand with the hands covering the genitals as a sign of deference (of men).

kepet1 (Jkt) fin (of a fish).
kepet2 fail to clean o.s. after defecating or fail to bathe. ng- (Vulg.) be a shit ass.
kepet3 ng- magically turn into an animal babi ~ a supernatural being that turns into a pig and steals for his master.

kusuk ber- rub the body with leaves.

Just a few ‘K’ examples to whet the appetite. By the by, should it ever come up, kung means to have a properly developed voice, but only for doves. I don’t think we have a word for it in English.

(P.S. Real stuff coming either tomorrow or when I get back from the North Coast next week.)

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