Showing posts from April, 2009

Java Jamboree: Not Quite a Temple!

Immediately after landing in Surabaya, it was off sight-seeing. Our guide took us to a little Chinese temple and hey, wait a minute, it wasn't a temple -itwas a mosque! It was Cheng Ho Mosque, which incidentally was the first mosque in Indonesia to be built with Chinese-style architecture. Long before Surabaya became a sultanate in the fifteen century, Chinese had already set foot in Surabaya. The earliest record of Surabaya was in a 1225 book written by a Chinese by the name of Chau Ju-Kua. Then, Surabaya was called Jungala. The famous Chinese admiral, Zheng He only visited Surabaya in the early fifteen century. Ma Huan who accompanied him wrote in his 1433 book Ying-yai Sheng-lan about Sulumayi which actually was just another name for this second largest city in Indonesia, Surabaya...

Visiting a mosque in Surabaya...

Traveling Tip: Visit places of worship!

Java Jamboree: Leaving Jakarta

Java Jamboree is back!

I suppose one would not get to see all of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah unless one spend one whole day or more there! My friends and I who happened to be there for less than half a day definitely did not see everything there was to see. Rushing through the place, I should consider myself lucky for catching glimpses of art galleries, museums, theatres and horticulture gardens. Never mind missing the Komodo Zoological Museum or the Orchid Garden or Bird Garden. There were pretty boungainvilleas blooming everywhere and it was as if we were in one big garden. The day ended just too quickly and suddenly, we had to leave.It was already dark when we reached Jakarta and we headed straight to a restaurant near our hotel, had some nasi padang again before calling it a day. At exactly 0650hrs the next day, we would be taking a plane to Surabaya...

At the airport where we caught a plane to Surabaya...

Traveling Tip: Spend ample time!

Take Five! Crocodile Talk

South Africa is said to be the home of Crocodylus niloticus or the Nile crocodile and is a producer of top quality first grade crocodile skins. I suppose then the River Nile in Egypt should have crocodiles lurking around somewhere and I shudder now as I thought of the night when my friends and I took a felucca down the Nile River in Aswan and spent a night on its bank. Surprisingly, there wasn't a feeling of fear of crocodiles when I visited the crocodile farm in Miri, Sarawak last year. There were many live crocodiles there and one had its skin hung harmlessly on a wall of the exhibition room. It was there that I took this photo.

Java Jamboree will be back!

Take Five: A Boatman

Java Jamboree is taking a break!

In Bintangor, Sarawak, Mau Wei, Gendil , Amber and I had wandered off to the waterfront. There was a small jetty there where one could catch a boat to go to the village across the river. At the jetty, some hawkers were selling fishes and crabs which they have just caught at bargain prices. It was here that this snapshot of a boatman was caught. Most probably, he was an Iban.

Java Jamboree: A Touch of Bali

Being the largest tourist destination in Indonesia, Bali, the island between Java to the west and Lombok to the east needs no introduction. This island is where Indonesia's minority Indonesian Hindus concentrates. Over 90% of the population practise Balinese Hinduism. The island is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music and one of the privileges my friends and I had when in Taman Mini Indonesia was to witness a Balinese dance performed by two young boys under the tutelage of an adult dance instructor. Probably not as famous as some other Balinese dances like the Barong and the Kecak, the lively genggong or frog dance nevertheless was a joy to watch...

At the Bali House...
A dance instructor coaches two young boys to dance the genggong or Frog dance...

Travel Tips: Find delights in the local dances!

Java Jamboree: Jamboree in the Air!

Towards evening just as we got off the frenzy of visiting one Indonesian traditional house after another, suddenly, I realized there was quite a crowd there at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. At the Riau house for instance, a group of youngsters had gathered for a dance. Elsewhere, boys and girls were performing on stages under the watchful eyes of their dance instructors. There was a jamboree-like atmosphere and a promise of a big jamboree to come and no wonder, the next day would ben17 August. It would be Dirgahayu Indonesia or Independence Day for Indonesia.Netherlands which colonised Indonesia had actually granted the country independence in 1947 but at 10.00 a.m sharp on Friday, August 17, 1945, the Indonesian Declaration of Independence which was drafted by Indonesians Sukarno, Hatta, and Soebardjo was officially proclaimed to mark the start of the five year diplomatic and armed-resistance of the Indonesian National Revolution which fought against the forces of the Netherlands. It w…

Java Jamboree: An Oriental Touch

Centuries of overseas Chinese migration had resulted in ethnically Chinese people living in Indonesia. Apart from our guide who claimed to be Chinese, we didn't see any Chinese yet in Jakarta but that didn't mean there was none there.It was said that there were three waves of immigration of ethnic Chinese to Indonesia; the first was spurred by trading activities during the time of Zheng He's voyage in the early 15th century, the second was around the time of the Opium War, and the third was around the first half of the 20th century. Indonesian Chinese whose ancestors came in the first and second waves, had become creolised by marriage and assimilation and are known as the Peranakan Chinese. The more recent Chinese immigrants called Cina Totok are still culturally Chinese and at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, we could sense their presence. A big building with distinctive Chinese roof and lanterns stood majestically there.Times perhaps had changed. Before, it was widely known t…