Showing posts from May, 2009

Java Jamboree: Apple Trees in the Tropics!

The air was rather cool when we reached there. It was not just that it was going to be evening -An hour or two perhaps, darkness would fall and like all tropical countries, night was always cooler. But the coolness here was different, it was unlike the coolness of the tropical night which was not really cool at all, what with the discomfort brought about by the high humidity and all. The coolness here was more like the coolness in a temperate country and and it was brought about by the high altitude. We had reached the Agro Park and I assume it was the Kusuma Agro Wisata Park we were visiting. The said Park is one of the spots to go to when travelling out of Surabaya and since it had been touted as an apple and orange plantation in the Batu area, this must be it! Here, there were apples growing out of real apple trees and we were in the the Equator!

Visiting an Agro Park...

Apple trees!

Traveling Tip: Revel in the unexpected!

Java Jamboree: For Adults Only

Forget Kelereng, Bekel or Kuda Lumping - these are just traditional toys for Indonesian children. There is a more interesting game for adults and all you need would be just a bamboo pole smeared with oil. Hang some goodies at the top of the pole and get young men to climb the pole to retrieve the goodies and voila! You'd have an interesting game which brings tremendous delights to both participants and spectators! On our way to Batu, we saw just this game and our guide kindly stopped the car so that we could have a first hand view of the traditional game and take snapshots of it. Then, I remember seeing a bicycle hanging at the top of a bamboo pole in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and I figure this traditional game was organised in conjuction with Indonesia Independence Day. Indeed, the whole of Java was having a jamboree!

A game for the adults...

Traveling Tip: Go traditional!

Java Jamboree: The Long Crawl

I remember a long and boring journey out of Surabaya to Batu, a town in East Java, Indonesia which before 1945, used to be a recreation place for the Dutch colonial officers. There was a massive jam especially when we were approaching Porong and at times, when the vehicles came to almost a standstill, enterprising Indonesians would come to see if you'd buy fruits or cigarettes from them. Porong which was 14 km south of Sidoarjo city must be an important area once. There were supposed to be oil and gas fields here and our guide told of a massive gas leakage there which I gathered, resulted in the death of the town. Suddenly, I realised many of the shops there were deserted and there were big embankments by the roadsides. Some locals had crowded at the top of the embankments and the guide gave the impression that they were viewing a dead town at the other side. I could imagine leaveless trees and deserted houses immersed in mud, and with just their roof tops in view. We wanted to st…

Java Jamboree: Lunch at Surabaya

Lunchtime came early during the first day in Surabaya. We had had not a proper breakfast, having just alighted from the plane and then, visiting a mosque. The first eating shop our guide took us to was closed and it was no wonder - It's Dirgahayu Indonesia when we were in Surabaya. Indonesia was celebrating Independence Day. So, we settle for some Mie Kocok and Cendol in another eating shop which was supposed to be popular in Surabaya. Mie Kocok looked like Chinese-influenced. The name suggested that the noodle was cooked by dipping in boiling water like the Chinese Cheng T'ng Mee, which literally means Clear Soup Noodle. Both noodle and dessert were superb; the Cendol in fact tasted quite different from the one we had at home. In Surabaya, I think they added jackfruit; it smelled like there was jackfruit among the ingredients. A satay stall which operated near the shop was supposed to offer tasty satay too but we had had enough and besides, the satay stall did not look at all…