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Showing posts from July, 2009

Java Jamboree: A Horse Ride

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Technically, our four wheel drive did not take us to Mount Bromo. It came to a halt some distance away from its foot. From then on, to reach our destination, we could either walk or take a horse and then, climb up a neat staircase to the top where one could peer into the crater of the sleeping volcano. We opted for the latter and as a guide led my horse along, I was reminded of my horse ride in the vicinity of the Pyramid of the Cheops in Cairo, Egypt about five years back but then, of course, this was a different experience. In Egypt, the horse owner was very harsh on the horse, whipping the terrified creature into obedience but over here, the Hindu Javanese guide just led the very tame horse along . All the same, Move over, Indiana Jones aka Harrison Ford. Here, we are, my friends and I, riding fearlessly towards Mount Bromo, each armed with a camera...


Riding a horse to Mount Bromo...






Traveling Tip: Ride a horse!

Java Jamboree: Trail to Bromo

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Viewing Mount Bromo in the early morning certainly was just the beginning. As soon as the sun had risen and the sky had turned bright, we were making a downhill trip in the four wheel drive along narrow, steep and sometimes winding tarred road but we were actually making towards the mesmerising Mount Bromo itself! Along the way, someone would break out into the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein song , Edelweiss, the delightful song about a white flower found in the Alpine hills, sung by Captain Georg Ludwig von Trapp a.k.a Christoper Plummer as he rediscovers music and a love for his children in the hit musical, The Sound of Music. And it was no wonder - all along the journey, among the dense vegetation, there were lots of little white flowers sprucing up the place and They were Edelweiss! Then, at a spot which gave a good view of Mount Bromo, our driver pulled to a stop. Many tourists were already there, taking turns to pose for photos with Mount Bromo as the backdrop. And then as we jour…

Java Jamboree: A Touch of Bromo

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When I said I woke up on a wee-wee morning just to watch the sun rise from behind Mount Bromo in Indonesia, I had probably hit off-mark. Mount Bromo does not stand alone in the Tengger Caldera in East Java; there are also Mount Batok and Mount Sumera,the latter being the highest peak in Java, standing majestically in the vicinity. Despite the lack of sleep and the long wait in the stinging cold of a highland morning then, it probably was a worthwhile experience taking the ride in a four wheel drive, up the dark, long and winding road to Cemoro Lawang - I suppose that must be our lookout point. Even in the hired winter clothe, I could feel myself trembling as I witnessed the awesome scene of the golden sun emerging in the horizon, from behind the three volcanoes, two of them spurting white smoke... And that was just the beginning - there would be more of Mount Bromo yet...


Making our way to Mount Bromo...










Traveling Tip: Look from a distance!

Java Jamboree: One Early Morn

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Would you wake up at three or four in the cold, dark and dreary morning just to visit a place? Just the other day, a friend asked me to join him in a one day trip to Ikea, the Swedish-Dutch company specialising in furniture in Kuala Lumpur but I declined since I had to wake up at four a.m. for the trip. In Surabaya, Indonesia, however, I remember having to wake up around this odd hour just to make a trip. It was after the sumptuous dinner in the Javanese restaurant and we had left immediately for our hotel. I remember the white walls of the little room, the not so clean white bed linen and the not so comfortable bathroom but we really were in need of a place to clean up and to rest our tired bodies. The room did not come cheap; in fact it was one of the most expensive we had paid while in Java and we had only but a few hours to catch up on sleep. I can't remember sleeping well and suddenly, it was time. Groggily, I made my way to the vehicle which would take my friends and I to wa…

Reminisce: Rendezvous at KLCC

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It was towards the end of 2004. Taipei 101 in Taiwan had yet to be completed. The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which had been designed by Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli was still the official tallest buildings in the world. It was under this circumstance that I met up with Mau Wei and Hoi Thien. Both of them were planning on a trip to the historical town of Malacca which was 148 km south of Kuala Lumpur. I was in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, putting up the night with my nephew and Mau Wei was around somewhere in Kuala Lumpur too, putting up with her friend. Hoi Thien was taking a bus down from Taiping and we had made a pact to meet in KLCC - that was Suria KLCC, the shopping mall below the twin towers. It was very convenient to take an LRT from Wangsa Maju to KLCC and I was there in no time. Then, Mau Wei came and then, Hoi Thien, with her bag of clothes and all! She lugged that along when we strolled round KLCC park and even when we were in a cineplex watchi…