Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pontianak, West Kalimantan

The capital of West Kalimantan, or Kalbar (short for "Kalimantan Barat"), PONTIANAK is a sprawling, grey industrial city of 400,000 lying right on the equator on the confluence of the Landak and Kapuas Kecil rivers. It is hot and noisy, and most travellers stay just long enough to stock up on supplies before heading up the Kapuas or straight on to Kuching. On the western side of Sungai Kapuas Kecil you'll find the Chinese quarter, the commercial heart of the city where most of the hotels, restaurants and travel agents are located. In the centre of this quarter, right on the water's edge, is the Kapuas Indah bemo terminal , which is connected to a second bemo terminal in Siantan , on the eastern side of the river, by a regular passenger ferry.

The eye-catching Istana Kadriyah , built in 1771, and the traditional Javanese four-tiered roof of Mesjid Jami stand near each other on the eastern side of the Kapuas Kecil, just to the south of the confluence with the Landak. Small passenger boats from the eastern end of Jalan Mahakam II cost Rp200 for a shared canoe or Rp750 for a rowing boat. But Pontianak's most entertaining attraction is the Museum Negeri Pontianak (Mon-Thurs & Sat 8am-1pm, Fri 8-11.30am, Sun 9am-noon; Rp350), a comprehensive collection of Dayak tribal masks, weapons and musical instruments. The museum lies 1.5km south of the town centre on Jalan Jend A Yani; bemos leave from the Kapuas Indah terminal (Rp350) or you can rent a becak (Rp1000). Just round the corner from the museum, on Jalan Sutoyo, is an impressive replica of a Dayak longhouse , over 50m long and 15m high, where you're free to wander around. Pontianak's twelve-metre-high equator monument stands by the side of Jalan Khatulistiwa on the way to the bus terminal. Catch any bemo to the bus terminal from the Siantan ferry port; the monument stands about halfway along the road on the left-hand side.



Cirebon like other cities, has some places for vacations. There are 2 most famous places to visit, there are :

* Kasepuhan Palace, the traditional residence of the Sultan of Cirebon. The older Kraton Kanoman is nearby. The swirled pattern on the building is called a "cloud and rock" motif. It's also used in woodcarving and batik.

* Plangon, this place has so many monkeys. These monkeys can attract people to come and watch them. But you have to remember not to give them any food, because they can chase you for food if you do that.

Batam Night Live

Batam has a vibrant night life, with something to cater for all tastes. Here, we try to give sensible directions to find the discos and night clubs, and to give a flavour of what you can expect.

The nightlife scene on Batam Pleasure Island consists of bars, nightclubs, karaokes and discotheques. There are tens of thousands of young female factory workers living in "dormitories" operated by the major factories. Many of them are on very low wages and are often to be found in the evenings in various night spots in the hope of meeting that Mr. Right - or maybe just a bit of fun!

Bars are self-explanatory but in Batam generally are unlike the nightlife scenes in places like Thailand or the Philippines. They are essentially watering holes with occasional live music but more likely disco or cable TV showing the sports channels. Most are aimed at ex-pats and visitors (Asian and Western) but some also attract regular local patronage. Some are popular spots for meeting local ladies but many tend to discourage them.

Nightclubs are mainly to be found in the bigger quality hotels usually with live bands and performers (some very good).

Karaokes can be fun and if you happen to enjoy a little off-key warbling then a couple hours in a Karaoke in the afternoon or evening can be hoot.

Indonesian discos are something else – very, very dark; very, very LOUD (probably comparable with the flight deck of the USS Enterprise during flight operations) and often very crowded. But for all that they are an essential experience. All the establishments that we have visited are rated using the "Pleasure Island" rating system


Monday, October 30, 2006

Manado, North Sulawesi

The people make the town seem like that. The people of Manado are interesting - generations of mixed bloods and Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, Indian, Chinese and many others, make the local population very different looking from other Asian people. Additional influence comes from the not-far-away Philippines. In some ways, the Manadonese look more Latino than Asian with dark skin, curly hair, brown eyes and choleric characteristics. But they are also an easy-going, emotional, sympathetic and happy people.

80% of the population of Manado is Christian (Protestant). The remaining 20% are, of course, Muslim. Recently, due to the economic crisis, the Muslim community has been quickly increasing, migrating to Manado from South Sulawesi or Java. However, until now these transmigrations are occurring without tensions.

Lifestyles of the Locals
Manado is a rich town. Rich, not in the western way of thinking, even far from the standards of Jakarta, but still rich. The fortunes come from the old coconut, vanilla and clove plantations. But also from rich fishing resources, mining, as well as trade with Central Sulawesi, the Sanghie Islands (a get away for Filipinos) and the Moluccas.

The economic elite are primarily of Chinese origin, just like in many other Asian countries. The only difference with the local Chinese community is that in Manado there are not many racial tensions. All of the communities are quite well integrated. Multiracial families (Chinese and Manadonese) are quite common.

You ask why I think Manado is funny. Well, Manado is funny because here it seems as if time stopped fifty years ago. Business is still based not on contracts but on hand shakes. The bureaucracy is easy bypassed with good personal relations and problems are managed through old respected family chiefs.

Cars, equipment, machinery and banking affairs are more expensive (10% to 15 %) than in Jakarta or Surabaya, but nobody cares. More important to the locals is that coconut oil, rice, fish and chili peppers are not expensive, but are easy to find and buy.

As soon as a little money is in the pocket of most Manadonese, you can be sure that the money will run out in one day. He or she, will run to the local Matahari department store and buy whatever attracts his or her attention. Or if there is a bit more money, it will be spent in restaurants, (there are many), discos, and other forms of nightlife.

The Manadonese guide their lives by stories they hear of the lifestyles in Singapore and Jakarta. Fashions come here a couple of years later than in the rest of the world. For example, recently thousands of hand phones have been sold. 90% of them are not in use anymore, because the owners have used up all their money to pay the phone bills or in many cases even borrow money so that they can show off to their friends that they have a hand phone.

Most middle class people live in town, or live within 5-10 kilometres of the town of Manado. Poorer people live around the river that divides the town in two. Nicer neighborhoods are up in the hills, where the politicians and government officials live.

Most of the middle and upper class Manadonese have relatives in the villages near the plantations. The plantation-based relatives hold most of the family wealth and all Manadonese, from time to time, have to visit their relative's village for money refueling.

Expat Lifestyle
Newly arrived expatriates usually live near the airport, were the golf club is. The airport residential area is about 20 kilometres from town, which is 20 to 30 minutes by car because of the heavy traffic. Expatriates who have been around longer tend to live in town.

There is not much public transportation other than the Kota buses (Micro-lab 6 or 8 seats). Taxis are rare, and often taxi drivers do not want to drive you to destinations outside the town of Manado. Cars are easy to rent and not too expensive. At the local market it is possible to rent a Kijang for Rp 100,000/day (including fuel) or for Rp 2 million/month.

Housing costs are cheap and houses are quite easy to rent. A villa with a garden in the residential area in the hills near the city, with 4/5 rooms, AC and two bathrooms can be rented for Rp 20-30 million per year to expatriates, Rp 15 million to locals. Usually the landlord requests two years rent in advance.

Do not count on buying land. Land prices are not expensive, but it takes a long time to build a house, longer than anyone would expect.

There are only a few cultural activities in Manado. There is one multi-show cinema, no theatres and no concert hall. Most of the activities are organised by churches, so it is quite common to attend a Gospel service on Sunday mornings. More common entertainment for locals are cars races and animal fights. The best activity in Manado is what the locals call "carlotta" which means to talk and talk about each other.

The expatriate community in Manado is not big. There are very few expats, but occasionally you can meet somebody who says they have lived in Manado for years. Most expats are in Manado because of new tourism-related businesses. Most are in the diving field. Others are in the hotel business, as Hotel Managers. Others are in mining, based in Manado, but working in the jungle camps. The rest of the expatriate community, working in different sectors totals not more than 10 people. Australians have the largest segment of the community, but there are also Americans, Singaporeans, Dutch, and French.

Expatriates spend most of their free time on the weekends diving or fishing. The diving is really fantastic, one of the best places I have ever seen. Golf is also a common activity. Tennis, jogging, cycling and climbing the volcanic mountains are also popular.

Night life options are poor. There are Karaoke bars, restaurants, a few night clubs, and a couple of discos. One of the most favoured spots for expats is the Novotel Hotel, in the Boulevard area. Novotel has the best western restaurant, the best accommodations, the best disco, the best swimming pool and the highest prices. Locals move in the evenings from the disco at the Novotel to other discos. The most activity is on Saturday nights, when the night life lovers get drunk and excited by other matters.

Groups of Italian or German tourists can often be seen accompanied by their local guides on a tour of the various night life spots. There is even a music bar which copies Hard Rock Café that is not too bad. Most of the expatriates enjoy going there.

When my family lived in Manado they enjoyed the new adventures, but after a few months they started to be bothered by the frequent water outages (at least twice a week the water supply is cut off), the power cuts (at least one day per week), and the lack of western facilities.

I enjoy living in Manado as life is much simpler. I find Manado uncorrupted, far from what I have experienced elsewhere. Manado may not have a lot of facilities, but the area is really nice. The islands surrounding the area are really a tropical island paradise, with white beaches. Only one hour away from Manado, but really a different world. But when I need to go into Manado, I find that I really like this funny, different, crazy town.
Community Organizations

Alcoholics Anonymous

Our thanks to Fabrizio Ratti for sharing his personal insights into Expat Living in Manado for the original article, and to Jeremy and & Ninny Barnes of Safari Tours and Travel for their additions/revisions to the article!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Javanese Traditional Wedding

The wonderful and mystical sound of Javanese music gamelan instruments accompanies a traditional sacred Panggih or Temu (means meeting) between a beautifully make up bride with her handsome bridegroom in front of a house decorated with "Tarub" plant decoration. The bride with traditionally make up with special gelungan (hairdo), wearing shining brilliant and golden jewelries and special dress for this occasion.
The bridegroom also wears special dress for this ceremony. The couple have to appear in their best, the are treated and honored by those who present in this wedding party as King and Queen of the day. As a traditional rule, the happy party takes place in the house of the bride's parents. The bride's parent are the ones who organize the marriage ceremony. The gate of the house must be decorated with Tarub consist of different Tuwuhan (plants and leaves). Which has symbolic meanings.

2 Banana Trees with stem of ripe bananas meaning:

* The husband could be a good leader of the family in the society.
* As banana trees which could grow well easily everywhere, the pair could also live well and happy everywhere, in good terms within the environment they live.

A pair of Tebu Wulung / Reddish sugar cane meaning : They build the family whole heartedly. With determination and wise mind they should never surrender the family life.
A cengkir Gading (young yellow coconuts) meaning: The couple loves each other decisively and should always take care of each other.
Different fresh leaves such as of beringin (banyan) mojo-koro, alang-alang, dadap srep, meaning: the couple should grow strongly to protect the family, always be in safety.
On top of this, on the gate must be hung bekletepe, ornaments made from plaited coconut leaves to drive out evil spirits and as a sign that a wedding ceremony takes place in this house.
Before the installation of Tarub and Bekletepe, a special Sajen offerings must be made. It consist among other of: Bananas, coconuts, rice cones, different kind of fruits. Dishes, cookies, different kind of drinks, flowers, jamu (herbal medicine), lantern, buffalo meat, tempe (a kind of tofu) coconut sugar etc. The sajen (offering) has symbolic meaning to get blessings from the ancestors and as a means of protection against evil spirits. The sajen should be placed in several places where the process of ceremonies take place such in the bathroom, kitchen, gate, under the Tarub decoration, in the street nearby the house etc.

A complete Javanese wedding ceremony has several complicated traditional rituals. In that event, the role of a Pemaes, a traditional make up woman who should lead the complete set of the whole ceremonies is very important. She would take care of the make up and dressings of the bride and bridegroom, different kind of offerings, different kind of ceremonies during the event etc.

A well qualified-expert-Pemaes usually she could lend complete wedding dress, ornaments and equipment necessary for a wedding party. A wedding party should be prepared carefully as it contains a lot of things to do. Usually a small wedding committee consist of close relatives and friends is setup. It depend also to the size of the ceremony, but whatever is the party, a special pattern of wedding procedures must be followed.

The Panggih or Temu manten ceremony (meeting of bride and bridegroom)
At a time set for this occasion, the bridegroom accompanied by his close relatives (but not his parents who are not allowed to present during the ritual traditional ceremony) arrive in the house of the bride's parents and stop in the gate of the house. The bride accompanied by two elderly women on the right and left side walk her out of the bridal room. Her parents and close relatives walk behind her. Preceding the bride are two young girls. PATAH, each bringing a fan. Two elderly women or two young boys bringing two Kembar Mayang, a bouquet ornament, about one meter of height. A women from the bridegroom family walks forward and gives a Sangggan, (a gift in the form of banana fruits and flowers put in a winnowing tray covered with banana leaves) to the mother of the bride, as a sign of appreciation to the hostess of the ceremony.

Kembar Mayang is a kind of bouqet made of different kind of leaves mainly coconut leaves and others stuck into a banana trunk. According to wayang kulit (shadow puppet) story, kembar mayang ornament was the wish of King KRESNA during the marriage between Princess Sembadra and HARJUNA of PANDAWA family. It is indeed a very beautiful decoration with a broad symbolic meaning.

* It has a mountain like shape
A mountain is high and big, symbolizing a man should have a lot of knowledge, experience and patience.
* Keris like ornaments
Depicting the couple's carefulness in life, clever and wise.
* Whips like ornaments
Means the couple should not be easily desperate, must be always optimistic with strong desire to build a good life.
* Umbrellas like ornaments
Means they must be the protector of the family and society.
* Grasshoppers like ornaments
They should be energitic, quick in thinking and taking decisions to safe the family.
* Birds like ornaments
They should have a high life motivation.
* Beringin leaves
The couple should always protect strongly the family and other human beings.
* Kruton Leaves
Meant to protect from evil spirits.
* Dadap srep Leaves
The leaves could be used as a cold compress to lower fever, symbolizing the couple should always have a clear mind and calmness to solve any problems. (calm down the feeling and cool down the head)
* Dlingo Bengle
These herbs could cure infection and other desease, they use to protect from evil spirits.
* PATRA Manggala flowers
Used to beautify the bouquet and against evil deeds.

During the Panggih ceremony, the Kembar Mayang are brought outside the house and thrown out in a crossroad nearby the house, depicting all evil spirits should not disturb the ceremony in the house and its surrounding area. A pair of Kembar Mayang put in the right and left side of the couple's chair during reception as a decoration. Kembar Mayang used only if the couple were unmarried before. The bride then is meeting the bridegroom. The couple approaching each other, when they are about three meters facing each other, they stop to start with Ritual of BALANGAN SURUH, throwing to each other seven small bundles of betel leaves with lime inside tied with white yarn. They do it eagerly and happily and also everyone is smiling happily. According to ancient belief, betel leaves have power to chase away bad spirits. By throwing betel leaves to others, it should be proved that the couple is really the genuine persons not a ghost or other person who pretends to be the bride or the bridegroom.

The Ritual of WIJI DADI
The bridegroom crash a chicken egg with his right foot and then washed by the bride using water mixed with several kinds of flowers. It depicts that the bridegroom is ready to become a responsible father and the bride should faithfully serve her husband.

With the help of the Pemaes, the couple walk arm in arm or more precisely holding each other with their little finger to the site of Kacar Kucur or Tampa Kaya ritual in a chair in front of the house's KROBONGAN. It depicts that the husband should give all his income to his wife. The bridegroom gives to the bride some soybeans, peanuts, paddy rice, corns, yellow rice, Dlingo bengle herbs, flowers and coins of different values, the quantity of coins must be even. The bride carefully receives these gifts in a small white cloth, above an old mat which is put on her lap. She should be a good careful housewife.

They are eating together, feeding each other. The Pemaes as a leader of the ceremony gives a plate and a napkin to the bride and yellow rice, side dishes as fried eggs, soybean, tempe, sliced of fried meat (abon) and chicken's liver. The bridegroom makes three small balls of rice and dishes with his right hand. The bride shall eat first and then the bridegroom, after that they drink sweet tea. The ritual depicts the couple should use and enjoy their belongings together. Krobongan or Petanen is a special room located in the centre of Dalem Javanese joglo house, in front of the room stand two wooden statues called Loro Blonyo. This is symbolzing prosperity (kindly click:symbolic meaning of Joglosemar for detail). Nowadays, as many houses have no krobongan room, the place where these rituals conducted is decorated with krobongan like ornaments. The same if this party is held in a hotel or public building,

The bride's parents pick up the parents of the bridegroom in front of the house. They walk together to the place of ceremony. The mothers walk infront, the fathers accompanied from behind. The parents of the bridegroom should be seated in the left side of the couple. The parents of the bride sit in right side of the couple.

The Ritual of SUNGKEMAN
The couple should kneel and asks a blessing from their parents. First to the parents of the bride, then to the parents of the bridegroom. During the SUNGKEMAN, the Pemaes takes out the KERIS from the bridegroom. After the Sungkeman, the bridegroom wears again his KERIS. It should be noted that the couple's parents are wearing the same design of Batik Truntum meaning the couple should always have enough fortune for a living and they are wearing also SINDUR as waist sash. The red drawing in the Sindur with its curved edges would like to say that life is like a river winds thru the mountains. The parents are escorting the newlywed to walk in the real life to build a strong family.

Other Rituals
The above rituals are Yogyakarta's pattern. In Surakarta and other regions of Java, there are additional rituals.

After the ritual of Wiji Dadi, the father of the bride leads the couple to walk to the wedding chair in front of the Krobongan, the mother of the bride covers the couple's shoulders with SINDUR. Symbolizing the father shows the way of happiness. While the mother gives a moral support.

Both, the bride and the bridegroom sit on the father's lap and he would say that they have equal weight, that means that he loves them both equally.

The father seats the couple in the wedding chair. It depicts that He has approved the marriage and gives his blessing.
Exchange of wedding rings as a sign of love. Then followed by the rituals of Kacar Kucur and others.

The Reception
After the wedding rituals are completed, then follows the reception. The newly-wed flanked by their parents should receive blessing and greeting from the guests by shaking hands. In the meantime, one or two Javanese classical dance could be performed. The favorit show is the classical dance of GATOTKACA-PERGIWO a fragment from wayang story or more modern classical style dance KARONSIH, both are love dance. While all the guests are enjoying the party by tasting lunch or diner offered, the sound of gamelan music echoes beautifully thru the reception hall. The wedding ceremony ends safely and satisfactorily and everyone is happy.

Today, for practical reason, many wedding receptions are held in the banquet halls of hotels on convention halls, beautiful decorated for the specialist event. The traditional ritual ceremonies attended only by families, close relatives & friends of the bride and groom. The reception is a party, where lunch or dinner is served after the invitees have congratulated the newly wed couples, flanked by they parents.

Before congratulation, where many guests are already in the party hall, there is a bridal procession entering the hall. Accompanied by live gamelan music, a master of ceremony announces that the bride and the groom are entering the hall. The procession is led by cucuk lampah - a man in Javanese costume walks rhythmically toward the chairs where the newly wed couples are going to be seated in front of the "Krobongan - Style" decoration . Behind him are two Patah - little girls specially dressed, who are going to sit in the right and left side of the newly wed couple. Followed by some dancers in their marvelous costumes, they are going to entertain everybody attending the party with their traditional dancers.

Then, the newly wed couple, walk hand-in-hand in their most elegant appearance as the queen and the king of the day. They are flanked by two elderly ladies, holding their hands. Followed by their mothers and then their fathers. In the last row are the sisters and sisters-in-law and the brothers and brothers-in-low of the bride and the groom.

With tender magical gamelan music accompaniment, the MC in a soft and magnetic voice makes some comments of the procession with poetic refined Javanese words. The bride and the groom are seated on the disignated chairs, flanked by the Patah and the parents of both side. The reception begins amidst a happy atmosphere. In a bridal procession in the Royal Palace/Karaton of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, there is an additional attraction. The joyful and jokingly appearance by a group called "edan-edanan" (edan means crazy), consist of same dwarfs with glorying dresses and make-up, dancing, wildly, laughing moisely accompanied by a load and quick rhythm of gamelan. This attraction symbolizes…….

A sincere and mutual love between a woman and a man should end in marriage. In places like Java, the marriage occurred due to the decision by a loving couple. This is a matter of principle since the ancient time. It could hoppened due to the wish of their parents. A Javanese proverb says: "'Tresno jalaran saka kulino" means "love grows when you are get used to each other". Up to now, a Javanese always stays close to the family. Family solidarity is of prime important. The loving couple should inform their parents accordingly and several steps should be taken to prepare the wedding.

The Proposal
The parents of the man (would be bridegroom) should send an envoy or envoys to the parents of the woman (would be bride), proposing that their son is willing to marry their daughter. Nowadays, for practical reason, the parents of both sides could talk directly. The parents of the couple should approved the planned marriage. They should fix convenient and good days of wedding procedures which must be followed such as Peningsetan (traditional engagement), Siraman (holy bathing), Midodaremi (ceremony in the eve of the wedding day), the Panggih and other traditional rituals.
Usually, the parents of the would be bride have a greater say as they are the ones who organize the ceremony. It should be decided also what kind of marriage pattern is chosen, among other Paes Ageng (great make up) or Kesatrian (knight's make up which is simpler). Every marriage pattern differs in make up and dresses for the bride and bridegroom.
It should be decided also what kind of dresses the parents should wear, what kind of Batik pattern and shirt/coat design, which color etc.

The Pemaes and the wedding committee
A complete traditional Javanese wedding ceremony is involving several kind of activities. One of the most important things is the ritual. In that case, service of a Pemaes is of top priority. There are a lot of Pemaes, but favorite Pemaes, they have also a tight schedule. It must be made sure the engagement of a Pemaes long time before the wedding. She should be entrusted to make up the bride and bridegroom and dress them properly, she should take care the ritual offerings and lead the ritual ceremonies.
A small committee consisting of close relatives and friends from both families is set up. The size depends to the size of the party, how many guests should be invited,300, 500, 1000 or more guests. In fact a wedding ceremony is a big show. Really the committee should work hard on voluntarily basis. The most important thing here is the execution of IJAB, the religious and civil registration, which should legalize the wed couple as legitimate husband and wife before the law. The committee should appoint people in charge of different jobs such as: protocol, food and beverage, art performance of the gamelan music group and the dance, setting up the reception hall complete with decoration, the appointment of master of ceremony, the appointment of some elder distinguish women to do the siraman (holy bathing), the appointment of who should be witnesses for IJAB, the appointment of who should deliver the welcome speech during reception, the appointment of who should be responsible for transportation, communication and security matters etc. This is the manifestation of the spirit of Gotong Royong/ Mutual Cooperation.

Peningsetan derives from the word singset means to tie up. It is commitment that a marriage should be implemented, the families of both sides have agreed. The parents should become "in-laws". On the peningsetan occasion, the family of the would be bridegroom visit the parents and the family of the would be bride. They are bringing some gifts as follow:

1. A set of Suruh Ayu (Suruh: betel leaf, Ayu: beautiful), betel leaves with the necessary supplement, wishing for a safety.
2. Several Batik cloths with different patterns, wishing happiness and the best things in life such as the patterns of sidoluhur, sidomukti etc. (please click article of Batik)
3. Materials for KEBAYA (women shirts)
4. White waist sash for women as a sign of a strong willingness.
5. Some fruits, wishing a good health.
6. Rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil etc symbolizing the basic foodstuffs need in life.
7. A set of ring for the couple.
8. Some money, a contribution for the wedding ceremony.

Tarub Decoration
Usually one day before the wedding party, the gate of the bride's parents should be decorated with Tarub as has been described above.

SIRAMAN Ceremony
Siraman means to take a bath. The Siraman in the wedding ritual is meant to clean the couple to become clean, their bodies as well as their souls. The Siraman ceremony usually should be organized one day prior to the IJAB and Panggih rituals, in the afternoon. Siraman of the would be bride should be conducted in her parents' residence as for the would be bridegroom in his parents house.
For this ritual some preparations have to be made, such as:

1. The place of the Siraman, in the family bathroom or in a place specially designed for the purpose. Nowadays the second alternative is more common.
2. The lists of persons who should bath the couple. Instead of the parents, some elderly distinguished women should be invited among other their grand mothers. They are selected due to their good moral behavior. The numbers are limited usually to seven. Seven in Javanese is PITU, so they should give PITULUNGAN means help.
3. Items which must be prepared.
* A big bowl for water, usually made of copper or bronze.
* Water from a well or spring
* Setaman flowers, consist of rose, yasmin, magnolia, cananga, to be put in the water.
* Wet powder-five colours, should function like a soap.
* Traditional shampoo and conditioner such as ash of rice straw, coconut milk and tamarind juice.
* 2 coconuts, tied up together
* a small chair, covered with:
Old mat
White cloth
Several kind of plant leaves
Dlingo Bengle herbs
Bango tulak cloths (4 patterns) against evil deed.
Lurik woven pabrics with design YUYU SEKANDANG and PULA WATU.
* White cotton cloth to be wear during siraman
* Batik cloth of Grompol and NAGASARI design
* Towel
* Kendi - earthenware flask with a neck and spout.
* Gayung - a water dipper.
4. Sajen / offering for SIRAMAN
Traditionally sajen/offering in Javanese ritual is considered very important. It has a deep symbolic meaning, in short:
* Requesting protection from God, the Creator
* Remembering the ancestors, so their souls live in peace in eternal world and hopefully got a blessing from them.
* Avoiding evil deeds from spirit and human being.
* The ritual should be safe and successful.

5. Siraman's sajen among other consist of:
* Tumpeng ROBYONG; a decorated Robyong rice cone, with the wish to be in safety.
* Tumpeng GUNDUL; rice cone with no decoration.
* Cold food
* Bananas and other fruits
* A chicken egg
* A Peeled coconut
* Coconut sugar
* A latern
* Telon flowers (cananga, yasmin, magnolia)
* Seven kinds of porridge
* Sweet cookies
* Cookies made of glutinous rice
* A cock

The family of the would be bride should send envoys to the family of the would be bridegroom, a small bowl of holy water, consists of water and flowers. This holy water, called banyu suci PERWITOSARI (banyu: water, suci: holy, perwitosari: essence of life) should be pourred in the water in the bridgroom's house.

The execution of SIRAMAN

1. The would be bride/bridegroom, with hair hung loosely picked up from her/his room by the parents. She/he is escorted to the place of siraman. Some people bring a tray of batik cloths, towels etc walk behind them. These things should be used after the siraman.
2. He/she should be seated on the chair.
3. A prayer is offered
4. The first person to bath her/him is the father and then the mother, countinued by others in the list.
5. The last person to bath her/him is the Pemaes or a special elder person assigned. She should use the traditional shampo, powder etc to clean her/him. He/she should sit, with both hands in front of the chest in praying position. The Pemaes pours water from Kendi to their hands and they use it to rinse the mouth three times. The Pemaes pours to their head, face, ears, neck, hands and feet three times each.
6. When the Kendi is empty, the Pemaes or person assigned should break the kendi on the floor saying: Wis Pecah Pamore' - meaning that he/she is handsome (beautiful, now is a grown-up) (ready to get married).
7. He/she should wear the batik cloth of Grompol design and cover the body with Nagasari batik cloth.
8. He/she should be escorted back to the wedding room.

NGERIK Ceremony
After the Siraman. The bride sits in the wedding room. The Pemaes should dry her hair by using towel and smoke of perfumed powder (RATUS) should be passed her hair. When the hair is drying, it is combed backside and strongly tied up in gelung hairdo style. The Pemaes cleans her face and neck and start to make up. Ngerik means to save unnessarary hairs on her face by using a Razor.

Sajen/ offering for NGERIK
The sajen for Ngerik is the same with the sajen for Siraman. For pratical reason all sajen for siraman brought to the wedding room and function as the offering for NGERIK RITUAL.

The execution of NGERIK
The Pemaes should carefully and skilfully doing her make up of the bride. The face should be make up in accordance with the marriage pattern. At the end, the bride should be dressed with Kebaya (woman shirt) and Batik cloth with design of SIDOMUKTI or SIDOASIH symbolizing, she would have a prosperous life and adored by other people.

This ceremony takes place in the eve of IJAB and Panggih ceremonies. Midodaremi is derived from the word Widodari means goddess. The would be bride this evening is becoming very beautiful like a goddess, she should be visited by some goddesses from heaven according to ancient belief. She has to stay in the room the whole evening from 6.00 p.m. to midnight accompanied by some elder women giving her useful advice. The family of the would be bridegroom and her very close friends should also visit her for a while, all of them are women.
The bride's parents should feed her for the last time. As from tomorrow, she is in her husband's responsibility.

Sajen/offering for MIDODARENI

1. Rice cooked with coconut milk
2. Well cooked cock (INGKUNG)
3. Vegetable sauces
4. Telon flowers
5. Tea and coffee without sugar
6. Drink from young coconut meat with coconut sugar
7. Latern which is lighted
8. Bananas of Raja (king) variety
9. Flowers in water bowl
10. A baked glutinous rice, bread
11. Cigar and pipe made of papaya leave

Items put in the wedding room

1. One set of Kembar Mayang
2. 2 earthenware vases filled with spices, medical herbs, rice, peanuts etc covered with Bango Tulak cloths.
3. 2 Kendis filled with holy water covered with dadap srep leave.
4. UKUB- a tray with several kinds of perfumed leaves and flowers put under the bed.
5. Suruh Ayu- betel leaves with its supplement.
6. Areca nut.
7. Seven kinds of cloth with letrek design.

The offering could be taken out of the room at midnight. The family and guests could eat it.

Ceremonies outside the wedding room
Outside the room, there are the parents and the family or close friends of the would be bride meeting with the family of the would be bridegroom, eating and speaking to each other. Nowadays for practical reason, during the midodareni, other rituals could be conducted at the same time, such as:

Peningsetan or SRAH-SRAHAN
The family of the would be bridegroom gives some items to the parents of the would be bride (see Peningsetan Ritual). In this occasion both sides of families should make acquintance to each other in a more relax atmosphere. Then the family of the would be bridegroom (only women) visit the would be bride in the attractively decorated wedding room.

In fact the would be bridegroom come together with his family, but he is not entitled to enter the house. While his family is inside the house, he sits in the veranda of the house accompanied by some friends or relatives. During that time he is only given a glass of water, and he is not allowed to smoke. He may eat only after midnight. It is a lesson that he must be able to resist hunger and temptation. Before his family left the house, an envoy of his parents tells the host and the hostess that he hands over the would be bridegroom to the responsibility of the host and the hostess, the envoy further says that the would be bridegroom is not going back home. After the visitors left the house, the would be bridegroom is allowed to enter the house but not the wedding room. The parents of the would be bride should arrange his lodging. This called Nyantri. Nyantri is done on purpose for safety and practical reason, considering that tomorrow he should be dressed and prepared for Ijab and other wedding ceremonies.

IJAB Ceremony As it has been described above, Ijab ceremony is the most important requirement to legalize a marriage. The implementation of Ijab is in accordance with the religion of the couple. Nowadays, the state recognizes five existing religions: ISLAM, CHRISTIAN and CATHOLIC, HINDU, BUDHA. Whatever religion they confess, they are wearing traditional dresses. In the place where the IJAB is conducted, a sanggan offering put there. After the IJAB, traditional ceremonies of panggih etc and a reception should follow to complete the whole wedding ceremonies.

The Art of Javanese Traditional Wedding
In Java people oftenly says that birth, marriage and death are the wish of God. It is easily understood that wedding rituals should be implemented accordingly. It grows to be an exhibition of traditional art and culture, an integral part of the Nation's Identity. Where the noble symbols of life exposed with pride and dignity.
This great tradition, inherited from ancient time, strongly preserved by the people. The Javanese selectively embraces modernazition but the root of tradition remains. The existance of Palaces/Karatons in Yogyakarta and Surakarta, as centers of art and culture plays a positive role. The most significant is the people's sincere care to conserve its own culture.
The hard work and determination to maintain traditional culture by the Karatons, related experts and all parties concern have flourished the culture in the pleasant direction. Some consistent efforts have to be made to improve the favourable trend.

Popularity of Javanese traditional wedding ceremony
In 1960's, some Pemaes had started to popularize this traditional wedding ceremony outside the Karaton ring. With the silent blessing of the Karaton, the four EMPU (great Guru) Pemaes from the Yogyakarta court families, namely:
The late Mrs. PRADJOKOHALPITO, the late Mrs. DONOLOBO, the late Mrs. SOSRONEGORO and Mrs. SARDJONO YOSODIPURO formed the first Association of Pemaes P.P. 16 to introduce and spread the art of traditional bridal make up and wedding ceremonies to the society outside the Karaton wall. They also improved their expertise by learning and adopting the pattern from Surakarta palaces.
The four EMPU Pemaes had their own forum of communication by the name of HASTANATA to intensify the spreading of this art. Although they are great artists but they worked untiredly and travelled a lot across the territory in different towns and villages by any means of transportation such as traditional becak (pedicab) or andong (four wheeled carriage drown by a horse) or public transport such as buses and trains. The private cars were rare and aeroplane was too luxurious for the early years of the pioneers. Mean while in Surakarta, Mrs. Dinar Woerjanto did almost the same. She and a few other Pemaes spread this art of classical bridal make up to every strata of society in different places. Along with the economic progress of the country, their fight gave a tremendous result in the art and culture and business related with wedding ceremonies, such as in the fields of:

1. Sajen/offering made and flower arrangements
2. Dresses, batik, keris, jewelries , ornaments and other items used in a wedding party
3. Food and beverages (catering)
4. Performing arts; gamelan music orchestra and classical dance
5. The service of photography (lately) video shooting and sound system.
6. Renting of public and hotel halls for wedding reception
7. Renting of tent, furniture, carpets and special decorated cars for the married couple etc.
8. The service of Masters Ceremonies
9. The service of some assistants to Pemaes. (in a complete ceremonies a Pemaes should not be able to work by her self)

In April 1978 in Semarang, the capital of Central Java Province, for the first time a workshop on "Javanese traditional bridal make up" was organized. The four Empu Pemaes, with the help of other experts were given the opportunity to run the show, under the supervision of directorate general of Culture. This successful event brought a positive result of making uniformity for Yogyakarta and Surakarta patterns of traditional bridal make up.
Needless to say that as a result of their tremendous achievement by practising their profession with utmost devotion, in many places and occassions, in remote villages, different cities and in also in Karaton, they have received different Awards and Appreciation from government and private institutions.

(Suryo S. Negoro)

The Yogyakarta Kraton

It is located in the center of the city of Yogyakarta or just Yogya as the local people call it. Karaton means a place where the Ratu-king lives, other word is Kedaton, with the same meaning. In the Javanese teachings, it has a deep philosophical meaning.

The architect designer of this palace was Sultan Hamengkubuwono I himself, who was also the founder of the kingdom of NGAYOGYAKARTA HADININGRAT. His skill in architecture was appreciated by the dutch scientist - DR. Pigeund and DR. Adam who adored him as " the architect of his brother-Pakubuwono II of Surakarta".

The first king moved to his huge and magnificent Karaton on October 7, 1756. Although there are some European style of some parts of the building, structurally this is the vivid example of Javanese palace architecture.

The 14.000 sq. m of the Karaton Yogya has deep philosophical meaning with all its building, courts, carving, trees, and location. This is a Karaton full of significant symbols of human life.

Usually visitors are coming from MALIOBORO STREET, southward through the Alun-alun (north square). In order to understand perfectly well the symbolic meaning of the Karaton, one should walk from south to north. Start from Krapyak, a village of about 3 km south of Karaton.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Semarang, Central Java

The city of Semarang, the capital of Central Java province is located on the north coast of Java Sea. The Northern part of the city is lying across on the plain coast and the Southern part is on the hilly side from Candi Baru area upward to the town of Ungaran.Semarang is a busy administrative and Trading city, most of the offices, business centers, industrial estates are concentrated in the low land, where as in the hilly side, there are many houses with the beautiful gardens with a superb view to the town and the sea. The old records of this city date back to the 15th to the 18th century AD in where captivating ancient and colonial monuments still standing to present date.

Around Candi, the upper part of the city, Bergota from Hindu era, the fortification of Prince Puger from MATARAM, the grave of Ki Ageng Pandan Arang and Kyai Saleh in Mugas street attract many pilgrims.In the west part of Semarang, a temple SAMPOKONG or locally known as Gedong Batu (Stone Building) was dedicated to Chinese Moslem Admiral Cheng Ho, his fleet arrived in the first time at 1406 AD The other Chinese Buddhist temple is Tay Kak Sie at Lombok Street built in the year 1772.

GEREJA BLENDUK, is the eldest Christian Church in Central Java built by the Dutch community in 1753. It shows the Church architecture of the 18th century with its huge dome and a baroque organ inside the building. Nearby the Church, there are some buildings from the Dutch colonial time. STASIUN TAWANG, the main railways station with its "Old Time" architecture located also in this area.

LAWANG SEWU, (Thousand Doors), In the downtown of Semarang is also a remarkable building from the "Old Dutch Time".

GOMBEL, A favorite place on the hill with its fresh air and picturesque landscape. In the evening, people like to be here to relax while enjoying the panoramic vista to the city and the harbor.

Today Semarang has few relics of an illustrious past, which shows the activities of business conducted by Dutch, Chinese and Javanese Moslem traders. The City is prospering, many new constructions rise, it is likely preparing to be a metropolitan town which keeps properly its precious memory of the by gone days. The busy street Jl. Pemuda in the downtown has some places of interest.

TUGU MUDA (THE YOUTH MONUMENT) is a nostalgic remembrance for the heroic fight for independent and commemorated on October 14 and 15 every year. SIMPANG LIMA, it is a square with many shops and cinemas around. In the evening a lot of people are here taking a walk or window-shopping. Early in the morning, people are jogging along the street.

BAITURRAKHMAN MOSQUE, showing a mixture of old and new design. Other places worth to see among other are :

RONGGOWARSITO MUSEUM, it is on Jl. Abdulrahman displaying a systematical education of cultural historical development of earth and human life. A brief history of the country is also exposed. Open daily, except mondays. Tuesday - Thursday 08.00 AM - 02.00 PM Friday 08.00 AM - 11.30 AM Saturday and Sundays 08.00 AM - 12.30 PM

Jamu has always been used in this country since ancient period, it is very popular here, it is sold almost every where by different means, from JAMU GENDONG (carried on the back of a woman) to the special shops in modern malls. Just like modern western medicine, jamu has a large range of products to cure different diseases. More than that it has also specific products to keep a healthy life. Two Museums dedicated to jamu are :
Nyonya Meneer, on Jl. Raya Kali Gawe. Jago, on Jl. Setia Budi No. 273. Indonesian Record museum, in the some building with Jago Museum. It shows some pictures of special records in Central Java e.g: the tollest man/woman, the shortest, the fastest etc. PURI MAERAKACAIt is a well arranged park on the beach exhibiting traditional houses of every central Java regencies. In these houses, specific crafts of each regency are displayed.

TINJOMOYO (NEARBY GOMBEL) A public entertainment place where different shows performed such Kethoprak (Traditional Theater with stories of Javanese Kingdoms period ), wayang, as well as band music. There are restaurants, and souvenir shops.


CULTURAL :There are two famous groups of Wayang Orang (Human Wayang Theatre) belonged to this city, namely :
NGESTI PANDOWO, previously had regular performance at Jl. Pemuda. This group from time to time made performances in other cities such as in Yogyakarta and Surakarta during local fairs.

SRI WANITO, from these words, which mean queen of women, all players are women.Recently these highly valued groups as many others cultural traditional groups are facing unfavorable fate. What a tragic situation !The Ngesti Pandowo group sometimes performs at Taman Budaya Raden Saleh (TBRS) and Gedung Kebudayaan (Cultural Building).

WAYANG KULIT ( SHADOW PUPPET ) PERFORMANCE Regularly performed twice every month in the town of Semarang. 1. On the 17th day of the month in The Governor's office.2. Every Friday Kliwon in TBRS.

CULTURAL EVENTSDUGDERAN FESTIVALOrganized in front of grand mosque in Pasar JOHAR area marks the beginning of fasting month. The name Dug-der, came from the sound of the mosque drum and sound of firecrackers. There is a BAZAR for several days.

JARAN SAM PO Held in July, it is the biggest ceremonies of Chinese communities in Java in front of GEDUNG BATU (Sam Po Kong) and Tay Kak Sie Temple. It is a colorful procession and dances of decorated horses and Liong Dragons.

SEMARANG FAIR Held in TBRS throughout July featuring various forms of entertainment.
Click here for further information about Cultural Events!

There are plenty of places of entertainment like in any other town of the world, such as : cinemas, karaoke-lounges, discotheques, bars, pubs, night clubs, etc.RESTAURANTSThere are a lot of restaurants in this city offering delicious food of Indonesian, Chinese, and European cuisine. One should find easily in Jl. Pemuda around Pasar Johar the best speciality market in Simpang Lima mall.The area of Gang Lombok and Jl. Gadjah Mada are famous with its Chinese restaurants, in Jl. A. Yani there are tasteful Javanese restaurants. The star-rated hotels also have their own restaurants. Semarang is famous for its Lumpia ( Chinese Spring Rolls ), Pia, Wingko, Bandeng Presto ( Tendered Fish ).

This city has enough accommodation for its visitors, from budged hotels to the star-rated hotels. Some top hotels located in downtown and in any luxurious area. The facilities meet international demands with combination of traditional specialities.

THE MIDDLE GROUP, The smaller hotels locally are known as melati hotels.
THE BUDGET HOTEL GROUP, Locally known as losmen .For your information, kindly see the list of hotels.
TRANSPORTATION, To and from Semarang is easily accessible by Air, the airport name is Ahmad Yani located in West Semarang around five km from the downtown.Several airlines, such as Garuda and Merpati, Connect with other cities of Indonesia such as Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Banjarmasin, Etc.Kindly see airport for flight schedule on the list of Airlines.
TRAIN, The main railway station is Tawang, in the old part of the town.The main train connection is between Semarang, Cirebon and Surabaya. There is also service to Solo.Kindly see the list of Train Schedule.
BUS The main Bus Terminal is in Terboyo, in the eastern part of the city.Several Bus Companies serve the inter-city connections with many cities in Java, Bali and Sumatra. Direct information can be collected directly in the terminal.Kindly see the list of Bus Companies.
BOAT The Semarang harbor is in Tanjung Mas. There are regular shipping lines for passengers sail to and from Semarang to other island, as Kalimantan.
The main line is Pelni. Inquire also for occasional cargo boats, taking passengers in the harbor.Kindly see the list of shipping lines.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kuta Bali

Kuta in addition to being the Sunset Site Number One, with its daily spectacular sunsets, it is also the centre of night life activities in Southern Bali and a shopping mecca, with its lines of shops, boutiques, and galleries. Restaurants line up the streets as well as the Bachfront,Hotels, ranging from a small, inexpensive homestay to a luxurious resort, will ready accomodate you.

The beach of Kuta is one of the first favorite beaches discovered by tourist. On the south, the beach is fenced by the airport’s runway, which gives you a breathtaking landing experience. The beach stretches as far north as the eyes can see. As short walk away north, waves will invite you to test your surfing

Kuta is very short drive away from the airport, and transportation is readily available to take you from and to Kuta to and from anywhere else in Bali.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bandung, West Java

Gedung Sate (Satay Building) is the symbol of Bandung City.

It was built in 1920 with art deco architecture Now It becomes the office of the Governor of West java Province.

This is my hometown. For me, Bandung is the beautiful city. I really love this city.

Located 180 kilometer southeast of Jakarta, Bandung is the capital city of West Java province. It takes only 2 hours by car from Jakarta via Cipularang highway. Or you can also take a three-hours train ride with nice mountain scenery.

Bandung is surrounded by mountain range gives the city a cool climate throughout the year. With population of over two million, everything moves in slower pace here compare to metropolitan life in Jakarta. Bandung is an important city of education that lures many students to study in various universities. Now, Bandung is one of the most popular city in Indonesia for shopping and tourism.

Tea plantation in Lembang, north of Bandung.

Bandung's prosperity is in part due to vast tea and coffee plantations around the vicinity. However, high tech industries such as textiles and aeronautics are increasingly playing greater role the city's economic.

There are short drives up to the mountain resorts of lembang and bosscha observatory, and higher to the volcanic crater of Tangkuban Perahu, the only crater in Java accessible all the by car as far as its rim. It is an awe inspiring sight of emanating sulfur fumes.

Bandung city itself is very exciting place. Crowded, but Bandung have many old art deco buildings, beautiful parks, and fine landscapes. In the past, Bandung well known as "Parijs van Java" because of the beauty of this city.

Bandung is the capital city of snack, you can taste the various kind of snack with low price. Beside that, Bandung is well known as the city of fashion. You can shopping in many factory outlets and boutique around the city.

another stylish fashion kouse at Jalan Cihampelas, Bandung

The people of Bandung, sundanesse, possess an uncommon warmth along courtesy, friendliness and politeness. They have a strong sense of helping each other when in need. Moreover, the women of the Bandung region are known for their beauty. All of that makes you feel at home when you are in Bandung.

Beside those, Bandung still have many interesting place to see...


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Merapi Mountain

The most active Vulcanoe in Indonesia. Statically it would erupted in every 2~5 years. This mountain favor by local and foreign tourist. It take 5 hours to climb and 3 hours to return. Peoples prefer the north slope thru Selo. Other from South west route thru Kinah rejo. Route from southwest is possible but dangerous as the lava flow path is here. It is really an active vulcanoe; at the clear night we can see hot red molten lava.

Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi in Indonesian language, is a conical volcano in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. Its name means Mountain of Fire. It is very close to the city of Yogyakarta, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1700 m above sea level.

Several of its eruptions have caused fatalities. It was erupting from 1992 to 2002, and a particularly large explosion killed 43 people in 1994. It began erupting again in 2006, and scientists believe a large eruption is imminent. In light of the hazards it poses to populated areas, it has been designated a Decade Volcano.

Merapi is the youngest in a group of volcanoes in southern Java. It is situated at a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian Plate is sliding beneath the Eurasian Plate. It is one of at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire - a section of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and South East Asia.[1] Stratigraphic analysis reveals that eruptions in the Merapi area began about 400,000 years ago, and from then until about 10,000 years ago, eruptions were typically effusive, and the outflowing lava emitted was basaltic. Since then, eruptions have become more explosive, with viscous andesitic lavas often generating lava domes. Dome collapse has often generated pyroclastic flows, and larger explosions, which have resulted in eruption columns, have also generated pyroclastic flows through column collapse.


Lake Toba, North Sumatera

World famous is the crater lake Danau Toba in the Batak highlands, approximately five hours drive from Medan. Danau Toba is the largest lake in South East Asia and also one of the most spectacular, surrounded by tall mountains and with the large island of Samosir in the middle. If we descend from the mountain we see the lake glittering in all its beauty. The Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek even called Lake Toba, 'the most beautiful place on earth'. Most visitors stay on the peninsula of Tuk Tuk on Samosir, named after the linguist Herman Neubronner van der Tuuk. In general people stay several days on Samosir to discover the island, to visit traditional Batak villages, to swim in the lake and go to the hot springs in Pangururan.

There are two ways to go to Lake Toba from Medan. One way via Brastagi in the Karo highlands and the other way along the plantation route and Pematang Siantar .

Places to visit on the island of Samosir:


Taman Mini Indonesia Indah - Miniature Tour of the Country

It is ordinarily not like me to devote an entire travelogue or subchapter to what is essentially a single attraction in a city. But the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is not an ordinary attraction. It is, in fact, an attraction designed to show off the incredible diversity of culture and architecture available amongst Indonesia's 1,700 or so islands.
It was an attraction perfectly suited for such a capital city. After all, most visitors to Indonesia tend to concentrate on the single island of Bali, beyond that the quantity of foreign tourists drop significantly. Since island hopping is difficult to do, this is a great alternative.
I found that the best way to start a visit to the Taman Mini was to start with the skylift, a cable car that crosses over most of the park. From above, I found that there were about thirty or so different (and I mean completely different) cultures represented. Each culture (island or part of island) was given its own little block which contained one or two structures and gardens in the represented architecture. For example, the first photo shows the exhibit for Central Java (region containing the popular city of Bandung, for example). I learned that the island of Java was very diverse, with the Western, Central, and Eastern Java exhibits being very different.
The eastern Javanese city of Yogyakarta, a major Javanese attraction with Buddhist and Hindu temples alongside old Muslim mosques, earned its very own exhibit. Part of it is the Borobudur exhibit, shown in the second photo. Borobudur is a famous Buddhist temple from the 8th Century that is popular due its interesting octogonal shape and its elaborate artwork. The exhibit is a very simplistic version compared to the real thing. Yogyakarta (called "Joeg-jah" by the locals) is high on my list of places to hit in future trips, the pages I've encountered on the web describe other ruins and sites to visit, plus it is described as Java's cultural center.
The exhibits representing sites further from Java were even more interesting and ornate. For example, take a look at the flambouyant style of the West Sumatra exhibit in the third photo. Sumatera is Indonesia's largest island, adjacent to Java to the northwest, and itself a multicultural experience (North Sumatera, West Sumatera, South Sumatera, and the remote province of Aceh were represented). Much of their architecture made elaborate use of straw and ornate, colorful patterns. Other major islands, like Sulawesi (also known as Celebes) and Irian Jaya (also known as Papua), showed examples of even more flambouyant architecure and brighter colors (gold was particularly common, but also bright blood reds and royal blues). Of course, the Balinese exhibit (with its signature orange stone Hindu architecture) was the easiest for me to spot. The Museum Indonesia, the national history museum, also used Balinese architecture.
The third photo was taken on the drive after the skylift ride, time unfortunately did not permit the opportunity to visit each exhibit, but believe me I would have loved to.
There were three other sights from the skylift definitely worth mentioning. The first is shown in the fourth photo, a kilometer-long pool that contains a reproduction of the major islands. I have annotated this photograph to help you get your bearings (perhaps reviewing the Indonesia map will help, too?). This is the western half. Second was the Children's Castle, located at the distant end of the park. This is a huge red-brick castle with playgrounds and activities. While impressive, I couldn't grasp what architecture if any it was designed to replicate. Third were religious structures, which used a very odd shade of olive green -- these were a mosque, a Catholic church, and a Protestant church side by side. These were not monuments, they were still very much in use, and represented the country's religious tolerance.
The Taman Mini was much, much more than just the miniature Indonesia exhibit. I already mentioned the skylift and the Museum Indonesia. The fifth photo shows the "snail", which is an IMAX theater. There were other museums, and a miniature version of the Monas (see the Golden Triangle subchapter).
My only complaint about the Taman Mini would be that it did seem to be falling into a state of disrepair. The exhibits themselves were fabulous, however much of the infrastructure looked the worse for wear after some twenty or twenty-five years. In a way, this was surprising, given the popularity of the park -- especially among the children who congregated at the children's castle and the IMAX theater, and this was on a weekday.
Aside from that, the Taman Mini was absolutely worth the visit. If you are going to Jakarta and want a quickie-tour of the whole country without the pain of added travel, I highly recommend it.


Bromo Montain

TN-BTS (Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park) area is awell known natural tourism objects and one of tourism destination places. Both for domestic and foreign tourists. Tourism objects that exist in TN-BTS area are:

1. Tengger Cadera.
The mayor atractivenees of TN-BTS is its unique and spectacular natural phenomena and those are easily enjoyed from a relative cloose positition.Tengger caldera (crater) in which 5 (five) mounts are located could be a special interesting thing in the tourism, including its history of formation.According to esher (1980 et al) formerly mount Tengger was a very big /large mountain whit a peak level of 4,00 meters above sea level. About one milion or one milion and a half years ago have head activities to from a very large caldera of 8-10 Km mount Tengger activities does not stop only to that , but its activities is still seen whit emergence of a new crater at center of the caldera the crater is higher nad higher until sometime it erupst. Tengger caldera is very large and well known whit is name laut pasir Tengger. Because of its unique this caldera was handled by the govermentin 1919 and stated as a natural conservation . however this area apparently attracted tourist to come. Then the area was changed to be as a national park (especialy in Cemorolawang part.)

2. Lava Crater
The lava crater is at a sand sea of kutho part, from far looks like a pile of bricks of ex- palace . the local people cal the well/ crater as Sumer pitu(well seven). Based on geologikal history, lava craters have com from lava burning mold of mount Kursi. This time is lava is vomited from the crater and floods out directly down to the sna sea because the slope of the sand sea leads to horizontal, velocity of the mold is slower and slower to 5 meters per hour and its surface is firstly frozen and solidified while the inside part ist still mold/ more liquit . lava flow will stop after the lava matters have undergone all solidification . next eruptions cause shaking that affec ist weak ceilings fall and from some wells. There are more than 20 wells and they are scattered around.

3. Mount Bromo
Mount Bromo is one of five mounts located within Tengger mountains on its sand sea.Atractiveness of this mount is bat to the date it is still active and easily visited /ascended. This mount bromo tourism objec has a natural atraction that atrac visitor because of this unique natural phenomena in from of of a crater on the crater covered by sand sea.The natural beauty and wondervul valley are vascinating panorama, plus ist serene atmosphere and peace we well fel while visiting this area. To get the peak of mount Bromo , we use prepared stairs /steps of concrete stuff. When we get the peak we will see Brome a large caving crater whit is smoke out of the bottom . it shows the vulcano is still active. From the peak we see / enjoy the view of brome crater whit ist thin cloudy smoke, and the backward side we can see the beautifullness land countains sand see whit its natural silhuets that very impresisive.Its other atracctiveess, is that volcano is a place of afinal ritual ceremoni (kasada) of Tengger communlty that has is reprensented by throwing farming product like the fruits and grain onto Moutn Bromo crater. This ceremony has attrated tourists to see the annual ceremony.

4. Mount Widodaren
mount /cave Widodaren is located beside mount . Batok and is tourism potentials objec whit the special atractivenes . one of the appeal of this objec is that this location consitutes a sacred tourism objects thar from a cave and a sarced water resource.Inside of that cave and asarced water resources.Inside of that cave there is a somewhat broader place and inside that place there is abig stone that is used to provide somethings to be sacrificied and put nadar that also utilized as the place for meditation especially for comunities of Tengger for praying to the syangyang widi. Around that cave ,exactly beside there are believe that eficacy of the water resource that will never dry and according to comonity of Tengger , it is sacred water from widodaren (Mendhak Tira) beside, there ist belive that the efficacy of the water may keeo young and may get the spousefor the umaried person In order to rach this object has been made a narrou lane whit the trend nearly forty five degree. So that suggested to tourits for carefuly walking when passing this lane.Another atlaractivenes , when we have already reached the cave , we wel sea abeautifull view at the bottom. I,e sand seaand the adjancent. The more beautifull view when we are enjoiying the view at morning whit the yellow shined sun rise appears at our front.

5. Mount Penanjakan
Peak of moutn Pananjakan is the highets place if compared whit another places of mountainous Tengger. For these reason. In this are we may see the natural beautifulness in the bottom side such as san sea and mount. Bromo complex Dsk. That is backgrounded by mount. Semeru whit its thick smoke come out this peak of Pananjakan may be seen the beautifulnes of sunrise in the eastward behind the hill we can enjoy the situation mentioned above whit the peacefull situatiound without the noisiness. The provided facilitation are shelter, plaza MCK (places for washing and bath) and cafetaria.

6. Ranu Pane and Regulo
Ranu pne (1 ha) and Ranu regulo (0.75 ha) are two of four lake availabel inTN-BTS. Both lakes the heigt is 2,200 m of sea surface. Both are having a sufficient beauty view , from this place we can see the very fascinating view of mount Semeru whit its smoke comes out and enjoying the wonderfullnes of situations around the lake observing the widl animal in particular the living of belibis bird and observing the cultur and custom of the native inhabitanst.Arount the lake there is a rural residence (pendukuhan) that consituate last place for TN-BTS tourists in particular for the climber . beside in this rural residence there aer several little shops offering the food and beverage and the equipment for the climber .beside in this rural residence there are in habittants who quiding or carrying the equipment of the climber until reach to top of mpunt Mahameru (poter).Beside the tourist for the purpose of climbing ,Ranu Pane -regulo usualy utilized by the tourist for campng obseving the field and activites of open natural tourism. The facilities are provided in ranu pane rgulo are pndok pendaki , pondok jaga , information center , pondok peneliti and camping ground.

7. Ranu Kumbolo
Ranu kumbolo (8ha) is located at the heigt 22,390 m over the sea surface ,I,e ranu- pane and mount .Semeru historically and geologicaly. Ranu kumbolo is shaped from masive craters mount . jambangan that has solidefied so that the filing water otomatically not flows down.Until today, Ranu kumbolo is the potentials of delighfullly toursm object. The atractiveneses are that at a yard in wich relatively higger than the sea surfarce there is a lake whit the clear ,freas and unpolluted water , so that atracted the tourist to visit this park. For the climbers Ranu Kumbolo is he stop place to prepare nex journeianother attractiveness.in the west fringe of lake there is a monument . it is the legaci of acient, supposed that this monument is the legaci of majapahit empire. However until today has not earned the certainty.In particularn at the watery area of the lake we can see the living of wild animal,I,e Belibis brid . for the enverimental abservers Ranu Kumbolo is essentially the natural laboratori for the studiy and observation of nature that full whit the very rich knowledge. The facilities are provided in Ranu Kumbolo are pendok pendaki (70m) and MCK that are utilized by the climbers for taking rest, beside the availability of a relative evenly for camping ground. Needs of water may be met whit lake water.

8. Kalimati
Kalimati is the last camping location before sustain the journey.This places ususlly used for taking rest , because availabelity of water source. That is gap about 500 m from kalimati. And both the yard is relative evenly and also it has been established facility of pondok pendaki and MCK.Temperature in kalimati relatively cooler than other places, because kalimati area is the vallei of any adjacent hills.

9. Arcopodo
Arcopodo or recopodo is located in the middle between Kalimati and Mount Semeru. In this places there are twin statue (Arcopodo or rercopodo ) and some monuments of the died and lots climbers when climbing the moutn . Semeru in this places utilized for temporarily resting before sustain the journey to the top of Mahameru.

10. Mahameru and Kawah Jonggring Saloko
Mahameru is another name of the peak of semeru Montain in java (3,676 m above the sea surface) it has wide kawah called Jonggring Saloko. Since it is the highes Mountain , from its peak ,we can enjoy wonderful scenery below it such as -west side : malang City, north side : Kepolo mountain and Tengger,south side :shout beach line, east side : Argopura MountainAmong nature lovers , especialy climber from eatsjava , even some climber from yokyakarta bandung , semeru mountain is challenging one and always be place for nice climbing every year.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tourism in Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia

Lampung has a large number of exotic mountains and seaside tourist destinations. Most of them are pristine because they have not been exploited for tourism. Some of the mountain and seaside tourist sites in Lampung are:

Mount Krakatau

This mountain is located in the middle of the sea in the Sunda Strait and had a major eruption in 1883. Today, Mount Krakatau consists of two peaks, namely Rakata Besar (Big Rakata) 813 meters above sea level and Anak Krakatau (Little Krakatau) 280 meters above sea level. Both peaks emerged between the years of 1927 and 1928 following the destruction of its three craters in the 1883 eruption. Rakata Besar and Anak Krakatau grow taller by five centimeters per day.

A visit to Krakatau via Lampung is much cheaper than from anywhere else. Moreover, traveling to Krakatau through Lampung gives tourists a chance to enjoy the beautiful sight of Krakatau's spilling lava at night. It also lends to the beauty of seaside tourist sites such as Laguna Helau Beach, Pasir Putih Beach, which is famous for its white sand, Kalianda Resort, Merak Belantung Beach, Marina Beach, Wartawan Beach.

An easy route to reach Anak Krakatau is through Canti village, Kalianda, and South Lampung. If you are coming from the direction of Jakarta, you need to travel through Merak, Banten. From Merak Harbor you can take a ferry to Bakauheni Harbor, Lampung. The ferry trip takes two to three hours. There is also a fast boat that takes only 45 minutes. However, the fast boats are too small to take cars.

Karang Imb0r Beach

The high waves of Karangimbur Beach, Wayteluk, Biha on the southern side of West Lampung makes it an ideal site for surfing. Traveling distance from Bandar Lampung to Biha is about 350 kilometers. In order to get to this stunning location, tourists have to travel along lots of winding roads.

Karangimbur Beach is one of those untouched beaches. However, in the last few years tourists have come from all over the world to surf here. In fact, at one time this beach was the location for a surfing competition for surfers from all over the world.

Karangimbur Hotel, which is owned by an American surfer, is located conveniently near Karangimbur Beach for tourists to stay at. Another feature of Karangimbur Beach is that its waves follow two opposite wind directions.

Kiluan Bay dolphins

Unlike seaside tourist sites in West Lampung, most tourist sites in Tanggamus, Lampung, are not for surfing. On the other hand, all seaside tourist sites Tanggamus remain untouched. An interesting seaside site other than Terbaya Beach is Kiluan Bay.

In Kiluan Bay, tourists can play with the hundreds of dolphins that instantaneously come and dance in the air whenever a boat filled with tourists approaches. Tourists can rent a motorboat for Rp 150,000 to go around the bay. Local fishermen act as tour guides for tourists when interacting with dolphins.

Other features of Kiluan Bay include a white sandy beach, waterfalls, and an amazing surfing spot. Tourists can also set up camp to watch turtles lay their eggs in the sand.

There are two types of dolphins in Kiluan Bay. The first type is the bottle-nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the second is the long nosed spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris). Traits that differentiate the two types of dolphins is their behavior and character. The first type, which also has a round head and a longer neck, are often calm in nature and swims in slow up and down movements. The dolphins' movements could not be described as playful. Nevertheless, they still enjoy following fishermen's boats.

In contrast to bottle-nosed dolphins, the spinner dolphins often mesmerize people by leaping into the air and approach boats without fear.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Karimun Jawa

The Marine National Park Karimun Jawa is 110,000 ha and lies 90 km north east of Jepara in Central Java. The park consists of a group of 27 small coral islands on which you'll find mangrove forest and beach forest. Only seven of these islands are inhabitated. The park is named after the largest island Karimun Jawa.

A number of endemic animals live on the island while on the beaches sea turtles lay their eggs.

The national park can best be visited during the dry season: May-September. A couple of boats a day make the journey from Jepara or Semarang to the islands. You can reach Jepara by bus from Semarang. Organized tours to Karimun Jawa can be arranged in Jepara or Semarang.


Borobudur Temple

The Borobodur Temple complex is one of the greatest monuments in the world. It is of uncertain age, but thought to have been built between the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth century A.D. For about a century and a half it was the spiritual centre of Buddhism in Java, then it was lost until its rediscovery in the eighteenth century.

The structure, composed of 55,000 square meters of lava-rock is erected on a hill in the form of a stepped-pyramid of six rectangular storeys, three circular terraces and a central stupa forming the summit. The whole structure is in the form of a lotus, the sacred flower of Buddha.

For each direction there are ninety-two Dhyani Buddha statues and 1,460 relief scenes. The lowest level has 160 reliefs depicting cause and effect; the middle level contains various stories of the Buddha's life from the Jataka Tales; the highest level has no reliefs or decorations whatsoever but has a balcony, square in shape with round walls: a circle without beginning or end. Here is the place of the ninety-two Vajrasattvas or Dhyani Buddhas tucked into small stupas. Each of these statues has a mudra (hand gesture) indicating one of the five directions: east, with the mudra of calling the earth to witness; south, with the hand position of blessing; west, with the gesture of meditation; north, the mudra of fearlessness; and the centre with the gesture of teaching.

Besides being the highest symbol of Buddhism, the Borobodur stupa is also a replica of the universe. It symbolises the micro-cosmos, which is divided into three levels, in which man's world of desire is influenced by negative impulses; the middle level, the world in which man has control of his negative impulses and uses his positive impulses; the highest level, in which the world of man is no longer bounded by physical and worldly ancient desire.

It is devotional practice to circumambulate around the galleries and terraces always turning to the left and keeping the edifice to the right while either chanting or meditating. In total, Borobodur represents the ten levels of a Bodhisattva's life which he or she must develop to become a Buddha or an awakened one.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Jakarta, The Capital City of Indonesia

As the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta is the biggest and the most crowded city in Indonesia, with the population of 9 million people consisting of various ethnic groups from all over Indonesia. The diversity influenced by the foreign nation produces the diversity of art and culture. Because Jakarta has become the hub of ethnic groups, customs, languages, arts and cultures exist in both Indonesia and international, such as China, Arab, Turkey, England and Netherlands for a long time, no wonder the assimilation among them occurs. They married each other and in the long run it generates the combination of customs, cultures, and the life philosophy. These combinations then produce the new customs and manners and cultures. Therefore, a prototype Betawi ethnic appeared in the 19th century. It is reflected in the Betawi art, it has the Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese influences, etc.

The Betawi traditional art is developed and accepted well. Not only Betawi people, but also other ethnic groups are fond of this art. For example, the traditional drama-Lenong and Topeng Blantik (Blantik mask), the traditional dance - Tari Topeng (Mask Dance), Ondel-ondel, Ronggeng Topeng, etc, the traditional art of music - Sambrah, Rebana, Gambang Kromong, Tanjidor, Puppet - Betawi puppet using the Malay-Betawi dialect

Basically the marriage system used by Betawi people is the Islamic law. To whom they are allowed or not allowed to get married with. The young people are also free to choose their partners. In spite of this, the parents` role either from the man`s or woman`s side are very important to approve the marriage, for the parents are involved in holding the marriage party. Before getting marriage the man and the woman are introduced to each other and when they both have agreement, the man`s parents will propose the girl. After the two parties reach an agreement, they decide the time to hold the dowry delivery ceremony which is usually represented by another party, such as the relatives of the man`s and the woman`s sides. The marriage ceremony is held on the agreed day. After the marriage contract ceremony both the man and the woman go back to each their parents (their home). A few days later a ceremony of parents-in-law relationship is held and the bridegroom goes in procession to the bride`s house. Before entering the bride`s house, the bridegroom`s side holds the question-answer ceremony by using the traditional poetry rhythm and it is accompanied by tambourine/rabana music with the welcome / marhaban songs. Then , the bridegroom is allowed to enter the house to meet the bride. They sit side by side for a moment. After that the bridegroom joins his parents and companions who escort him to the bride` house. When the ceremony is finished the bride may come with his husband to his house.


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