My friend Dan visited us for a week after Christmas, and we had the first ever South East Asia Waypoint Adventure adventure (go to waypointadventure.org to see the great things his organization is doing in MA). We drove across East Java to the north west side of Bali and back over 4 days, returning to Surabaya on the last day of 2013. This is not a very relaxing road trip, as traffic is pretty crowded and the roads are, uh, made locally. But it’s a unique way to see life at ground level, and the scenery is incredible. So, if you ever visit, and you should, you can expect to see views like those included here.
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Shots from a couple recent walkabouts. Day: Margorejo, on a major street near our place. Night: Arab Quarter, near Masjid (Mosque) Ampel (dating to 1421, and the beginning of Islam on Java), on a crowded Thursday evening.
Here are a few images from yesterday. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, or even had the energy to try anything creative with a camera. So, in an effort to (re-) kick-start the shooting and posting, these will have to do for now. This post is brought to you, and made possible, by our new visas (hooray!). The first two are abstract/impressions (what Carolyn calls ‘blurry’; you may sympathize). I’d like to print them both, huge.
And finally, my fair lady, relaxing at kebun Bibit, a garden-park in Surabaya:
Gunung (mount) Arjuno to the west of Malang is the second highest peak on Java at 3339 m. Back in October our friend Matt from Boston visited, as he had some work to do in SE Asia, and was able to swing through Malang to visit our team. He loves to climb, and a few of us, along with our guide* were able to bag a route that started from the southern side, near Batu. We had a vertical mile up, and summitted in about 3.5 hours, had an hour at the top, and a 2.5 hour decent. The day had rolling mists coming through, so a view of Gunung Semeru (Java’s highest peak at 3676 m) on the other side of Malang wasn’t possible. But it was beautiful all the same, with constantly shifting views, and we got some good sunburns and aching limbs to boot. The panorama included here was taken two weeks ago, on one of the few relatively clear day’s we’ve had this rainy season.
*guide is a loose term here, meaning someone who will help you get access to a route or region. They can usually get you to the start of your climb, even if the specifics of your agreement with them don’t resemble your experience to that point. They may or may not be with you while you climb, up or down. They may leave inexperienced climbers behind. They themselves may get lost, for hours. Care for the safety of the climbers they are guiding may not be a familiar concept. Needless to say, be guided at your own risk, and “your mileage may vary”. This description is only anecdotal.
Ada hujan – lit. “there is/exists rain”.
Last week I had an hour to spend with Eli before taking him to school, and we had enough time to visit an abandoned building project a little way up the hill from there. Originally the building was supposed to be a club-house of some sort, but the project was ended before any exterior walls were in place. Now it’s just 3 levels of open concrete flooring and random brick walls, with falling-hazards everywhere. It’s a popular spot for photographers, since the light streams in from all directions, and there are great views of the city and surrounding mountains.
We spent about a half-hour climbing stairs and checking out the various rooms and floors while I tried to get some portraits of the boy. He doesn’t listen to well. Or stay still. But his expressions, completely unprompted, mostly make up for that. I hope you can tell, he brings a lot of joy and mischief to our lives.
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Eli has taken to guns recently – in a big way. I guess it’s all part of being 3. He can turn almost any food into a gun with judicious biting. “Look dad, I made a gun” is heard around our place most days. Lego guns, water guns, sandwich guns, and double-barrel pistoles guns-with-his-hands guns… can’t take those away. His spray bottle brings hours of fun, and is almost useful sometimes.