Sunday, June 30, 2013

Car Free Day: Ondel-Ondel Beauty Contest?

This week's Car Free Day happenings: a couple hundred ondel-ondel puppets lined up along Jalan Thamrin... why?  We're not exactly sure, but they were all numbered and looked like maybe they had been part of a contest of some sort. 

This month is Jakarta's 486th birthday (Dirgahayu Jakarta!), so there have been lots of celebrations across the city over the past few weeks, many of which centered on Betawi culture, from which the ondel-ondel originate. 

Remember the video I took of the ondel-ondel dance performance last year? Incedentally, it's the most popular video on my YouTube channel by a crazy amount for some reason... as of this writing it had over 32,000 views, whereas my next most popular video only had 186 views.  Eh?

Here's me and Tim posing in front of the un-manned ondel-ondel:

I like how each one has a slightly different face:

Finally, after all those ondel-ondel, we stopped at Bundaran HI to listen to this cool sounding band... I don't know what that bamboo instrument is, but I like it:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Car Free Day Parade

Tim and I have done some Car Free Day biking the past couple weekends here in Jakarta.  Car Free Day is always really fun: lots of people cruising on bikes or strolling around, occasionally strange stuff going on...

Two weeks ago we stumbled on this parade, which we think (although could be totally wrong) was celebrating Lombok and Sumbawa heritage (Lombok is the island just east of Bali and then Sumbawa is east of that).  I love all the traditional clothing and the music.  Plus, it was a serious test of how slow Tim and I could ride our bikes without falling over or crashing into a wayward child.  Bonus: you can hear Tim almost lose his temper when a guy stepped directly in front of his moving bike to take a photo!  And, at the end there is a guy dressed up as a chili pepper and one as a bee, which reminds me of the bee guy on the Simpsons.

Here are some other highlights from that ride, including Tim chatting it up with our guard about where we were going, a protest we rode past, biking though the chaos of Bundaran HI (Hotel Indonesia Circle), three girls holding hands while biking (a sight more coming than you would think), a mini parade of guys dressed up as containers of Milo, and Tim biking really fast down the less-crowded home stretch:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grocery Games and Movie Munchies

Items not allowed at my grocery store include cigarettes, cameras, ice cream cones and cats:

Snack choices at the local movie theater includes crowd favorite fish ball satay (remember how much Indonesia loves fish balls?) and something called "mini money bags":

Friday, June 14, 2013

Grocery Games: Balls

Balls: enough said.

Also, do those "JetZ stick" look disturbingly like larvae of some sort?  Gross.  Also: the flavor is "chocofiesta."  Yeah.

Care of our local 7-11.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bukit Lawang: Bat Cave

On our last day in Bukit Lawang, in addition to checking out the orangutan feeding site, we hoofed it over to what was advertised as "The Bat Cave."

This involved crossing over the river on yet another sketchy bridge:


But we did get to see another troop of Thomas Leaf Monkeys hanging out as we passed through an area that had rubber trees and oil palms growing:

Once we got to the cave area itself it was very Indiana Jones-esque... dark, wet, slippery, covered in crazy vines:

No photos of the bats inside the cave (it was dark and I wasn't keen on using the flash in fear of waking all the bats and having them descend on me en masse...), but we did take the lovely shots above in which we pretend to climb the massive vines/tree roots.  You're welcome.

Also, Steve made a purple butterfly friend:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bukit Lawang: Orangutan Feeding in Gunung Leuser Park

In addition to our fun jungle trek, we had another opportunity to check out the orangutans of Bukit Lawang.  The national park still provides twice daily supplementary feedings for the rehabilitated/reintroduced orangutan population.  Feedings are done at a wooden platform that is a 15 minute hike (straight up, I might add) from the ranger station.  To get to the ranger station you have to take this rubber boat across the river:

This monkey looked like he either wanted to join us or sabotage our river crossing by messing with the wire the boatmen used to drag us across:

You can see the monkey again, just above Steve and Colleen in this shot.... the photo next to it is us waiting for the park rangers to get themselves organized to head out to the feeding.  Jam karet, indeed (jam karet = an Indonesian phrase meaning "rubber time," referring to the flexibility of deadlines, schedules, etc. in Indonesia):

On our short hike to the feeding platform, we encountered one of the orangutans we had seen on our trek, Suma, and her baby, just hanging out:

When we got to the feeding platform, things were a little slow to pick up.  This park ranger spent about 40 minutes alternating between banging this rock on the platform to sound the dinner bell and scanning the tree tops for incoming orangutans:

Finally an orangutan decided to take advantage of the free meal, bringing her baby with her.  This is Sepi, which means "quiet," and her baby Casa (or maybe it's Kasa?).  She slowly approached via the treetops, giving us the hairy eyeball as she descended:


Both mom and baby were digging the green bananas, it seems:

When I uploaded my photos to Picasa, it automatically made me this awesome GIF below.  Love it!:

Aaaaand, feeding time is over:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bukit Lawang: Wading in Waterfalls and Rafting on the River

After a tough (but awesome) day of hiking, our Bukit Lawang trekking guides, Simon and Jakka, treated us to a dip in a lovely waterfall.  But first we had to crawl over some slippery rocks and then take a tube ride across the river (thanks to Jakka for dragging us across! I offered to swim, but they wouldn't have it.):


The waterfall was completely refreshing... cold, clean (seemingly, at least), fresh:

The waterfall was quite powerful- a good post-hike massage!:

After our dip in the falls, we ate a quick lunch and then headed to the river to tube back to town.  While the guides were prepping our raft ("raft" is generous... it was 4 tubes tied together and topped with our double-bagged backpacks), a troupe of macaques (maybe the greedy, food-stealing ones from earlier in morning?) marched along the riverbank on the opposite side:

Colleen was skeptical about the sea-worthiness of this cobbled together vessel:

But fears were quickly allayed when we took off down the river, braving the rapids... keep your ears open for a full rendition of the Bukit Lawang Jungle Trekking song about halfway through (also note that the song ends with "see the monkey, see the Mina, everybody RUN!"... remember Mina?)

Videography by the lovely Colleen:

Here's my view from the backseat of the "raft":

Selfie! (plus our cook who wore exclusively underwear while cooking but decided that fully clothed was the way to go for rafting?):

All in all, the rafting back to Bukit Lawang was pretty awesome.  Highly recommended!