Sunday, July 26, 2009

17000 Islands - 2 down, 16998 to go

(Click on the pics to enlarge)

The People
(Top-L to R: Village Idiot, Village Sentinel, Rice Farmers,Village Chief)

The Religion
(Last day of the Tribal Funeral Ceremony - Water Buffalo Slaughter)

The homes away from home
(From L to R - My Tongkonan with the tribes, Hotel room view in Rantepao, Room view from the Batutumonga Bio-Reserve)

The Food
(From L to R - Standard fare with the villagers, Papiong - Chicken cooked in bamboo, Roast Pig - WHOLE!)

The transport
(From L to R - State of my shoes after a 36-hour non-stop hike 3000m above sea level, The poor man's 4 wheel drive alternate in Indonesia, Flying coffins - the bentor/pechak)

The universal language of kids (east or west)
(From L to R - Farmer kids, my colleague Gabi's daughter Yella)

The partners in crime, rhyme and grime
(From Top L - R: Sandi, Yousuf (aka Bob Marley Jr. - is he the same as your London guy Soniya?), Yuan and Daud, my driver)

The reason I hate airline travel
(My justification for being tired, non-reachable and hating airlines)

5 things I will not forget easily

Water buffalo blood splattered across my face
Drinking beer with rickshaw pullers
Singing 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' with the locals (FYI - I was tipsy, they were nice)
Participating in a catholic mass with locals singing hymns karaoke-style
Meeting a 28 year old Canadian traveler who has spent the last 10 years just traveling and working all over the world - 34 countries to be precise; she is single; it's a pity she and women like her don't live in Mumbai :)
Nightlife in Jakarta. Mumbai, learn!
Meeting local Indonesians with names like Van Hilmer, Oliver Van de Bleeker, Denise Barhydt (I checked their IDs in disbelief)
Making fire 3000m above sea level
Being thrown into a rice field at the end of this coversation with a local colleague-
"Beatrice: What do you hate about Indonesia the most?
Me: LANGUAGE! NOBODY speaks English and I don't speak a word of Bahasa.
Beatrice: Its not our fault that we were not colonized by the British like you BPO Indians.
Me: Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch. So, how good is your dutch madam?
Realizing that a list of just 5 things I won't forget easily can't exist
With so many Islands left, the Indonesian currency so badly screwed up (a budget traveler's heaven) and such lovely people, deciding to go back once every year. Next trip - the volcano laced island of Flores in December 09 :)

(P.S. The pics are far, far, far better than they seem. Blame the pixelation on the fact that I'm a very bad photo-editor-cutter-paster-softwarer. Mail me if there's any particular one you would like to see. I'd be more than happy to share)