Sunday, May 30, 2010
A mother passing by her daughter's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then she saw an envelope propped up prominently on the center of the bed. It was addressed, "Mom." With the worst premonition, she opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:
It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new boyfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Dad and you. I've been finding real passion with Ahmed and he is so nice-even with all his piercings, tattoos, beard, and his motorcycle clothes. But it's not only the passion Mom, I'm pregnant and Ahmed said that we will be very happy. He already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. He wants to have many more children with me and that's now one of my dreams too. Ahmed taught me that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone and we'll be growing it for us and trading it with his friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Ahmed can get better; he sure deserves it!! Don't worry Mom, I'm 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know your grand children.
Your daughter, Judith
PS: Mom, none of the above is true. I'm over at the neighbor's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than my report card that's in my desk center drawer. I love you! Call when it is safe for me to come home.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Yogyakarta is often called the main gateway to the Central Java as where it is geographically located. It stretches from Mount Merapi to the Indian Ocean. There is daily air service to Yogya from Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali as well as regular train service and easy accessibility by road. Yogyakarta is commonly considered as the modern cultural of Central Java. Although some may prefer Solo as a good runner up, Yogyakarta remains the clear front-runner for traditional dance, Wayang (traditional puppetry) and music.
Yogyakarta has more than just culture though. It is a very lively city and a shopper's delight. The main road, Malioboro Street, is always crowded and famous for its night street food-culture and street vendors. Many tourist shops and cheap hotels are concentrated along this street or in the adjoining tourist area such Sosrowijayan Street.
The key attraction of Yogyakarta is 'Kraton' (the Sultan's Palace). The Sultan's palace is the centre of Yogya's traditional life and despite the advance of modernity; it still emanates the spirit of refinement, which has been the hallmark of Yogya's art for centuries. This vast complex of decaying buildings was built in the 18th century, and is actually a walled city within the city with luxurious pavilions and in which the current Sultan still resides. Yogyakarta is also the only major city, which still has traditional 'Becak' (rickshaw-style) transport.
Yogyakarta Special Region is geographically located almost equidistant from Indonesia's two most important international gateways, about 600 km from Jakarta and 1000 km from Bali. Yogyakarta also has excellent transport connections by bus, train or plane to the rest of Java, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok. Yogyakarta's Adisucipto Airport is in the process of changing its status in order to receive not only domestics' flights from Bali and Jakarta, but also direct charter and scheduled flights from other countries.
Geographically, Yogyakarta Special Province is situated in the Southern part of Central Java and lies between 7 degree 33' and 8 degree 12', South altitude between 110 degree and 50' East longitude. Some regencies of central Java Province surround the administrative boundaries of this region:
Southern East: Wonogiri Regency
Eastern: Klaten Regency
Northwestern: Magelang Regency
Western: Purworejo Regency
The Indonesian Ocean borders the Southern part of Yogyakarta. The borderline of the seashore stretches from West to East of which the length is around 100 km, started from Congot Beach in Kulon Progo Regency and ended at Sadeng Beach in Gunung Kidul Regency.
Because of its location, Yogyakarta is strategically positioned for the economic activity network in Java as well as for the tourist destination area. The special region of Yogyakarta lies midway on the axis of several main tourist destination areas, Jakarta and West Java westward, Central Java northward, East Java and Bali eastward. It is linked by regular rail, road and air services to other parts of Indonesian archipelago.
Climate and Weather in Yogyakarta
The average daily temperature range between 26 degree and 28 degree Celsius with its minimum 18 degree C and maximum 35 degree C respectively. Average humidity is 74% with its minimum of 65% and maximum 84% respectively. The Yogyakarta Special Region lays approximately 7 South of the equator line and is bathed in tropical; sunshine along the year. This region has a tropic climate the daily atmosphere feels a little bit hot and humid. These are only two seasons along the year, the wet or rainy seasons and dry monsoon. Usually the wet seasons begin at September and lasts about August. Generally there is no rainfalls from may to August and there fore the atmosphere feels hot and humid on the day and cool in the night and early morning. The monthly rain falling Yogyakarta varies between 3mm and 496mm in which those above 300mm take place during the month of January up to April. The heaviest rainfall usually occurs in February while the lowest commonly happens between May and October Average annually rainfall is about 1,900mm.
Populations of Yogyakarta
Based on 2000, the total population of Yogyakarta special Region amounted to 3.311.812. Yogyakarta Municipality that has 461,800 inhabitants spread over 32,50 kilometers or the average population density is thus over 14,200 persons per square kilometer. The least densely populated districts is in Gunung Kidul regency which has 720.643 inhabitants and cover 1,485 square kilometers or the density rate is 485 persons per square kilometer. Since a very long time ago the Provincial territory of Yogyakarta Special Region and its surrounding has been decently populated.
The majority residents of Yogyakarta Special Region are Javanese whose language derives from ancient Sanskrit. However, as Yogyakarta is considered to be "Indonesia's academic city" due to the numerous centers for higher learning, many of the inhabitants are student who come from all over Indonesia to study.
Culture of Yogyakarta
The culture Yogyakarta province with its status as a special region lies in the Southern part of Central Java, in the heartland of Javanese culture. As the former capital and the center of several kingdoms in the past, this region and its people are very rich in a variety of cultures. It is widely known from to historical records that the civilization, art and culture had developed well in the center of those kingdoms respectively in the Ancient Mataram Kingdom (8th - 10th Century) era, the second Mataram Kingdom (17th - 18th Century) and Sultanate Ngayogyokarto from the mid of 18th Century up today.
It should be noted that the cultural heritage from the past includes the magnificent temples, the ruins of palaces and monasteries, the various kind of traditions, cultural events, traditional folk and performing arts, architecture and other traditional activities. It is important to note that this is all part of the living culture of Yogyakarta, color of daily activities of live and the local inhabitants behavior, particularly the Javanese community with its traditional way of life and customs. Therefore, because of its culture richness and heritage, Yogyakarta has long been known as the cradle of Javanese culture.
The other legendary name for Yogyakarta City, among the elders as well as the youth generation that is the City of Art and Culture. Traditional and modern exhibition are held almost every day and night about the art of theater, pantomime, music, classic and contemporary dances, poems, etc. Those are flow in the heart of the city. Even more, there are abundant of cultural ceremony, such as Sekaten, Gunungan, Labuhan, Malioboro Fair, etc, which make the city has high value of tradition, art, and culture.
Interesting places.... according to the site
YOGYAKARTA CITY SIGHTSEEING
Yogyakarta, one of the three Special Districts of Indonesia, is considered to be the foremost center of Javanese Culture. Located at the foot of the active volcano Mt. Merapi, the fertile plain of Yogyakarta was established in the 16th and 17"centuries. The Seat of the Mighty Javanese Empire of Mataram Yogyakarta has a special, gentle charm which seldom fails to captivate visitors.
This Trip features: Sultan Palace (Kraton), Taman Sari WaterCastle, Bird Market, batik and silver factories.
KOTAGEDE LEGENDARY TRIP
Kotagede is a neat little town which was once the seat of The Mighty Mataram Kingdom. In this old placid town the graves of the first rulers of Mataram are still found.
This trip will trace Kotagede which is not only viewed on its silver home industry but also learning and discovering it as the old city of Yogyakarta and the glorious root of Mataram Kingdom.
This tour will be completed by visiting SultanPalace (Kraton)
VOLCANO LIGHT TREKKING
Explore the depth of Kaliurang tropical rain forest through the Lava Streams, valleys, gorges and rivers en route to the slopes of Mt Merapi. On the way you will observe traditional village life, as well as having a chance to experience a variety of tropical plants and fruits, birds, vegetation and the beauty the landscape in the cool mountain air.
Got burning desire to explore the highest mountain in JOGJA, Central Java, Indonesia to then you will be landed in the right place.
Start at 07.OOPM from JOGJA and climb up at 12.00 midnight, enjoy the sunrise from the top of Mount Merapi, find Mount Merbabu and Sumbing while sunrise comes up.
BOROBUDUR BUDDHIST TEMPLE
Borobudur is a Buddhist temple and located 42 km west of Yogyakarta. It is one of the world's most famous temples, standing majestic and serene on a hillock overlooking lush green fields and distant hills. The shrine is the world's and most complete collection of Buddhist relief. The walls of Borobudur are sculptured in bas-relief extending over a total length of six kilometers. it has been hailed as the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist relief in the world, unsurpassed in artistic merit, each scene an individual masterpiece.
PRAMBANAN HINDHU TEMPLE
This magnificent Shiva (Hindhu) temple derives its name from the village on the northern fringe on which it is located. Locally it's known as The Roro Jonggrang temple or the temple of the" Slender Virgin". It is reputated to be the biggest and most beautiful Hindu temple in Indonesia. Seventeen kilometres (17 kms ) East of Jogja , the temple is believed to have been built by King Balitung Maha Sambu during the middle of the 9th century. Its parapets are adorned with a bas relief depicting the Ramayana.
KASONGAN POTTERY VILLAGE AND SUNSET AT PARANGTRITIS SOUTH BEACH
Kasongan is a pottery village where people makes earth wares designed in a high taste of craftsmanship. Almost all the inhabitants in this village are engaged in making pottery works using the very traditional equipment but having artistic touch. Located 10 kms to the Southeast of Jogja.
Trip will be continued to Parangtritis South Beach, which is very famous with its magical story behind it with its wonderful beach. If weather allows, Sunset can be seen from the hillock.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Our dear tour guides.. Pak Darma, our Balinese guide and Sam, our Malaysian guide from Mayflower. Next to Sam is Mahani, my dear friend and room mate on this trip....
Lunch at Natrabu... Nasi Padang... but since I was no big fan of nasi padang.... ummm.... it was ok....
Having some fun doing silly poses.... for no apparent reason, this picture everyone is pointing to nothing in particular on the floor... LOL... maybe they're admiring the nice maroon colour carpetting...
Our guides, Pak Darma and Sam had given us until 10.30am to enjoy the hotel facilities. And yeah, considering we were staying in a gloriously beautiful 5 star hotel, the facilities were really under utilized.
Went to the pool and beach. Took pictures and went for my dip. Then at 8.30am, headed back to the hotel room to get a nice warm relaxing shower.. the last one in the hotel or in Bali for that matters. Went for breakfast and then fed my 'pet' fishes in the pond at the lobby. Then explored the hotel further.
At 10.30am, our Balinese guide arrived with the buses and we had our luggages loaded into small vans to be taken to the airport. All of us got into the buses and went to Natrabu in Sanur for some Nasi Padang. The place was supposedly very popular and even Malaysian VIPs including our Prime Minister, and the previous two, including Tun Mahathir ate there before. (There certainly were pictures and autographs to back the claim on the restaurant walls)
Personally for me, I did not enjoy the food too much, I would have preferred the other meals we had at other places.
After lunch, we took some pictures and pooled together our left over Indonesian Rupiahs to be given as tips to both our guides, Pak Darma and Sam for the good time they shown us. It was a kind of poignant moment, sad too, as we had have so much fun the past few days and now it was all coming to an end.
The bus sent us to the airport where Sam and some other Mayflower guides saw us in. They were afterall, on the same flight with us. We checked in and went to do some last minute shopping around the airport duty free area as well as some small souvenir shops. I got a last souvenir, a CD of the degung gamelan music I practically hear everywhere in Bali.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
*Pura Batu Bolong is a small shrine located just a stone's throw from the famous Tanah Lot temple. It is perched at the end of a rocky promontory that leaps seaward into the surging Indian Ocean. Visitors to Pura Batu Bolong tends to lump it with Tanah Lot, hence its name is not as familiar.*
Pura Tanah Lot;Temple of the Land in the Middle of the Sea; "Sunset Temple"
A picture of a holy snake in one of the caves. This picture is taken by my fellow traveller, Arina Mansor.
Gulp... a huge python held by our 'model' at Tanah Lot temple grounds. It weighs about 50kg, is 15 years old and eats 8 ducks a week!!! Photo taken by fellow traveller Amy Shamsuddin and the brave 'model' holding snake is her hubby.
A happy group posing in the sweltering heat... ahhhhh.... hot..... Hot Barley pls......
Just for the pleasure of saying I've been to Hard Rock Bali... LOL .. even if it's just during the day... o_0
Ahhhhh eye candy... buff and tanned surfer dudes....
Fruits offering... wow... isn't it huge... can't possibly finish eating it in a week.....
The buses arrived at 10.15am but we were given some bad news. Apparently we were no longer going to Uluwatu. There had been an incident the day before with some agents and a tour guide where someone got scratched and another person got his spectacles snatched by the monkeys not once but twice. Pak Darma said the monkey were getting more and more aggressive and wild. So because of that, our Kecak dance performance was also cancelled much to most of our fellow travellers' disappointment.
We were then taken to Tanah Lot in the morning to visit the gorgeous temple there. It was quite a long journey, almost 2 hours and we got there. Manage to take some pictures there and some of my fellow traveller even went to see some snakes. There was a huge python which was almost 50kg and I think about 15 feet long.. And then there was the holy snakes, believed to have come from the sea. Pak Darma, our tour guide jovially told us if we wanted to touch the snakes we could. And that Bali had wild and dangerous monkeys but tame snakes. I'm terrified of snakes no matter how tame so it did not even occurred to me to go and see them. I think I would have rather faced the dangerous wild monkeys then any snakes.. It was fun shopping at Tanah Lot though. There were plenty of shops and prices were reasonable and bargainable. The trick to it is to bargain for at least 50% of the price, or so many of my fellow travellers say.
After Tanah Lot, the bus took us to Kuta finally and we had 3 hours to shop or walk around. The bus stopped us at the Discovery Shopping Mall. We were given IDR 65000 to go and have our own lunch. I opted to go to Mc Donalds. I had to walk a short distance though. Had spaghetti bolognaise there then went to Matahari square to browse a bit. Got some candy, tissue paper and a packet of snacks before walking to Hard Rock Bali, a stone's throw away from the mall. Got myself a t shirt there and then took some pics there before crossing the road to the beach. From the beach I took a long and hot, oh the weather was so hot.. walk back to the Discovery Mall. Once there, I went to coffee bean and had a nice cold cup of ice blended mocha latte. Then went exploring the mall a little until time was up. Went back to the bus and once everyone was back on the bus, we went to Krishna souvenir shop, halfway from Kuta to Seminyak.. There we shopped for more souvenirs as most of us did not buy much at Kuta.. Then we were transferred to a restaurant called Jumbo Kuring where we had our get together dinner and mini show. It was fun and the food was good. We were welcomed by the dancers and given a bead necklace with Bali on it. Then we were entertained by a group of singers/dancers and also a tour guide who did a good impersonation of the Phantom of the Opera and Andy Lau. Then we were taken back to the hotel. Some fellow travellers, Mahani included went on another spa visit. This time for facial and reflexology. I was drained and went back to the hotel. There was a small drum on the bed as a gift from Public Mutual to us. Mmmm.. Tired, full and contented, what else, sleep lah.. End of day 3
Monday, May 24, 2010
At the beach at sunrise... note time... 6.25 am... o_0
Batik craftwoman... they can really draw such pretty designs..... gorgeous artwork
Some roadside peddlars trying to sell their wares... "Beli Bu, baru IRP 20,000... berapa bu nak/ Bisa kurang.."
This was a real tight squeeze. A narrow road, a bus and a lorry. But with great patience, cooperation and help, they got pass each other. It was kinda scary for us in the bus as we were just inches from the ditch (never mind the ditch is not deep)!!!! Respect...
This beautiful sight is inside the holy grounds of Pura Taman Ayun. These are sacred grounds. No one but the holy people allowed in there...
Pura Ulun Danu... gorgeous at Bedugul... seemingly mystical... like Avalon... o_0
Group picture.... say Bali everyone.....
Mahani awoke at about 5.15am to do her morning prayers. I went down to the beach at 6am hoping to see the sun rise which I was not disappointed and surprisingly, I was not the early one. There were a few other agents/travellers from over groups already on the beach waiting for the sun to rise. It was a glorious sight to behold, watching the dark sky brighten and the sun coming up. Then with my trusty camera, I went around taking a few pictures around the beach and pool area before heading for breakfast at the coffee house. There was a reasonable selection of food. I opt for some omelette with mushrooms, onion and cheese, some pastries, bread and sausages.
At 7.45am, we were all gathered in front of the hotel and our buses arrived. We got on our designated buses and headed out to Ubud,our first stop at the Batik factory. It was delightful watching the craftswoman at work. They were so skillful drawing out pictures with the 'canting'. However, prices for the batik souvenirs in the factory was exhorbitant. So I did not buy anything. Our next stop was at a silver and gold crafting place. Items were also expensive but outside there were desperate peddlars trying to sell their ware.. Batik, keychains, wood craft and even beautifully crafted buffalo horns. I bought a few things. Keychains and a pair of the horns as gifts for some friends and relatives.
From the factories, we were taken deeper into Ubud, to Nyuh Kuning, where we had to get down from our buses to get into smaller vans to be transferred to our lunch venue. It was a beautiful place called Laka Leke, a hideaway restaurant. It was pretty awesome. Listening to gamelan and having lunch amidst rice paddy fields and also a small vegetable farm. Even the toilets was very pretty with a mini waterfall and pond inside it. After lunch, we headed out towards Taman Ayun and then to what was on higher ground, quite like Malaysia's Cameron Highlands or Fraser's Hill to Begudul. There we visited the beautiful and gorgeous Pura Ulun Danu, a most beautiful temple that was in the middle of a lake. With low clouds and mist surrounding the lake, it really looked so mystical.
Pak Darma, our tour guide mention some strange occurances where some people found shadows of dragons in pictures taken of the place and such. However, no dragons appeared in any of my pictures taken there.
We took some group photos there too, and did some shopping at some shops along the car park area.
From the beautiful Pura Ulun Danu, we headed back to town to have our dinner. It was a quiet affair as it was only the Muslims together that night. We had a simple but nice dinner in Renon Denpasar, in a restaurant called Pondok Kuring. The food was quite tasty and we even had 'udang petai' hehe.. From there, Pak Darma took us to Sanur where some of our friends wanted to go for some spa treatment.
About 10 people went for the spa, 4 others including yours truly became excited at the prospect of shopping in Sanur and pleaded to be allowed to, whilst the rest returned to the hotel. Pak Darma allowed the four of us off with strict instructions that we should be back at the spa area by 2 hours. We went on our merry ways.
We finally returned to our hotel via a van chartered by Pak Darma at 11pm, some rejuvenated by the spa, others including me, truly knackered by the long day. Took a quick shower and it was a good night all..
1. If time doesn't wait for you, don't worry! Just remove the damn battery from the clock and Enjoy life!
2. Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting the lion not to attack you because you are a vegetarian. Think about it.
3. Beauty isn't measured by outer appearance and what clothes we wear, but what we are inside. So, try going out naked tomorrow and see the admiration!
4. Don't walk as if you rule the world, walk as if you don't care who rules the world! That's called Attitude! Keep on rocking!
5. Every lady hopes that her daughter will marry a better man than she did and is convinced that her son will never find a wife as good as his father did!
6. He was a good man. He never smoked, drank had no affair. When he died, the insurance company refused the claim. They said, he who never lived, cannot die!
8. So many options for suicide: Poison, sleeping pills, hanging, jumping from a building, lying on train tracks, but we choose Marriage, slow sure!
9. Only 20 percent boys have brains, rests have girlfriends!
10. All desirable things in life are either illegal, banned, expensive or married to someone else!
11. Drinking is our biggest enemy- Jawaharlal Nehru
We should learn to love our enemies- Mahatma Gandhi
Now, whom to follow and which one to choose?
12. 10% of road accidents are due to drunken driving. Which means - it a logical statement that 90% of accidents are due to driving without drinking!!
Hotel front porch...
Our lovely room.....
View of the pool from the 15th floor tower...
Poolside.... absolute bliss....
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I took the LRT and got to Bangsar around 8.35am. Met Mahani there. Mahani is my friend and my husband's friend. She is also his upline and well, my room mate. The two of us were early and we began to get a little worried not seeing other people there. Fortunately, about 10 minutes later, other agent/travellers arrived. (above pic)
Our Mayflower tour bus came at 9am. It picked us up and sent us to KLIA where we met the travel guides there. We got our boarding passes and checked in the huge luggages and went on our own merry way. We had 1/2 hour to kill before we were expected in the lounge.
I went shopping for some chocolates, while Mahani went for breakfast at the coffee area downstairs. Once I got my chocolates, I cleared immigration and was at the international departure hall. Since I took a few pics, decided to get online and download some pics with the available free wifi access in the airport. ( below pic)
We boarded our flight MH 715 and the flight took off as scheduled. We were served pink guava juice and orange juice, then rice. Had a choice of Nasi Kandar Kari Ikan or Nasi Beriyani with Chicken. It came with a generous slice of fruit cake, a mini cup of mineral water and yummilicious 3 pc Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
A few minutes later , I had the urge to go to the ladies and oh my... was there a queue. Our plane was just the same as the small aircraft that shuttles local flights, and so there were only 2 toilets right at the back, and a long queue. I got my turn and then returned to my seat. Mahani and I had fun watching the clouds and taking pictures of clouds and aerial view of the Indonesian islands.
3 hours later at 3pm, we arrived there at the airport (above pic). It was my first time to Bali, so I was excited. Took pics of all the statues I came across. Cleared immigration and custom and then headed outside where we were greeted by the Balinese girls who placed fragrant Jasmine flowers around our necks (below pic). There was a kinda Hawaiian feeling about this.We were assigned a dashing and wonderful guide, Pak Darmada (pic below) and our Mayflower Malaysian guide was Sam, who was equally jovial, funny and easy going. Our luggages were stored into small Bemos or lorries and then we boarded our Pari Wisata bus (tour bus in Balinese) to to hotel.
Pak Darma introduced himself and told us the rest of the day's itinerary. He was dressed in a traditional Balinese costume. We were then sent to our hotel and given only an hour to freshen up before heading out for dinner again.
Our hotel was gorgeous. It was situated in Nusa Dua. A five star place called Nikko Bali Resort and Spa. Our room #3317 was spacious and beautiful, however, we only got a garden view, but it was pretty, anyway.
Dinner was at a place called Mang Engking, along Sunset Road in Denpasar/Kuta. It was a gorgeous place as it was made solely out of bamboo. However it was a little warm as although it was open air, there was no fan or aircon and the Balinese temperature seems warm. The food was pretty decent and nice. with the exception of some long beans cooked with very spicy bird chillies which left a really fiery taste even to those of us who were used to spicy food. Then we had their speciality which was Udang Bakar Madu (Baked Prawns with Honey) and Gurame Cobek (err... fried fish??? heheheh)
After that, we were sent back to our hotel where we had some welcome drinks and to witness the Royal Balinese Dance.
Then Mahani and I retired to our rooms to rest/sleep...
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I hope that you can get the effects on your computers!
The words are great, but the movements of the faces add a lot....
I asked God to take away my habit..
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away,
but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from
and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked God for all things
that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life,
so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said... Ahhhh,
finally you have the idea.
THIS DAY IS YOURS
DON'T THROW IT AWAY
May God Bless You,
'To the world you might be one person,
But to one person you just might be the world'