24 May 2010
I've always had a weakness for Arabic music and I found this one by Amir Diab on youtube. Really nice
22 May 2010
Right now we are in Borubodur. Its a really great place - my daughter has banned me from using the word "awesome" because she says I'm too old to use it. There must be a law somewhere that I dont know about which says I must not use words meant for kids, perhaps?
Anyway it is awe-inspiring, tremendously so. Not just the vastness of the temple complex but the fact that it is so well kept. Although some of the statues of the Buddha were missing, and some of the heads too, most of the temple is quite intact.
The hotel we stayed in is the Manohara Hotel or the Princess Manohara Hotel. It's situated right within the temple grounds so its only a few metres to visit the temple. I was quite impressed with the temple - its huge - its about 2 and a half km to walk right around the temple according to the guide, and its about 10 stories high. It was built sometime during the 7th century, by the Buddhists. There are more than 500 statues of the Buddha within the temple, on every story. However it was only discovered late in the 18th century during the Dutch era. It seems that most of the temple had been buried under volcanic ash during one of the earlier volcanic eruptions and lay undisturbed by Man for a number of centuries. This probably accounts for the fact that most of the temple is quite intact.
Other interesting sites in and around Jogjakarta are the volcanoes. There are a number of them, the most active of which is Merapi. Mount Merapi erupted sometime in 2007 and more than 5000 people died in that explosion, mainly because of the mudslides and earthquake that followed the erruption. Most of Jogjakarta consist of lowlying buildings, maybe because of this. Geographically most of the island of Java lies in the earthquake zone and the whole island is quite prone to earthquakes, but Jogjakarta is more susceptible to them than any other city in Java.
On the other hand, because of this, the soil here is also one of the richest in the country. As we drove upwards towards the Dieng Plateau, about 5300 feet above sea level, we could see the panaroma all around us - fields and fields of green - potatoes, beetroot, carrots, cabbages and others. From what I could see, the earth is so rich you can plant almost anything anywhere. Any land that is wider than 2 feet is planted and utilised. You can see terraces of potatoes, right up to the peak of the mountains.
16 May 2010
We're having a wonderful weekend now visiting my grand daughter in Singapore. Rizal our son has gone off to Mumbai for a conference so we decided to go over and keep Pohling company. Sophia is a real chatterbox these days - she can talk non stop for hours. She talks to her toys, to her imaginary friend Totoro and to her grand father! I took a video of her "cooking" broccolli for Thomas the train and Totoro. She's a very imaginative child and has an exceptional vocabulary for a 30 month old toddler. I'll have to ask Wan how to upload it to this site later!
8 May 2010
6 May 2010
The picture on the left is of the biggest masjid in Jakarta.
We stayed at the Sukajadi Hotel. Its cheap and really nice and they've renovated so our rooms were all very pleasant. They also overlook the swimming pool. That's what I like about the Indonesians - the swimming pool area is beautifully landscaped, even though its small. Everywhere you go in Bandung you see sometrhing that is beautiful - cool avenues with lots of shady trees, old Dutch bungalows, lots of landscaped gardens...