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Indonesia Land: Juli 2007

Indonesia Land

Juli 31, 2007

Sangiran to be Science Tourism Spot

The Sragen Regency Government will transform the archaeological site of the region Sangiran to be a center of science and education.

Since 2002, the region has been carrying out improvement and developing many facilities to make the pre-historic site a top tourism spot.

It is estimated that in 2008 the Sangiran Scientific Tourism Site will be ready. “The budget need is still around Rp200 billion,” Hari Kuncoro, Head of the Tourism Service Sragen Regency, told Tempo, Friday (27/7).

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) set up Sangiran as a world heritage site number 593. Since this site was founded more than a century ago, 13,813 fossils of human, animal, plant, sea animal and pre-historic human remains have been dug up.

Hari said that as an archaeological site, Sangiran has positive qualities and uniqueness because not all regions or even countries have a site where so much prehistoric human traces can be found.

Krakatau Festival 2007

Kite-flying at popular Mount Krakatau, fishing in Kiluan Bay and a Japanese couple’s wedding ceremony atop elephants are just some of the highlights of the 2007 Krakatau Festival, which kicks off in Lampung province Thursday.

Participants of the festival, which will continue through to Aug. 30, will also be able to witness traditional Lampung arts performances, buy handicrafts or join the International Kite Festival.

The Krakatau kite-flying event, which will be held July 25, is part of the international kite festival.

“Several world-renowned kite enthusiasts will join the event,” said Anshori Djausal, chairman of the Indonesian Kite Association in Lampung.

He said the International Kite Festival itself would be held at three places in Lampung; the Bandarlampung city forest, Kalianda resort in South Lampung and on Krakatau island.

“Participants can enjoy fishing in the waters around Mount Krakatau while flying kites,” Anshori said.

He said the volcano was selected to host the international festival since the mountain, which is located in the middle of the Sunda Strait, is known around the world.

“The mountain is Lampung’s icon. Even in European countries, the volcano is better known than Lampung itself.”

The festival will also include an aerial photography event on July 24-25 at Kalianda resort.

A kite-making workshop for children will be held July 22-23, while an exhibition of various forms and colors of kites is scheduled for July 22-25.

Anshori said the festival will also include exhibitions of kites from several regions around the country.

He said foreign participants could take part in the International Kite Festival in Lampung on July 22-25, before going to other regions to watch other kite exhibitions.

A kite exhibition will be held in Padang, West Sumatra, on July 28 and another in August in Kendari, South Sulawesi, and Bali.

“Before going to Lampung, foreign participants can take part in a kite exhibition at Ancol beach, in Jakarta, from July 20-22,” he said.

The annual Krakatau Festival involves many communities. The event will also involve the Cikal Foundation, which has organized the upcoming Kiluan Fishing Week, from Aug. 10-17.

Cikal’s coordinator, Rico Stevanus, said tourists from Finland, Switzerland and England have expressed interest in taking part in the fishing event.

“Fishermen have even prepared their homes, so tourists can stay overnight. Participants will also be able to enjoy grilled fish along the shore,” he said.

Head of Lampung Tourism Office, Suresmi Ramli, said the 17th Krakatau Festival will also feature the wedding of a Japanese couple in Lampung tradition, while riding a pair of elephants.

“The wedding will be held on Aug. 25 at Way Halim sports center in Bandarlampung. The Japanese couple want to get married according to Lampung custom.

“They want the wedding ceremony to take place while they ride atop elephants.”

Lampung Arts Council secretary-general, Harry Djayaningrat, said the Lampung Art Festival will also be held as part of the Krakatau Festival.

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Juli 25, 2007


Volcanoes are one of the interesting attractions for some people, especially for me and my friend from Austria. There are a lot of mountains in Austria, but none is a volcano. On our trip to Jogjakarta or Yogya, I want to show my friend Merapi a volcano in central Java. We have to go to the volcano observation post in the Kaliurang highlands.

Someonw in Jogjakarta must know where Kaliurang is. Kaliurang itself is a name of a long street in the north of Jogjakarta. UGM (university) is one of landmarks on Kaliurang. To reach the volcano observation post in Kaliurang, go north and take Kaliurang until the street is finished. There are quite informative sign boards along the street.

Reaching Kaliuarang national park, you will see a waterfall that, some people believe, has a healing power. Last time I visited Kaliurang, the waterfall was dry and had only a few drops of water falling from the cliff. Although a bit disappointed, a guy selling soft drinks told me that there was a more interesting place to see on the peak of the cliff. From the peak we could see the Merapi volcano from afar and see evidence of its explosion in 2003.

We had to climb the cliff, following a slippery and steep small path. For a lazy person like me, who rarely works out, it was really exhausting. We finally reached the peak and unfortunately could not even see the Merapi peak, since the mist was surrounding it. However, I could see the traces of the magma and hot clouds of the volcano explosion from the dead trees in the forest surrounding the Kaliurang peak. The soft drink guy also showed me some pictures of when the Merapi exploded.
Although I was quite disappointed of the trip, the journey to the Kaliurang itself is really beautiful. Later on, I was informed that the more interesting place to see five mountains, three of them volcanoes, is from Ketep Pass.

So, if you have a chance to visit Yogya and are interested in seeing the beautiful nature of central java, you could visit Ketep Pass.

Juli 24, 2007

Balinese Life

The strong cultural identity of Bali is based on a combination of closely related elements that include its unique religion, its language, its castes, its community life, and its art.

Although the official language is Indonesian, Balinese remains the everyday language of the people of the island.

The ancient caste system -- still alive but no longer of any official or formal significance -- divides the Balinese into four distinct castes: Priests ('Brahmana'), Rulers ('Ksatria'), Warriors ('Wesia'), and commoners ('Sudra'). Unlike India, Balinese Hinduism has no 'untouchable' caste. Ninety percent of Balinese are commoners, while the remaining ten percent are divided among the three higher castes.

Numerous ceremonies mark the progression of life in Bali, starting, of course, with birth. Children are treated with respect and gentleness; corporal punishment is rare. In adulthood, marriage becomes compulsory and represents the individual's official entry into the community as an adult. Subsequently, participation in the meetings of the Banjar (village association that manages village affairs) becomes obligatory.

The management of the all-important water supply falls under another essential community organization called the Subak, to which each village landowner belongs. Bali's irrigation system, unique in the world, is managed by these associations, which ensure the fair distribution of water and carry out the traditional ceremonial rites to the gods of agriculture.

No discussion of Bali is complete without mentioning Bali's native inhabitants, the so-called 'Bali Aga'. They are the descendants of the first known inhabitants of Bali, and their customs are of prehistoric origin -- long before the arrival of Hinduism. Now their culture represents a unique combination of their animistic origins and Balinese Hinduism. There are only a few villages of Bali Aga left; the two best known are Tenganan in Karangasem and Trunyan in Kintamani, Bangli.


Sunsets of Bali

There is only one word to describe the sunsets in Bali: spectacular. In winter solstice in December, when the sun is close to its lowest point, a large, bright orange, red sun will approach the horizon of Kuta, descending ever so slowly. Brilliant shadows are cast everywhere, golden reflection on the water, and strips of clouds march as if to curtain another day.

One light strip of cloud will probably march straight into the view, stealing the completeness of the sun, as if to accessorize it with a flowing silk scarf. Millions pairs of eyes are fixated, as the sun's bottom touches the horizon, and, in a matter of minutes, vanishes from the sight, as if it was never there.

Or, in Tanah Lot. A several hundred years old temple stands erect, solemnly guarding the land from the wilderness of the sea. Yet, as the sun begins its journey to its nightly resting place, the brilliance of an orange, red sun softly falls onto the side of the temple, raising its mystique even more. As waves break into the natural stone foundation of the temple, teasing the hundreds of little snakes in the cave in front of the temple, the sun marches down slowly. The millions of people it fascinates do not disturb it, for its ritual must flow. As it draws near the horizon, a magnified shadow of the temple is cast upon your eyes, as if to whisper good night. And in a couple of minutes, the sun rests, leaving traces of the day that has just passed.