Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ngandong Beach

Last Friday, Melis and I went to Ngandong beach with our friends Ali and Ben.  We set out Friday afternoon and made the trek via our mopeds.  It was a 2 hour drive through beautiful scenery.  We stopped half way there at a look out point and enjoyed cold beverages.  When we arrived, we checked into our losmen (like a motel).  Ben and Ali recommended a awesome place just up from Krakal beach. It was 5 dollars a night.  It was simply a room with a bed and a mandi (squatty potty). We had candles for light along with a nice lightning storm. That night we relaxed, ate at a local warung right on the beach and played cards. 

The next morning Ben and I went surfing.  Ben was nice enough to not only let me borrow one of his boards, he also transported the boards from Jogja, via his motor.  Check out the photos of his surfboard rack on his motor.  The water was refreshingly warm and the waves were overhead.  It was definitely nice to get out in the water.

The rest of the day we relaxed on the beach, reading, sleeping, eating and chatting.  We ate at the local warung again as well.  Around 3 in the afternoon, we packed up and headed out.  We stopped for an early dinner at Kampoeng Baron Restaurant and had a delicious chicken steak meal.  After eating we headed back to Jogja in the pouring rain.  I got absolutely soaked!  I had a rain jacket and shorts on.  Mel faired a little better with a poncho:-)

All and all it was a fabulous one day getaway with great company.  Thank you Ben and Ali!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - Climate Change

As part of a worthy effort, this post is dedicated to the important issue of climate change. Today is Blog Action Day, a day when bloggers unite and blog about a single topic.  This year's topic is climate change.

I have spent the last 2 months in Indonesia.  I've seen how beautiful the country is, from the orange orangutans to the lush forests.  Indonesia, however, is also one of the leading countries in deforestation.  And according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, deforestation accounts for 20% of the world's global warming pollution.  Indonesia has recognized this problem and is willing to combat this issue.  "The Bali Roadmap"  was laid out at the end of 2007 and the countries who participated recognized climate change and were willing, in the next 2 years, to lay out a plan to help reduce global  warming.  It's been two years since then and deforestation is still a huge problem here in Indonsia.  More action needs to be taken.  Incentives need to be given to the people in the surrounding communities to stop cutting down trees.  Deforestation emits CO2, but it also destroys natural habitats for hundreds of animals as well. 

We need to constantly pressure and remind our governments and media outlets that climate change is a serious problem and that by ignoring it or putting it on our "To Do List"  will not be enough.  Action and global agreements need to happen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cerme Cave - Bantul, Indonesia

The Crew

Mini waterfall

Watch out for the bats!

Last Saturday I went “caving” or whatever you call walking through a long 1,200 meter cave.  I met up with a friend of a friend who was leading a group to Cerme Cave in Bantul, a town 40 minutes outside of Yogyakarta.  We all met up in Yogya and followed each other with our motorbikes.  Driving there, I past breathtaking scenery; lush rice fields, mountains and banana trees.  We arrived 45 minutes later at the village leader's house.  He was in charge of the small mountain village community where the cave is located.  We left our bikes with him and headed to the cave,  it was about a 15 minute walk to the cave entrance. 

Before entering the cave our guide handed us bike helmets.  Walking in the cave I was sporting a bike helmet with a flimsy visor and a headlamp.  Entering the 1,200 meter long cave, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The water level on average was about 2 feet high.  At times we were crawling with the water level up to our shoulders.  In the two hours we were in the cave we saw a lot of bats, some sort of cricket creature and lots of cool mud/mineral deposit formations.  We even saw a low pressure waterfall.  I guess during the rainy season the water pressure is pretty intense. 

It was a great adventure, there was not technical experience or risk involved, as long as you are not claustrophobic!  You could walk through the cave in about an hour but we took our time.  The water was refreshing and relatively clean.  At times the cave was narrow and cramped, the helmet was a good call.  It wasn’t a necessity, but it let me focus more on keeping my camera out of the water rather than bumping my head. 

When we emerged from the cave (a different exit point than the entry point) we walked back to the village chief’s place and enjoyed  a nice lunch.  We had  rice, tempe, tofu, tea and fresh veggies.  I contributed sour cream Pringles J.