Category Archives: Indonesia

Gungung Bromo, Indonesia’s largest volcano

After leaving Bali at 9am, we arrived at Surabaya (SUB) on the island of Java at 9am. Nadya and I were picked up at the airport by her cousins friend, who was kind enough to drive us 2.5 hours to her cousins place.  That’s exceptionally nice – would you do that for a friend’s friend visiting?   Would you drive 2.5 hours to pick up a friend’s cousin’s new friend at the airport?

The plan was to head to Gungung Bromo, their largest volcano to watch it at sunrise.  We got a ride to her cousins, at which point we’d we’d take another leg of transportation towards the base of the mountain, and leave for the mountain around 4am. It’s a lot of effort but Lonely Planet Indonesia (Travel Guide) raved about it.

Indonesia has 129 volcanoes (debated number; some place the number as more than 150), most in the world, and none are more beautiful than Gunung Bromo, on the eastern side of the island of Java (same island as Jakarta, Indonesia, where U.S. President Barack Obama once lived). There’s actually 40 volcanoes on the island of Java alone, but beautiful postcards from Indonesia with a volcano are typically of Bromo. It’s impressive!

Oh-bah-ma! New York, New York!

When I tell local Indonesians I meet that I’m from NY, I get an immediate response of word association of everything that comes to mind for them at a rapid pace. Typically it starts with them excitedly  blurting out
Immediately followed by “New York, New York – Sinatra!”
Or singing Alicia Keys’  chorus line from “Empire State of Mind,” which is funny because they both have a strong accent and are typically way off key. The combo is quite entertaining and didn’t get old even after having this happen nearly two dozen times in just a week.
Sometimes this is followed by “US and A!” cheer, and then random facts that they know about the US.  “50 States!”   One guy started naming random US state capitals. One guy started rattling off random cities he had heard of, that we have 100 senators, and the NY Yankees.
Interestingly enough I found I got a warmer initial response when I said I was from New York rather than from America or the US.
Has anyone else had an experience like this?  Is this typical for countries in SE Asia?  Let me know if this has happened to you.
Like my experience in HK, I met such wonderful people here (both travelers and Indonesians).  Some of them I’ve been staying in touch with (and some will be perhaps by reading this blog).

Wings Air — Cheapest Flight I’ve taken

My flight from Bali (DPS) to Java (SUB) was $29 on Wings Air. That’s the least I’ve spent on a flight up to this point. It’s a prop plane. That’s right, we’re flying a plane with a propeller. Hope we make it!

Wings Air - a prop plane to get us from Bali to Java
Wings Air. It’s a real plane. Just with propellers. Can this thing fly?

Closeup photo of the propeller of the Wing's Air prop plane
Closeup photo of the propeller from the plane. [It was taken through an airplane window so it’s a little grainy
You can see the propeller on the Wings Air plane pictured above. I had last taken one on my trip through Belize and that was an adventure!  Scary!  I’ll post about the Belize adventure after I finish posting about the 15-country Asia trip.

My $29 Wing's Air prop plane flight

Learning Indonesian

If you’re going to be in a city for a few days, it’s always appreciated when you take a moment to learn a few key phrases. That’s particularly challenging in a country like Indonesia, with so many languages being spoken (Balinese and different dialects of Bahasa Indonesian were most common in Bali).  But it’s important.
Regardless of what city I’m in, I find myself saying Thank You quite a bit, so in Indonesian, that’s “Terima Kasih.”  Pair that with a warm smile and they’re likely to response with “Sammah Sammah” – You’re welcome. For some reason in Bali the word kaliren (hungry) came up a lot.  “always kaliren!”
Special thanks to Afit, Nadya, and Dina, for teaching me their language.
Note: neither of those last two phrases came up accurately under Google Translate, but I was using them every day in Java and people seemed to know exactly what I was saying.
Like my experience in HK, I’ve met such wonderful people here (both travelers and Indonesians).  Some of them I’ve been staying in touch with (and some will be perhaps by reading this blog).

Slideshows: Monkeys in Bali

Both photo galleries from our day with the monkeys on the cliffs of Ulu Watu are below  – click SL for slideshow, and FS for full screen mode.

Monkeys at Ulu Watu part2

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the baby monkeys were so playful, so adorable
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