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September 30, 2012

Rakata Hotel Carita

Filed under: Worst Hotel Room Art — scotsabroad @ 7:15 pm

I feel quite a cad doing this. The hotel is brilliant – just don’t take the family. Washing in a bucket does not make for a happy family. I’d stay there again. No bites and very, very cheap.


September 9, 2012

Red and cloudy

Filed under: Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 4:10 pm

Another trip downtown to the neighbourhood of Glodok, the traditional enclave of the Chinese, to find the oldest Chinese Buddhist temple in Jakarta – Wihara Dharma Bhakti. Planning gets as far as a mall location on Jalan Gajah Mada and walking to find Petak Sembilan street market. We arrive at the shabby mall and park in the tiny multi above. Fortunately, we are right beside the market area that holds the temple at the western end. We walk down the narrow street simply experiencing, as the rough guide says, the (very) Chinese vibe of the place. Red the dominant colour. The open sewer I can still smell.

We find the temple easily. It dates from 1755 , the main building is crowned with two dragons eating pearls. Other buildings help to house a total of 24 altar stations with dense incense and smoke from massive candles. For those wishing to pray, enormous bundles of incense, candles, flowers, food, oil and joss paper are for sale as offerings. Even caged birds. 

We return along the market street. We are amazed at the diversity of stalls and shops. One roadside chef  proudly displays his pot containing many recognisable parts of a pig. Shona buys some vegetables, an interesting cake and  an enormous root of ginger from the stalls, as the boys watch chickens and fish being prepared for other shoppers and wonder how many of the tied up crabs are still alive. Everyone is delightfully pleasant and helpful to us. Lucas spends his pocket-money on one of those waving (money) cats and Cairo picks up a statue of a dragon – the year of his birth. I don’t know if it is enough reward for another 5 hour journey there and back covering a distance of about 34 kilometers. I also think my camera might be dying on me as the pictures above are decidedly cloudy.

Bacon sandwich anyone?

September 2, 2012

Museum Nasional

Filed under: Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 6:19 pm

My year 2 class (The Snakes) have a toy mascot called Ular. Ular is Bahasa for snake. Ular will be going home with a different child each weekend to share in family life and adventures. On return to school on a Monday both student and Ular will have to tell the rest of the class what they have been up to over the weekend. Although the teacher of the Snakes class, I decided to take Ular home this weekend so that I could model reporting back to the class and filling in the scrapbook.

It was an excellent opportunity for the family to go exploring. We decided to visit the National Museum this morning. Traffic was slow but we eventually got there and breathed a sigh of relief when we discovered the underground parking. Ten thousand ($1) for a Foreign ticket.  Not the Egyptian Museum but still excellent. An enormous collection of objects from across the Indonesian Archipelago. The old building is the best, housing the Ethnology collection. The boys looked somewhat uncomfortably at the different kinds of koteka, or penis sheaths. In the courtyard outside a magnificent collection of Statuary.

The new wing is slightly disappointing and lacks the charm of the old. The display of objects are poorly presented and badly lit. There is also a dire lack of information and dates – anything to help you make connections. Four floors of the stuff. However, the jewellery is impressive, as are the ceramics and relics of early man – Java Man. Well worth another visit. I wonder how much of Indonesia’s treasures are still displaced throughout the world? I take a picture of everyone beside the bronze elephant in front of the entrance. This was a gift from Rama the fifth of Siam upon his return from a state visit to the Dutch East Indies in 1871. The gift was in return for the grand reception he had received… aye, not to mention the five railway trucks full of statuary from Borobudur.

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