Scotsabroad's Weblog

October 27, 2012


Filed under: Food,Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 3:32 pm

We have always been intrigued by the colourful tins displaying large rice cakes outside shops in the Kampungs. Often, the tins are there for people to help themselves and they are trusted to leave the required rupiah. Deliveries are often made on bicycles fitted with portable vacuum tins. Today while out cycling in the Kampung, we came across a wonderful row of tins displaying Krupuk (grow-po).

They are not made from rice but from cassava starch ( krupuk kampung) or from noodle starch (krupuk mie). They might be fish flavoured or contain spices. You can eat them as a snack or crumble them into your meal. At 500 rupiah each they must be one of the cheapest, if not the most attractively presented, road-side snacks.


October 26, 2012

Go West…mid week

Filed under: Indonesia,visits — scotsabroad @ 5:35 pm

This week we are on holiday for Eid Al-Adha. We have just returned from another drive to the West Coast and across Banten Province. We spent three nights in the Anyer area. The drive over was much easier this time having discovered the quicker route through Pandeglang in September. You just have to remember to fold in your wing mirrors.

We checked out the lighthouse in Anyer on our first afternoon. We resisted the parking charge of 20,000 and slipped in to the recreation area below the lighthouse via an adjoining (empty) hotel. The lighthouse was built by the Dutch a few years after Krakatau. It certainly looked very dignified as the sun began to set. We were not offered the chance to climb inside. Sometimes there is someone there to open the lighthouse and you can climb the very rusty interior.

The following day we had arranged for a guide to take us walking in the Hutan Wisata Carita, a forest reserve with walks through the local hills and jungle. We met our guides at the Rakata Hotel in Carita and hopped on a battered angkot for a short distance to one of the reserve’s entrances. We walked for a couple of hours through the jungle heading for the waterfall of Curug Gendang. The going was easy most of the way, despite a few insect bites and the incredible humidity. Monkeys crashed through the trees and voiced their disapproval at our presence. When we reached the waterfall we were a bit disappointed to find that we were at the top of the falls and we couldn’t swim. It was a beautiful location spoilt only by the enormous amount of rubbish thrown about.  We were down on the beach and in another angkot heading back to the Rakata Hotel just after one o’clock. The guides were impressed by the boys’ ability to walk at pace.

The following day we decided to explore the rock-holes at Karang Bolong. This attraction turned out to be very unattractive. There is a spectacular hole and some amazing vegetation, precariously clinging on to the rocks but the man-made structures are appalling. Concrete. Anything and everything has been plastered in the stuff and then, scornfully, the sea has done its worst – along with the weather and the mass of visitors. Litter abounds as does graffiti. Not the easiest place to find just off a tight bend. We thought the place was shut when we arrived but we were led to a gate further up the road and managed to get in. I think we startled a few hawkers and stall sellers (… is it the weekend already?) who half-heartedly offered us shells or coconuts.

After that we headed for Carita Beach. This was the beach we left from when we went to Krakatau. The guide had said that usually 10,000 people descend on the beach at weekends. It certainly felt like everything was geared up for the weekend. We arrived at a parking area, once again startling everyone (… is it the weekend already?) the parking assistants directing us into an empty carpark, hawkers and sellers of blankets, inflatables (disguised as inner-tubes), surf boards, all tied up, fresh coconuts and coke. The beach was deserted apart from them and us. We ran the gauntlet for a while but then had the beach to ourselves. It was a bit smelly and the sand changed once we got out of town. The boys had a great time collecting dead starfish. The Rough Guide describes Carita as having a scruffy charm. I agree. But I wouldn’t like to be here when the 10,000 arrive… and the other tens of thousands, who travel to this coast every weekend.

We drove back to Jakarta on a Friday morning. Being a Friday morning and a holiday, we arrived home in under three hours. A memory I will have of this road trip happened this morning on the way out of Anyer. We were chatting away in the car as we drove through a town. A duck began to slowly cross the road using ( I swear) an improvised,  zebra crossing painted on the road. I came to a stop, watched the duck cross safely to the other side and drove on, during which we carried on talking. It was not until some time later that we asked ourselves… are we getting used to the unusual? Do you think the duck risks the crossing at the weekend?

October 16, 2012

How to embarrass your children 2

Filed under: The Band — scotsabroad @ 6:25 pm

October 1, 2012


Filed under: Books,Indonesia,visits — scotsabroad @ 8:24 pm

In 1883 the original island of Krakatau vaporised into history. Having read Simon Winchester’s book about Krakatau, the children’s book, 101 balloons and watched the film, East of Java, I desperately wanted to see the setting. However, we thought it best to go West.


We had thoughts of doing this trip with friends last year but the weather broke down before we could go. This weekend we ventured out on our own despite a recent eruption earlier this month. The weather proved to be perfect and the sea was calm. Anak Karakatau  (child of Krakatau) emerged from the sea in the 1920s and continues to grow.

We set out for the town of Carita on Friday after school not knowing what we were driving towards. Everything was fine on the Merek Toll Road but as we hit the port town of Clegon, with its constant stream of trucks coming off the ferry from Sumatra, we were reduced to a crawl in the  dust-filled darkness. We began driving through an enormous industrial landscape without any reasonable roads. It took us over two hours to travel the 15 kms to Anyer because of the volume of traffic, road works and incredibly selfish driving. 

Anyer, once a big Dutch port was destroyed by the tidal wave produced in 1883. We drove past the still operational lighthouse dating from 1885 and headed towards the Rakata Hotel at Carita.  Six hours after leaving Jakarta we checked in, to be offered a family room with one double bed. We upgraded to another room, without shower, sink or toilet paper – but two double beds. We couldn’t get anything to eat and didn’t hold out much hope of a good breakfast. We drank Bintang and collapsed. 

Next morning we woke early and drove to a more luxurious hotel for breakfast. To be fair, at the Rakata the beds were clean and it was only $25 for the room. 

We returned to the hotel to meet our guide and the boat that left from Carita beach. For 3 million we had a boat to ourselves with a captain and a mate, drinks and lunch provided. The journey out across the Sunda Strait (about 50 kms) took about 90 minutes.

As we sighted and then approached Krakatau our excitement increased. We passed the real Rakata, a fragment of what is left from the original cataclysm. We landed on the beach of Anak Krakatau and walked up through the tree line towards the first level. Huge, recent expulsions from the volcano have cratered the  dusty-ash slopes. We  came across many scorched trees ignited from the falling debris and hot ash. We touched huge lumps of lava and rock that had been hurled out the volcano, some as big as cars, like black lumps of dough from a giant bread maker. A hot 40 minute climb allowed us to see a recent lava flow, taste, smell and spit out the sulphurous fumes. A film set from Blake’s Seven.

The recent lava flow descended right down to the sea, still smoking and giving off tremendous heat, while turning the water a sulphurous yellow. We descended covered in dust, the boys running down the slope. At the bottom Lucas turns back to meet us… and thanks us for a brilliant trip.

We then sailed right around Anak Krakatau and landed on the beach of Rakata. We eat cold Nasi Goreng with a cold fried egg out of styrofoam boxes – delicious. A cut melon is magically produced from the boat. The remaining prawn crackers were crumbled and used to entice the fish as the boys snorkel off the beach.  We headed back to Carita and arrived at the beach about 3pm. Instead of facing another night at the Rakata we checked out and drove home, this time across West Java, avoiding Clegon, towards Pandeglang. Brilliant.  

PS Today (Tuesday) the weather broke.

Create a free website or blog at