March 12 TANJUNG PUTING National Park in Indonesia is located in the island of Borneo. A boat called Kelotok was our means of transporation. It’s a traditional comfortable wooden boat. Our dinner was serviced to us as we motored 3 hours to our destination of the Rimba EcoLodge. It was interesting to see these huge buildings with tiny windows. It’s a sparrow bird house. The sparrow’s spit is highly valued in China.
March 13 After breakfast the boat dropped us off at the Leakey Camp #3 feeding station. We waited 2 hrs for the Orangutans to show up. I was disappointed. After lunch we motored to Camp #1. It didn’t take long for them to show up. Children and females can eat together. Males eat alone. The top dog male took his time eating the bananas. The other Orangutans were up in the trees watching. I loved seeing the interaction between the group members.
March 14 While the morning was still cool we were able to see the Proboscis Monkey and the Long Tail Macaque. The Long Tail monkeys moved quickly and easily through the trees so we never got a good photo. The Proboscis with their big noses were more curious about us but eventually did move on. We had a quick tour of a traditional village. The residents were ejected from the national park and made this their home. To earn a living they planted Palm Oil Plantations. The fertilizer used produced a crop more often but destroys the soil. The day ended with another trip to Camp #1 to see more Orangutans. Today I discovered how large and hands and feets were. Great for holding on to trees.
March 15 One speed boat and one flight to Semarang on the island of Java. A major port during the Dutch colonial era which began in 1678. The government is fixing up the Danish building since it was a big part of their history. Due to road construction we couldn’t see many of the old building other than the Blenduk Church (oldest in Indonesia). We then visited the Oldest Chinese temple Gedung Batu. We then drove to the city of Borobudur and checked into our villa situated in the middle of a rice field. During the night a rat was furiously gnawing through the top of the wall where it transitioned from concrete to wood.
March 16 - This morning was Borobudur, a UNESCO site. It was a Buddist temple built in the 8th and 9th century. There were thousands of school children visiting. Every one wanted a selfie with us and to practice their English. I never thought we would make it to the top. We finally said: “ no more”.
Then on to a Hindu site called Prambanan. It is the oldest in Indonesia.
The gentleman that put our whole Indonesian whirlwind tour together asked us to join him for lunch at a friend’s house located in some rice fields. We got there just in time as the heavens opened wide.
We were off to Yogyakarta for the night.
March 17 - Drove to the Sultan’s palace built in 1756. It is still in use today. Rained again. Watched a series of dancing. All moved very slow. Must have good balance to be a slow dancer. Since it was so boring for Gary we left 15 minutes early.
Drove to the Sultan’s Water Castle. He would row, sail, and swim. His Harem was allowed to use the swimming pool built in the mid 18th century. Then caught a plane to Sulawesi and bedded down for the night.
March 18 - Stood in the hot sun next to the turboprop. After 15 minutes, they told us to get back on the bus because the plane had a bad tire. We had to wait for new boarding passes to printed. Then back to the waiting area, and finally, back on the bus. That was a first.
After driving for a brutal two hours on a sometime paved road, we were taken to a village to see their homes with rice barns in front. The shape, above, is reminiscent of the Chinese ships they used to get to the island. Checked into a resort style hotel that used the same design.
March 19 We’ve all seen photo of food markets. But what about a buffalo market! Then we attended a funeral higher up in the hills. I will talk more about that later. After the funeral we walked the rice terrace fields. Full Day
The buffalo is sacrificed to carry the spirit of the deceased. That is why buffalos are so important. The deceased actually passed away last Oct. He was considered sleeping until his best buffalo would join him in the hereafter. Day 1 of the funeral ceremony: The buffalo was killed the day before we arrived. The animal’s meat was put into piles to be given to the deceased relatives.
Day 2 was the day guest arrived with their pigs for sacrificed honoring the deceased. We only brought cigarettes. Why such a filthy gift? The Toraja have 2 homes: the family home and the no smoke home or the burial site. Just by the name you can see that smoking is very important to the Torajas.
There was so much going on: men chanting the good things about the deceased, announcements of every family that provided a pig for sacrifice, guests being led to and from the ceremony, pigs squealing as they were brought in or left to be killed.
Day 3 Is when all the chosen buffalo will be sacrificed. Buffalo and honor/glory go hand in hand.
Day 4 The body is taken to the burial site.
March 20 Burial sites
The coffins are carried to the burial site and left there, never to be used again. This site can be a cave, carved out hole in a large lava rock or a mausoleum on the home property. Tau tau are carved figures of the deceased and can be also placed at the burial ground. It was for me an amazing experience because it was so different from Western funerals.
March 22 After 3 plane rides and 1 boat we arrived at Komodo National Park on Rinca Island. It was very hot and we weren’t feeling 100% so chose the 1 hr walk. Many dragons were huddled around the kitchen. The ranger said they don’t feed them but… We both were disappointed in this part of the tour but I put together the itinerary.