Indonesia Travel Stories

Indonesia Morning Prayer

Indonesia Morning Prayer
Jaksa Street Jakarta Indonesia
Sunday, November 26, 2006

I have loudspeakers systems coming in from two directions here in the Djody Hotel on Jaksa Street. I am leaving in a 30 minutes for the airport if everything goes correct.

A third one just started, there are not three loudspeaker systems blaring Morning Prayer, I did not need my alarm clock. My plane leaves at 7:25 to Singapore from Jakarta.

It is difficult for me to understand religions. I used to watch this Nazarene Christian Protestant preacher in the USA turn red sreaming his sermon. As a boy, I thought, this is over the edge, this man is angry, not loving. He was trying to either guilt me or rams his sermon down my throat.

There are things of man, and there are things of God. I try to always remember this so I can leave space and hope for the good Gods.

My friend Bruce an attorney in Fort Wayne always is discussing manners, and Winston Churchill and the idea of higher values. He says sometimes, that anything is excusable except bad manners. Then goes on to say to make a person feel uncomfortable is bad manners.

Indonesia Morning Prayer

Jaksa Jakarta Hotel

Jaksa Jakarta Hotel
Jaksa Street Jakarta Indonesia

It is hot and the air in my room just is not fresh. I am now leaving the door open to try to get the room air to circulate. I am not feeling the best; I think the Imodium medicine for diarrhea is making me sensitive to things.

I do not normally pay attention to smokers, impossible to avoid them, as I believe the majority of travelers smoke cigarettes. However, it finally hit me why I am feeling exceptionally bad, there are too many smokers in this hotel and the location of my room is the worst.

I can see many smokers, I decided to go check, what is percentage? The HDI Human Development Index says that 69 percent of Indonesia men smoke. Wow, that is the highest on the planet, no wonder the smoke was getting to me. Thailand is at 39 percent and the Philippines is at 51 percent. I now have the 2005 PDF version of the HDI, and I am working from a more recent report by the United Nations.

I have been thinking a lot about barefoot workers. There are a very high percentage of people working barefoot inside the cities. I have see this very little of this on the planet, what they use normally is the cheapest of the cheap thongs or sandals. Nevertheless, it does protect the bottom of their feet. I feel or believe this is a horrible indication of some extreme poverty.

Poverty is normal, extreme poverty is difficult to escape, as the shoes disappear, the clothes become ragged, the world starts to put them in a special we do not deal with you category. Barefoot working is better than barefoot bums are, but still it is normally a temporary construction work situation, not a job of permanence.

26 percent of males in the USA smoke according to the report.

Jaksa Jakarta Hotel

Diarrhea and a Phillips Screwdriver

Diarrhea and a Phillips Screwdriver
Jakarta Indonesia Southeast Asia
Saturday, November 25, 2006

I started having Diarrhea in Bandung, thought it was some odd combination of foods. However, after about five days, I think it is type one and not type two Diarrheas.
Type II Diarrhea

I decide, time for some medicine, not sure if it kills as much as it stops, I am getting on a plane tomorrow, I need full stop.

So here I am trying to alter my food intake, find some cheese, it is supposed to constipate you, however I cannot find any. Thinking to myself, does eating ice cream help, it is a milk product.

I finally think, bread, however, I am a protein starve meat eater, and needed something, so opted for the peanut butter to make the bread taste better.

I return to my room, thinking I will get into my mess kit, get a knife, and make me a big peanut butter sandwich, complete with whole wheat bread. However, I forgot, I am on the lean, mean packing system, nothing but what is absolutely needed. So, I find a Phillips Screwdriver I use it to fix my computer, however now I use it as a knife, I hope this helps relieve my diarrhea, and who can tell what bacteria lurks on a screwdriver.

I had trouble with the world Phillips, spelled it first Philip and I think it is the name Philip, this is Jaksa street in Jakarta, Indonesia, I bet there is a Philip Screwdriver.

There is this I wish I could photograph them groups of lady boys down the way at night. They stand and act as if they are going to grab you and pull you into this building. Very humorous to watch, like girls with big thighs, wide heads and ready to rope someone. Jaksa Street I am very surprised is mostly men tourist, maybe I am not on the backpacker street, I do not have a guidebook. However, this is more or less a red light district at night.

It is all part of the game, life goes on, however running the airplane toilet every 15 minutes sounds like a plane crash to me. I fly from Jakarta to Singapore tomorrow with Adam Air, for about 68 US Dollars.

Diarrhea and a Phillips Screwdriver

Indonesia Guide

Indonesia Guide
Jakarta Indonesia Southeast Asia
Write Rudy.

Rudy a man living presently in Bandung has been my answer to all questions, my guide here in Indonesia. I have been paying him between 5-15 Dollars US per day to help me find parts for backpacks. I pay him for what he accomplishes or does, and not per day.

Rudy is unique in many ways, and a great guide, however not in the normal ways. He is a guide to anything, not just what I ask.

Yesterday, we were drinking the coffee here in the Djody Restaurant, in the Jaksa Street area of Jakarta. There is a free breakfast included in the 55,000 price of the room.

I finally said,
- This is the worst coffee, I have ever had. -
He says,
- It is not coffee. -
- You know popcorn. -
I said,
- Yes. -
- It is burned corn. -

I suppose we could have gone into a long conversation about coffee, however we continued on a long conversation about backpack parts.

Somehow, they take burned corn and use it to make a substance that looks like coffee, add some sugar and maybe you are fooled. It tasted like burned popcorn to me, more of a tea, than coffee.

Small things, there are millions of little annoying questions I have, nothing to do with a volcano, nothing to do with the spectacular tourist attraction. However, everything to do with Indonesia.

Rudy was explaining to me the differences between Bali where he lived for a few years and Jakarta. He was born and raised in Jakarta, however moved to Bali, has been on his own traveling around Indonesia for the last 10 years of his life working in various types of business from being a guide to a bartender.

I talk to enough guides to know, they are worthless in 90 percent of the cases. Their only attribute of value is they may speak English; this is what is needed normally to get a job as a guide.

However, Rudy by accident has learned about his country, he is also curious about many things, speak English extremely well, I was laughing as I tested him.

What is the name of the area where we are in here in Jakarta, can you spell it?
- J A K S A -
Jaksa Street.

Spelling is a test of fluency, for a kid who learned English in the streets, this is remarkable, and he is truly on the Streets of Indonesia Renaissance Man.

He knows a panoramic view, the movie documentary of the country view, he is very different. Normally a person grows up in the small village, goes to the city, works, lives and dies in the place. They never travel farther away than the nearest big city. They have a SNAPSHOT view of their country.

It is common that a person in a developing country has never traveled as far as to visit the next village. Rudy appears to have been on both end, the middle and in all areas of the culture.

He is 28, and in the transition time of his life, between being a boy and the middle age spread of becoming a man. He has woman and a child, he needs to support, the son is one and a half years old.

I read this book called - Smart People, - it was explaining many types of person that we have in our lives. Like the person that can always get tickets to the game, when nobody else can. A person that knows, somebody, who knows somebody, that gets it done.

I would say, Rudy is a - Smart People, - a person that could get it done when nobody else can.

I remarked to him, and commented, that the biggest problem to import-export in any country is you cannot find a person who is honest. The people around you in developing countries spend 24/7, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week trying to find a way to manipulate or maneuver the situation. They are so intent on earning money, they do not care about me or you, or anything. It is the culture of the world. Tell the person anything to get money.

I trust Rudy a lot, I kept finding myself trusting and doing things with him that I never do with any person in these countries. It is annoying, I cannot normally give money to a person and have them go buy, bring, or give me a service. I can if I am willing to pay five times the correct price. However, to pay the Indonesia price, is very difficult. I was able with Rudy to give him 30-40 US Dollars and he gave me my change back. I by the end was not even counting it, I was trusting a person in one of these underdeveloped countries, this is rare.

He is not perfect, I think he works for appreciation more than money, this is nice. I appreciated his help, hope he finds a way to use his skills to good advantage to have more money than he needs to survive.

Many rich people or naïve people have or find these people. My friend talks about his Taxi driver in Peru who helped him. It is common; a good taxi driver is worth his weight in gold. Tourists have some cling-on people that help them accomplish task. Simple task, going to the tourist attractions. The question is always, how much money they are paying for this good service.

95 percent of the time, the taxi driver is working the person, taking 5-10 times the normal price for everything. Yes, he helps and makes life easy, but for an exorbitant price. This is not what a person wants in a guide, they want the transparency, the person should not be making a commission on your every move, they should tell you the real price. Help you to get good deals for you, not for them, Rudy helped me to buy correct.

Rudy was explaining to me how they get paid commissions, how one city would like Jogyarkarta would pay a commission always if you brought the person and then maybe in another city in Indonesia, they would not.

I do not know, of course Rudy is normal, he normally has to work on commissions. However, he stopped with me, I never felt like he was trying to run ahead of me and get a commission. I know he thought this way, because he knew it was the normal way. I kept paying him for helping, and he slowly stopped thinking about commissions. I would say, do not think you need to run ahead and get a commission; I am going to pay for what you do, and not try to cheat you. I gave him money one time and he says what this is for, I said I like to pay for value, you give me value, and I give you money. This is a problem to me in the world, people do not want to pay for what they got, and they want to see how they can get too much for nothing. Alternatively, to pay half the price of the true value, it is very common in backpackers to beat up the vendors to a level of ridiculous, knowing often the person needs the money and taking advantage of weakness.

I was able to just pay him a fair price for fair value. I was sort of writing this to give Rudy some help, as a favor, hoping he could get some guide help. The more I type, the more I realize how much I appreciated to meet a person in one of the underdeveloped countries that wanted to help me, not just take my money.

I have become jaded; I have a person in the street say something and I think,
- What do you want? -

An old Islamic man returning from last night prayer raised his hands to me, than extended his hand to shake mine. I feel honored that he wanted to shake my hand and say welcome. I shook his hand, worried will he do the same as the Thai man last week and pull me somewhere. I believe to extend the hand to shake is a sign of peace, and I should always shake hands back, I must respond with peace.

The old man, shook my hand, bowed his head, and proceeded into the Wartel or neighborhood. I was happy I am not so jaded, that I will no longer try to be the Indiana boy I am.

Rudy is a good person, if you want answers to all you question; want to have a person around that can find out all the answers. Tell you information that you would never know otherwise, write a guidebook, make a documentary, import-export, be a tourist that actually learns about Indonesia, than Rudy would be a good guy.

How much to pay him, I am not sure. I would guess 150,000 per day or about 15 US is fair. Then pay for all his expenses and food.

Rudy has an email address, can easily meet anyone in Jakarta, as he is just outside the city, Bandung is like a commuter trip from Jakarta. A person could have him clear the path from Jakarta to wherever and life would be wonderful. Note… I told him to take off the black shirt and put on a Hawaiian Shirt, brighten up the colors and be the mister Indonesia Bright and happy. He is young, I do not think he understood, he has met too many young surfer types, takers, and does not have a complete grip on the middle class Australian or American, or German, however like I said, in the transition of leaving the boy and becoming a man.


bambooflairs @

Thank You Rudy, hope life is good.

Note wandering around a country, looking and working many jobs, qualifies him to be something of a Hobo…

Rudy the Hobo an answer man, in Indonesia.

Indonesia Guide

Indonesia Photos Bandung Asia

Indonesia Photos
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia

I took a few photos in Bandung; the culture is similar to Thailand, not a huge difference, about the level of difference between the USA and Europe.

This is a bike rickshaw or taxi in Bandung, Indonesia.

A mobile restaurant. This man allowed me to take his photo than said thank you, Indonesia is good about photos. They build these small cabinets complete with shelves, cutting area and a place to cook. …it is possible he is not cooking.

The cart made into a restaurant is the more common way to do this.

I have been wondering about the flat piece of wood between the two small cabinets for too long of time now. I think sometimes it is Bamboo, hard for me to believe a piece of bamboo is strong enough, however maybe it is, it is also shaped wood. It is a solid, stable, flexible piece of wood, and does a difficult job for such a small piece.

Carrying things on ones shoulder is common. The distribution of weight between the front and back is common in the more simple cultures. Then as they progress it appears the forget this and make a lopsided method of carrying things. I have front a backpack, the distribution of weight makes it more comfortable. I think sometimes modern mean to forget what works.

I do not know what this is, and tried for a few minutes to learn. It is a type of food in Bandung, Indonesia.

The woman on the left requested I take her photo. She is smiling, she is also shy, she wanted a photo, I stop to take her photo, and however, she would not remove her hands from in front of her face. Finally, with some sign language and the other people helping me, she realized I wanted the hand away from the face. This is why she is sort of hiding her hands and smiling.

These round wicker like trays are common in Bandung, and they sell them everywhere. It is an interesting method or way to keep the foods they sell off the table, however than they can walk away fast with their products. I do not remember seeing this in Thailand, or the other countries north of here. I am sure the Indonesia people that have traveled their brought this with them, however I do not remember. It is possible it is everywhere in Thailand and I have never seen.

I am presently in Jakarta in a Tourist Bubble, where all the normal culture has turned to a serve the Tourist Culture. In Bandung, there are so few tourist that nothing changed.

This machine takes a coconut and grinds or shreds it.

Indonesia Photos

Indonesia Pigeons

Indonesia Pigeons
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia

Outside the Moritz Home Stay or Hotel, there are boys that throw pigeons into the air. I have seen them thrown into the sky twice and see many cages full of pigeons. I want to take a photo, however I have not been carrying my camera much because it just photos of city and a city is a city.

I often consider writing one of the books you put in the doctors office and read while waiting to pay money. It seems like an easy way to make money and the books are easy to write. What I have is about 2500 Blog post; I take the best stories, wrap them up, polish them, make them consistent and put in a 225-page print on demand book.

However, the clincher is this, just like the pigeons; there are all these questions to every story. Why, when, what, who, where, etc, how does one collect all the answers to all the small questions that would complete the stories. I try very hard to blog passively, and say, I do not collaborate, this is just opinions, and these are my ideas. Nevertheless, the moment you type something, everyone wants it be fact, or they want to believe it is fact.

Actually, the writers know you can never check them, therefore they make a falsehood a fact and nobody knows they lied. Not my way, this makes is very difficult to fill in the gaps of a story. If you want to fill in with truth, then difficult. I know I leave so many unanswered questions, on my site or blog, like why are they throwing pigeons in Bandung, Indonesia?

However, this is the nature of life and travel, many questions, a big question mark, whereby the answers are both real and illusion.

Indonesia Pigeons

Bandung to Jakarta Train

Bandung to Jakarta Train
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia

Today I will travel from Bandung, Indonesia to Jakarta, Indonesia, I believe I am going from a city of 3 million people, to a 8-10 million person city, however some say it is around it 25 million. I am traveling with an Indonesia man by the name of Rudy who I am paying about 25 dollars US to help me find a gear equipment parts market and a couple of zippers factories.

My goal here in Indonesia is to find backpacks parts, and I am hedging my bets as much as possible. Indonesia I believe has more things to buy, than almost any country in Southeast Asia, it seems as though they allow any type of imports to come into the country and are not terrible restrictive. The variety of products I sold are numerous, it does seem like the best country where I can buy anything for backpacks in Southeast Asia. In a way, what I need is a good connection with China or Taiwan, etc, then a language I can deal with, however bad here, the letter are still in roman, and I can read and write in their language, even if I cannot understand. The alphabet is the same as English.

I feel this trip to Indonesia is a great success, I am not feeling as though there is nothing stopping me from making backpacks in Nepal. Indonesia so far, does not seem like the best place to manufacture backpacks, however a great place to buy parts.

Bandung to Jakarta Train

Indonesia Rice Irrigation

Indonesia Rice Irrigation
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia

This is rice terracing done between Jakarta, Indonesia and Bandung, Indonesia as seen from the Train. It is amazing the amount of water that is channeled from one high spot, to a lower spot by gravity, and how they are capable of doing this.

I saw the control of water for rice in Banaue Philippines; however, this may challenge that as more complicated, as there are numerous small hills and peaks, while Banaue was more or less large valleys.

If you look closely at this photo, you will see many pipes that are leading to the water. By taking pipes, you can move water from a high point to a point across a mountain and to another valley. In effect moving water from one value to another valley.

Indonesia Rice Irrigation