Bandung Indonesia Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia Sunday, November 19, 2006
I am settled in Bandung, Indonesia, the train ride was great between Jakarta and Bandung as there were elaborate terraces of rice. I was laughing, I had on my shirt form Banaue Philippines of the Banaue Rice Terraces, and I was looking at a set of rice terraces that may in my mind rival them.
Banaue is a number and size experience, there are about 150 or more rice terraces as I counted at Banaue and each jump is about 3-6 feet, maybe a meter, then reinforced by stones. Very impressive and them stones rival Machu Picchu in numbers. However, this is work, there is work and there is engineering, and Banaue to me is about engineering a way to have water flow down from the top to the bottom of 150 rice terraces. But the number and size is just awesome amounts of work.
I have seen these long from top to bottom rice terraces also outside of Katmandu, Nepal and in almost the same size.
WATER The management of water is the wonder, how do you allow gravity or other to means to move water from one location to another. The train trip between Jakarta and Bandung has many smaller hills, bridging on what one could say is a mountain, but not up to ice on top or anything close, but in the way mountains. The train needs to cross over many bridges and a couple of tunnels.
It appears that tunnels make Indonesia people nervous, many put some cloth over their mouths, and closed the windows, like we as breathing bad air in the tunnel.
Well, there are many valleys and many peaks, so we were in a train that was traveling from peak to peak, like a high plains drifter, however missing the bottom of our plains many times with a valley under the train.
(Aaagh very loud Islamic loudspeaker outside my window, first time for this racket, I just arrived in the hotels a few hours ago.)
Ok, so we were in a train looking down at may valleys. In Banaue or Nepal there were huge valley and the intermittent distance between peaks was far. In the Bandung rice terraces the distance was short and of many varying heights, extreme numbers of valleys.
I would need to take a motorcycle around them to access, the water situation, however the engineering of the movement of water to me appears much more complex here in Indonesia than Philippines. An absolute confusion of levels of terraces, peaks, valleys and where the water starts and ends.
Banaue has an obvious top and bottom, however, there are so many tops and bottoms of the Jakarta - Bandung Train Rice Terraces, that you water situation was wove from valley to valley and peak to peak.
I am 80-90 percent sure the train went under many water bridges, a waterway that allowed water to flow in a channel of steel or concrete from one higher hill to a lower hill on the other side of the tracks. Trains are annoying as they do not stall or slow, they just plow on through anything, sometimes they slow down on inclines, however to get a good inspection of the world a bus is better, going around these hills would have make me both motion sick and at the same time give me a better view, as the bus would have slowed, stopped, going different speeds, and from many angles. A train is always full speed head plowing through the mountains on it course that has to be much straighter and less inclines and declines.
I have taken photos, however of the pipe, the channels, the numbers of terraces is complex, many were not just rice terraces, as they are growing many crops, I even saw one area where grapes were grown. Rice is grown from one to three, maybe four times per year, normally around two, and so when it wet, green, and full of water it obvious it is rice. When not, then what is going on with the land usage is harder to know.
GLOBAL WARMING I am a skeptic, thing the studies need at least 5000 years to be of value and the sample of time is too small to say anything logical or intelligent about global warming.
I was watching BBC and as they promote for money the NGO’s of the world they said something like - 2006 is the United Nation year of Desertification. -
OK, there was a stretch of flat land outside of Jakarta where I saw more rice paddies than I could believe a lake of water that went out for miles and miles. It is like the center of India or the trip from Manila to Clark in the Philippines, or many places in Thailand.
A rice paddies is lake of water, many times often bigger than any normal lake, the size of rice lakes on the planet has to challenge the size of all the lakes on the planet. Man has taken land and transformed it into a large rice lake.
The surface of the water evaporates, causing a significant in my mind, not a scientific in my mind study, but an observance of truth. Rice lakes are covering the planet, draining the reservoirs of water from the big sponges of water called mountains and allowing it to evaporate, then maybe be transformed to the ocean, and if it returns to the same area who can say?
Desertification is about water, or when the water table could or would drop in an area, the land on top would become drier and the surface could turn to desert. Man stops most of desertification by land use, planting crops, but when done wrong then man creates a dust bowl or desert.
None of these issues is as big as concern to me as the removal of water from the natural sponge of the earth to be used for rice lakes, how they make sure it returns is my question. It is out of sight and out of mind.
The solution is the need for rice that grows like wheat, in less water and not immersed. However, irrigation would be altered and methods of cultural farming would change.
Nevertheless, there is a need to me for an end to the rice lake, it is not natural.
Jakarta - Bandung Rice Terraces, an engineering feat that in my view challenges Banaue Rice Terraces in magnitude of wonder. However, in a train plowing through the sides of mountains, I am sure many people would say, - There are many terraces. -
I think, behind this is a wonder or the management of irrigation water for the unnatural rice lakes.