By S. Kramer
The Flying Squad experience is only one of the many things that attract visitors to Tesso Nilo National Park. Other attractions in the nearby area include the 11th century Muara Takus Buddhist temple and the unique Bono tidal bore surfing at nearby Kampar River. Bono is the high wave formed when the ocean tide meets the river stream flowing to the sea. The waves can reach up to 10 meters high. The local legend told that the seven consecutive waves of the Bono were the ghosts of seven male dragons. Similar waves are also found in Rokan Hilir which according to the local legend is the female dragon. Unfortunately, since the Bono comes only during certain times of the year (mostly around November and December) we did not get to witness this rare type of tidal bore.
The road to Tesso Nilo
After a days activity with the flying squad, we got invited by the local community to a performance of silat Pangean at the village courtyard in the evening. This is a kind of martial arts with some sacred rituals performed as a welcome ceremony to honor visitors. The performance was started with Maracik Limau ceremony. This was followed by a smooth gentle performance of martial arts. It is almost like dancing; nevertheless it can have a serious impact to the opponent.
On the third day of our visit, we did jungle trekking. We walked into the jungle for about 2.5 hrs and were introduced to the various types of vascular plant species that can be found in the forest. A vascular plant species is a land plant that has xylem and phloem tissues. Vascular plants include flowers, conifers, and ferns. Tesso Nilo has the highest diversity of these plants in the world. The guide also showed us the claw marks of a sun bear on a tree. At some point during our jungle walk we heard the noise of the bear quite close by. This stopped us for a while. Other animals living in the park are Sumatran tiger, Malayan tapir, midsize primates, deer, monitor lizard, snakes and butterflies. We found also a big type of snail on the forest floor. In the afternoon we went to see the traditional method of harvesting wild honey from the Sialang forest. The harvesting process was started with a ceremony of chanting from the man who will climb the tree where the beehive is located. The ceremony is to ask permission from the guardian spirits of the tree and forest. After the ceremony, the man climbed a few branches on the tree, then swung a long rope made of rattan root around the tree to climb further. On the way back we stopped by at the WWF nursery where they cultivate new saplings to be replanted in the forest.
Installing ladder for harvesting honey
The monsoon tropical rains and thunder came to the area that evening, keeping us indoors for the rest of the evening. I spent the evening writing in my journal, enjoying a hot ginger drink with fried banana and a dinner of typical Riau dish of nasi lemak, patin asam pedas and vegetables. Nasi lemak is rice with coconut milk and patin asam pedas sour and spicy fish. No hope of stargazing for the night.
We left the lodge early in the morning soon after breakfast, bringing with us a souvenir of local sustainably harvested wild honey from Sialang purchased from Lubuk Kembang Bunga Village.
By S. Kramer
Located 15 km north of Solo in central Java, Indonesia, Sangiran archaeological excavation site covers an area of 5600 hectares. It was declared as the Unesco World Heritage: Sangiran Early Man site in 1996. It is a key site for hominid studies where more than 100 hominid fossils from around 1.5 million years ago had been unearthed. This totals about half of all known hominid fossils in the world. The importance of this site is that it provides an archaeological record of physical and cultural hominid evolution in its environment.
In search for the missing link of human evolution, Eugene Dubois discovered the remains of a hominid called Pithecanthropus erectus in 1891. This species is also called the Java man. The excavation was continued by G.H.R Von Koenigswald, a German paleo-anthropologist, in 1930 assisted by the locals. Following the discovery of animal fossils in 1930, a jawbone of Meganthropus Paleojavanicus was discovered in 1936 followed by the discovery of the Pithecanthropus Erectus skull in 1960. The species collection from the site include Meganthropus paleojavanicus (Von Koenigswald 1936), Pithecanthropus Mojokertensis (1936), Pithecanthropus Erectus, and Pithecanthropus Soloensis (1969). The skull of Pithecanthropus indicated a brain size about two times bigger than a chimpanzee’s and two third the size of modern human brain.
Referred as the bones of the giants by the locals, the legend of the village told a story of a young man with supernatural power named Bandung of Sangiran defended the village from the attacks of a group of giants.
Management of the area is divided into 4 sites. Krikilan is the visitor center, Ngebung was the site of the original discovery, Bukuran is the site of the hominid evolution, and Dayu as the site of current research. At least two days are needed to visit all the four areas.
Photo by Kenneth F.
Galungan is a unique 10 day Hindu celebration commemorating the victory of Dharma (good things) over Adharma (bad things).
Galungan is a very important event for Balinese people, who are predominantly Hindus. It is celebrated every 210 days and this year falls on May 21, 2014.
Galungan is not only the time for a full day of prayer but is also time for families. Most of the Balinese will travel home to their ancestral village and spend time with their families and tight village community. In preparation for Galungan, people sacrifice pigs at the temple a day before. The event itself is called ‘Nampah Celeng’. ‘Nampah’ means preparation to accept blessing from the gods and ‘Celeng’ means pig which represents laziness (thus it has to be destroyed). They will later use the meat for a family feast on the Galungan day.
During Galungan, every corner of Bali is decorated with many penjor (a pole made from a high, curving bamboo stick) adorned with fruit, flowers, and coconut leaves, which symbolizes prosperity. On Galungan day, Balinese people place as many penjor as possible to show gratitude and respect to God for his blessing.
The 10 day celebration will end with ‘Kuningan’ on May 31, 2014. Balinese people believe that on Kuningan day, all the gods, as well as the supreme deity Sanghyang Widi (God), will come down to earth and join the festivities for half a day. They also believe that the spirit of ancestors and deceased relatives return to visit their homes during Galungan will return to heaven on Kuningan day.
Indonesian dishes is characteristically spicy and a variety of hot chili peepers are featured in most Indonesia dishes. Some of Indonesian popular dishes are now common across Southeast Asia. Last year, after more than 35,000 votes on Facebook poll conducted by CNN Travel, two of Indonesian cuisines – ‘Rendang’ and ‘Nasi Goreng’ – have claimed the title of no. 1 and no. 2 ‘World’s Most Delicious Food’ – http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/eat/readers-choice-worlds-50-most-delicious-foods-012321
Officially made up of 13,677 islands, Indonesia is surrounded by seas and oceans, providing abundance of seafood. Fish is made into fresh pasta, salted, dried, smoked, or fried. The warm tropical climate of Indonesia also provides luscious and various exotic tropical/sub-tropical fruits and vegetables which can be found year-round – perfect ingredients for various dishes. Coconut for example is easily found everywhere and is used as cooking oil component or an ingredient in cooking.
Each of Indonesia province has more than one traditional cooking that differs from one another. Wide array of spices and chili are main ingredient in provinces like West Sumatra and North Sulawesi. West Sumatra is also where tourists can find various kinds of cooked meat. It is the home of world’s most delicious meal: Rendang Padang.
Rice is the most important part of a meal for the majority of the people. In some of the Eastern islands, rice is replaced by corn, sago, cassava and sweet potatoes. Different kinds of vegetable, soy, meat, chicken, and fish are main parts of Indonesia’s diet.
Pork is easily found in Bali, Papua, and highlands in N Sumatra and North Sulawesi. Pork is served at Chinese restaurant.
Coffee and tea are Indonesia’s abundant commodity. The most expensive coffee in the the world, coffee ‘Luwak’ is originated from Indonesia. Different regions produce their own unique beverages. The most common beverages locally produced across the archipelago is called ‘Tuak’ which is made from fermented rice made from rice fermentation.
The Full Moon, April 26, 2014
This is the day when Hindu people in Bali celebrate the Feast Tumpek Uduh/Tumpek Pengatag. Today is the day one of the Gods, Sanghyang Sangkara, descends from heaven to save and protect the life of all plants (the trees) as food source and the most important living things. He blesses all vegetation to be free from pests diseases, to live abundantly and to give other living creatures plenty of foods, more than ever before.