Manila -> Jember
My journey started very early yesterday. I got up at 4:30am and went to Terminal 2 in Manila. The airport is a mess! I arrived at the airport 3 hours in advanced and i needed the time...A lot of waiting and paying money and waiting. Every single flight got delayed there yesterday by at least 1,5 hours! Every single flight. My time to switch planes was rather short so i talked with a flight attendent on the plane and when i arrived in Jakarta i was guarded by some guy who is working at the airport. I felt like a VIP :D no waiting and always the first one. But my luggage did not make it. I lost it on my way and right now i am desperatly waiting for it. After arriving at the airport i was picked up by Sams my host. We were driven by a personal driver to Jember. It was a 5 hour drive. I will have my personal driver every single day! He will pick me up in the morning and drop me at work and in the afternoon he will bring me home again.
I will upload some pictures as fast as my luggage will arrive
New place, new culture
I arrived safely and my luggage was delivered yesterday in the afternoon. It was such a relief!
Today was my first day of my internship. I am teaching at a private muslim elementary school. Things are different here. They pray at least 5 times a day and then they add their additional prayers:
In additional they add Dhuha at 7:30 am.
I arrived at 7:30am in school after i got picked up by my personal driver Mr Hilma. All the students have been in the Mosque at this time for Dhuha. The day was covered with a lot of introductions and i was treated like a precious! I was stuffed with food! I get free lunch in school every day. One student asked me what my favourite food is and i answered Sambal. Somehow the cook of the school got to know this so i got it for lunch. All the people are so friendly and the food is sooo good. In front of the school is a poster and it says:
SD Al Baitul Amien (the name of the school)
Corado Lieder from Hamburg, Germany (motivator)
It was so awkward when i saw this. I am such a VIP here!
My hosts are amazing, too. Sams and Rindi. I will upload a picture so far i have a nice one. Sams and I sit outside a lot, drinking awesome coffee and smoking cigarettes :D We talk a lot and have a great time.
Something is really new for me: In school i am not allowed to touch women, like for greetings, because they are muslims. During prayer they separate the males from the females. The males are in the front and the girls line up in the back. I am really looking forward for the next experienced i will have.
My home for the next 6 weeks (nam mingo)
The room i am sleeping in. Tomorrow will come another intern, Veronica from Slovakia. She will stay with us, because her host got pregnant. She got the nicer room, because she is a girl, but i am totally fine with my room
Living the life of a celerity, teaching, quality family time, Slohat Jum'at, no touching
Well almost my first week is already over. Time is passing here quite quickly and everyday is special.
My first days of school were covered with introductions. The school has two different buildings. One is just for grade one and two and is not finished yet and quite at the edge of Jember. The other one is in the heart of Jember and covers the grades from one to six. The oldest mosque of this city is in this school. So far everybody wants to introduce himself to me and they are going nuts for having a picture with me. I started to give one or two of the kids a high five. Suddenly i had to give 100 kids a high five. Teaching in class is a little different, because the kids are so young and they are not really paying attention. But i will teach them some discipline so i will not get a headache from teaching:
Diam! Tudu! Lihat saya! (Be quiet, sit down, look at me!)
The kids in front of the kitchen going nuts when i took out my camera.
After correcting some papers from the second graders all came up to me and wanted to have my signature. So i was sitting there and giving out autographes, it was a really weird situation. When i enter the school every morning my private driver rolls down my window in the back and i have to wave to the kids^^
The kids are wearing school uniforms, but the colours change eery second day. So there is red and white for monday and tuesday, blue for wednesday and thursday and green for friday and saturday. The teachers do wear batik shirts on friday, so i got one myself as well. Friday is quite special, because Dhuhur is replaced for the boys to Slohat Jum'at. It takes about an hour. I was invited to join. We crossed the street in front of the school to go to a bigger mosque. I was the only non muslim there. It felt a little awkward. I just wanted to watch but suddenly one man came up to me and told me by sign language that i have to do the stuff as well. So i was imitating all the movements for an hour. It was pretty interesting and i think i will join next friday as well.
The girls preparing for Dhuha.
There are a lot of rules you have to obey and respect when you are in contact with muslims. I can not touch a muslim girl, pointing only with your right hand like eating and giving money. But i am getting used to it already. But still when i am talking its just like a gesture to slightly touch the person you are talking with.
On Saturaday we went as a family up the hills to a schwimming pool and enjoyed the view over Jember.
The four of us: Sams, Rindy, Veronica and me.
On the way into the hills Vernica started to speak:'I think i have a strange and weird question. After going to the toilet ( squat toilet, no toilet paper but a water hose and a bucket with water) how do i clean myself and are you always leaving the toilet with wet pants?" So we laughed pretty hard and explained it to her. Now she is waiting for her certificate for mastering going to the bathroom.
Well stay tuned, my house is full like usually with a lot of people. tThey just pop into our house each evening. I still have so much to talk about (catholic birthday party with Om Boss, etc), but anyways I gotta go.
Papuma beach, durian bet, getting invitations by strangers
Last tuesday was a holiday so no school! We went by car ( an old BMW M5) to papuma beach. It took us about 1,5 hours to get there even though it is just 30km away.
Papuma beach view.
The sea was quite rough, but the view was amazing! We spent this day eating, drinking coffee and smoking cigaretts. We had a really good time. On the way back Sams and I started a bet. Veronica had never ever eaten Durian so far, so we decided that she had to. He said, if she vomits or is close to it I have to pay him 50000 Rupiah (ca 5 US Dollars). If she likes it and enjoys eating it he will pay me. Well on the way back we found a small one whichs prize was 30000 Rupiah. Well what can I say? I won the bet!
It is quite usual here to get invitations from strange people you have never met before just because of you are white. They want to take me on vacations and take me out for dinner. As soon as they realize that i am smoking they are excusing themselves, go to a shop and are buying me cigaretts...I never run out of them. But this is still srange.
Eating rice with my hands. Usual meal. By looking at the picutre you could not tell i this is breakfast, lunch or dinner. A meal without rice is not considered to be a meal. But this was breakfast.
English promotion, photoshooting
Last sunday we got an invitation to attend at a english promotion at an islamic boarding school. What we did not know: we were the main attraction!
We with our welcome banner.
The islamic boarding school is close to Bondowoso and totally enclosed by rice fields. After the welcome speech of the headmaster they exspected us to hold a speech. First we were surprised and Veronica was not able to speak. I was surprised that my "speech" was quite fluently in front of this big audience without any preparation. I focused on the cultural understanding of each other and the opportunity we have with this internship to experience that. After this speech they wanted to have a demonstration about the skills of teaching. So i was teaching about 20 kids in front of the audience. Firstly i tried to clearify the importance of proper pronunciation and continued with a game and i included the headmaster in this game!^^
Of course we had lunch after this ceremony. The headmaster is a hypnotist, but because of the language barrier he was not able to hypnotize me. He hypnotized one of his teachers and made him act like Barack Obama. This show was stunningly interesting. after that i learned something about receiving and giving energy. There are so many interesting people here with such a great knowledge about supernatural abilities. Even though I do not believe everything there are still some great point of views of living and giving.
Monday: Some chinese guys invited me and Veronica to a professional photoshooting at Papuma beach. We got picked up after school and went to a Kebaya (tradional wedding clothes) rental shop. After choosing a suitable Kebaya we got prepared by the make up artist, who prepared last years Ms Indonesia. We had so much fun during the shooting and we got some great shots. We got paid as well, even though it is just their hobby! It was not much (about 10 dollars each), but we will get the pictures, we wore Kebaya and we got some great lunch and dinner ( fish and squid at the beach all you can eat!). We already got an invitation of another chinese photographer to join a shooting in his studio.
New goal in my internship, second photoshooting, starfruit and rambutan plantation
What was the main goal in my internship? My responsibility was teaching english and motivate the kids to study english. By now i think that i need to set different goals as well. The last 3 weeks i was observing the behavior of the students and the capaility of the teachers. The kids are not really listening and just screaming and running around in class. The teachers are not able to calm them down. I am planning to train all the teachers, not just the english teachers, in handling the kids better. My aim is simple by introducing some simple rules and some educational principles. I am really excited about this, because i have never ever trained people before and this is not really my working field.
The second photoshooting was not that exciting. Well the interesting part about meeting professional models from Surabaya. The chinese guys booked them for the shooting. And of course the big dinner afterwards in a fancy restaurant! I get the results of the shooting tomorrow
Today i visited another islamic boarding school. First of all it was about introducing myself and giving them the chance to speak with a "native speaker" english. Well i changed the topic of that also. I want to raise an awareness of their environment and about the tropical rainforest. Introducing simple behaviors again like taking care of everyones trash. I was surprised that most of the indonesian people dont know about the extinction of the orang utans! So much work and not enough time... But afterwards i went to a starfruit and rambutan plantation. Harvesting and eating ( saya sangat kenyang!). It was a nice experience working like a local farmer!
Cafe Gumitir, meeting models
Today I went with Sams to a coffee plantation in Gumitir. Besides an awesome landscape we drank good coffee with the traditional brown sugar. The sugar is served in little cones which dissolve into the coffee slowly. Of course we had some good food (nasi pecel sama tahu) and some dragonfruit juice).
The last days I spent a lot of time with the chinese photographers. They like the company of models, so I meet a lot of indonesian models (sorry for not uploading any pictures, but the space of this website is limited...I want to save it for the big temples).
Last weekend I went to Malang, I started my trip early friday morning. The trip to Malang took about 6h (200 km). There I met a friend who i met in Vietnam, Nandra. We have booked a tour to Bromo in advanced, because we wanted to see the sunrise. We got picked up at our hotel at 10pm. It took 3h to get to the mountain and 2,5h up the mountain. At 4am, we were totally tired and hungry, we got out of the car. It was foggy and raining, perfect for a sunrise. I was lucky, that i bought this raincoat. I dont have a jacket and during this trip i got an expert in losing things (sorry mom, I lost both of the raincoats you gave me...). Well we waited over an hour to see the sunrise but we could not see it, but it was freezing cold and windy. I really dont recommend going for the sunrise in rainy season. After the "sunrise" it stopped raining and we could enjoy the view. It was still quite foggy.
Bromo is the mointain to the right. It is covered in fog. Altitude: 2300m
From the viewpoint we took the jeep down. We went through the plains and the small dessert.
At about 11am we started the small hike up to the crater. It was a little disappointing, because we were looking in the crater and the only thing we saw was fog. The smell of sulphur was pretty strong. Along the way up we were accompanied by horses. Their hair looked like mowhawks!
The view down into the valley. Me with my beautiful raincoat in the front and the Hindu temple in the back.
The trip was so tireing. After coming back we slept until the next morning with just a small break for dinner. But the trip was totally worth it, even though it was cold and foggy.
dancing in the rain, training seminar for the teachers, Ijen crater
Rain in Indonesia is different! When it is raining, you think it is the end of the world you are living in. But you still have to enjoy ever moment. Sometimes the rain comes out of nowhere, it is flooding the whole place. The streets turn into rivers, the yard into a lake and it stops as fast as it started! After one hour you can't even tell that it rained. Last week it rained so heavily that even our kitchen got flooded 3cm with water.
We took our clothes of and welcomed the rain dancing, the people on the street were a little confused what the Bules (foreigners) were doing.
I forgot to tell that our family grew by one member! Ahmed from Tunesia. He is staying with us, because there were some problems with his hostfamily and his school. We are sharing my "room".
Last saturday i hold m first training seminar! I never attended a seminar and I am not a teacher but i wanted to do it. I was teaching about how to teach, because teaching is art. About 40 to 50 teachers were attending the seminar. I showed them 2 videos about students behaviors and they had to compare them. After this I introduced some rules and guidelines to improve teaching and the student's concentration.
After the seminar. Me with the librarian in front of the billboard in the schoolyard. The students put in sugarcubes and farewell wishes for me. It was so sweet!!
Ijen! After the seminar we went to Bondowoso, because Mr Pur invited us to go to Ijen crater. We left Bondowoso at about 9pm. It was a 3h drive. We reached the bottom of the volcano at about 0:30 am. The hike was quite hard, but nothing to compare with hiking in Batad, Philippines. The Indonesian who accompanied us ran out o breath pretty fast, so we decided to split up the group. I took the lead of the first one. It was totally dark and we just had a little lantern. The altitude difference was about 900 meters with a slope of 60 degrees. I took us close to 2 hours. Close to the crater we already got hit by the smell of the sulphur, it smelled like rotten eggs.
The three of us with the lantern in the morning.
At the top we could not see the blue fire. The smoke covered everything. I just have bad luck exploring volcanos :D So we walked down into the crater. The rocks were slippery and very steep. It took us another hour. The smoke was so bad that we used a crappy mask to protect ourselves but it did not really work.
My breath made my glasses foggy... Bad smell and no eyesight^
Every 5 minutes we could see the "blue fire", whenever the smoke was not soo bad. The sulphur is burning and producing blue flames. We had 3 cameras and 2 cell phones with us, but we just got 2 bad pictures with one cell phone. It was very hard to ttake picture, and all the time we had to hide from the smoke very fast.
After 20 minutes we decided to do it the french way and we just fled. We were concerned about our health. We met sulphur workers all the way down. The sulphur has a very high quality. The workers go down with gummy boots or flip flops and are working in the smoke. The "harvest" about 80kg and then they carry it up. The first time they do it at about 3am, they do it about 3 times a day. Going up the mountain, digging sulphur, going down with 80kg on their shoulders. The salary is just 5 euros a day! The next time you think your job is shit, think about the story I wrote here.
A sulphur worker carrying his load like it is the easiest thing in the world. I tried to lift it up...I failed!
I would recommend going to Ijen after rainy season and take warm clothes and a good army mask with you! Even though we could hardly see the fire we had a great time! While waiting for the sunrise, we cuddled together like penguins and were telling jokes, what else to do^^ we could not see the sunset...It was too smoky and foggy.
Natural disasters, last days in Jember
Nature strikes pretty hard on Indonesia right now. Two weeks ago Gunung Sinabung, Medan/Sumatra erupted and continues erupting for eight days. The surrounded areas got affected very badly. Before that the rainy season flooded Sumatra, Sulawesi, West Java and Bali. On Wednesday more bad news striked me an I was really concerned about my upcoming trip. In central Sumatra 460 fire hot spots destroy the rain forest and the smoke causes a lot of flight delays and cancellations in the area. But I am still going to Sumatra/hell, hell of an advanture -.- Yesterday I wanted to take a night bus to Yogyakarta to go on with my traveling. But I to cancel my journey...On Thursday Gunung Kepud started to erupt. This volcano is about 120km away from Jember and right on the way to Yogyakarta. The ashes were blown to Yogyakarta and covered the whole area with 5cm of ashes, all the airports in Java Timur are closed. The eruption did not reach its peak so far and I am interested how the outcome will be. Now I stay two more nights in Jember and skip Ygyakarta, too bad because I really wanted to go to Borobudur. Well I guess nature does not like me...I go directly to Jakarta by bus on Sunday. One day earlier and the flight I booked from Yogya to Jkt...well natural disasters, no refund of Air Asia.
Even though it seems that the world around me is just collapsing and going down I am having a really good time. Last night I went to a dancing and fashion show of some chinese grandmas. All of them were at least 50 years old, but man this asian thing...they looked like 30! and were in pretty good shape! For after party we went to a roof top bar (finally some beer!!!). We met some foreign tobacco traders and I got a cigar sample
This time you better stay tuned to get more news about volcanos, forest fires, floods and of course all my little advantures besides that.
Jember -> Jakarta -> Bukit Lawang
The bus ride to Jakarte was tiring! I had to be at the bus station one hour before to purchase the ticket. So I left Jember at 10am. My bus departed at noon. It was supposed to be 23 hours (the infrastructure is veeeery bad!), in the end it was a 25 hour bus ride. After arriving in Jkt i took a taxi to go to Nandra's apartment. I got surprised with beer and pizza. What a welcome! Jkt gave me a little culture shock. After being in rural areas for six weeks I got stuck in traffic and western fast food, cheese, bread and all the stuff I was used to just overwhelmed me. I spent 3 nights with Nandra. We had a great time. She took me to the touristic places of Jkt and showed me more Javanese food
Today she took me to the airport. The farewell was quite hard, but for good memories she prepared me a care package! The flight out of Java was delayed like every flight I take in Asia :D. After arriving in Medan, Sumatra, I took a local bus (30000Rph) to Pinang Baris bus terminal. From there I got a small local bus right away. But they ripped me off...instead of paying 25000 Rph I paid 40000Rph after bargging from 50000Rph... But it is still all right I guess.
HAHA acutally I messed up! I thought that I am gonna fly out of Indonesia on the 23rd, but my flight is on the 25th. So I have two more days. Tomorrow I will do a jungle trek to see the orang utans, my main purpose of the visit here, the next day I will leave in the early morning to Lake Toba. I will see how things will work out and I have to replan my trip in Cambodia and Laos^^
Gunung Leuser National Park
Finally Orang Utans! I started my trek in the early morning. We were a group of 5. It was quite expensive, I had to pay 25 euro. But it was totally worth it!. After entering the jungle life just changed. The smell of the jungle cant be described in words. It was a mixture of flowers, leaves, Kautschuk and rain. Absolutely lovely! We walked for about an hour before we saw the first Orang Utan. The animals are semiwild. The park consists of 9000 sqkm of pure forest. The first ape was so far away. He was building a nest for resting. I was disappointed because I could not get a good picture. But we got paid off after another hour. There were three Orang Utans ( Man of the forest) at one spot. There was even a baby! In total we saw 13!
A female with her baby.
After that I met an Orang Utan girl. Her name is Jackey and she is 45 years old. She came down the tree and we were supposed to back of. I was too slow. Suddenly she was at the ground 1 meter away from me and she walked towards me and took my right wrist! She did not let go for 15 minutes and we were even walking hand in hand for quite a while I dont know why she chose me out of the group but i dont mind it! Eventually she let go and we continued our trek. But I must say: her hands were so soft! I wanted to ask her what lotion she uses but I dont think that she will understand me or is even using any.
Me and Jackey
After this we had some lunch in the jungle and then we walked to a close by river to jump on a tube and go back. The ride was chilled out and the landscape just beautiful.
In the afternoon a local took me on his motorbike into a palm oil plantation. The road was so bad that we got a flat tire! So we went to a place to fix the bike. The man fixed two wholes and readjusted the front tire for just 2 euro!
Evening Chill out in Bukit Lawang, Lake Toba -> Medan
At night all the Batak guides join together in the hostel bar of Bukit Lawang Indah. They take their guitar and play whatever song you want to be played. But somehow they always manage to put in the words Orang Utan and Marijuana. By listening to them how they speak and sing about their animal you can really feel that they love their job and the Orang Utan!
It was just a short trip for me to Bukit Lawang so I took a private bus to Parapat/ Lake Toba. It was supposed to be 7,5 hours, so I figured it is time saving compared to the public one, but more expensive though. In the end it took me close to 10 hours and after that 1 hour waiting for the boat and then the boat ride...But Lake Toba is definitely worth a trip! It is a very chilled out island and for perfect for relaxing and swimming. My hostel "Reggae" was more or less in the lake. I could nearly jump into the lake from my balcony. The banana pancakes (with coconut crisps, honey and some chocolate flakes) were incredible, the same with the Chicken Curry. The time was just too short.
The busride back to Medan was tiring...I am excited for the next days :D just traveling until I arrive in Siem Reap.
The time in Indonesia was totally different to any other place I have been to. In very rural areas, you hardly see any tourists and the people are more friendly. But the hospitality, invitations and the attention of the local people can be exhausting and sometimes I felt that people drain the energy out of me. Traveling takes a lot of time :D Never ever trust anybody about the time or the distance of a trip, or if you do add at least one hour to it. Most of the people don't know the distance in kilometer. Traffic in cities can be mind blowing slow and the infrastructure is not the best. But Indonesia has so awesome places. Sumatra especially! It is still a little adventure to travel and here are not so many tourists. In tourist regions all the people try to rip you of...bus prices, prices for food or additional orders. Keep smiling and bargain!
Next time i need more time for traveling in Indonesia: Sulawesi and maybe once more Sumatra.