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A few kilometers north of Lawang, on the road to Surabaya, we turned into the expansive 85-hectare botanical gardens and were immediately enveloped by its peace and serenity, a salve for city dwellers. Our original intention was just to shop for houseplants, but we ended up spending the whole afternoon in this beautifully landscaped enclave and came away with new-found respect and appreciation for the world of plants.
At 300 meters above sea level, with an average annual rainfall of 2,366 millimeters, living organisms do not have any trouble at all prospering in the limey soil of this sprawling live museum of dry habitats: a total of 11,429 specimens representing 3,000 plant species, including many that are endangered and seldom seen outside of Indonesia. Among the highlight is an Arecaceae collection of perennial lianas, shrubs and 80 different kinds of palms; 114 bamboo species; 15 species of rose apple (Syzygium); 80 species of fern; a legume, pea and bean family collection; 300 species of medicinal herbs.
A plainclothes policeman was seen carrying an icebox in a yellow plastic bag on the fifth floor of Siloam Hospital, Karawaci, Tangerang, on Wednesday last week. The icebox contained the remainder of the hospital's Buvanest-labeled anesthetic injection ampules. "Today we bring this evidence to be examined together," said Herkutanto, chairman of the Health Ministry's Serious Sentinel Case Analysis Team.
By mid-morning, the air cleared car doors slammed one by one as we climbed out of and lined up at the ticket office before the entrance to the 15th Century temple complex. Walking down to the very bottom of the series of terraces, I started climbing up each ascending terrace as pilgrims before me had for 500 years. The grounds were tranquil with singing birds and flowering shrubs. Except for the inevitable trash, the complex is kept relatively clean and the ruins well preserved.
Small in size but fierce in personality in a male-dominated science, Mead was known for her passion for pre-literate cultures, her ability to popularize sophisticated insights, her rigorous attention to the minutest detail, her strong plain-spoken opinions and her gift of synthesizing science, art and anthropology. She was the most famous cultural anthropologist of the 20th century, at the forefront of a trend to liberalize anthropology. Mead's ideas about the way culture formed personality and how varying cultural patterns express an underlying human unity reached not just the academic community but also a broad international audience.
I remember clambering alone over the empty ruins of Panataran, East Java's largest and most imposing complex of Hindu ruins, when it was completely surrounded by ricefields in the early 1980s, in the days before Indonesian's mass adoption of the motorcycle. I had to take a clippity-clop dokar horse-cart for the 10-minute ride out into the countryside, seeking shade from the heat in the quiet corridors of friezes.
Now the site, 15 kilometers north of Blitar and 80 kilometers southwest of Malang, is enclosed on three sides by kampungs. The adjoining villagealso called Panataranis still small enough that you can walk everywhere and people are friendly and very approachable in the tourist off-season. We had driven the whole day from Central Java in order to reach the out-of-the way temple group before nightfall. After a series of left and right turns in Blitareveryone had a different opinion on how to get therewe reached the northern outskirts of the city, then climbed straight up the southern slope of Mount Kelod.
Alas Purwo, on Blambangan Peninsula at the southeastern tip of East Java province, is renowned for its lowland tropical rainforests, huge banteng (bull) cattle, scenic proximity to the ocean, pilgrimage spiritual sites and world-class surfing.
Although this national treasure boasts one of the best lefthanders in the world at G-land, I discovered that the vast reaches of the park in the island's easternmost regency are emphatically not just for surfers. Along with Banyuwangi's Ijen Plateau, this unique reserve is an estimable tourist destination in its own right. The seacoast at Plengkung (G-land) on Grajagan Bay is in fact surrounded by a 55,000-hectare national park, the third largest on Java.
Driving along the nondescript main road with its petrol-bottle stands, small clothes-retailers, motorcycle repair workshops, a sole beauty salon and several warung (food stall) selling the barest necessities, there seems to be nothing to recommend it.
It was not until we turned down one of its many shady lanes to the sea that we discovered Les possessed just the right sweet spot that travelers hunger before a destination is discovered by mass tourism: isolation, peace and natural beauty yet with enough comfortable accommodations, availability of good food and limited yet available access to the outside world.
The first animal Alan Knight rescued was a sloth bear in India named Raju, but it didn't stop there. He has spent the last 25 years saving threatened animals from all over the world, including several critically endangered species in Indonesia. Alan Knight was born and brought up in Romford, Essex, in the east of London, UK. From the start, the young boy loved animals from his very first pet cat Pandy and his Golden Retriever puppy Kim. Alan bred butterflies for releasehis boyhood dream was working on a butterfly farmand he was always rescuing animals and bringing them home.
Realizing his affinity for our fellow creatures, his parents encouraged him to get a degree in Biology, which is exactly what he ended up doing.In 1974, Alan went into business making microscopes for schools, developing a series of microscopes that changed the design rules. In 1999, after 25 years of making scientific instruments and rising to chairman of the SOL Group, he left the business to work full time for International Animal Rescue of the UK. The following is an interview with Knight by contributor Bill Dalton:
American writer Vivienne Kruger first visited Bali on a weeklong overland trip from Jakarta in 1993. For five years, starting in 1999, she wrote travel articles for Bali & Beyond magazine. In 2006, with her column Food of the Gods, Vivienne officially launched her career as a food writer for the Bali Advertiser. Vivienne has been shuttling between Darwin and Kuta, Ubud and Lovina for most of the past 13 years. Considered a leading authority on the culinary arts of Bali, Vivienne's book Balinese Food: The Traditional Cuisine and Food Culture of Bali was published by Tuttle in April 2014. With the rapidly growing interest in culinary topics, particularly the traditional foods around the Indonesian archipelago, this book will be a welcome addition to food and travel aficionados. Kruger recently spoke to travel contributor Bill Dalton on writing about Bali cuisine. Excerpts
What inspired you to go into food writing?
I started out writing articles about a prominent Balinese restaurateur, Ni Wayan Murni, the owner of Murni's Warung in Ubud. While researching her fabulous restaurant and the foods on her menu, my interest took an unexpected turn into traditional Balinese cookingand I just kept going!
When Western expats shop for vegetables in Indonesia, they tend to stick to familiar items from supermarket shelves and ignore the lesser-known local produce. Some people even look down on cheap vegetables as food for the poor and instead buy processed muck with fewer health benefits. So here is a look at some of the Asian fruits and vegetables available. If you have a garden, consider starting a compost heap (rather than following the national pastime of burning raked leaves) and growing your own vegetables.
A three-week trip with two kids from Bali to Flores by ferry, bus, foot, motorbike and shared taxi while enduring lumpy beds, stained sheets, tiny dark rooms, dripping faucets and freezing mandi may not be everyone's idea of a fun-filled holiday, but it was the school break and the opportunity was just too good to pass up. Like an aging former high school football star racing a train to the crossing, I also wanted to see if this old hippie could still do the backpack thing.
We began island hopping east on the very day of the fuel price hike and at the very start of summer vacation, so we had to contend with artificially inflated prices as soon as we left Bali's Ubung Bus Terminal. We boarded a semi-express bus to Padangbai where we met the ferry to East Lombok, leaving the noise, the congestion, the bumper-to-bumper traffic and the yearlong rainy season behind us and an adventurous journey ahead.
On the eve of Indonesia's Independence Day, a sidewalk takeaway stall is swarming with customers pushing to make and collect their orders. Frenetic staff cannot take a break for even a second as they rush to prepare the food. The attraction is martabak: one of the country's most popular and least healthy night-time street foods.
Martabak comes in two completely different forms, sweet and savory, with both types being offered by most vendors. There are endless permutations of possible fillings, including durian, Toblerone chocolate, mashed beans, beef, jam, nuts and cheese. To the uninitiated, it can be fascinating to observe martabak being created in just a few minutes by skilled cooks. Consuming the finished product may be a pleasant or unpleasant surprise.
The Islamic fasting month of Ramadhan is in full swing in Jakarta, with restaurants putting up curtains during daylight hours, bars serving beer in tea cups or mugs, and mini-marts concealing their booze. There's no shortage of daytime dining options for infidels, while menstruating women are also permitted to skip the fasting because they are deemed unclean. Pregnant women, too, should consider eating whenever hungry unless they want to have underweight babies for the sake of proving religious piety.
Along with the bedug (large ceremonial drums), beloved by those who enjoy nothing more than being woken at 3am, the other icon of Ramadhan in Indonesia is ketupatrice wrapped in woven palm leaves and then boiled. The poorer cousin of ketupat is lontong, which is much the same thing, only wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled. These methods of cooking rice are believed to have originated to protect it from spoiling during sea voyages.
My Indonesian aunt in Melbourne asks her local butcher for offal and bonespurportedly for her two dogsand then uses them in her own cooking. Sadly, beef offal and offcuts, regarded as pet food in some countries, are beyond the purchasing power of many Indonesians.
Government restrictions on beef imports have caused prices to soar over the past year and caused a bribery scandal. A kilogram of oxtail costs A$9 in some Australian supermarkets and 5.50 in the UK, whereas Jakarta restaurateurs are paying Rp150,000nearly double the price. International factors, such as droughts in beef producing countries and increased demand from China, will likely keep prices high for the rest of the year.