Go to the Nias photo album if you want to see the pictures of Nias island.
Go to the Java photo album if you want to see the pictures of Bandung and places near Bandung.
Friday, October 6
I had met Susi and her husband Kees in April this year and we had become good friends. Susi comes from Nias, an island off the western coast of Sumatra where people still live in a traditional way. Se told me that she would visit her family in Indonesia in October and invited me to come to visit them. After the emotional holiday in Vietnam I could use a break from daily life.
So that evening I flew to Jakarta, Indonesia with a short stop in Kualu Lumpur in Malaysia. From Jakarta I flew to Medan on Sumatra where I spent the night reading and doozing in a luxury chair.
Sunday, October 8
Around 7 o'clock in the morning I took the flight to Gunung Sitoli on Nias island. Susi had rented a car to bring me from the airport to her brother's house in Orahili Fau, in the southern part of the island. It was a nice ride through green jungles and small villages and sometimes over very bad roads. Nias is far away from Jakarta and does not get much attention from the government. The island was badly hit by the tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004 and by a huge earthquake in September 2005.
After a few hours ride we arrived at her brother's house where we were welcomed by Emmanuel, his wife and children. Orahili Fau is a traditional village, but Emmanuel lives outside the centre where all the traditional houses were built around the main street.
After lunch we rode to Teluk Dalam on the South coast of Nias to visit cousin Boolulle. He was married to a Dutch woman and has lived many years in Dordrecht. After the tsunami he decided to go back to Nias to help the people and never returned back to Holland. He runs now the lovely hotel with restaurant Howu-Howu (the Heritage) with his new wife and 3 children. After dinner it was karaoke time for Susi, Emmanuel and the driver.
Monday, October 9
We visited Baw÷mataluo, another traditional village, just a few kilometers away from Orahili Fau. We climbed the stone stairs to the main street. It was a beautiful sight, traditional houses, built of wood, lined both sides of the main street. We visited the house of the King (omo seuba), a magnificent building. In front of the house stood a giant stone, where boys had to jump over to show their courage and ability.
The next traditional village to visit was Hilimondregeraya, where we visited more family of Susi. She has family in every village we had visited since my arrival and everybody was happy to see her.
Tuesday, October 10
It was time for some labor. In the morning we went to their land to plant a few coconut and other trees, while Susi told me about her plans she had for the village. Most villagers lived from the profits of rubber trees, but since the rubber market had collapsed, the villagers did not make enough money to live on. Most basic staples and other necesseties had to be transported from Sumatra and Java and was thus expensive. Susi wanted the people to learn to grow their own food to become less dependant from the profits of the rubber trees. The soil was rich enough and the people had their own piece of land. She had started with a few local families and it looked promising.
Wednesday, October 11
In the morning we left on motorbikes to drive to Teluk Dalam, where I would stay for 2 days at the Howu-Howu hotel.
In the afternoon we visited the famous Lagundri Bay near Sorake, famous for its surfing conditions, where we had lunch. In the evening Susi went back to Orahili Fau to visit more family members in different villages the next couple of days.
Friday, October 13
Susi arrived around 11 o'clock to pick me up. After saying goodbye to Boolluule and his wife we drove by car to Guning Sitoli at the north eastern side of Nias. It was only 150 kilometers, but it took us many hours to get there, due to the bad conditions of the roads. But is was a wonderful ride through green forests and past little villages and along the coast.
Late in the afternoon we arrived at the Nias Heritage Museum, situated to the north of Gunung Sitoli and a very nice place to explore the history and culture of Nias Island. The museum is located in a park, near the sea, and it houses a small zoo, with animals like birds and crocodiles. Visitors can spend the night in one of the traditional houses. I stayed here for the night in a beautiful house, while Susi and Emmanuel spent the night at their uncle's place.
Saturday, October 14
I was picked in the morning and we drove to the airport of Gunung Sitoli for our flight to Bandung on Java. After a delay of several hours we finally landed in Medan and missed our connecing flight to Bandung. Susi managed to get us on the flight to Jakarta, which also had a delay of several hours. Later, aboard that flight, we heard that the president of Indonesia had paid a visit to Medan, causing an enormous delay in leaving and arriving flights all day. At Jakarta airport Susi arranged tickets for a minivan to Bandung and after a 3 hour ride we finally arrived in Bandung. A short ride by taxi and we arrived at our hotel, where Warni, Susi's cousin, finally could welcome us. In stead of arriving around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, we arrived at 1 o'clock in the night.
Sunday, October 15
After an easy morning, we visited the show in Saung Angklung Udjo centre in Bandung. Angklung is an Indonesian traditional instrument, made of bamboo.
First we watched a puppet show, then a few traditional dances from different places in Indonesia. Then it was time for the angklung show. The instruments were played by the leader of the centre and by children or students of this fabulous instrument. After this show the public was given angklung instruments for an interactive show under guidance of the leader. At the end of the show the public was invited to dance with the young dancers and angklung players.
Monday, October 16
Tuesday, October 17
Just outside Bandung we visited the Farm House, a small recreation park, with souvenirshops, a foodcentre where you can eat all sorts of foods containing bananas, some wooden houses from the Dutch colonial period and a small animal garden. It is located on top of a hill that provides great views over Bandung.
After a ride of 2 hours through villages and rice fields we arrived at Mount Tangkuban Perahu near the village of Cikole in the Lembang district.
It was very cloudy, so most of the volcano was hidden from view. But we still could see the smoke rising from the crater lake. We walked around for an hour, admiring the scenery and buying souvenirs in one of the many shops. We were just back in time by the car before it started to rain heavily.
On the way back to Bandung we visited the Floating market in Lembang, a recreation park built around a lake. It houses lots of small restaurants, food shops on small boats, a rabbit garden, a fish pond and much more. It is a nice place to stroll around and enjoy.
Wednesday, October 18
We walked from our hotel past some governmental buildings to Braga Street in the centre of Bandung, which houses lots of buildings from the Dutch colonial period and onto the Asia-Afrika Street, named after the Asia-African conference, held in 1955. From one of the minarets of the nearby Masjid Raya Bandung we had beautiful views over the city and its surrounding mountains. After some shopping we walked back to our hotel.
Thursday, October 19
After a few hours ride we arrived at Ciwidey to visit Kawah Putih, a crater lake, filled with surreal turquoise-colored water. It rained heavily when we arrived, so we took shelter in one of the many small restaurants. After an hour the rain became less and we took a minivan to ride the 5 kilometers to the crater. We descended the stairs and looked in awe at the strange colors of the lake and its surroundings.
On the way back to Bandung we passed tea plantations and made a stop at Patengan Lake, a small lakeside resort with nice cabins, restaurants and lots of tea bushes.
We also visited Dusun Bambu, a nice leisure park, with all sorts of bamboo trees and bushes, restaurants, cabins at the lake and a rabbit park, which took all the attention of Susi.
Friday, October 20
Rest day for Willem-Jan, shopping day for Susi and Warni.
Saturday, October 21
It was time to say goodbye to Warni. Susi would fly to her brother in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi and I would fly back to Holland.
Terimah kasih banyak, Warni and Susi, for your hospitality and friendship.
On the map you can see all the places I have visited.