Indonesia Travel Stories, Page 2

Rice Lakes

Rice Lakes
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia

- Rice is the primary food for half the people in the world. -

The amount of land that is used to grow rice in unnatural man-made lakes is to me staggering.

Rice Lake or endless rice paddies saw on the train ride between Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia. I have seen the same in India, Thailand, and Philippines.


If you dig down below your feet, there is a depth where you will hit water. It is called the water table. The ground under your feet is saturated with water. It is a big sponge holding the earth’s water. Rocks and mountains, impermeable clays and such are natural barriers between this sponge or saturated ground.


This is the underground lake.

When a person pumps water out of the underground lake it needs to return to this lake.

It is logical and understandable that the water that is used to create a rice lake does not 100 percent sure return to the Aquifer or underground lake.

This disruption of water could or it is possible to disrupt the balance of nature. The cutting of trees does almost the same thing, and changes the percentage of surface areas.


Changing how the surface of the planet is used is about balance, too much concrete; too much land used for rice lakes, too many trees cut is changing the balance of nature. It may eventually force mass groups of people to immigrate to areas where there is more water, or where the rice lake has somehow displaced the water.

The water is not disappearing it is moving or being relocated on the planet. Hydrogen fueled cars, if they use water, could in a way do the same thing, the percentage of water on the earth is a number, and this number maybe should not change dramatically.

Rice Lakes

GPRS Indonesia

GPRS Indonesia
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia

One USA Dollar per page viewed.
Maybe 50-100 dollars per hour.

I went to the Telcomsel office here in Bandung and asked about GPRS Cell Phone Internet Access yesterday. Telcomsel and Indosat, probably both spelled wrong are I believe the only two cell or mobile telephone companies in Indonesia big enough to allow a person to really roam around the country.

I received a text message on my AIS Thailand SIM card that said something to effect of GPRS Roaming was possible with my Thailand SIM Card.

This is all crap… in a way, roaming is financial suicide, maybe the best way in the world to throw money in the air.

Well, the bottom line is this, a person can access the internet in Indonesia with the Telcomsel prepaid card system. However the cost will be about one dollar US per page viewed.

We receive two prices. 12 Rupiah per KILOBYTE, not meg or in the actual large center the man said, 30 Rupee per Kilobyte.

Hard to say the cost of using the service, it is probably about the same price though as Satellite Access. I do not know Indonesia well enough, but this is cheaper than Satellite because you do not have to buy the equipment, however I double the cell phone coverage is good enough to go to real primitive area.

I am collecting all this information on this page:

Hobo Mobile Office

GPRS Indonesia

Free Hotel Breakfast

Free Hotel Breakfast
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am the Moritz Hotel, the cost is 50,000 Rupiah per night or about 5 US Dollars, it is nice, but in many ways, I am never sure.

I was looking at the night before I left and came up with some hotel called Kamila in the Dago area of Bandung or something, but the price was under 20 dollars.

Most of the Hotels were in the 40-80 US Dollar range, which is about one to two time the monthly salary an Indonesia person. The Moritz is priced right in proportion to the pay scale.

Free Breakfast is included; this is an egg sandwich and coffee or tea.

I went down about 6:45 and had to sort of break out the Hotel, one of the boys was awake and trying to open the front door. The workers all seemed to be strewn around the bench chair sleeping, as workers normally will do in a hotel. It is very common to have the staff sleeping in the downstairs open areas of a Hotel. Therefore, they were doing just that, sleeping in the downstairs.

Well, they wake up, stir around, I go for a walk. I come back and one asks me if I wanted breakfast. I said yes and he started to cook. I ate my sandwich and thought.

- Hmm, these boys just woke up, no shower, no anything, just walked into the kitchen and started cooking. One of the others was mopping the floor with a mop that has never been rinsed and cleaned.

The Moritz cost five US Dollars and has a private shower, and all the confusion needed.

Free Hotel Breakfast

Camera Problems

Camera Problems
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I was downloading from my Sony Camera photo, when I think the battery died in the middle of the download to the computer. I changed the batteries and it would not power up or start. I still am not able to get it to start, I am frustrated.

I am now going through the steps to discover if I have good batteries, strange as I have four sets of two AA batteries, but all seem to be dead. I have a system whereby the spent batteries go into one compartment and the good batteries go into another. The four batteries that should have been good or two set ready for my camera, did not work.

I took them out and tried them in the GPS and they did not work there either, very strange, however possible that all are dead. I have not used the camera much since I had Malaria or Food Poisoning, I really do not know what I had, but I was rather delusional for couple of weeks that is for sure, and I did not obey my own rules well.

The longer a battery sits, it can just go dead, however this is weird and unlike me to have completely dead batteries. I have to be very systematic with batteries, as having no batteries can stop me from doing what I do, but this is very unusual that I would not have no batteries charged and ready to go.

I am now charging one set of batteries and have three sets ready, my camera used two AA batteries, so I have four sets of batteries to use. The GPS uses two and this means I really have only three if I am using the GPS.

When I was in Panthip the Computer Mall in Bangkok, I priced some new rechargeable batteries; I think they were around 250 Thailand Baht for 2 or about seven US dollars. I am going to increase the level of batteries I carry, up to I think about 8 sets or 16 batteries. It become hard to keep two of them together as sets, I have taken colored electrical tape and put around the batteries, then used a permanent marker to label 1 or 2 or 3 and can keep two batteries together. I can than know which to batteries were used together.

This is nerve-wracking as I now have a camera that does not work, that does not mean it does not work for sure, it just means, it will not start. I have to wait four hours to charge my batteries, than I can test, not a fun wait.

Maybe the Sony Gods saw me looking at their new SLR or Single Lens Reflex camera; I think this is correct terms. I was looking and thinking, I would like to have that camera, the Sony Gods maybe made this one stop working to force me to buy a new one.

The bottom line is digital cameras are coming out with lens that can magnify and perform the same as the older type film cameras. They have had professional types, but now the SLR are coming to the normal person level.

I see many what I would say is up to professional grade digital cameras and I know the person is not a photographer. However, there is some mystic about being a photographer, so they hang them around their necks and I can inspect as I stand around close to them.

I personally would do anything to have a camera I could carry that was so small, nobody would know it was a camera. I hate carrying my camera; it is like a iron weight around my neck and annoying. No freedom to just walk and live, I do however keep my camera in what does not look like a camera case, except when I am using the camera. It is not shaped like a camera, and this is great. I do not wish to tell the camera thieves,
- Hey, in here is a camera, please steal it. -

The batteries failed in the middle of downloading, I am not sure how the electronic switch on my camera likes this, these electronic type switches can be mixed up, my computer switch sure does not work perfect. I do not trust electronic type switches.

The camera works, yippee.

I had 8 discharged batteries, this normally only happens when I am away from electricity for a couple of days and am taking my photos. But I am grateful, the camera works, I will however look in Panthip for a backup camera, some small cheap thing that I can carry, I really do need this.

Camera Problems

Paid Protesters of Bush in Indonesia

Paid Protesters of Bush in Indonesia
Bandung Indonesia

I was making a joke, asking how many people would protest in Indonesia and if there would be any bombs like the Bali Bombings.

The man Rudy, from Indonesia, said,
- You do not have to worry about protesters, they are paid. -

Interesting perspective from an Indonesia person when I was not in any way leading that direction or asking, I was more or less in a joke, I do not care if they protest. I care that President does what he feels is correct, not what I feel correct. What he believe as my representaive for my country. In my STEAD.

Paid Protesters of Bush in Indonesia

Indonesia Salary

Indonesia Salary
Bandung Indonesia Southeast Asia
Monday, November 20, 2006

I need help finding these backpack parts to buy, I have learned from past experience it is easier, faster and cheaper to hire a person to find parts. I normally hire a taxi driver, and say something like.
- I will give you five dollars if you find a backpack factory.-

I need to know.
1. What is fair amount of money to pay?
2. How to say what I want in the local language.

I am very lucky here in Bandung as I am surrounded in this Hotel with men from Indonesia that speak good English. Last night I had a conversation about the monthly salary of Indonesia people.

It seems like a person working in a Hotel as receptionist and all other aspects would get about 400,000 room, probably board. A person working in an elevated capacity would get up to 1,000,000 Rupiah or whatever the money is here in Indonesia.


400,000 = 44 US Dollars per month or around 1-2 dollars per day.
1,000,000 = 111 or about 4-5 Dollars per day.

I would say to offer anyone around 3-5 dollars or about 30,000 to 50,000 to per incident would be an extremely good payment. It cost me money to live here, to come here, and to dwell on this issue, to not accomplish anything is to lose about 350 US dollars in Airfare and Hotel, etc cost. I guess if I stay 10 days it cost me about 35 Dollars per day to be here, or if I do not accomplish something in a day, I lose about 35 Dollars. Big money, hehehe…

OK, so this is not big money is some ways, but in the real world, 80 percent of the planet, the underdeveloped planet, 35 US dollars is big money and cannot be taken lightly.

I am not sure what to do exactly, I can offer to pay the one boy or man about 50,000 per day to work, or I can try to pay him per place he finds, and have a built in translator.

The problem with having a local help is they often try to work ahead and make money on the vendor also by way of extra cheat me on the price money. This is all about import - export and difficult to figure out.

I do not know, I think maybe I get the one guy to work, he has a wife and one and half year old son with him, maybe would be good to work for a few days, then give a bonus for finding places.

I have to define the place I want to find specifically, this is the problem; I want to find places that are distributors for backpack parts, the clips, the buckles, the zippers, the pulls, mostly any padlock slider zippers. It appears that YKK is big here, a manufacturer from Japan I think.

Indonesia Salary

Bandung Indonesia

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.

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.

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.

Bandung Indonesia

Jakarta Indonesia Gambir Train

Jakarta Indonesia Gambir Train
Jakarta Indonesia
Sunday, November 19, 2006

I arrived at the Gambir Bus Station, was happy to see a clock on the outside of the entrance to station, it said 6:20 and I thought, making good time. The train left for Bandung at 6:20 and I now have to wait for the 8:25 train.

The cost of the public bus to the Gambir Train Station was 15,000 and the cost of the Train to Bandung is 45,000 for second class something.

Jakarta seems like Singapore with more clutter, the streets are all well marked; they have them trees and bushes in the median. The landscaping seems about two notches above Bangkok, however probably so far the buildings of Bangkok are more King like and Jakarta is more of a city.

I can say, the Jakarta Airport was painless, except for the 25 US I need to pay to get the Visa on Arrival.

She said,
- 25 US dollars. -
I said,
- Can I pay with Thai Baht? -
The lady says,
- No, -
I say,
- Does the whole world need US Dollars? -
She says,
- Yes. -

Strange how I always need to keep some dollars in my wallet or billfold and ready for strange needs, when a country wants Dollars.

The Airport was nice, easy, and the public buses come right to the entrance of the airport, one with a big sign on it saying,
- Gambir, -

The were all waiting just as I left the doors of the airport, it was too easy, I was really expecting a real problem of a airport, on hindsight though, it reminds me of the Bali Airport, just with no tourist. Bali is for sure a make-the-tourist-happy airport, this is nice, just make the people happy airport.

The Garuda was nice, slept in a back seat for the whole trip, met some Journalist girl from the country of Bhutan, spoke perfect English, and knew about any word I could say. I have not seen any tourist, a few businessmen; nobody was lined up to enter Jakarta at about 5:45 in the morning to be a tourist.

Indonesia is big; I think I will like this area of Indonesia much more than the Bali Indonesia Tourist Pay Bubble.

Only things to know now are…

1. Figure out how much I paid for the shuttle bus?

I got money out of the ATM in the airport, I do not know the exchange rate, and I think about 9.500 to the dollar or less. I am not sure, so I do no know what I am paying for my donut and coffee. Not a good feeling here in the Gambir Train Station of Jarkarta. Two hours to wait and all is good, proper speed of life is happening

2. Find a toilet, this is can be a monumental problem in some places, and then there is the approach / avoidance syndrome of going to the toilet, do I or not, this is a train station in Southeast Asia…

Ok, squat or western.

I am ready to leave, will try to learn the train station. Indonesia on the Jakarta side of life is very organized, and the police have been checking my ticket and pointing where to go. Very polite, I am enjoying the first day in Jakarta - Bandung Indonesia. I am feeling optimistic.

Jakarta Indonesia Gambir Train

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