Indonesia Travel Stories, Page 4

Travel Compass

Travel Compass

I purchased a compass and a thermometer in Bangkok, Thailand, I hooked it on my camera bag.

I was on a rented motorcycle; I was not able to find a map. I kept asking for Garung Merapi and finally had people point. At one juncture, though I decided I needed to look at the Compass.

The Danger of going to see Mount Merapi Volcano was not the Volcano; it was the motorcycle ride to the volcano. There are no rules, everyone runs stoplights, passes on the left, passes on the right, stops, turns, and nothing is predictable except chaos.

Travel Compass

Mount Merapi to See Volcano

Mount Merapi

Mount Merpapi was not what I was expected. It was a Volcano much different from any I have ever seen. Normally when there is a Volcano in the area it is like a skyscrapers standing alone in the middle of a field.

I am a little worried that I did not even see the Volcano. There are two areas where you can view the volcano or maybe two volcanoes. The first viewing had a large valley with a river between the volcano and me.

This is maybe the volcano of Mount Merapi; the groups of person at store seemed to say this. I did not expect to have a problem identifying the Volcano. The Indonesia English here in this area is not good, the viewpoint that is complete with admission gate, signs, parking and such, has no signs in English to explain.

This is the stop barriers saying that Merapi is closed, however all you have to do is walk by the stop point and you can go to the viewpoint.
I would say that you could see anything you would normally want to see with no problem. A person may have to walk farther, that is the only difference between being closed and not closed. I did not have to pay the entrance fee.

As I started to climb over these bamboo barriers, I met a couple of men, I am not sure, my first guess is Australian, and however any western country is possible. I did not think much, I was asking them in English how to view the Volcano.

I turned around to look at them again and spot the Red Cross - Red Crescent sign on the back of their van.

I can sense that people do not feel I am truthful about what NGOs are doing. It is like a Missionary, you can see them in all the tourist spots. Nobody can work 24 hours per day.

I go to look at the Bantul Earthquake area and I see zero white people or Western Persons, I go to the Merapi Volcano Tourist attraction and I see two of them.

I was told by the boy at the convenience store to look at Merapi Golf, I had nothing better to do, and the area is very beautiful so I turned near this sign. I never found a golf course, however I did find another entrance.

A guide came up to me and was trying to explain this is a walk to see Mount Merapi. I do not know, I think this is a viewing of the backside of the Volcano. He was a guide; his group of Italians had taken off on a one-hour walk to view the Volcano. He spoke very bad English.

I had no rain gear, I had my camera, nothing to protect me, it looked like rain therefore I decided to opt to go back to the city of Yogyakarta.

Mount Merapi is a tourist site, there are tours advertised everywhere in the area I am living. I could not go on a tour because there are no tourists. I could hire a private tour, however I hate guides. IF I would have met one person that spoke good, English I would have ask them to go with a motorcycle to the mountain. A guide needs to speak English or they can take you to every restaurant or bar in the area and let you sit so you do not ask questions or maybe shopping.

Mount Merapi is not primitive; it has maybe 30-70 Hotels spread out on the adjacent hills. I was not able to see the bottom of the volcano, however there appears to be nobody living at the bottom. This is not a primitive area, it is more or a resort, trekking, living in a hotel, walk around in the mountains area. I saw very small amounts of farming.

Danger? I am not sure; a large explosion of the mountain would be dangerous. There a large ravines and valleys between the hotels and the actual volcano. The lava flows cannot come down on them as they are about as high as the Volcano.

There are many mountains in the area or hills, the volcano is in many ways just another of the hills.

Visiting Mount Merapi

Visiting Mount Merapi

I went through a lot of mental confusion on how to go and visit Mount Merapi, there is a wealth of misinformation here in Jogja. The bigger problem is airplane ticket though and their influence on my decisions.

As best I can tell the Airport in Jogja is not open, I do not know why they closed; I am hoping their buildings were built better�

Three airlines seem to fly in and out of Jogja.
1. Lion Air - The Cheap maybe?
2. Adams Air - Maybe Cheap maybe?
3. Garuda - The expensive

All have major problems to fly to Bali. The Lion Air leaves at 20:30 or about 10:30 at night, and the cost is escalating.

I think Lion Air would be the cheapest if I purchased a ticket for 5-7 days or maybe even Adams if they do fly from here. However I purchased a ticket leaving at around 2:00 PM on the June 5, for Bali.

The ticket is cheaper, however this was not my reason, with Lion Air I would arrive around 11:00 PM and this would make or could make the taxis cost more than the flight. Plus then rooms are harder to find and people try to gouge.

I almost took a bus to Bali, and in many ways, it would be better, however I only save about 15 Dollars and then opt for 16 hours on a bus. I would arrive with a bus at the perfect time of around eight in the morning and could purchase the same day.

Hotel Reservations
Round Trip Airplane Tickets

The three best ways to ruin a vacation.

Travel answers questions you did not know you needed to ask�

I am going today to visit the Volcano of Merapi in Indonesia; I have a booked airplane ticket for tomorrow from Jogja or Yogyakarta to Bali leaving at 2:00 in the afternoon.

IF I discover anything great, anything that makes me curious, any greet reason to go and live close to the volcano, I have to lose money to stay.

I want to go to Bandung, I discovered the Zipper Sliders after I purchased the ticket. If I had not already purchased the ticket, I would be going now to Bandung. I believe though the cost of flight from Bali to Bandung will be about the same as here� In addition, I purchased a round-trip ticket to Indonesia from Bangkok. The second leg leaves though from Bali and I can extend it up to 30 days or change it free� I hope.

Anyway, I do it, Itineraries, Round Trip Tickets; Booking Hotels does not work for me. It stops me from asking or learning, taking the time to explore what I found.

I have decided to ride a motorcycle to Mount Merapi today, in the end sitting around under a volcano is dangerous.

Visiting Mount Merapi

Padlock Zipper Sliders in Indonesia

Padlock Zipper Sliders in Indonesia

Indonesia backpacks have this type of slider. I have visited many countries, looking for the elusive padlock zipper slider, and hopefully the best place to make backpacks.

Zippers are the difficult part of making a backpack, this is a padlock slider. With this type of slider, I can lock my backpack, however this is not a very good design for many reason. I have never seen the best design.

Edison is correct, 99 percent perspiration is needed to invent, or it is my belief perfection come from being able to say no.

I must say NO, 99 percent of the time to be perfect; I need to refuse compromise 99 percent of the time.

Money is why a person compromises, they need money, and values can fly out the window when a dollar is involved. Then I suppose patience, I would say I do not have patience, however I have discovered I can wait better than most, I do not really believe a person could travel for nine years if they had a problem with patience.
I have been told by five backpack sales shops here in Jogja that they are made in Bandung, Indonesia. I now will take a map of the country, and ask them to point at the city. This is not very accurate; many persons in the world have never seen a map of their own country.

Padlock Zipper Sliders in Indonesia

Shaggers or Slappers Remain

Shaggers or Slappers Remain

I asked how many rooms the Setia Kawan has and the one many said 10, I then have been trying to understand the dynamics of tourism and how effected by disasters like an earthquake.

Everyone who was in the Hotel at the time of the Earthquake quickly packed up and left the general area of Yogyakarta.

A few stayed, what I see now is a couple of men, me and another here to take photos. The two women in the Hotel have Indonesia boyfriends.

I am trying to understand, however for sure that are some slappers collecting smaller than them boys here in this hotel.

Love is a strange thing; I really do not want to understand. A person will stay against the logic of other foreigners for love. The logic on leaving after an Earthquake is not clear to me; however, there is an aftershock possible. I do not know about earthquakes.

Shaggers or Slappers Remain

Expedition Speculations

Expedition Speculations
I like the word Expedition, it sound sort of, well intelligent, more than Safari, or the word Trek, in fact I think - Stupid - when I hear the word Trek. I like the word Expedition.
Uned Tribes

I have many curiosity projects in this area; I have never been to the South Pacific or Australia.
My Expedition dream is for the Un-ed tribes of Either Brazil or Papua New Guinea. I am planning on how put together a group of hardy and very curious persons who want to go explore the un-ed tribes.
I need Researchers, Cameramen to video and Photographers, Anthropologist and writers, etc. All wanting to work for free… hehehe

Expedition Speculations


Andy of
Daily Diary or Travel Journal

Earthquake Disaster Tourism


I have seen now the aftermath of an Earthquake. Maybe this is not true; there are levels of the aftermath. A friend called it Disaster Tourism the other day; I look at this more as a scientific endeavor or just plain Andy thingy, of me trying to understand. I have always been obsessive when it comes to trying to understand something. My friend Walt calls it - Grinding - he grinds a problems down or maybe - Chunks - it down to its smallest parts.

I do believe in Grinding.

I did not see the panic, death, and extreme hardship caused in the first 1-3 days after the earthquake.

 - Day 1 - May 27 Saturday Earthquake

Day 2 - May 28 Sunday Nepal

Day 3 - May 29 Monday

Day 4 - May 30 Tuesday - Flight Katmandu, Nepal to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 5 - May 31 Wednesday - Flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Solo, Indonesia

Day 6 - June 1 Thursday - Arrived in Yojyakarta in morning after sleeping in Singapore Airport.

Day 7 - June 2 Friday - Went to Bantul, Epicenter of Earthquake. Note: (I saw a map where it was not the epicenter.)

Television and Newspapers

I have been dwelling on a question I have inside myself.
- Why do I want to come and see an Earthquake? -

I feel it comes down to my desire to find the truth, to grind a question into the ground until I know every small specific aspect and gray area of the problem and hopefully the solution.

I think often of Thomas A Edison, inventor of the Light Bulb and his quote:
- Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. -

Studying Earthquakes and understanding an Earthquake will not stop an Earthquake. I wonder if there is any Scientist running around in the area collecting samples of buildings that fell, classifying and dwelling on the situation. In one more week there will be little to see, they will have cleaned up 70 percent of the debris.

I think this is it, everyone now sits around in their office trying to study something they could go and view themselves. The news media are the worst source of facts and information on the planet. To learn by reading news reports or watching television shows is negligent.

I saw a guy yesterday with a camera, he looked very serious, and I think maybe he was a freelance cameraperson. A starving person who is out taking photos of the Earthquake. This is not common.

On hindsight, if I had already made the choice, I am going to go see an Earthquake; it may have been possible to be at the site on Day 3 with cheaper flights, Day 2 with very expensive airplane flights.

It took me 2-3 days to think about it.

On the plane from Singapore to Solo there was a group of Medical Volunteers, they missed 90 percent of the need time.

In the end, I do believe the Military is the only groups ready, prepared and capable of entering areas correctly and quickly. UNICEF and the Red Cross are next best equipped; all the other NGOs are not in the game for the most part.

Well, a day off to collect my wits and off to see the Volcano of Mount Merapi, it is less than one hour from my present location. I will then fly to Bali to see the beach and do what I do best.


Indonesia Earthquake Photos

Indonesia Earthquake Photos

June 2, 2006
Bantul and Yogyakarta Indonesia

Today I rode rented a motorcycle for 6 U.S. Dollars and rode from Yogyakarta to Bantul, a distance of about 10 Kilometers. I would not describe the earthquake as a city or a location. Everywhere you go there are buildings that collapsed. My guess estimate on average maybe 5 percent of the building within a 7-10 mile radius of Bantul had major damage, 80 percent had minor. The rural older brick building suffered more than the modern steel reinforced buildings. In Bantul, there may be a 10-20 percent major building damage zone.

It is not about a city though, it is about a region. Bantul and the surrounding area is a very flat, full of rice paddies, with scattered buildings. Highly populated however not dense. An abnormal high density of homes in rural areas, however there is an abundance of water; therefore a person can live almost anywhere in this region of Indonesia.

My guess is the city of Bantul has about 10,000 people in the primary city center area and maybe 50,000 in the total region around this area. If you count about one in 10 home is dropped, or part of the home is dropped, these ratios are constantly changing as you go between maybe residential and business buildings.

The major problem here may be for the business owners as their place of business has been destroyed, while the person home, smaller and built in a tropical part of the planet does not destroy their ability to work.

I rode a motorcycle today from Jogja to Bantul, not an easy ride, many motorcycles on the road; however, I do not believe the traffic was abnormal.

This tent appears to be a formal or donated tent; most tents as you left the more modern areas became blue plastic tarps. Note, if there are people still in danger or in need of medical attention, it is far from the Bantul city area and in the more remote areas. This area is fortunate to have relatively good roads for the world, and a very flat and easily traveled terrain.

This word is on maybe 50 signs I seen, not sure the exact meaning.

I saw the turn for Bantul, then I see this man with a cross on his back, I decided to take a photo.

I would say this to me about says it all,

- I will get on my motorcycle, carry this sign to the grave, bury the person I love and say goodbye. -

This man came and shook my hand, said hello, all in the Indonesia language I do not speak. It is a very friendly country, everyone says hello, and looks you in the eyes, nods their head, or acknowledges people.

A funny bunch here, they instantly came over and said their five words of English they know, and I said zero, I know zero words. However we got on good, they posed for a picture. It appears the Indonesia Soldiers have come in heavy and provided food tents and chow lines for the local. There are many military trucks around carrying goods and supplies.

I was purposely trying to get the rice and the tent in one photo, as everywhere the farmland is interspersed with the aid tents. The media occupies about 10-15 percent of the tent or land areas.

Food tents and probably short-term medical tents supplied by the Indonesia Military.

This area I suspect and I do not know, was a former open area camp for people too afraid to return to their homes. It is now empty for the most part.

I am the only white person in the area, many person quickly see this and come almost running.

Welcome to Bantul sign

Damage Building

This one road was lines with Blue Tarp tents, and this friendly family came and instantly wanted their photo taken. I appear to be in an area where nobody looks like me, I am the only Blond Blue eyed person around. In the city of Jogja, there are many more NGO�s than in the Bantul area.

I have not seen hide nor hair of Oxfam, the one interviewed on CNN or BBC.

Blue Tarp area of Bantul, not near the center.

This woman was pressing me to take her photo; she stood up, came over and gave this forlorn look. I am never sure how to feel or think about these types of situations. I am not one to make a pretend photo, or to make a photo happen. This is a pose, and she volunteered the pose.

Major damage to a home.

I found some small lanes or streets that lead to clusters of homes. These areas are full of people, and have many friendly faces.

Indonesia Earthquake June 2, 2006 Bantul Indonesia

Indonesia Earthquake June 2, 2006 Bantul Indonesia

On the corner, leaving the city of Bantul is a few people; there is NOT widespread asking of money for begging for food. I only saw maybe five persons in the whole area.

Japan, China, UNICEF, Islamic Relief, and the Indonesia Army seemed to be in the area.

Solution, hard for me to look at a problem without trying to focus on a solution. It does seem that Indonesia is prone to Earthquakes, how can you stop your home from falling in on your heads? Not easy, however it is possible to access the structures ability to withstand an Earthquake and tell the owners, your home is not safe or less safe.

The building that fell or collapsed were not constructed the same as the ones that remained standing. There are building of very bad construction 25 miles from this area that also fell, it is not only a small area it is the region around Bantul, Indonesia.

Indonesia Earthquake Photos

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