Arched gracefully between two continents of Asia and Australia is a vast archipelago of 17,000 islands with the musical name of “Nusantara” better known as Indonesia. The islands were blessed with spectacular natural beauty, including majestic volcanoes falling steeply to crystal clear highlands, lakes forested gorges, rocky highlands and golden beaches.
Indonesia was discovered by Portuguese traders in the early 16th century. Then the Dutch came, ousted Portuguese. Because of Indonesia bountiful spices and other commodities, the Dutch established their presence on Java island and gradually to the rest of the islands. The Dutch colonized Indonesia for 350 year.
Jakarta capital of Indonesia was named Batavia by the Dutch. There are still many old Dutch buildings in downtown Jakarta close to China town. Also a functioning draw bridge similar in Holland heading to “Pasar Ikan” or fish market where there are several Dutch colonial storage buildings. It is a tourist attraction now.
During the war in Asia, The Dutch surrender the islands to Imperial Japan. They occupied the islands for three years. After their country destruction from the atomic bomb, they surrender to the Dutch. The Dutch did not colonized the islands any longer. Indonesia received independent on August 17, 1945, with President Soekarno and prime minister Hatta for Indonesian finally became a free country.
The islands having large variety of plants, animal life, both aquatic and terrestrial. Among its rare species are the Orangutan primate, the Komodo dragon (giant lizard). Another assets of Indonesia is its people, rich in colorful cultures and traditions inherited from the dawn of civilization. Indonesians are divides into approximately 300 ethnic groups, speaking about 365 languages and dialects. By decree from President Soekarno that all Indonesian have only one language to communicate with each other that is “Bahasa Indonesia”.
Indonesians are well known for their friendliness , politeness and hospitality.
The country motto “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” unity in Diversity.
WEST JAVA VILLAGE IN THE MOUNTAIN
Rickshaws in Yogyakarta
TEA PLANTATION IN WEST JAVA
Photography by Kalpana Kartik and Kamala Saraswathi Copyright
When the sun is high and temperature is warm, I would see these turtles basking on a tree log. They enjoy warm water such as our pond and on the McKenzie river, Oregon. As the Western pond turtle cannot survive in cold river water.
The Western turtles on our pond is native to McKenzie valley only. The color olive to dark brown/black is their markings. The upper shell or carapace of adult is 5 to 8 inch long. They feed aquatic insects. In winter they hibernate in the woods. In summer mature female turtle nests are dug in open field where the eggs and hatchlings are easy prey for raccoons, opossums and dogs. Also, many ponds have non-native bull frogs and wide mouth bass which prey upon juveniles.
Mallard the common wild duck, ancestor of almost every breed of domestic duck. In the wild it is an opportunistic feeder, eating snails, aquatic insects, grasshoppers, fish eggs anything the mallard could find. These birds are a common sight on the pond. They are permanent residence on all water sites.
Male has glossy green head, bill yellow, wing patch blue. Female sandy brown, bill molted orange. Their habitat, lakes, marshes, ponds, swamps and parks.
Female nests in a down lined hollow of grass and stems hidden vegetation near water. Incubation 26 to 29 days. Young duckling leave nest soon after hatching. Their first fly about 8 weeks. I live near a pond, when nesting season is in full swing. Occasionally while walking close to the edge of the pond I discovered a nest with 4 eggs. This time no sight of female duck. I left then went back an hour later, there she was laying on her eggs.
Mother duck with their ducklings taken on my property close to the pond.
WOOD DUCKS, Aix Sponsa
Enchanting wood ducks, A crow size duck. Male with colorful markings and female has bold white eye patch. Both are gorgeous ducks. Usually seen in small flocks, but may form a larger flocks in winter. When a wood duck startled by a slight noise, off they fly like a rocket. It is amazing how strong they are to propel out of the water with a quick motion. Female wood duck will hatch from 8 to 14 eggs, incubation 28 to 32 days by female only.
Female/Male wood ducks
Male wood duck
Although born as high to 50 feet above ground in a tree cavity, the little one soon scramble out on a tiny clawed feet and take their first anxious leap into thin air floating downward like puff balls to where their mother waits to take them for their firs swim of their life.
Once awhile human will help the female duck with nesting. A nesting box will be provided near the edge of water. Their habitat wooded swamps, ponds and marshes. They feed on aquatic plants, nuts, fruit, insects and small fish.
Wood duck nesting box attached on to a tree close to the edge of a pond.
RING NECK DUCK, Aythya collris
they usually gathered on the pond autumn through late winter. A small diving duck who probe the bottom of the pond for seeds and tubers of water plants. Male bright white ring around neck hence its name.. Gray bill is best field mark chestnut collar visible only at close range. Female, gray brown, eye ring whitish, bill gray with white band.
Their habitat, ponds, lakes in wooded countryside, marches and estuaries. they are such a joy to watch. Diving under water at least a minute to forage, then, appear above water. Soon they will be off again to another pond looking for food.
The pond is a gathering place for all waterfowl, a sanctuary for these creatures to enjoy without being disturbed by anyone.
Bare breasted men sit in a circle around the flickering light of torch, raising their hands while reciting rhythmically “cak, cak, cak”. This is an ancient Balinese Sang Hyang trance dance in the form of a religious chant, ritual prayers destined for the spirits ancestors. No visitors to Bali should miss this unique performance which has over the years fascinate choreographers and filmmakers. It was Walter Spies the Dutch painter who in the early 1930’s revolutionized this ancient ritual chant to become the most famous dance in Bali. Together with Limbak and his village troupe of Bedulu they would incorporate other dance movements for the lead dancer eventually adding the Ramayana story line with the army of monkeys as its central theme.
From ritual chorus to a dance drama re-imagined by Walter Spies and now the Javanese born choreographer Sardono will also revolutionize the traditional Kecak dance into another contemporary style The new contemporary version of Kecak created in 1974 tells the story of the battle between Sugriwa king of the monkeys and his brother Subali over the Goddess Tara.
I Ketut Rina the Balinese dancer from Teges Kanginan, studied under the guidance of Sardono from a very early age, and after his world travel with the dance group he came back to Bali and founded the Cak Rina Dance. Today his amazing Cak Rina dace can be seen twice a month during the new and full moon in Ubud. Unlike the traditional Kecak dance when the dancers usually form a circle, the Cak Rina dancers are mostly free standing with quick wild movements.
Dancers holding torches are unique to this contemporary version of the Kecak
This is how the sound of Kecak…………… with images landscape and people of Bali.
Hiking/nature walk came to me from my boarding school in Switzerland. From there on I am hooked. Spending time outdoor is good for my body, mind and soul. Each time after this outing, I felt energize ready to look forward for another challenge in life.
On the day me and friend decided to venture out for hiking, the weather did not cooperate. Grey, with rain clouds hovering above, occasionally sunshine peek around the corner. Still we said to our self, up there will be fine rain or shine we will hike.
An hour drive through Old McKenzie scenic highway. A serene drive, beautiful scenery, towering fir trees, splash color of yellow, magenta amongst the trees and vegetation. Gradually, the road began to climb winding, at every turn rock formation appear with rainbow colors from wild shrubs.
There are ravines to watch out, for some are steep with plenty of large rocks. Then, in front of us a beautiful panorama of fir trees forest, the clouds open up, blue sky as a background. Beautiful !
We stopped for a rest at Dee Wright look out. Every where lava rocks peeking through another rocks. In front of us three Sisters mountain covered with snow. Surrounded by odd looking trees, apparently able to grow in between lava rocks. Amazing! The view reminded me of an alien colony on Mars.
We climb up to the look out, from there 360 degree view of these lava rocks including three sisters, mount Scott and several other mountains I do not remember.
Then we descended to visit Benson lake. Ate our lunch before we headed to our destination on an area with several picnic tables over looking a nameless lake. Saw a man fly fish, don’t know how long he was there, but he did not stay long after we arrived. Apparently he did not catch any.
The trails to Benson were easy to walk felt like walking on soft carpet. Even though was an easy walk there are plenty of obstacle for our feet. Protruding roots, rocks or fir cones. Watch out for these obstacles.
Gradually the trail began to feel difficult to walk, ascending, to where we want to go. Along the path wild huckleberries abound. We picked a few to munch, small size very sweet, taste better than blueberries. Next hiking will take a basket to pick this delicious berries.
Still walking, chanting, talking, where is the lake I ask my friend. “Oh is here some where”. Then she shouted, there is the lake, let us walk faster, we did, I was huffing and puffing because of my heavy bag pack. Finally Benson lake, beautiful, calm, fir trees surround the lake, huge, small rocks were visible too. This is heaven in mind…..
For a better view of the lake, we have to walk further in to a smaller trail path which was not easy. We were determine to walk up to a flat rock plateau where we eventually arrived. From up there the view was unbelievable Three sisters surrounded by other mountains, magnificent that I described for Benson lake.
Each of us sat on a rock admiring the view. It was worth to hike this far. Round trip was 4 miles. Elevation was 4000 feet not to bad for gorgeous scenery
Mathieu lake 6000 feet was higher and much more strenuous with narrower trail path.. We hiked two weeks after Benson to Mathieu lake I love challenges in life especially in nature. We could not stay long as the wind picked up speed and rain clouds start to gather. Sad to leave a wonderful place, quite, with no other human being in sight. I will return again to Benson lake sometime when weather permit.
Preparation is on its way to welcome the Chinese New Year. Red lanterns, auspicious symbols, temple offerings hang in stalls in China-towns around the globe. At the eve of the New Year families and friends would gather around a festive communal feast – with lion and dragon dances believed to attract good fortune. There is also a tradition of giving away lucky money in families usually placed in special red envelopes (ang pau). On the fifth day of the New Year, the gods of prosperity are believed to descend from the heavens and to ascent back after the fifteenth day at the Full Moon, a celebration also known as Cap Go Meh or the festival of Lanterns which marks the end of the New Year. In Jakarta Chinatown Indonesia, like each year, stalls along the streets are filled with these colourful items welcoming the year of the wooden horse. I have always enjoyed browsing through its many alleys during this festive time.
Here are some images taken in Jakarta Chinatown during the Chinese New Year …