Day 6 and 7: April 10 & 11, 2008 (Thursday and Friday)

We headed next for Bandung.  Bandung is Indonesia’s fourth largest city which is situated around 2,500 feet above sea level, and it’s the capital of West Java.  Before going there, I did a little research on it.  I did expect Dutch-European influences and architecture in this area because Western settlers tend to seek and build settlements in cooler places with higher altitudes during their occupation of an Asian country with a tropical climate. So I imagined it to be their version of our own Baguio…and my mind was already anticipating pine trees, log cabins or mountain resort cottages, a roaring fireplace, strawberries, and misty mornings…

First Stop: Hotel Panorama Lembang

We arrived at night–and hungry, too.  We settled in Hotel Panorama Lembang, so-called because of its panoramic view from the cottage.  My expectations came to fruition as I took a look at the place–very much like Baguio.  But Baguio had a cooler climate, though.

Our cottage: We were given choices–whether to rent rooms or cottages. Of course we chose the latter so as to experience the mountain resort feel of the place.

Wish granted: a roaring fireplace (left).  We probably took a hundred souvenir pictures by the hearth.  Babaw ng kaligayahan pero talagang ganun kung galing ka sa bansang may mainit na klima!

Emo (?) at 5 in the morning on the back porch, with Java coffee…still in a dream-like state.

From my vantage point, this is what it looked like early in the morning…

Then, the mist started to clear up…

And voila! Nice…so this is why they named the hotel ‘Panorama’ Lembang…

Pine trees, cypresses…sangkatutak at iba’t iba!  Trees, plants, shrubs, vines, flowers…they’re everywhere in Indonesia and of different varieties and species. I just wanted to stop all the time and take a picture of everything in sight.

Diversity in culture and nature is what this country is proud of…and they have the right to be…They have so many to offer… so much to show!

Second Stop: Tangkuban Perahu Volcano

You can’t go up Bandung and not see the Tangkuban Perahu (means “over-turned boat”) or as they call it the Bandung volcano.  There is a parking lot and observation decks to view the crater down below.  I heard the last time this erupted was 1969.

The souvenir shops at the volcano site.  There were so many hawkers and peddlers selling their wares–it was a bit unbearable…they just hound you wherever you go or which ever direction you turn.

The woods leading to the volcano…magandang magpa- photo-op dito.  In fact, there was a bride wearing a wedding gown who was having her bridal pictorial (or maybe for a magazine spread) here when we drove by…good choice for a romantic, refreshing and inspiring backdrop, no?

Third Stop: Tea Plantation

Of course, a little educational tour won’t hurt a bit.  We visited the P.T. Perkebunan Nusantara tea company.  They let us in for a little tour inside their plant.  They showed us how they made tea and all.

“Please no pictures…” a man said to me in Bahasa. Oops…too late. I already did (above right).  Oh yeah…I’m so baaad. 8)

They gave us free samples of their tea.  I liked it so we bought several boxes of black and green tea.  Their green tea is superb–really perked me up, its caffeine kick is stronger then black coffee.

The tea farm (right) near the plant and the tea gatherers doing their duty of… um, tea-gathering…

Fourth Stop: Strawberry Garden

We were trying to reach the strawberry plantation but we got lost!  So we settled instead for a strawberry garden and restaurant along the road.  It’s ok…we still got to see (some) strawberries!

Den, passing through rows and rows of strawberry plants.

I guess we came at a wrong time for we saw a handful of small strawberries… Oh, well!

Last Stop: Saung Angklung Udjo

This is one of Bandung’s main attractions: Saung Angklung Udjo.  Bandung is the home of the Sundanese people, the ones who gave us the delightful bamboo instrument, angklung.  This place serves as a site that showcase Sundanese and other West Java cultures–its music, dances, art, etc.

The souvenir shop. When we got in, we were given tokens of necklaces with tiny angklung pendants which I proudly wore…The shop showed a variety of souvenir items–decorations and wooden crafts.

Traditional Indonesian puppets are also sold here…I wanted to buy but they’re beyond my price range.  It’s ok, I’ll just appreciate them in this photo.

The show was fantastic!  There were child performers…truly delightful.  They get to study Sundanese culture for free, and get to showcase what they learned through these shows.  They also gave us, the audience members a chance to perform the angklung, too!

The ceremonial parade and dance of the Circumcision Ritual (left)…The performers reenacted this dance ritual.  I learned that this was a huge event in a Sundanese boy’s life…and there were rituals and dances performed (and be given a royal treatment) to amuse the boy  and forget his impending appointment with the medicine man.

It was a great experience to see Bandung.  And as usual, we lacked the time to explore and see everything…like the hot springs, and the star-gazing experience (It rained again that night, that’s why!).  Everything here was made possible by Donna, the busy and dedicated mom!  Again, thanks, mare, from me and Den…we’re forever grateful!

And so ends my posts on Indo-xicating Places. But where’s the food? Well, that’s what’s up next!

Next (next) post: Indo-xicating Eats!