Bandung, Indonesia . . . An Unforgettable Mountain Retreat

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Me.

Me.

Bandung, Indonesia, is the main city of West Java Province. It’s about 150 km from Jakarta. Tia, my Indonesian friend, suggested we go to Bandung for a few days . . . A perfect suggestion, as this mountain retreat is undeniably a wonderful place to chill out from the chaos of Jakarta. Bandung is part of Lembang county (within the Bandung Regency). The city is surrounded by mountains, with Tangkuban Perahu mountain being the main tourist attraction. In fact, the cost is extremely high for foreign tourists to visit – $25 per person versus $2.50 for an Indonesian. Yikes! Bandung is mostly a “get-a-way” for Indonesians escaping Jakarta for the weekend, and consequently, this mountain was especially crowded. The line of cars and buses stretched for almost a mile . . . In any event, Tia and I decided not to visit this mountain park – other then the outskirts beyond the pay booth – due mostly to the park being so crowded and the entrance fee.  Continue reading

My Trip to Jakarta, Indonesia

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MONAS or National Monument at night.

MONAS or National Monument at night.

Okay, let me be clear . . . Jakarta, Indonesia is very, very hot and humid; the traffic is unbelievably congested; there is way too much poverty, which in fairness, is contrasted by an emerging middle class; and the population is a staggering 10,000,000 souls (28 million if you count the suburbs). Yikes! Not much to like in my opinion. Nevertheless, I did enjoy 5 things: 1. My friend Tia, who was my guide during this trip; 2. Indonesian food is delicious; 3. The plentiful shopping malls; 4. Seeing where Barack Obama went to elementary school; and, 5. The outsanding museums.   Continue reading

Kuang Si Falls, Laos

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The entrance to the falls.

The entrance to the falls.

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The Kuang Si Waterfalls.

I just arrived in Singapore, Singapore (a city/country a la Monaco) and I am about a dozen or more travel stories behind schedule. Wait! I don’t have a stinkin’ schedule. HAHAHA . . . In reality, not everything can be attributed to my laziness, as the WiFi connections I have had lately, have been piss poor to say the least. Although, I have jumped around a bit in describing my South East Asia experiences, I am going to finish up on Laos with this post. Consequently, this will probably be my last post about Cambodia and Laos – which I visited at the beginning of this epic trip (love the hyperbole, eh?) across the far east. Continue reading

Indonesian Batik

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My prized possesion. Why? This shows a two dimensional Wayang klitik (pronounced why-young klee-teak) which are carved and painted two-dimensional wooden puppets with jointed arms, most popular in East Java. They are used to tell the story of a handsome prince who ruled the Javanese Madjapahit kingdom in the 14th century.

My prized possesion. Why? This is a representation of Wayang klitik (pronounced why-young klee-teak) – They are carved and painted two-dimensional wooden puppets with jointed arms, most popular in East Java. They are used to tell the story of a handsome prince who ruled the Javanese Madjapahit kingdom in the 14th century.

I have been in Jakarta, Indonesia for 3 days and yesterday was especially a fun day. More important, I accomplished a “goal” I have had since visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia nearly two months ago. Way back then I did a post on the Angkor Wat National Museum, where I first observed a type of artwork called Batik . . .

https://aroundtheworldwithblade.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/angkor-wat-national-museum-siem-reap/

I found this type of artwork to be beautiful and I wanted to purchase a print at the museum, but I thought they were too expensive. I also thought I would have an opportunity to find Batik prints which were just as beautiful, but less expensive during my trip to Siem Reap. Alas, I did not find what I was looking for. Likewise, upon my visit to Phnom Penh, I also was unable to find exactly what I wanted.  Continue reading

Need To Chill Out? Then Head To Luang Prabang, Laos

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Gardens at Thongbay Guesthouse, where I stayed in Luang Prabang.

Gardens at Thongbay Guesthouse, where I stayed in Luang Prabang.

As usual, I am a bit late in posting about my adventures in South East Asia. Currently, I am in Vietnam and on November 1st, I will be in Jakarta, Indonesia. However, prior to visiting Vietnam, I spent a week (late September, 2014) in Luang Prabang, Laos. Why did I go there? The primary reason was to chill out, as quite a few freinds – whom already had visited Luang Prabang – told me I would really enjoy the small town atmosphere, as well as the outdoor activities, which this area has in abundance. Quite a change from Phnom Penh, where I had been. Continue reading

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Bits And Pieces

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This photo was taken at my hotel, The Plantation, in Phnom Penh. Great place to stay, as I really enjoyed the pool, spa services, and Fashion Show they had during 3 of the days I was there. Very fancy place with reasonable room rates.

This photo was taken at my hotel, The Plantation, in Phnom Penh. Great place to stay, as I really enjoyed the pool, spa services, and the staff is excellent. Very luxurious place with reasonable room rates. I was impressed! Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a “shout out” to Sayon, the excellent concierge at this hotel. Without his assistance for a Fed Ex package he tracked down, along with his other services (places to visit, restaurants, etc.), I would have been lost. Thank you my friend. :-)

Even though I have been in Vietnam for awhile, I still haven’t completed my posts about Cambodia and Laos. Which points to the fact, that maintaining this blog is hard to do, especially when you have someone (me) overseeing it who is undisciplined about setting aside time to do it. Ha. I wasn’t always this way. Prior to retiring early in 2006, I was the poster boy for “Workaholics Anonymous.” Umm, that guy has disappeared. Yeah, occasionally I can focus and go on a tear, but it all depends on the project I am working on. It also helps (not) that I have been sick with a low grade fever and sore throat. Consequently, I might as well do something productive with my time. With that being said, let me get back to what this post is supposed to be about, namely Cambodia. Continue reading

The Killing Fields

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Memorial stupa filled with the skulls of the victims at the killing field of Choeung Ek.

Memorial stupa filled with the skulls of the victims at the killing field of Choeung Ek.

The term “killing fields” refers to a number of sites in Cambodia, where large numbers of people were tortured, killed and then buried by the Communist Khmer Rouge regime. I visited one such killing field named Choeung Ek in Phnom Penh. Cambodian journalist, Dith Pran, coined the term “killing fields.” The Khmer Rouge were in power from 1975 to 1979, immediately following the Cambodian civil war (1970-1975). Pol Pot, sometimes referred to as “Cambodia’s Hitler” was responsible for this mass genocide. However, he was never brought to justice – either dying from heart failure or suicide, i.e., no one knows for sure because he was cremated before an autopsy could be performed.

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Artisans Angkor

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Loom for weaving silk. Notice the circular (upright) basket? This is where the silk worms are placed.

Loom for weaving silk. Notice the circular (upright) basket? This is where the silk worms are placed. The entire process is fascinating. 

Artisans Angkor is a place I really didn’t have on my itinerary, but Tola, who works at the Moon Boutique Hotel advised me to go, i.e., he indicated it would be well worth my time. It was indeed! Continue reading

Angkor Wat National Museum, Siem Reap

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Pool and fountain surrounded by galleries.

Pool and fountain surrounded by galleries.

Visiting the Angkor National Museum is something I should have done first versus going to the actual Angkor Wat temple complex. Why? Simply for the reason I would have known or been educated on what I was looking at. Instead, I did it ass backwards. No worries, as I am up to speed after visiting this fascinating and informative museum.

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