Sunday, December 29, 2013

YOLO in Batu Beriga Indonesia Oct 2013

In Batu Beriga, Bangka Tengah, Indonesia we visited a Confuscious Temple.  It was a colorful building with giant urns of sand for folks to poke their burning joss sticks into.  Like incense sticks for praying for good things.
 Inside, there was a warrior guarding the gate, very tough looking.
 One of the several altars inside the temple.  Those candles are about five feet tall!
 Very colorful and ornate decorations inside.
 Giant headdresses of dogs and dragon for ceremonies.  The temple tender uncovered them for us to look at.  They fit over a man's head, but the size is hard to determine in the photo.
 Giant candles in front of the altar.
The bloody, gory murals on the walls of the temple were unsettling.  If your name and the sins you committed are in the book in front of the seated man, this is the torture you get in hell.
Other sins/crimes get different tortures,
More bloody executions.  Guess you don't want to be a bad person in the Confuscious religion.
Sam's katar to sail the last 2 stops in Sail Indonesia.  We sometimes referred to these canoes with outriggers as 'spider boats'.
Jason checking out Sam's new ride.  Note the 2 propellers on long shafts on either side of the canoe.  The blue barrel was their only means to keep food or clothes dry.  Imagine sitting in this boat for 3 days in the rain while sailing.... not my idea of fun.
Sheryl bought us some cotton candy (aka fairy floss in Australia) to enjoy while we waited for the festivities to begin.  The whole affair was like a carnival or fair for the tiny village of Batu Beriga.
Jason with some boiled peanuts on a leaf.  This was a snack offered on our tour of the Pelawan Forest.  The black vehicle in the background was serving honey juice and boiled corn on the cob out of the back for us.
The big brown blob is a honey bee hive in a pelawan tree.
This guy is ready to smoke out the bees so he can collect the hive so we can feast on its honey!  Just some green leaves rolled together to create the smoke.
Bill from Water Musick getting the bee stingers pulled out of his shoulder.  He got stung at least 3 times and his daughter and our guide are trying to pull out the stingers still in him.
The honeycomb retrieved.  There are still a few bees hanging on, but they broke it into pieces and gave us cups with the honey and comb to eat and/or drink.  They served honey juice (see a container almost empty in the background) and provided boiled cassava pieces to dip into the honey to eat it with. 
Karen slurping honey right from the comb.  Oh my, was it sweet and delicious!!!!
pieces of honeycomb for the taking
The very dark yellow part of the comb is used in making medicine and cosmetics.  The propolis has a bitter taste, somewhat like anise.  Apparently, the bees use it like a resin and to fill spaces that aren't sealed with beeswax.  It's extremely expensive as it is a limited resource.  The whitish part contains the cells that have the baby bees/larva in them and are covered with the wax.  That's what makes them look white.
A monkey in a cage at the Pelawan Forest site.  They kept a few animals to show the tourists that come to see the forest.
Honey bees of Styrofoam on the real honeycomb just harvested.
After the honey, we had lunch at this restaurant in the rice paddy nearby.
Jason enjoying our traditional lunch in the rice paddy.  No utensils, just our fingers for eating.
A full hand of bananas the restaurant gave us to share on the bus back.  We all hacked off a bunch to take back to our boats.
A dragonfruit before I cut it up.  A guide bought a bag full of them for us to share.
Back at the village, we watched as the men played a game with their homemade tops of wood.  This man is showing off his top.  They wind a string around it and throw it to the ground and yank the string at the same time, sending the top spinning across the ground.  Others try to hit the spinning top with their own tops in a game of top 'tag'.
The dinghy landing at Batu Beriga, with Sam's katar in the water.
The 'egg flower tree' that the women decorated for the mass wedding held here.  Each of the baskets held a hard boiled egg.  After the wedding ceremony and lunch, the cruisers were given all the eggs to take to their boats.
You don't wear shoes into people's homes or into temples here, so there is always a mass of shoes outside the buildings.  This is where the brides were being dressed and readied for the wedding.
Our guide Robbie.  He is sitting in the village chief's home, along with a bunch of other folks just visiting and enjoying some shade.  Note the motorcycle in the living room, too.
The beach at Batu Beriga.  It was a pretty beach with big boulders strewn about.
locals enjoying the carnival atmosphere of the mass wedding area,
Sam sailing away in his katar from Belitung.  They made and painted the sail especially for him to use on this journey.
Sam sailing past the beach where the wedding was taking place.  He did a sail pass just before he took off for Bintan, the final stop in Sail Indonesia for the rally participants.
A couple awaiting the religious leader to marry them.  They were loaned this traditional dress for the occasion of the mass wedding.
Each couple to be married had their own religious representative to marry them.  They sat at these tiny tables on the platform built out over the water.  We yachties were invited to sit around the outside to observe the ceremony up close.
Lunch platters set out on the tarps on the ground.  After the wedding, the newlyweds and yachties joined here to enjoy the homemade feast.  The egg flower trees were also brought in and distributed here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

YOLO in Belitung, Indonesia Oct 2014

The anchorage in W Belitung was behind a couple of reefs.  It was a harrowing task to bring YOLO in around the reefs, but luckily we had good light to do it.  Other yachts hailed us on the radio and gave us directions to work our way around the reefs, too.  We got there early enough to get behind the inner reef and lots of boats came in after us, making the anchorage crowded.  Some boats dragged or anchored too close to each other and when the wind changed and got stronger, boats started to touch and tempers flared.  Glad we weren't one of them!
We went ashore our first full day and were met by large orange tubs of turtles that the local folks had raised and wanted us to set them back into the ocean.  These turtle babies were bigger than the ones we'd paid to let loose, and these were free!  We each let many of them go and guided them into the ocean again.  They are so cute!
 One of the turtles I set free into the ocean.
 Jason with two turtles at a time.
 Some of the turtles got turned around and had to be repositioned to head into the water, but eventually they were all swimming away with their tiny flippers going overtime.
 In a kiddie park behind a museum, they had a wide range of animals.  This local squirrel looks like he rusted on the bottom.  We'd seen these squirrels eating off the platforms with the orang utans on Borneo, too.
 Tortoises tucked head-in to try to find some shade on this hot day.
 In a traditional leader's home, now used for tourists and ceremonial dinners and such, they had a marriage bed set up with the colorful hangings.  Quite colorful.
 That is me with some dancers in their elaborate costumes.  They hung around for a while, but they never got in front of the crowd to do any performance.  Very strange, we thought.
 Another elaborate costumed girl who hung around for photos but never got in front of the crowd to do any dance or performance.  These costumes looked ungainly and heavy, so perhaps they were just there for photo ops.
 We took the dingy to a nearby Eagle Head island to look around and do some snorkeling.  We climbed the ladder on the left rock, but the one on the right looked a bit daunting for us.
 A view of Eagle Head rock from the shore.  The catamarans draw less water than most monohulls and could get in shallow behind the reef here.
We took a tour to a batik factory near Manggar and got to watch them make some batik, then got to try our hand at it.  This lady is dying my 2nd attempt at making a decent design on a scrap of cotton cloth.
The vat they throw the fabric in to boil off the wax of the design.

The ladies were dying the bigger pieces of cloth that they made.  Not a high-tech work area, eh?

The lady who helped me make a design.  She didn't speak English.

 A firm hand to push down the hot iron with wax on it.  They space the design by hand and it's all freehand work.
 You can see the lengths of cloth they press the designs onto.  They make sarongs and scarves and material to make shirts and such, too.
 Dying my piece of batik cloth.
 You can see this is a small operation, but they turn out beautiful stuff.
 Me with my 2nd attempt at a decent design.  This one came out pretty good!
 Me waiting for the iron to get hot enough to use.  They have what I think is an asbestos pad floating on the wax and they set the iron on the wax over a burner.
 My first attempt to press a wax butterfly onto a cotton cloth.
 My second attempt was this flower design and it came out quite good.
 My blobby first butterfly in wax.
 After the batik factory, we stopped at the first literary museum in Indonesia--the Words Museum.  This is one of the paintings on the wall inside.  An appropriate sentiment some mornings.
 We had a traditional dinner with the local Regent at his home.  We sat on the floor in groups of four.  Dinner on the platter is meant for four people to share.
 Dinner came under the cover.  The covered glasses was our drinking water and the bowl of water in the middle is the finger bowl to wash your hands.  You eat with your hands/fingers, not utensils, so you need the finger bowl.
 This is the inside of the replica of the schoolhouse from "The Rainbow Troops" book and movie.  Its about some kids who put up with the hardships of life here to get an education.  This is really what their school looked like inside.  They REALLY wanted to learn.
 Jason and guide, Srai, on the mangrove river tour.  Love the shades and the hat!
 Srai took us into the mangrove forest nearby and we walked across some mangrove roots to see this huge beehive in the trees.
 Nypa palm fruit growing out of the mangrove river water.  We hacked off a bunch of these and we got to try the nuts/fruits.
 A close up of the nypa palm fruit bunch.  They are hard, like mini coconuts with tough husks.
 You can see the white meat of the nut inside.  It tasted a bit like coconut.
 The Rainbow Troops schoolhouse from the outside.  Dilapidated and propped up by logs.
 Close up of Srai in his mangrove hat.  We called him the mangrove man.  The black is like duct tape cut to hold the rim and pieces together and as design.  The little balls are tiny pinecones from the casuarina trees.
 They put on a performance for us where 2 guys take these stick whips and try to whack each other.  They were supposed to "pull their punches" I think, but a couple of the swipes connected and drew blood.
Manggar is the town with 1000 coffee shops and they supposedly hold the record for over 17,000 people drinking coffee at the same time.  They even had a monument of a coffee pot in the center of a roundabout.  We bought some coffee here to take with us, too.  Coffee here is powdered, not rough grinds.  The locals throw the coffee into the cup of hot water and when the grounds sink, its ready to drink.  You just have to remember there are grounds on the bottom of the cup before you take that last big gulp!!  "White coffee" here is 1/2 sweetened condensed milk and the other half black coffee that has been squeezed through a filter.  Too bad I didn't get photos of the monument in Manggar, but we're still drinking the coffee--we put it through our coffee maker, though.  How civilized....