Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some people of Yogyakarta

Life is tough for many,
and you sell what you can,
how you can,
wherever you can.

Your services...



and you don't take time off for lunch either

Handicrafts for tourists


Or maybe you just collect junk...

This man is selling a snack from the back of his motorbike to a school girl. Boiled potatoes, cabbage and tofu is popped into a plastic bag with a thin wooden skewer, soy sauce added for taste...
And no one to tell him he's breaking every health regulation in the book or ask him when was the last time his kitchen was inspected...

Friday, January 30, 2009

How to get around in Yogyakarta


and pushcart


or by HARLEY DAVIDSON with outriders
(if you are very rich)
pix taken outside our hotel

( no one steals your helmet)

or there's pedal power by

...and don't forget the decorations...

and don't forget to collect the, um, sh*t

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TED - Stimulate your mind

Just so you don't get too sick of all my Indonesian photos, I'll give you something else to look at today. There will be more coming on Yogya, I promise.

But first, think on this:
We know how to focus light and technology does that in all different ways, right down to tiny laser beams...but what about sound? Even if you stand behind the loud speaker or the megaphone, you still hear the sound. Sound goes all over the place whether you want to hear it or not.

Ever wish you didn't have to listen to the kids playing their latest music at top volume when you would rather turn on the opera? (Or vice versa?) Well, soon you can. Very soon you will be able to sit in your car and listen to your own music, while the kids listen to theirs in the back seat - and none of you will be wearing earphones. And yet you won't hear a single note of what the kids are listening to, because the sound will play right next to their ears - and nowhere else.

I love this website that tells me lots of cool stuff like this, in all sorts of fields. So take a look at:

TED: Ideas worth spreading.

Look up the top ten talks just to give you an idea of what the site is all about.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design so it covers everything from science to creativity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Four days in Yogyakarta

Borobudur was obviously the highlight. I shall leave that to last.

Other highlights - an active volcano, Merapi. Actually my fourth, the others being Ruapehu, Anak Krakatoa (seen from a ship) and Vesuvius.

Here's my first glimpse - note the steep slopes. It has grown some 700m in 40 years... A lot of these photos are taken from the tour bus, so there are window reflections...
I guess the biggest surprise for me was how green everything is. As Java is one of the most densely populated places on earth, I expected high-density living to be more obvious, but that wasn't the case. Seen from the air, there are still trees everywhere (although thick tropical rainforest appears rare) and of course lots of ricefields.
Even in the city, many streets are tree-lined and gardens grow.
The city does not look poverty stricken or dusty or dirty - so toss out all those pre-conceived ideas - just pretty much like Malaysian towns, I suppose, except a little more unregulated perhaps. More motorbikes. And beca (pron. bay-cha) aka trishaw, and horse-drawn carts.

And the flags? It is coming up to the Presidential elections, so political flags were everywhere.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My moment before the cameras

Right, there's the story. Just got back home after four days away. I went to join my husband in Yogyakarta in central southern Java, Indonesia. He flew in from Perth, and joined up with his university colleagues for a seminar at the Islamic University. I went basically to see Java for the first time - ridiculous, I know, but forty plus years based in Malaysia, and I had never been to Java. Yogya is just over two hours flight away.I was particularly interested in Borobudur (spelled, alike Yogyakarta, in numerous ways) and yesterday that was where I was. What I didn't count on was being a sort of celebrity... Poor husband, he was ignored while I was feted.
It seems that having your photo taken with someone who is obviously exotic is a cool thing to do for a start, but just to make it even more imperative, at least one school - maybe more - sent their students off to interview native-English speakers for their exams. All this meant I was in great demand, which was enormous fun. At least the conversation was. Not so sure about all those photos...
The students were delightful and made me regret that I no longer teach teenagers...
And of course, there was the wonderful backdrop of Borobudur. More about that tomorrow...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Me and the paparazzi

Today was a lovely day.

I don't have time to say much now - but here are two photos of a delightful group of Indonesian students and their teacher. Tell you all about it tomorrow or the next day, but let's just say this much now - these teenagers make lovely paparazzi.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Sunburnt Country

As I said a couple of days back, my husband had a working trip to Western Australia, which included a trip - by chartered flight - to a private airport in Laverton. Here are some photos...

And really this is a blog post for those who may not realise just why Australia is not full of people, and never will be. For people to survive and thrive, you have to have water...or rain...or rivers...or something. And that is what my new trilogy is all about too.

The first five were taken from the plane along the way, 25,000' up.
The white areas are salt.The blue is not the ocean, just distant land.
Patterns from above, paintings done by nature using salt and soil as a medium, through the means of rare flood water, on a giant's canvas...

And then there is a sunburnt land. Yes, that's the true colour. Wear white socks out there and the turn red and remain pink forever, no matter how many time they are washed.
Roads are rare and lonely, and goods are transported on road trains like this...
And the winds play games with the dust...
And the towns are isolated...
And the mines are deep...
Watch out how I have used many of these things and turned them to something magical and otherworldly in my newest trilogy...