Sunday, November 18, 2012

a detour to the other side of the world

post #112
       A friend of ours, Carolyn, has just returned from a part of the world that my husband and I visited long ago, in the early 1970s, with our backpacks and a budget of $10 a day.  We left before Christmas and returned in late June.  
      Photographically, we took slides as we went along, mailing several rolls at a time to my mother from wherever we happened to be.  We thought she could follow what we were doing, but the reality is that those little packets greeted us when we got back to the States.  Had the camera not been working, we wouldn't have known until our return!!  
      Today I am going to scan some of the slides to share with Carolyn and with Ashley, whom she visited  -- and with the 100 or so weekly visitors to this blog.  We had one camera, one lens, and two of us taking turns making photos. So, duh, the ones I took for sure are the ones with hubby in them.  We also took turns writing daily in our journal, a legal size spiral notebook that now is a treasure of specifics.  In a smaller blue notebook, we kept track of addresses, when we mailed something, and of every coin we spent.  By the way, believe me, traveling cheaply is a lot of work.  And without networking along the way and staying with friends or friends of friends, we couldn't have pulled it off. 
      It was a most memorable trip, one I am so grateful to have made. A lifetime of stories. Once we started, I realized that I had always really just wanted to see what was on the other side of the world.   
       OK, today, therefore, is the Indonesia segment of the adventure. We arrived there in late January.  (We headed west most of the time.)  This is embarrassing to admit, even now, but one reason I wanted to go there was because I didn't really know where Indonesia was located!  Yet it was the fifth most populous nation in the world!  (It's now the fourth.)  How American ignorant is that!  It is such a beautiful place, very different from anywhere I had ever been before.  (Of all the countries we visited, we had always thought we would like to return to Indonesia, Japan and Afghanistan.  It hasn't happened -- yet.)

friends of a friend: Our letter to Winnie and Dick about our arrival was never delivered, so we showed up in their village unannounced!  They were wonderfully welcoming.  Notice the ducks in the canal behind them.  They had come from Boston so Dick could carry out a Harvard research project about rice growing in very rural central Java. 

ducks in another canal, started in the days when the Dutch were in charge

ducks in the fields, central Java, eating the fallen grains
taking some of the crop home at the end of the day

harvest time, with the kids fascinated by us strangers
riding in a cart, for half an hour, headed to an uncertain address

then traveling by train in central Java

      It takes a while to clean up these slides for viewing, so I will show the other half next week.  These include our visit to Borobudur, and more kids -- who seemed to show up where ever we went.  (These slides are somewhat worn, from being shown in my husband's classrooms for many years.)
      I know that since we were there forty years ago many things will have changed, but perhaps these images from back then will be of interest to those who live there or visit there now.  The people we met were unfailingly kind as well as curious and helpful.


  1. Hi. This is Chris, you're old neighbor from down Garris Ridge.

    I've enjoyed seeing your Indonesia photos. It's like a time warp from what I saw on my visit there last year. I was mostly in Central Java, so it looks familiar...though I'd venture to bet that it's much more developed now. Travelling across Java, there was almost no empty spaces along the roadside. I suppose that's just a product of the population size. Did you see temples and landscapes of Borobudur? How about Mount Bromo? I also took a load of photos, if you're interested, I can send the Flickr set link.

    Thanks for sharing. Hope to see more from the journeys.

  2. for Chris - please let me know how to email you back! I don't get that info via a comment. Would so enjoy seeing your photos -- Borobudur images coming in next Sunday's post.