Ubud, Bali – Around Town

October 27, 2011

Bali is most certainly an amazing place….but, keep in mind…quality and characteristics to vary.  So, if you are looking for something specific in mind, then do your research.  Many people tend to stay around the area call “Ubud”….if you go here you will find plenty of Australians, and other tourists….there is a certain style you will find with the accommodations that you may find very appealing 🙂

Right from the get go…you will find that it is quite the relaxed environment….have you ever seen a dog more “chilled” than this one…I mean, laying on the road…right next to a scooter…not a care in the world…middle of the day….”siesta” time…Bali style… 🙂

Now, what is interesting…is that all over the Island…it looks like you are looking at the same dog…I’m sure there are variations…but, pictures suggest they are all related 🙂  I saw so many of them, with that chilled out way of doing things, that they must be included in the photo array 🙂

One big attraction is the Monkey forest….where the monkeys roam freely and you can tell they are used to being around humans and having their way….

Look at this little fella…of course he was by the gate….no problem with Monkeys….ehhhh….but, think I’ll pass…..No Jungle Book this time…later…little fella….

Plenty of Arts shops for the those so inclined…..good works also…if you like the Balinese style….

Shopping is ‘Market Style’…so there are plenty of locally made items…quite exotic actually and if you are the bargaining type, then this is your place….watch yourself though….these folks drive a hard bargain….

Let’s not forget the ever present scooters….

Very nice boutique shopping also…bring your cash…plenty of exotic items….

There are plenty of pictures I could of included regarding the shopping.  However, the fact of the matter is….I hate shopping….so I didn’t go shopping….and I am going to use this moment to actualize the grudge I hold against shoppers!  So on behalf of all the men who have been dragged around the shopping centers, malls, boutiques, and markets around the world….”Take That”….How do you like us now… 🙂

In my Elvis Presley Voice…”Thank You….Thank You Very Much”….bowing….


Temple – Tanah Lot

October 27, 2011

On the coast of the Indonesian Island of Bali, just two hours away from the “Land Down Under – Australia”, is located one of the most amazing temples – Tanah Lot!  Parts of this temple sits along the coastal ridges and also sits in the ocean.  Very quiet…as you walk through the area, the wind rushes through…fresh..misty…just the sound of a few tourists talking…the water hitting the rocks…and the wind making a slight howl as it twirls….  Very easy to get lost in your thoughts here.  But, eventually those thoughts dissipate and are replaced by what nature leaves in your mind.  When the tide is low, it is a fairly easy walk.  However, when the tide is high…well, you get the picture.  Amazing places such as this really don’t require much, in terms of words.  Thus, as in the previous post…I may comment slightly, but, for the most part, will allow the pictures to speak for themselves.  I believe that if you click on the pictures, they will enlarge for you….enjoy….

Most fortunate to have had this experience…as you can see, each one keeps building upon the other…isn’t that what life is…cumulative experiences affirming the directions we have taken….hopefully for the better….


Learning about rice cultivation is practically tantamount to illustrating the characteristics of cultural depth.  and those cultures that have perfected rice cultivation also have roots that stem deep into ancient traditions.  Rice cultivation is one of the most intensive agricultural practices utilized across the globe….this is particularly the case in areas such as this.  Thus, it is fitting to find so many expertly crafted rice paddies existing symbiotically around and within a temple.  Both giving more abstract and practical meaning to the existence of the other.  Combining rice cultivation with deep religious/spiritual practice and you create an immensely deep living experience. Ironically, while visiting this area, I was finishing the book “Outliers” written by Malcolm Gladwell….he has a fairly large section on the practices of rice cultivation and what it implies about specific cultures.  Recommended reading if you want to get a deeper view of the following:

On this day, we visited the approximately 1,000 year old temple – Gunung Kawi.  This historic Hindu temple was built into the side of a mountain and is full of rice fields/paddies and fulfilled constantly by streams.  There are times when it is best to allow a moment to speak for itself; thus, I only comment briefly…please consider the following beauty and richness….

Respect the Tradition

This is what rice looks like while growing….

Fish swim in the same water that feeds the rice paddies….

After the fairly strenuous walk to get to the temple, I paused here by this stream….a stream, by which I am sure, that many have paused and reflected.  In Taking Ownership….I thought of those that have gone before us….parents, family, friends….the “Giants” in the land….not by color, race or gender…just those who have made a contribution to our living presence….tradition…where we now need to go…why we think the way we do…what information do we use to drive our thinking and make our decisions….this place has feeling….

Hot, humid, long steep walk…emotionally and spiritually replenishing….just what the dr. ordered…now for a nice fresh juicy young coconut… 🙂

They steer the naturally occurring streams in a manner that constantly replenishes the rice paddy fields….absolutely amazing to see…

Always a Chicken near-by….:)

What a day….this will take a bit to process…if you went through the pictures slowly and did a bit of reflecting, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean….

On up the mountain a bit further….

What a view….

over lunch…

with a mountain view and no wall or glass…nothing in between me and the mountain…the mountain is the place-mat…I guess reading all those books, delayed gratification and commitment do add up to something nice…friendships in all walks of life….today is a great day….

Grateful indeed….heading back to relax….

Just a few more rice paddy fields to close the day…

So much beauty, refinement, and perfection….tradition…history….contemporary marvels….much to say about nature…but also human nature…again….I will be pulling on these experiences for many years to come…

More later…


Island of the Gods – Bali

October 25, 2011


Again, this morning…the adhan sounds off…however, this time I am up packing for the next stop.  The cultural immersion of have experienced in Tulungagung has been provided some self-awareness that I will pull upon for many years to come.  After the adhan, I feel the urge to hear a bit of music…of which I have not listened to since being gone.  However, nothing is really matching the moment…until I stumble upon some Sade….and R. Carlos Nakai….Nakai is an expert on indigenous types of music…and well, if you understand Sade…then you can understand this moment…somewhat missing this place already…at the same time I am in learning mode…forward I go….

I am told that Bali is called the Island of the Gods.  When I first heard this I was looking out the window at this mountain…thinking about the relationship between Gods and Mountains.  Then it was said that it is referred to as that because everything and everyone has a God to represent it.  I was now shifting from an Islamic culture to one based on Hinduism.  Exciting…to say the least….inspiring the inquiring mind….

Landing in Bali, outside of the weather 🙂 , one of the first things that jumps out at you is the unique nature of the amazing statues

Of course, there are plenty of scooters!

These are common sights all over the Island of Bali:

All over this island, you tend to see a lot of these spread out.  These are offerings made each day….


Much of the architecture/statues reflect one of the God’s or associated beliefs in Hinduism….

And, many of the homes, public areas, and temples will have a statue of a god placed in front of it.  You will also find structures that represent the beliefs of ancestors/family members.  This allows for respect to be given to a particular god on location without having to travel to a distant area.  The elephant represents: Lord Ganesha…Hindu symbolism, rituals, and meanings are extremely extensive and deep…thus, I won’t go into that here…if you want a primer…then check out one of the primary texts.

While I am being immersed in the cultures associated with multiple religions, I’m not going to dig down into each of them to explore their efficacy.  This is strictly educational.  However, I will post some extensive pictures of the temples….those are definitely worth seeing.

These last several days have left me full!!!!  So, admittedly I am looking forward to some down time…ok…down time in Bali…Back up fool….don’t hate 🙂 laughing…

the pool is exceptional, I might add…

The statues on the side of the engravings on the wall are meant to protect the water bearers overlooking the pool….I enjoyed their company indeed…This beautiful hand engraving sat next to the door and was part of the view during morning coffee….exceptionally skilled artisans….

The same can be said about the skill needed to construct the doors.  Ok…and admission…I have scars all over the top of my head because of misjudging the height of the entrance…you would think that after all these years of being this tall…I would have that figured out…I grew frustrated after a bit, because my head was bleeding….and all noted up….other than that…my Dr. would be proud…stress and blood pressure down… 🙂

ok….a friend of mine back in college…his nickname was “Chill”…I’m gonna borrow his nickname for a few days…you can call me Malik in a few days…for now…just call me “Chill”  🙂  later….


Roosters and the “Adhan”

October 25, 2011

Because of the climate in the United States regarding Islam these days, some people may find this post discomforting.  However, when we cease to learn from all that is around us, we epitomize ignorance!  I haven’t come all this way to leave ignorant….with that said…

In many countries where chickens are readily found in residences and their yards, the morning greeting of the local Rooster is no surprise.  Across the globe, for those who are up and at it at an early time, it’s as frequent as the sun rise each morning.  Serving as a reminder that this is a Muslim country, sometimes after but often times right before the Rooster calls a unique sound is heard.

if you have some time, click this link for an example (Sheik Ahmad Tijani) and listen to it while you read:

It starts of in the distance with the sound “Allah-u-Akbar, Allah-u-Akbar” in the language of Islam, the caller is saying “God is Great” “God is Great”.  Yet they are saying it in a very melodic manner the most “unique” of melodic manners…in Arabic, the caller says several statements including (I’m summarizing):  “Come to Prayer, Come to Success” “There is but one God” “Prayer is better than sleep” and a litany of other phrases…it is quite beautiful and lasts for several minutes…I am not doing it justice here…but, it sets the complete tone of the day….

Reminiscent of being in West Africa during the Rainy Season where the clouds block out the light from the moon and stars, and there is no secondary light pitching a shadow or a glow….during those months in West Africa you can’t see your hand in front of your face until you adapt.  At night you are not in shadows…you are in the absence of light.  Yet, your other senses are called because in the distance you can hear it…the sound of the drum…as steady, consistent and powerful as your own heartbeat signifies life in your body, that West African drum brings life together.

And so in Tulungagung at 4:30 a.m….in the dark of night…the “Call to Prayer” proceeds.  I get up and head outside to sit, so that I can have the sight that goes along with the feel of this morning.  It is a quaint neighborhood, so all is easy to see.  A Masjid is just down the street.  As I sit here watching, feeling…honing my insight…doors begin to open…people walk into the street…many things catch my eye…but this one in particular stands out.  A man has walked out of his house…he looks as if he had just awakened, most likely washed himself to prepare and headed out to the prayer in moments…walking next to him, but slightly behind him, was his little boy.  His small hand wrapped in Daddy’s hand, the other hand rubbing his eyes…as if he was still fighting sleep and they were both heading to prayer.  By the time 5:00 a.m. came, the streets were busy.  People heading to prayer and also getting their day started.

Out of respect for them, there are no pictures included here.  However, here is a picture of the mosque where the “Adhan” was called from.  Yes, it is dark….it was 5:00 a..m., including it just so you get my drift….

It made me think, for all the discussion that go on about being Christian and having Christian values in the United States, how many communities really pattern every single day based upon their belief.  Not just Sunday…not just Bible Study…but an actual community or in this case…an Umma…of belief.  Anyway, not to spend too much time on that…but the irony SCREAMS!

After getting some coffee, I went for another stroll.  Not to far away, I came up upon the largest Masjid in Tulangagung.  Where after prayer, the Imam gave a short sermon (15-20 min or so)…based upon the translation, none of it had anything to do with the United States (what do you know 🙂  Something else really stood out here though…By the time 7:00 a.m. arrived, the streets were teaming with people.  Women, Men and plenty of children.

There is a park that sits in front of the Masjid and also in front of a local public school and the residence where the Mayor lives.  Hundreds of people were walking in circles…exercising, some jogging, riding bikes, food was being sold, some were exercising the music, others were viewing animals at the petting zoo…no fire, no hatred, no animosity…but plenty of laughs, community interaction…it was family time for the community…

Of course, I could claim that the following picture is a result of my fantastic photographic and photo shop skills…however, truth is…I accidentally breathed all over the lens and was fortunate that the target of the photo still came through 🙂

And of course, we can’t forget the scooters…riding by at the community get-together….if you look close enough, you can see mama and daddy on the scooter, and standing in front of daddy…is the baby with a tiger hat on…. 🙂 family…gotta love it….

of course I am sticking out the entire time like a sore thumb.

All of these people doing their thing, and here I come 6’5” 240…big Black man who is obviously American walking through….they stared at me, the way I would stare at someone, in this case an Asian fella, walking through my yard at 7:00 a.m. in the morning wondering “who in the hell is that?”  and as they stared, I smiled…and they smiled too…”big smiles”….pleasantly and in a very nice manner as if wondering…”who is the “Giant.”

Being in an Islamic state has been quite the experience.  It is amazing to see the intermix of Asian/Indonesian culture with Islam.  Instead of becoming Arabs, these people are deeply tied to their own roots.  While this may surprise many in the States, opponents and proponents alike, who think they know all there is about Islam, it is quite a sight to see and it is beautiful to behold!

Wonderful people…and I am fortunate to have made their acquaintance 🙂


To the Mountains….

October 25, 2011

After spending some time in the City of Tulungagung, I get a chance to spend some time in the country side and the mountains.  At this point, the experiences I’ve had have me so full that there is no need to rush…and sense of calm has pretty much taken over and harmony is the word that comes to mind.  The type of harmony that comes from a learning experience where you are actually learning…no need to fight the instructor or that internal inertia…all you have to do is just be….and the learning takes place naturally 🙂

For miles and miles…just rolling hills and mountains….time to keep listening…every now and then, someone pops up…and while the rice paddies are everywhere, they are starting to pop up more frequently.  I’ve seen rice production in West Africa…but, thus far, I had not seen it to this degree.  You can tell that it is obviously a major part of the culture….not just eating rice…but also the cultivation of it!

In some of these areas, it would be difficult to see the difference between some of the growing areas in the mountains of Haiti and Indonesia….beautiful all the same….for some strange reason the tree’s kept getting in the way, but if you look into the distance you can see the teared growing areas….I have some really amazing pictures of the rice paddies coming up in future posts.

Heading up into the mountains….other sites start to pop up.  Can you guess what these little small tree’s are?

They are small Mahogany Tree’s.  You can tell from the leaves.  This is a case where someone might want to have some regulation.  Because of no regulation, the larger Hardwood Mahogany tree’s…very valuable of course….have been stripped from the land and sold.  This process has had little to no asset or forestry management and in its remains is fairly barren land.  This has also led to some erosion which damages the local terrain.  Considering how important this area is to rice production, that is quite unfortunate.  Still beautiful all the same….

Moving on up the road, we come up on a beautiful sight nestled in the mountains….

This is Bendungan Wonorejo….it is a dam completed approximately 10 years ago.  Before the dam was built, there was regular flooding that negatively impacted the people of Tulungagung.  The damn was built by the Japanese as part of a reparations agreement for their inability to play well with others.  Those lessons we learn in kindergarten and the elementary school years are so important.

Says something…to be able to stop and see color. Reminds me of the beginning of the movie “the Color Purple”….yes, there is something wrong when we walk by colors such as this and yield no acknowledgement!  Colors…and the Sun Set….

Getting back to the abode….the kite flyers were back out…of course, trying to make my camera pick up bits of light in a pitch black night was challenge….however….I’m going for it! 🙂  Here are the kites by day….followed by the kites by night…hopefully, you get the picture…(not the best pics…I know….work with me 🙂

To see it with your own two eyes was amazing to me though…it was a wonderful fit and end to an extraordinary day.  But, that was just a prelude to the morning….


As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, many of the countries I visit are characterized by scooters/motor-bikes being the primary form of transportation.  This could be for personal transport, business, family…it’s the way that a large number of people get from here to there…

Just so you can get a feel of this dynamic, I’ve included a few pictures for you to absorb….

I’ve seen as many as a family of five balanced on a scooter…two adults and three babies…all with something in their hands….

Look at the baby…with the helmet, holding on…sometimes when they are younger than that…you can see them standing in front of the driver….going to the store, to school in the morning…the youngsters get around….considering the challenges of poverty in the states…makes you wonder what is it about these people that makes them overcome regardless to the more abject state…and sometimes in the states…for some, riding a bus is an obstacle…????  okay….

Now this is a frequent sight…many of the young women ride side saddle…especially the young Muslim girls…but you also see the older one’s riding side saddle also…most impressive…getting straight to the point…I would be skinned up…because I know for a fact, I would fall…and it wouldn’t be pretty….

Always interesting to visit societies where all the police officers are not carrying rifles and guns…hmm…very interesting….




October 22, 2011

Trying to sleep when you are more than exhausted combined with an internal clock that is completely out of synch with the local time gives you a morning where you are wondering, “what happened to the sleep”….it was a good night though…4:30 a.m.  brought something very very unique…more on that later though 🙂

Breakfast…When considering traveling abroad versus within the United States, do we give much consideration to breakfast?  Or do we just assume there will be eggs and biscuits, pop-tarts, milk, berries an special K? 🙂  Or are we ready for what the day brings?  🙂

There are times when it has been the standard eggs and such…I’ve also been places where your option is one item: a biscuit and some mayonnaise or some tuna fish…whatever can be scraped up…or at times you may get the full option treatment…if the area is dominated by westerners.  In South Korea, there were variations of Kim Chi or Dum Sing with an Omelet 🙂  In Jakarta, we enjoyed won ton soup and noodles with chicken (still smacking my lips).  However, this morning we had…..

And yes, I am posting pictures of food.  If you plan on traveling overseas, especially for an extensive period of time, then there are a few things you really need to be aware of….and one of those things is FOOD! 🙂  This delicious item consists of some rice, vegetables, peanuts, and a bit of pepper on a banana leaf….ok, here is that word again, “DELICIOUS”…over the years, my mother has teased me about not actually being “a good little African boy” (my family spent significant time in Liberia growing up), now I can say “Look Ma, rice for breakfast…and I didn’t even put Ketchup on it”…laughing…

After breakfast, I step outside to see a common sight…a well manicured yard, with fruit tree’s in it…this one has a mango tree…in my Homer Simpson voice, “hmmmm….yummyyyyy… 🙂

Stepping out into the yard, think I’ll go for a stroll to get a feel for the surroundings.  Big Big shift from the U.S., much less  personal space required to live…even in the good neighborhoods….people live right up on each other, talk to each other, know each other, look out for each other…wow…what a novel concept…

Going a bit further, I come upon an interesting sight…really gives an example on how a lot of our discussions on sustainability and urbanism…aren’t really that far advanced.  Walking by this banner, I see a really interesting neighborhood:

The streets are narrow enough that it promotes either walking or the use of the scooter bikes.  The houses are built very close together and promote social engagement and interaction.

Beautiful colors, no set-backs put the homes right up on the primary avenues of egress and create an environment of engagement…as I walked by, plenty of people stuck their heads out to see what was causing the shadow passing in front of their homes 🙂  Something that stands out NOTABLY…..Look at how CLEAN everything is….they take pride in what they have…regardless to what it is….

Many of the homes had cages with birds in them out front…nice….

We are in the tropics…I think I’ll take a mango and banana tree in front of my abode… 🙂


To the East: Surabaya

October 21, 2011

Continuing on this journey, the direction from Jakarta is a city called Surabaya.  The flight is about an hour and really emphasizes that Dorothy isn’t in Kansas anymore 🙂  Looking out the window, the view speaks to me.

Admittedly, I am still in quite a bit of awe…I am struck…so instead of philosophizing…I am still processing.  On one hand, I am exhausted…on the other…I am blown away.  You’ve heard the saying, “if walls could talk”…. What about, “if mountains could talk”…What would they say?

Mountains represent vastness and permanence…civilizations come and go…but this civilization seems to be in a sort of harmony with the mountains…not stuck, stagnant or even so fast as to be out of pace…but in synch.  There is a certain feeling of tradition that permeates this society….so far, I am talking about all that I have seen of the various Asian cultures to which I’ve been exposed.  Something not just driven by an extemporaneous self-interest, but a self-interest that abides by a code handed down from their ancestors.  They seem to be quite tuned in to such!!!!

If one mountain doesn’t speak to you, then how about two? 🙂  One of the benefits of complete exhaustion is that eventually you just submit to the environment…so thinking about work, petty concerns, or just the emotional baggage we sometimes carry around with us…at this point…my mind is quiet…and instead of talking….my mind is listening to what the globe is saying….

Landing in Surabaya, the goal now is to leave the coast and head into the interior…so we embark on the road from Surabaya to Tulangagung.  Having spent such good time in West Africa, you know a rice culture when you see one!  Leaving the airport, the rice fields abound and there are times when they stretch almost as far as the eye can see…more on the rice fields later….

Proceeding along the road to the interior, the mountains are still watching…still talking…and I am still listening….

By now, I’ve realized the food is so good that I am not just eating because I’m hungry.  I am eating because it tastes so GOOD!  So glad that the local diet is not heavily based on meats…that way I won’t leave this country looking like my cousin, Homer Simpson.  Ok, it’s time to eat again 🙂  Seems like on this trip I am talking quite a bit about eating…well…it is better than good 🙂  Didn’t know I liked noodles so much…if your body doesn’t process scorching pepper well…be careful…. 🙂

Very Peaceful place…while you eat…you can feel the balance…

One thing that can be said about this area, versus some of the other countries  I have traveled in…comparatively speaking…the roads are excellent…this is the road from Surabaya to Tulangagung….

Like in many other countries, the road is not a lonely place.  All along the way, there are signs that most things here are blended in with each other (Roads, Houses, Restaurants, Highways, and People)….and the mountains are continuously keeping us company and watching over us.

Wherever I go, I am constantly looking for the babies 🙂  I wonder what this precious child is thinking about as she entertains herself….what will her opportunities be….what does the future hold for her….

The four hour drive has taken its toll on me…between the flights, the time change and the drive…I’ve been beaten soundly with a “Tired” stick.  Arriving in Tulangagung, one last stop at the local market “Indomaret.”

Have you ever seen a store with such a significant array of colors jumping out at you…and yes, this is muslim territory….

At my destination, I look up into the sky…and am drawn to what some would think were “UFO’s”…..I was reminded that kites are a really big deal in many cultures…imagine the night, and the kites are still flying…except they have lights on them…and they are gliding back and forth in the sky…I might have a picture or two of that later on 🙂

For now…my destination awaits me….the BED….


Jakarta by Day

October 20, 2011

In the next few entries, I will start including quite a bit more pictures so that you can get more of a view of what I am talking about.

Waking up the next morning, I see the sun rises here also 🙂  Such a wonderful view and although the 13 hour time difference is beating me ruthlessly, I awake with the type of energy that comes from curiosity about the mysteries.  The number of trees throughout the city reminds me of home “Savannah” as it gives you the feeling that I am constantly under a canopy (in some areas anyway).

Luxurious Hotel…Check Out Time….Let’s Roll:

The more you drive the more tall buildings pop up, interspersed with neighborhoods, business buildings, a huge amount of advertisements for electronics (enough of the LG already 🙂 and fashion.  On the road, there are a lot of people packed in a bunch of skinny lanes.

Driving off through the city, I’m not driving of course, you begin to see that the similarities are not just with Atlanta and the Piedmont Park area….there is quite a bit of New York City going on here as well.  There are also plenty of similarities with other countries such as Liberia, Haiti, and Ghana…both positive and challenged.  Certain areas of Jakarta provide a significantly urban sophistication that is, well, to say the least, representative of the well developed cities of the world.

Simultaneously, Jakarta has this interesting mix of native type elements found in countries with less modern or more traditional, probably the more proper term, economies.  This go around, I am not including slum areas.  For the most part, I’ve seen enough of that…slums vary slightly, but for the most part…they are what they are…moving on….I’ve seen enough of that in other areas to know what that is and what it looks like.  Looking for the brighter side these days 🙂

Driving along, at first, everything seems so chaotic.  The streets may or may not have lanes.  Along with this, as you drive down a street there may be two lanes, there may be 3 or 4….and it seems chaotic.  Various lanes and streets merge, minimal stop lights…and too many people to even count.  Let’s not forget the motorbikes/scooters.  In West Africa, they may call them the scooter boys.  Here, it is not just boys…but it is every member of human family that rides scooters….and they pour over the streets seemingly like ants in the southern sand (if you know what I mean.)  These are the countries that make you consider owning stock in a scooter company….I mean millions of them!!!!  Not to mention all the different forms of transportation:

One striking similarity to some of the other countries I’ve visited where the use of motor scooters are most prevalent, is the gathering places for, as they say in Liberia, the ‘scooter boys.’  Here, it is referred to broadly as the ‘Pangkalan Ojek’…rough translation being the Ojek Center….the gathering place for the scooter boys.  There are more scooter brands than Ojek, but hopefully you get the picture.  This picture only shows a few gathering….but, in your mind, if you can imagine many many more…then you are approaching understanding 🙂

And again, at first it seems chaotic…not to mention the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car from those in the U.S. and driving direction is also on the opposite side of the road than in the U.S.  But, if you take the surreal side of things…it is not chaotic at all.  It has its own rhythm.  It is something similar to watching a school of fish in the ocean.  You don’t know when they all decide to change directions, but they do it without bumping into each other.  It appears chaotic, because everyone is not just looking to follow the imposed rules affirmed by lanes, lines and lights….there is a certain rhythm of life here….and certain rhythms of living that manifests in so many different ways (more on that later).  People aren’t just following rules…they follow rules, but they also follow the rhythm.

Riding through Jakarta, it seems like a city that never ends, many things stand out, but here are a few:

Take a moment to consider the importance of the motor bikes.  Not only is it the primary form of transportation for many…it also is a primary means of transporting whatever it is you need to transport.  As you can see from this photo, it is common place to just strap it on the back on roll out 🙂

This picture, though, should drive the point home…just tell me you can see the CHICKENS…strapped to the back of the bike….several of them…all alive…and clucking all the way down the street…I could hear them 🙂

Throughout Jakarta, it seems as though commercial districts, types of strip malls, stores and mom/pop stores stream endlessly.  Typically, there is a store front on the bottom, and the family lives upstairs….they seem to be without number.  Interesting how when I was growing up, I would here people complain about Asians owning so many stores and shops throughout urban neighborhoods in the United States.  Well, being here…it is easy to see that is just what they do…Americans used to do that a lot.  Well, instead of complaining….maybe there is a lesson here on what needs to be done to build some of our communities.  I recall hearing some Blacks complain that Asians owned all the stores in some of the primary Black urban areas…well, somebody has to do something….based on what I am seeing here….all I can say at home is put up or shut up…

Stopping to grab a bit of breakfast on the way out of town, we stop by a nice eatery.  Typical to many shops, they just don’t rely on a menu.  But, a picture of the food or the actual food is put on display out front so that you can see what looks good.

Ok, I chose to go with noodles and a small bit of soup for breakfast…ok, and a bit of red chili sauce (spicy and hot)….and absolutely DeeeeLICIOUS!  I was quite pleased 🙂

After breakfast, I took a tour of the local market.  As in many cities, it is that place where, if it exists…it can be found here – food wise anyway 🙂  One fella introduced me to how he could make a baby shark talk:

And after that brilliant demonstration, I took a tour of the meat display

Now this is the little fella in charge of security.  The kitty seemed appropriately distracted, and that is probably one of the things that kept it alive.  From what I’ve seen of some of critters it is supposed to keep out, kitty doesn’t stand much of a chance.  In fact, kitty might be the top item on one of these rodent’s shopping list 🙂

Back driving through the city, I am again reminded that this is an Islamic country.  Just like in the United States there are some cities that have a church on every corner, every few minutes a Masjid/Mosque stands out in the scenery.

As we continue to drive, the terrain continues to shift and change….urban, traditional, sporadically urban…and a bit of slum here and there…to add to the Jakarta flavor.  These are just a few examples to provide a taste of Jakarta…fascinating, yet mysterious….but not all together unpredictable….

At the airport and waiting for my next flight, I really enjoyed observing the Asian architecture.  Secure, yet open and free…and like most things I’ve seen and felt on my Asian journey….Yin and Yang…I feel the balance…

Next Stop…Surabaya!