A Pilgrimmage – Of Sorts

February 22, 2015

This part of the trip I am going to call the quasi-pilgrimage. Now, I am not the most religious person you will find, but I do have the utmost respect for the ‘path’. Leaving Tulungagung this morning, and heading to some of the most venerated places in Indonesia which really have left a mark on the entire Hindu and Buddhist world.

Knowing where I am going and having spent some time contemplating the destination, I feel like little Santiago in “The Alchemist.” If you haven’t read this book….it is really a must read. Little Santiago on a journey to find his Alchemy….a wonderful and most applicable story…
The destination is the area that is proximate to Jokjakarta….

Heading to this destination, for those that are interested in developing their sense of self-awareness through reflection, a feeling comes that could be described as personal soul searching. It is not just the destination, but it is also what you experience getting to that destination….so many things to not just see, but to also feel….the environment has its influence, but the feeling is really feeling what is inside one’s self…not the impulse or the ID…really one more of consciousness about your own humanity…

Malcolm Gladwell writes about how agricultural pursuits impacts a society. Specifically, he writes about some of the differences between communities that deal with rice versus corn cultivation. Comparatively speaking, you can put corn in the ground and let it grow with some attention. Rice, takes an entirely different level of care…much much much more attentive one must be. You can read his books to get the specifics, but something that requires high levels of attention certainly impacts the culture of those who live the rice cultivation life. And in Indonesia, rice fields are EVERYWHERE!!!!

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And, I mean absolutely everywhere…and you can see why. The only place I have seen rice eaten like this is in West Africa. I am sure my West African friends are salivating about now 🙂
After a few hours drive and soaking in the rice paddies, the road rises into the mountains.

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Like so many other communities that are based in the mountains, this is another side of Indonesia. They also grown rice in the mountain areas. Typically, a family will raise rice on their family property…but, they will also grow corn, sugar cane, cassava, and anything else they can find. They will keep enough to feed their families, then they will work with a co-op to sell the rest. Basically, using the excess productivity to participate in the overall market. A person could look at the houses, the fields and the environment and think that the place is replete with poverty. But, on another look, food is everywhere. So, any poverty statistic that doesn’t account for productivity, yield, and effort isn’t as reliable as it may seem. These people don’t look poor at all…they produce what they need and they make it happen. In fact, I am thoroughly impressed…again, most exceptional.

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Again, as my friend Ebzan said, “in Indonesia we shop and we eat”…so it is time to stop and grab a bite to eat 🙂

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And just so if you ever head to places such as this, get ready for a toilet that doesn’t look like the one you have at home. Now your personal sensibilities may be adverse when you see it….but, nature will keep calling, and eventually you will submit…lol….so this is what you may have to use…

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Personally, I didn’t have a problem with it….so trust me, when nature calls…in an uncompromising manner, trust me when I say, “it does work exceptionally well” and very clean.  Just in case you are ever in this situation, the bowl in the bucket is used to flush 🙂

Just a few pics of the variety of houses and other things you will come across…

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And, everywhere you go…you will find a Mosque…

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…and a store…and a market….and food 🙂

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Now, aside from all the agricultural activity, you will come across small towns, villages, and markets where occasionally people get together to buy and trade. You will see the agricultural products, but you will also come across what we say in Liberia is “small meat” 🙂

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As my Liberian friends would say, “OH, good for soup”….and, I will say this….Liberian Goat Soup mixed with some Kpelle Tribe Pepper…is lip smackin good!!!!!!

One thing about places such as this – this mountain culture – they are exceptionally productive. If there is a few feet of dirt that will hold water…trust this…they will grow something on it….you will find rice, corn, sugar cane and cassava growing together or spread out in different places…patches of dirt do not go unused….

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Coming down out of the mountains, and after a quick lovely and well deserved nap…I am at the first stop of this particular part of the pilgrimage….PRAMBANAN….