Sunday, February 27, 2011

Intriguing horse race in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara

When my colleagues planning to do field visit to Sumbawa and Bima I couldn’t resist to ask if I could come along with them (well of course I’d be responsible for my own expenses). So while they were arranging their trip. I was hoping that I could get my leave approved :D. 

After a few discussion on how is best to travel, as we were not heading from the same city and as I never travel to Bima before so I book a return flight with different route wishing that I could see more from the air as the coming and going is in different route.  I took a flight to Sumbawa Besar from Mataram and spent 2 days in Sumbawa Besar. From Sumbawa we decided renting a car to go to Bima. It took 5 hour drive from Sumbawa to Bima.  It’s tiring as the some of the road were not in good condition, but it was compensated with a beautiful view along the way. We spent another 2 days in Bima and back to Mataram with transit in Denpasar, Bali for a few hours.

I am not going to write about Sumbawa yet, but I am going to share my experience in watching horse race in Bima.

We were considered our self lucky that we came at the time of horse race final event in commemorating West Nusa Tenggara Province anniversary. It was a big horse racing event in Bima and we agreed that we have to watch it.

We came a bit late in the afternoon, fortunately there race still going on. I knew that I am going to see a crowd but I am not expected the BIG crowd, perhaps its like watching soccer or football in other place, the arena were over crowded so some people watching the race from unlikely places such as from tree branches and from the roof and/or the wall on the building surounding the arena... When we bought the ticket we were warned that we might not get a seat, but curiosity is winning this time:D, we still determined to go inside to see the race, either seated or not.

The horse race or pacoa jara in local language are using local breed horse which are small horses kind of pony sized horses. But what amazed and concerned me most is the jockey. The jockeys in this race were children aged 6 to 8 years old! Amazed because in such a very young age they could handle horses in a race, and concerned that in the circumstances like horse racing the likely accident is high and those little jockeys faced with a dangerous situation.

a tired little jockey
According to one of the horse trainer, the jockey trained mostly from age 4 and start to participate in horse race at age 6.  During the race no saddles used and those little jockeys could seat easily on the horses which I don’t think I could do without a saddle. At 5 pm we agreed that we’ve seen enough and we went back to the town to find something to eat...grilled fish by the beach sounds tempting...

After the race my mind still wondering about the children – the little jockeys. I am interested to see more of the life and/or the training that those little jockeys do. Wish I could meet someone that could bring me to see it.

determined little jockeys
no saddles being used in this race

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A tease of Bromo

I’ve dreamed to come to Bromo since I was still in high school but never got a chance until last year. I was so fascinated by stories and pictures about Bromo and got curious about it. So in October 2010, finally I spent a weekend in Bromo. Yipppyyyy, I’m very excited!!!!

Bromo is part of Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National park, situated around 145 km (90 miles) from East Java capital, Surabaya. The mount Bromo (2,329metres) itself easily recognize as the cap fully blown at previous eruption and left the crater with frequently belches with sulphur smoke. Mount Bromo located side by side with mount Batok (2,470 metres) and surrounded by a vast sea of sand and savanna.

The main destination ofcourse the Bromo crater which to get there we have to climb hundreds of steps!. I haven’t managed to go there yet in this trip, so I have a reason to come back to Bromo ;p, but unfortunately couldn’t do it soon since mount Bromo just erupted twice on 23 and 27 January 2011 and still on alert status as an outcome of the current escalated eruptive activity at the site.

Besides the crater, Bromo also famous for its sea of sand which also known as whispering sand and the savanna. I only was passing through the sea of sand to get to the savanna. The savanna in Bromo is different from the savanna I saw in Sumbawa island, West Nusa Tenggara. Despites the location itself in an altitude of more or less 2,000 metres indeed makes the savanna different from the dry land of Sumbawa.

Certainly a weekend visit is not enough to see many interesting places around Bromo, so I promise myself that I will be back to Bromo soon after it is safe again, cause I couldn’t see the famous sunrise in mount Bromo as the fog is too thick and drown the mountains in it so I could only see the tip of mount Semeru (3,676 metres). It is definitely a tease for me….it’s another reason to comeback there…..

Smoking mt. Bromo (left) and mt. Batok (right)
Sunrise looming over a thick fog

sunrise viewed from mt. Pananjakan
can't get enough of blue morning sky over hilly mt. Pananjakan
the very tip of mt. Semeru viewed from mt. Pananjakan
the hilly sides of savanna, Bromo
the savanna, Bromo

a horse rider looks tiny in the middle of savanna

Mr. Fadly and his gorgeous horse, Sultan

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy lunar new year! Gong xi fa cai !

Kim Tek Ie temple (vihara Kim Tek Ie)
Wishing everyone a blessed new year! May this year of rabbit bring more prosperity, fortune happiness and health always!

A week before chinese new year, one of my friend drop a message on my facebook and invite me to join him and his group of friend to go along to one of the oldest chinese temple in Jakarta to see the preparation on the vihara (chinese temple) for the upcoming celebration. 

This is the opportunity that I wouldn’t want to miss, so I contact him immediately to arrange where and when should we meet.

So on Saturday, 5 days before chinese new year, at exactly 7a.m. I come to the meeting point agreed and walk together to 2 oldest chinese temples in Jakarta. The first temple is Kim Tek Ie (Cen Tek Yen) were built in 1650 and the other temple visited is Toa Se Bio which were built in 1724.

So here are some pictures taken on those two temples 5 days before the chinese year. Once again Gong Xi Fa Cai!

the entrance of Kim Tek Ie temple
the dragon on the roof of Toa Se Bio temple
bottles to keep the oil for candles
candle flame

the lanterns at the temple