Posted by: gardner310 | February 10, 2012

Indonesia, A Country of Contrasts

Sitting Buddha, Semerang

I cannot tell you how excited I was to visit Indonesia. 13,000 islands comprise this country of such contrasts and beauty.  We work with so many Indonesians and think so much of them, it was wonderful to finally see their homeland and on this trip to actually meet some of their family members. Holland America allows each crew member to invite a certain number of family members on board to visit and enjoy the ship. The crew have contracts of 10-12 months so many have not seen their families in quite a while, depending on where they are in their contract. One of the guys got to see his newborn baby. Michael and I helped out with the check in for these families and it was heartwarming to see the reunions.

We visited Jakarta, Semerang and Bali. I went on tour in Jakarta and Semerang then just wandered in Bali since we

Jakarta street artist

did not have a lot of time after the family check in. Jakarta is a huge city with major traffic issues and overcrowding but we did see the highlights – memorial monument, puppet museum, and archeological museum.  Prior to our arrival there was much flooding so many residents were washed out and living in the streets.
Semerang provided me the opportunity to visit Borobudur, a major archeological site. This is one of those “do not miss” places. It is a huge rock carved by the Buddhists in the late 800’s. When you can climb to the top you reach nirvana so I climbed.  I figured this would be the only time I may get there in this life or the next. Nirvana is


described in the Oxford dictionary as “ a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma. It is the final goal of Buddhism”. It is truly worth the trip, which was over two hours each way from the port with a police escort. Take the shore excursion since it is the only way you will be guaranteed to make sail away time.

Bali conjures up lush tropics, mountains, rice fields and beautiful people. All true.

Lunch view, Bali

What a stunning island it is and we only saw a small bit of it. We had but a few hours to explore the town of Candidasa, about 10 minutes shuttle ride from the port. We passed the rice fields at the base of the hills and the stunning shades of green were amazing. With only a couple of hours, we walked the street (singular), checked out the shops, passed many, many vendors all selling wood carvings, batik, metal sculptures and post cards. I bought a dress and a lovely piece of batik for a total of $15. The best part of the day was an Indonesian lunch at a beachfront restaurant, Pandan, with a couple of beers and free fast Internet. Yet another place to return for an extended stay. The longer I travel the more places I want to revisit.

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  1. Sounds amazing. I can’t wait to visit one day!

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