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Trip Report An Insiders View of Central Java

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We recently returnted from 5 days in Central Java. We had spent 2 weeks on an expedition ship through Zehrahm Eco-Expeditions cruising around much of the Indonesian Islands snorkeling and diving before ending in Bali. From there we were doing a 5 day independent land tour of Central Jave. We fly to Central Java having pre-arranged a guide through a small firm Borobudurtravelandtours. The guide was excellent and besides visiting the tourist sights of the 8th Century Borobudur Budist temple which was one of the more magnificant ones we have seen in 40+ yrs. of travel and several other 10 century temple complexes we went out to Dieng Plateau. The drive is 2++hours but the sights in the last hour are simply breathtaking. The argiculture of rice, cabbage, corn, beans and tea was all in terraces as far as the eye could see. The views were awesome. I thought the Cameron Highlands of Mayaysia were impressive but this area is so much more spectacular. The best part of the touring was gaining acceptance, because our guide knew the local villages throughout Central Java, to observe the locals making flour from palm tree fiber, tofu, ceramic cook wear by methods the same as were used 50 or more years ago. They rigged a moytor and belts in such a way to create grinders that took great strength and endurance to operate for 8 or 9 hours a day. The toy store in these villages was a fellow on a bike selling mostly handmade toys often from recycled paper from packaging. He had made Dora the Explorer puppets from recycled paper and painted the figure of Dora on the different moving pieces of the puppet. The cost about 40 cents US. We visited a highly noted Javanese artist's compound-Sony Santosa. He had a compound of probably 50 acreas with a river gorge and palms on interesting little islands in the river. He bought it 5 years ago for a small amount because the land was not flat because of the river, created by a volcanic eruption in 1976 and it was not suitable for growing the main staple of rice so he made his home there and an art, dance, theater and drama center that he called El Prego. His paintings are quite beatiful and we could not help ourselves from buying 2. though we did not have enough money for his realatively expensive works we gave him a few hundred dollars and he rolled them in a tube for us to take in the plane home with us with the promise we would wire transfger to his bank the major portion of the money. Though we stayed at a Hyatt our guide drove 45 minutes each day to pick us up and we toured for 9-11 hours in different directions to gain a pretty good insight into the wonderful people of Central Java. Then unfortunately it was time to take a flight from Solo to Singapore where we overnighted at the airport hotel before our return flight to the US. Our 21 days in indonesia on land and sea was simply spectacul. It is a place worth visiting..

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