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Thread: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

  1. #1
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    Default The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    I'm on tour again. This one's a business trip, but with a tropical flavour. In light of recent events, the content will be somewhat curtailed... but hey, such is life.

    The second leg of yesterday's travel was a classic. This was an alcohol-free flight... although the track suggests otherwise



    Flying with the princess is fun though. For the international leg, we couldn't get out of the plane until the pilot finished chatting to her. Respect is critical in this society.

    We were picked up at the airport by the family's driver and got a good run through the traffic.... only two and a half hours (we were expecting four). Not that we had far to go. Traffic here, even at 8 at night is "interesting"



    It was nice to sit down for a family meal, after a relaxing Guinness. Note the alcohol content. Zero. It ain't the Guinness I'm used to.



    I haven't quite got the hang of the household yet. I'm having trouble figuring out who the servants and the relatives are, although, in some senses, there's some mixing of the two. The driver is Her adopted brother (I'm not going to use Her name here, after the other night's fiasco). Another adopted brothers' children are here. There's at least four servants who aren't related. At least. I could get quite used to this.

    Short order of the trip is work, with a wedding on the side and a trip up to see Her mother. We'll take in Her coffee plantation too. I've been drinking it since arrival... and I'm a fan. It's an Indonesian grind though - very fine, so that it's just spooned into the cup - add hot water and drink. No straining. Don't scull the last mouthful. I don't know the story on the green coffee yet. The two end packets are brown sugar - one with Ginger

    Last edited by The Bigfella; 11-13-2017 at 11:43 PM.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    So, this is green coffee, from the girlfriend's plantation



    It's ground coarser than the roasted coffee. The beans are picked still green (duh!), rather than when they redden (technically called a cherry, IIRC). They are air-dried, rather than roasted.

    Tastes more like a green tea to me than coffee. Not a bad drink... but I'll stick with the roasted variety. Just had a cup of that - damn fine stuff. I'll be taking some home, but not for sale.

    Speaking of coffee, I've shown Kopi Luwak - or Civet Coffee - before. First drank it in Jakarta five years ago. I've got a meeting at the Kopi Luwak shop later on today. Kopi Luwak is made from coffee cherries that the civets eat. They get the benefit of the cherry flesh. We get the beans.

    Before



    Processed



    I'm not sure of current pricing, but I seem to recall this stuff was selling for $100 a cup in New York a while back. There's been some controversy, as some suppliers have caged civets to turn it into a farmed product (battery hen egg production comes to mind). Being the sustainable chap that I am, I promise to only consume Kopi Luwak produced from free range poo.

    On a side note, I produced some smiles among the staff yesterday. It seems there's more servants than I'd managed to spot. I went to pay the driver who took us to the shopping mall (buying local SIM card, getting hair cut). I thought he was Uber. Nope. 4 drivers here.

    As for the local pricing.... $8.50 Aus for a 30Gb SIM card. I pay $25 a month for one tenth of that, back home. It's amazing how technology can be so differently priced.

    One of the drivers was sent to grab some wine (the locals don't drink alcohol). He came back with two bottles of an Oz wine - Yellowtail. It sells for under $8 a bottle in Oz. Over $30 here. We had the shiraz last night with Padang style fish. Gotta love Padang cooking.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    This could be really good. Please continue.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    That Jakarta traffic is just mental, isn't it!

    Pete
    Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers!

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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Ah, places I'll likely never see. A good vicarious hit, though. Carry on.
    So many questions, so little time.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Nice stuff Ian. Looking forward to more.
    Thank you.

    Jim...
    The best helping hand you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.

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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    I will follow this with interest. It amazes me just how palatable cheaper wines can be these days.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Thanks guys. Not sure how good this will end up, as I'm not likely to include too many photos with the little lady in them.... although I've just uploaded one of her butt.

    It's wet season here now and there's a thunderstorm just going over.

    We're in South Jakarta, in a gated community. It's not hard to feel privileged. There's so many people who do it tough and every time we step out of our not so little cocoon here, we see it. I guess we even see it inside. I'm not used to having servants. There's not a huge amount of English in the servants' repertoire, but some have enough, with the drivers being the best. Bibik (Bee for short - Bibik is West Javanese for Auntie) is the main housekeeper... and she's obviously held in high regard.

    She breaks out laughing every time I point a camera her way. She's preparing a traditional dish here (a bit like the caramel Dad used to make, but based on sticky rice, I believe) for the wedding we are attending at Cilegon on the weekend. Cilegon is at the entrance to the Sunda Straits.

    Bee



    One of the other servants... who is a bit camera shy because she thinks she's ugly - and I've kept the camera out of her face





    An earlier stage in making that dish. They've done tray after tray of it



    As mentioned, it's a gated community. Here's the princess talking with a couple of soldiers, down at the community mosque. One Army, on the left, the other marine. Oops - sorry, she's edited out

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    This little feline has picked up some stripes somewhere in the genetic mix





    Not far from the cat, we walked along the river bank, which is the border to the gated community. Someone's got a boat down there...



    Plenty of leafy vegetation around. At a guess, this is a servant picking up the kids from school for lunch



    We picked this lot up at a street-side stall on the way home last night. Rambutan. For a fraction of what it costs in Oz. Got the whole lot here... and more... for what one would cost in Oz. I love this fruit basket btw

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Thanks, Ian. Enjoying this.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Thanks Kevin.

    Well, let's see how long this lasts. The little lady has given me permission to post an image. I guess we should prove that we're working. We had a couple of meetings yesterday... the second being contingent upon me passing muster at the first. I won't be posting anything about the second meeting... but it was good.

    We met in a coffee shop. Funnily enough, the second meeting was in a restaurant that makes a feature of its wine cellar... but not a drop of alcohol was consumed. This one though, we were into the Kopi Luwak - the civet poop coffee. It's not bad, but I wouldn't buy it over the stuff from the home plantation.



    Our business associate was happy to be out-blinged by the princess - but she only just managed that, given the jewelry he was wearing. This is hers though. The ruby is rather nice, but I've only seen her wear it half a dozen times or so.



    I mentioned earlier how the local coffee is brewed. Literally, straight into the cup. It's a super-fine grind, a real powder.... but that's all it is, ground beans





    I'll try and remember to take a better photo of that carved table - it's out back in the smoking room. Also, there's an "artwork" of hers that I'll shoot. She loves it. It's a 3D thing made out of tortoise shell. She paid a couple of thousand for it, years ago.

    Final one for now... another meeting to head off to - this time with a journalist.

    I saw Bee sitting on the floor chopping up corn and snake beans as we headed out for our walk. Apparently, it's tamarind soup. It was good

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Well, life's interesting here. I passed on the opportunity to meet the Ambassador of a certain rogue nation, which I won't name, in a two on one due to other commitments on my part.... but now I'm being pushed to go. I've provided some input, which seemed to be well received. It wouldn't have cut it in the OzPol thread... but they're experts in there - and what would I know. Should be something to read on it in a month or so.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Tamarind soup sounds very intersting. Is it spicy?

    I love tamarindo, as we call it.

    I will pass on the civet coffee. Iíve had it brewed six different ways, and it never tastes any better than regular, non-pooed out beans.

    Thanks for the pictures. You have a good eye for capturing images.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Quote Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post





    He weighed two ton at age 4. He's 9 now. There's a chance I'll be seeing him again next week... depending on some work commitments.

    Does he live in Thailand? My daughter is going to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand next week.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Robert - no, the tamarind soup wasn't spicy hot. The staff here know that I've got a food intolerance issue. That said, I just copped a chili bomb in my breakfast - I thought it was another bit of snake bean in the salad. Hmm... they like it hot here. I won't be far from my 'stay alive' kit for a while after that. I'm not keen on having an Anaphylaxis attack - yet again.

    Steven - no, that's in Way Kambas National Park, in Lampung province in Sumatra - funnily enough, where my girlfriend grew up - although her family is Javanese, not Sumatran. Another forumite knows someone connected to the elephant sanctuary near the city of Lampang Thailand - bit of a coincidence in naming there - although that was a few years back. If your daughter is going there, can she pop into my place in Chiang Mai and give the KTM a kick over?... just joking, it's in good hands.

    Speaking of rapid changes around here.... I'm now looking to stay longer. I was due back in Sydney to facilitate a fairly contentious event - which has been delayed until the new year. There's good and bad in that... I've had a team working on it, so it's all on hold. Ugh. The girlfriend is ecstatic about it though... she's planning on visiting Yogjakarta with me now. I'd already changed both our tickets - me to go back to Oz early to facilitate the conference, her to go back for her daughter's school speech night, as she's topped one of the courses and is getting a prize. If I can get on the same flight, we'll both head back to Oz on December 13 now.

    edited to add - we are travelling soon for the wedding. First day of blue sky since arrival too. Hope it lasts.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to smell the roses we go



    yeah, I know... they aren't roses, but so what
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Bit of trouble in a spot that I won't name today. Saw the video on armed forces media. Interesting. Wonder if it's broken in the general media yet?



    Shot above is the bride washing her mother's feet... part of asking them permission to release her to get married and for them to bless her. Same deal followed with the groom. That was the Friday afternoon ceremony, with the wedding to take place on Saturday - the religious and Javanese traditional wedding ceremony.

    The next shot is part of the traditional Javanese siraman cleansing - washing away to give a new beginning for her life



    After the parents, the wider family do it too



    Grandparents and aunts and uncles.

    I love this shot of my girlfriend with one of her brothers, after the ceremony

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Finished the night, standing on a balcony with no rails - at all - climb through the window stuff - with a small bottle of Bombay Sapphire (only the second time I've seen alcohol all week). Not many touching it - and me being the only non-Muslim present.

    It put the heebie jeebies up me, as the girlfriend kept walking backwards towards the edge - and a 30' drop. I had to have some stern words with her. Told her I'd throw her back through the (open) window if she kept doing it.

    The whole show kicked off again at 6am - with ceremonies starting at 9ish

    Here's a couple more shots from yesterday. Today's will get here eventually





    Mother and daughter

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    My feet... oh, my feet. I started the day in size 45 Javanese style formal shoes... a sandal really, but I take a 48... and I has hanging a couple of inches over the back, with the heel of the sandal carving me up something fierce. I eventually changed to my own shoes.

    It took four guys to dress me - and a few safety pins and a bit of rope. The gold-braid jacket was a tad small too - or rather, I was a tad large for it.

    Let's kick off with the groom arriving - his parents escorting him in



    Led by traditional Javanese dancers



    No tears from the bride today



    The bride's mother is one of my girlfriend's sisters. The girls were heavily made-up, in what she told me is Solo style. I'm not a fan of the ginormous eyelashes, or the makeup style... and the hair is something else.... but, it's the traditional style and it's good to experience it




    The first ceremony was the Muslim wedding, followed by a traditional Javanese wedding. Lots of symbolism, which I can explain if anyone's interested.

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  20. #20
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Very colourful. The fabrics are spectacular. Sorry about your sore feet.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Haha. Iím a size 50! I feel your pain.

    The costumes rival any Iíve seen. I thought Hmong had colorful weddings! Just absolutely beautiful.

    Thank you for these pictures. Any more of the great traditional costumes? They really are lovely.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    is there an indonesian equivalent word to gringo?
    just curious. . .
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Both sets of parents are on stage for the ceremony... and are involved for various parts of the service



    Once they're married... they are centre stage all day



    How did I get this far without a selfie?



    Or two - I needed some repairs during the day, and the girlfriend's brother helped out



    The family is a great group. My apprentice mother in law is 85 and still with it. The eldest son died about nine years ago and one other is missing from this photo (he's here... and I have him in other photos. I might try and splice him in at some stage). The two kneeling are adopted. Quite the family really... and growing up, there were 23 servants. The father was highly respected and during the troubles in the mid 60's, he took in many that would have been killed by the army (it's believed about a million were killed - some saying three million dead). Because they were his servants, the army wouldn't touch them, out of respect for the father. He saved their lives.

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  24. #24
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    Default Re: The Magical Mystery Tour, 2017

    Equivalent to "gringo"? Not that I've heard. They are a very respectful culture. Certainly, there is in mainland Asia with Falang (sometimes Farang)... and the Chinese have a word or two.

    As one of the elders and due to being with my girlfriend, I've had the back of my hand kissed / touched to the forehead of those I'm meeting, etc so many times it's becoming second nature to me. I'll be disappointed when I get back to Oz and people don't kiss my hand like a Cardinal gets. Not really.... but it's certainly interesting.

    More costumes. The vocals.... much more pleasing to look at than the band who were behind them



    See what I mean - here's the keyboard player, although, I was concentrating on the girlfriend (and yes, we danced too)



    I took a lot of photos... but ended up being in just as many. As she says... 'pity you're so ugly'.. Such is life. She must like something about me (and no... it ain't money. She could buy me multiple times over)



    Here's another of the symbolisms. They've just torn a chicken apart. I presume it's about sharing... but he got the lion's share



    .... oh, speaking of ugly... I make sure she know's she's no rose petal either

    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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