It hasn’t been too long since my self-declared hiatus, but I really want to post a photo.
Maybe I’ll post once a week, as a compromise. A little creativity per week is necessary, right? To keep a clear head…
This is a farm business that the Salvation Army runs near Palu, Sulawesi. It is shared by 75 farmers, who represent 75 families, and they plant, harvest, process, and benefit from the sale of the rice, corn, chocolate, and coffee that is grown on this farm. Pretty cool, and helps those who need help.
Those smiles are dangerous.
There they are. Day 1 of the service trip to Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia, after we landed in the Palu airport. I am supervising, along with my Head of School and his wife, and the amazing Miss Erina, a group of twelve students from my school while they extend their hand to the people of Palu.
Our school has a week wherein all the students are supposed to be working in some sort of service. My students are in Palu, working in a Primary school, two childrens’ homes (not orphanages, because not all of the children are orphans – some live in the home because their parents can’t afford to keep them, but they still have parents), an “agro bisnis”, and a school of 2000 students. All of these places are run by the Salvation Army here in Palu.
I need to clarify one major point here: it is a service week, and my students are working here, but the week is really about exposing the students to a part of their world that is unfamiliar to them. In a very real sense, my students are aware that the world does not live as they do – they are well off, they attend a private international school, they have drivers and helpers – but many of them have never experienced the world that is not like theirs. So…we are offering them an opportunity to make a connection, a personal connection, with that world. Today they met the primary school children and my students were overwhelmed by these children and their love and generosity and attention and beauty and energy. As we debriefed the day, my students couldn’t help but gush about how the day went.
Tomorrow is day three, and it looks like this trip might be life-changing, and life-affirming.
The building you see behind them, by the way, is not the Palu airport. That is the future Palu airport. The current one rivals landing next to an auction house in which everyone smokes and people jockey for your luggage as soon as you have it in your hand. Good times.
A Starbucks Mocha Frap with a blueberry muffin. That’s what I ate for breakfast this morning, in the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It was delicious.
One curious thing, though: whenever I order a tall frap, I am served a grande. I don’t know why, but in a country with many small people, they only serve really big drinks at Starbucks.
I don’t like Photoshop effects that make a photo look unreal, unless the effect that the “photographer” is going for is something other than real. I do use it for my photos – specifically curves and levels – to change the contrast, but I try to avoid the bulk of what Photoshop offers me.
I also avoid self-portraits, or, truth be told, any photographs of me. I’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it.
Those two bits of info make this photo unique. I shot this photo of myself, then processed it by layering me on top of the background, then Gaussian blurred the background layer and switched it to black and white. Then I played with the top layer, me, a little be lowering the saturation level. Plus, it’s a photo of me.
I got my hair cut today as well, so I figured today was a good day to “shoot myself”, as it were.
One of the many anomalies in Jakarta culture – a Catholic church in a Muslim country. This is what makes my environment so interesting.
I’ve already posted a photo of this temple, Tanah Lot, but I found this photo hiding amongst others and I really like the wider angle on this shot than the other that I’ve already posted.
What do you think?
Oh, and this is my 900th post…whoa…that’s a lot of photos.
This week has been crazy. Too many things happening at once. Don’t ask. I need to spend some time meditating. Thanks for your anticipated concern.
I celebrated my 39th birthday today. My birthday gave me cause to contemplate my current context. I spent thirty-eight and a half years in Canada. Now that I live in Jakarta, my understanding of the lottery I unwittingly won by being born in North America has become so much better developed.
Take this photo, for instance. It is a “river” nearby to where I live, and that’s a “motorcycle” on the second floor balcony of an apartment that is adjacent to this river. This photo bothers me, and reminds me that I’ve had a pretty lucky existence.
There are many things in the photo that should bother the viewer…I’m wondering what bothers you.
I’m loving the motorcycle. It gets me to roads and places I’ve not been to before. This is an alley I have been down, but I’ve never come down it from this direction. Good times.
…gas. There’s a crepe in that pan. Trust me. They were delicious.
We LOVE breakfast. Culturally speaking, “breakfast as dinner” is a strange concept. In Indonesia, a meal is not a meal until rice has been eaten. My students eat Nasi Goreng (fried rice) for every meal, it seems, and my idea of having certain foods only at certain times of the day is seen as strange.
This was my breakfast this morning – ham and egg muffins and a piece of grilled toast. The eggs are scrambled with a bit of milk and ham and dropped in muffin tins for about 17 minutes at 350 degrees. The toast is a piece of bread, buttered and grilled, as I still have not purchased a toaster here in Jakarta. Probably never will, either.
My love? Breakfast.
It’s Friday, and I’m done for the week. I’m exhausted and I didn’t even work the full week. This does not bode well for the weekend.
There is a duck restaurant in Ubud that has some great food. The name of the restaurant is “The Dirty Duck” in English, but the food is delicious, despite the name. I had some great sauces with my duck – I was the only person at my table to order duck at a duck resto – and my wife had a trio of sates that came with a small pot full of coals to keep her dish hot. It was an amazing experience.
The flowers above are growing in and around the resto. Like many things in Bali, the resto is an inside-outside dining experience. Very cool.
When we visited Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, we had the chance to go into the Monkey Forest. It is a reserve set aside especially for the local monkeys. It was…uh…interesting. Just when I thought the monkeys were kind of fun, one of them would freak out and then the whole group would go nuts.
Also, if you buy a bunch of bananas, the monkeys see you as vulnerable and easy to harm. Most people buy them thinking of some romantic notion of feeding the monkeys like they’re in a National Geographic film, but it always turns out looking like an Abbott and Costello sketch. Monkeys sprinting at the unsuspecting victim, and then the victim turning and running while throwing bananas at the monkeys, hoping to keep them from attacking. As long as it’s not happening to you, it’s really funny.
This guy just wanted to hang out. His eyes are what drew me to photograph him.
As you can see, there is no temple in this photo. The people standing knee-deep in water are carrying offerings from the mainland of Bali (Bali is an island…does it have a “mainland”?) to the Tanah Lot temple, which is located on a small, but considerable, rock just slightly offshore.
Their numbers are due in large part to the full moon that was occurring that night…and being a religious people who put great stock in the lunar cycle, there were many, many people all around Bali bringing offerings to their temples at this time.
Water: so devastating and so peaceful.
This is the water temple in Bali called Tanah Lot. It is located on the Indian ocean and it is beautiful. The sound of the waves coming in is nearly hypnotic. The Hindus in the area were celebrating a full moon when we were there and they walked quietly through the water to get to the temple to make their offerings. So serene.
On the other side, the side of devastation, my city of Jakarta is still underwater. We got news today that a Kampung (village) in East Jakarta where my wife visited only last Saturday is now entirely underwater. The inhabitants had to evacuate without anything they owned, which was not much to start.
Please pray for the people of Jakarta, that they will find serenity soon.
This is not the best photo I’ve taken. This is not a photo I took recently. This is a statement about the city in which I live, my city, Jakarta.
We are experiencing a particularly bad rainy season this year…although I have nothing to which I could compare it as I’ve only been here six months. Today, it flooded so badly in Jakarta that the city’s government and the nation’s government have declared the highest level of flood threat.
My school has been shut down for tomorrow in light of the distance that many of our students drive each morning to attend takes them right through massively flooded areas. My wife spent seven hours…seven hours…in a car trying to get from where we live to North Jakarta and back. Halfway there, the flooding was so bad that kids in rafts were floating past her car on the toll road. Our school’s driver decided to turn around and it took him three and a half hours to get back.
There are thousands, tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands (it is a city of 20-some million people) of people are out of their homes tonight because there is too much water in their homes. There are homes that have been erased by this flood. There are, reportedly, people who have died in this flood.
The boat, above, is maybe the best place for many people tonight because it’s on top of the water, not under it.
I took this photo a few months ago, it I downloaded an app on my iPad called Snapseed. It has a “tilt-shift” process that turned my photo of the Selamat Datang traffic circle into what looks like a miniature diorama. So fun, but so weird.
What do you think?
I love seeing other people taking photographs. I don’t know what I look like when I take photos, but I hope I look sophisticated, elegant even. I’m sure I don’t, but I like to think that I look like I know what I’m doing.
One of our many examples of graffiti here in the Kemang area of South Jakarta.
I went for a ride on Saturday and found many more examples of what’s happening around here in street art. There’s some crap, some territorial scrawlings, but there’s also some really beautiful, really well-done art.
I’ll let you decide into which category this falls.
My son, Ben, and I were hanging around at Taman Sari Bali and I said I was thirsty. We sat near the pool drinking Orange Fanta, and I started to blow a note on the bottle. Ben tried, and failed. We tried again, and again, and again, and just at the moment I took this photo he sounded a note on the bottle. I think I was more surprised than he was.
Perfect timing, or dumb luck. Either way, it was fun.
I love the temples in Bali. There are hundreds (thousands?) of mosques here in Jakarta, but in Bali, over 90% of the population identifies itself with Hinduism. Hindu temples all have such interesting repetition, interesting patterns in their construction. This temple, the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan water temple, shows a great example of the repetition in construction.
Yes, I’ve posted a photo of this temple before, but this was shot with my DSLR – the other was shot with my iPad. I like this one better.
A little bit of both. This is on the corner where Kemang Raya, the main street in our neighborhood, breaks off into two one-way streets. The graffiti, as you’ve seen in the last few days, is in the wreck of a former building. Adjacent to the old building is an old hotel. It sticks out because it is one of the taller buildings in this part of Kemang.