I’m sick, but beautiful sunrises always cheer me up.
I was in Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia, for the last two and a half days. I was looking at opportunities for service for my 10th grade students. I got to visit two schools, an orphanage, a couple of churches, and a nursing academy. The photo above was taken at one of the schools.
Yes, that is chicken wire acting as a window. Yes, that is a corrugated steel roof. Yes, those slats letting in daylight are the wall of the Kelas Satu (1st grade) classroom. Yes, students come here daily from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, and they’re grateful and enthusiastic for the education they get.
If you work in a place like I work (a highrise-housed, private, international school), or where I worked in Canada, or where friends of mine work in America, let me assure you…it is as bad as you can imagine to be a student in a rural school in Indonesia. It is like this all over South Asia, Asia, the Middle East, most places. Not every school is like this, but there are schools like this everywhere. The problem isn’t reading Three Cups of Tea and donating to your local educational charity. It also does not require all of you reading this to drop whatever job you have and come roaring over to Indonesia intent on saving the day.
The problem is that there is no one solution. No single fix-it approach. These students need teachers. The schools need financial help. The people need to believe that education is important. The world needs to wake up and start investing in the things that matter, the future of their children, not what fills their gas tanks or funds wars or…
I’m on my way to Sulawesi, but I’m posting photos from my last trip to the Yogyakarta area. I think this is the last rice field photo I’ll post for a while, but I hope you don’t mind. I find them so beautiful.
What I also find beautiful is the very traditional way so many Indonesian farmers work their fields. Giant fields are worked with small shovels and hoes. Pretty amazing.
…to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. “
So said Mark Twain, and I agree. I think that there are other agents for the fatality of negative human attributes, like education and education. And I should be clear – some people can travel the world looking for McDonald’s restaurants and Macy’s stores and Holiday Inn hotels. They can avoid all the culture and ethnicity and find North America everywhere they go, complaining that no one speaks English. Sadly, I’ve been around some of those people as I’ve traveled around South Asia.
I’ve also had the pleasure of traveling with and around people who are looking for a better understanding of the world and its people. It may be, though, that it’s the attitude of the traveler that will determine whether prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness are fatally eradicated. Mark Twain, from what I’ve read, seemed to be the kind of man who was willing to challenge himself as well as others. Some people, sad people, do not have any desire to upend their tiny understanding of the world.
…too much? I don’t think so, but two years ago no one would have found my hotel closet looking like this.
Our move to Jakarta from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, was in large part due to a desire to show my children the world. There are moments, however, when I think that I was crazy to take my daughter (above) from the relative ease and comfort of North America and transplant her in a city like Jakarta.
I attended a formal dinner hosted by the Australian Embassy last night and was asked by some of the people at my table if I had lived in any other Asian cities before. When I answered, “No”, their reply was one of shock. When I asked why they were so shocked, they told me that if moving to an Asian city is like learning to ride a bike, then Singapore is the easy bike with training wheels, and Jakarta is like trying to learn to ride a bike by starting with a unicycle.
I guess I like a challenge, and I want that for my daughter. I want her to grow up knowing what the world is like, that there are challenges. What’s important is that we meet those challenges; sometimes we will fail, and sometimes we will triumph, but we will never avoid.
I hope I made the right move.
My family and I went on a trip with thirty (or more) of our closest new friends here in Indonesia. We travelled to Bandung, a city not too far from where we live, to visit a volcano, do some shopping, listen to some music, and have some fun. It was a good day and left me with some really happy memories. Hooray for everything, right?
What mood do you read off this guy?
There’s a place in Bandung called UDJO, and it is dedicated to the Angklung, an Indonesian musical instrument. It creates a beautiful sound, and they train young children to play this instrument. Then, when tourists like me come to see the performance, these beautiful little children come out and play. They are often enthusiastic and nervous and so fun to watch. This little girl, however, seemed nonplussed by the whole process.
These are my kids. They’re mine. They’re also my wife’s, but they’re mine. Mine, mine, mine. Until the day comes that they leave the house, decide to get married, and move far aw…nahhh…they’ll still be mine.
Tangkuban Perahu is an active volcano that is about a two hours’ drive from where I live. It is about 30km north of Bandung, and it is a hub for local merchants. The shot above is of all of the shops, both retail and food, that line the northernmost part of the trail. There are at least five times as many shops on the total site, but this shot offered the best vantage point of the shops and trail.
I shot this from the window of the bus as I traveled from Jakarta to Bandung. We, my family and friends, went to Bandung for three reasons: outlet shopping, viewing a live volcano, and watching an angklung performance. On the way up, we passed a number of rest stops, but this one came with its own masjid, or mosque. Very beautiful, for a rest stop.
Worked, ran on the treadmill, had a brilliant taco salad, played tennis, had heart attack when I thought Ben had lost his iPod, felt relieved when we found it, read an inspiring and challenging article, sent emails, now posting photo.
How was your day?
Oh yeah. The buildings are from Central Jakarta, outside the Grand Indonesia Mall.
…I haven’t the foggiest. The gates on yards here in South Jakarta are often pretty, sometimes elaborate, sometimes looking like they were cobbled together with what might have been a nice gate at one point and then beefed up in security by slapping barbed wire and corrugated metal on them.
This one, I thought, was pretty nice.
Well, this one is.
The fountains in the front definitely help.
From the Firenze files. This is the statue of “Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus”, which is in the Loggia della Signoria in Florence. I thought of this statue tonight because I feel as though my strength is waning. As though Friday cannot come soon enough. As though Hercules needs to loan some of his strength to me and then I’ll make it through this week.
The big mountain just to the right of center is Mount Cheam. Next, to the right, are Mounts Archibald and Mercer and then Mount Thurston to the far right. I drive home looking directly at these mountains every day, when it’s not raining or foggy.
When I was in Montreal last year, I had a few people ask me where I lived. My answer was, “British Columbia.”
“Is it all mountains and rivers?”
“No. No, it’s not all mountains and rivers.”
“Well, where do you live?”
“And what’s that like?”
“Um…I live about 500 meters from a river and about 600 meters from a mountain.”
“Is it beautiful?”
“Yeah. It really is.”
So, anyone want to move out here?
It’s late. Sorry. I had some grocery shopping to do and my wife’s got a bit of a migraine. Nothing I can’t handle, but nothing I want to ignore either. The photographs can always wait a little.
This was shot on my way home from work tonight. I guess it must have been a nice day.
What is it about black and white photos that feels so cold?
It was a very cool morning when I shot this. I was wearing a cardigan sweater and t-shirt and freezing my niblets off as I stood on the back end of the ferry to take this shot. When I was playing around with this in processing, I flipped the RAW photo to grayscale and felt that the photo suddenly matched the feeling that I had while I was on the ferry.
So, why it is that black and white photos feel cold? Anyone?
Is the opposite “moon-set”?
Is moonset even a word? I don’t know.
What I do know is that the Sunday morning last week was chilly and beautiful and wonderful. The moon had not yet set to the west of Vancouver Island and the sky was blue and the water was blue and…well…it was great.
And, yes, that tiny dot in the sky is the moon. I promise.
Welcome to the bottom deck of a BC Ferry. We had the pleasure of attending my brother-in-law’s wedding in Victoria, BC last weekend. I hadn’t been to Victoria since the last time we attended a wedding there, back in 1995. I forgot what it’s like to travel on the ferry to get to Vancouver Island.
The ride over, from Tsawassen to the island, was on the upper deck of the Coastal Celebration. We stayed in the car and watched the Gulf Islands slide by. I got out and took some shots of some of the islands and vistas. It was quite nice.
We ended up on the lower deck on the way home. Once the ferry is full, the doors close and the bottom deck is completely closed up. And…that’s when the claustrophobia settled in. I’m not claustrophobic, normally, but my mind flashed back to one of the most insipid movies I’ve ever seen: Titanic. I was sitting on the lower deck thinking of the steerage passengers who had no chance of survival once the water started in and none of them had a clue that it was coming. Oh sure, my mind could have traveled back to the beauty of Kate Winslet, or a certain sweaty moment…in a car…on the lower deck of the ship. I was in a car on the lower deck of a boat with my wife. That’s where my mind could have gone.
But it didn’t. It went to, “Hey! If this thing starts to sink, we won’t even know.”
Thanks, stupid brain. Thanks a lot.
Click on the photo above, btw, if you want to see it in more detail.
I don’t know who Don is, but his grocery store looks very cool. I particularly like the juxtaposition of a very old building that has been put to a modern use.
I’m a bit tired out this week, though, so I’ll leave it at that. Perhaps all of you have something to add.
See you tomorrow.
I don’t know what’s more interesting – the boats on the water, waiting to take their owners on watery adventures, or the reflections of the boats in the water.
Photographically speaking, I’m enamored of the reflections. I love how everything is mirrored, but not quite exactly. There’s that wavering quality that suggests that the world below is just like ours, but dreamier.
This is the Legislature building in Victoria, BC. It is beautiful and old. Click on the photo above and you can see more detail.
It was built from 1893 to 1896. It is remarkable in its details.
So, my question is, “How can a group of individuals meet regularly in this amazing building and get nothing done?” Someone, or ones, spent a great deal of time and effort making sure that this place looks the way it does. The least we could do is elect people who are effective in their jobs, care about more than getting re-elected or avoiding criticism and are selfless civil servants.
Wow, I am feeling the rants tonight. Sorry. Enjoy the pretty building.