Since I’ve got to play catch up with my blog,I thought I’d just wrap up all my hari libur (free days) so far into one post. Most of my days are jam packed with training and meetings, but I have had a few days to go off and adventure.
After our first week in the village, Pak Suntari, trekker extraordinaire, took me and a couple of the other volunteers from my village on a 3-hour hike up the nearby mountain Gunung Banyak. I attempted to follow Suntari’s lead, wearing sandals and foregoing the mosquito repellant – I won’t be making that mistake again! Once at the top we grabbed some refreshments and took a rest as we watched paragliders leap of the mountain instead of walking back down.
After our hike we visited the nearby town of Songgoritti where my Bapak’s Ibu and sister live. Songgoritti is a village completely comprised of villas or houses to rent, as Batu is a very popular tourist destination for many Indonesians looking to escape the city. Walking around Songgoritti, we stumbled across a gamelan orchestra at practice, full of percussion instruments hypnotizing those who pass by, before we visited a mandi panas (hot bath) with water naturally heated by the surrounding volcanoes.
Hari Kartini and Coba Tahun
Last Saturday, we visited Pasar Besar in Batu, a large traditional market selling everything from shoes to coconuts. Afterwards, we grabbed an angkot* to the the alun-alun** Batu. As our angkot weaved through traffic, we passed a lengthy caravan of horse drawn carriages full of traditionally dressed youngsters caked in makeup. Mas Dimas informed us that the children were dressed up for Hari Katrini, a day celebrating the work of Raden Ajeng Kartini, a progressive thinker and Indoensian hero who campaigned for women’s rights.
The following day we crammed into my family’s van early in the pagi (morning), took a drive up past Songgoritti, and walked about 45 minutes to the nearby waterfall Coba Talun. As it was Hari Minggu (Sunday) when most Indonesians don’t have school or work, the waterfall was a poppin’. After getting drenched with water and being harassed by several hungry monkeys, we sat down for a light lunch that my ibu had prepared for us made up of fruit, veggies, and tofu drenched in spicy peanut sauce. Not a bad way to spend my day off!
*vans that run routes picking up and dropping off passengers along the way
**a large public square centrally located in cities and towns throughout Indonesia