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Tuban six years later

Tuban six years later and so many things have changed since I arrived. So many new things I have learned in all over the time I spent here. So many things I have discovered compared to my first impression from Tuban when I arrived years ago. I visited all the amazing places around the town. I spend hours with my friends at the Waterfall Nglirip, the Cave Goa Ngerong, or the Jetty Pantai Boo.

The center of urban life is Alun Alun. Actually, that is the place in the middle of the town.  Many social activities take place here. Like night markets, public events and the Friday and Saturday nightlife. Here, I enjoyed many times the great Wayang Kulit performances. However, Tuban is a midsize town. Most important for the town is to going further and developing year by year.

Like everywhere in Indonesia Batik is also famous in Tuban. The traditional motifs are almost from sea creature and very dark with a lot of blue. As the usual practice in Indonesia, Friday is the Batik day. Even me on Fridays I always wear a Batik shirt.

Tuban is also the home of the Kwan Sing Bio temple. A Chinese temple and only a couple of minutes to walk from my house away. Many events like the Chinese New Year or anniversaries I enjoyed here.

Finally, I have to say thank you to all my friends I found here. To all of the guys who helped me, supported me and made my life comfortable. After almost six years I have to say goodbye. In one month I will leave Tuban and return home to Germany. Of course, I will keep all the nice moments from this extraordinary time in my memories. It was a great time full of great memories.

The rice fields of Tuban

The rice fields of Tuban surrounding the town like uncountable small lakes. The lush green of the rice plants and glittering waters are a beautiful sight. While Tuban is developing as an industrial city, agriculture is still everywhere. Either as rice fields or as vegetable fields. For instance, melon, papaya, peanuts or cornfields.

In almost all Asian countries rice is the number one food.  Rice is always on the table combined with almost every meal. Indonesia has plenty of different dishes based on rice. For instance, the most famous Nasi goreng.

After the hot and dry season, the new rice season starts. It’s nice to see when the fresh and lush green grows.

During the dry season, the fields are dry and have no use. Before the new rainy season begins the farmers maintain and prepare the rice fields for the new season. After repairing the dam, watering starts. Finally, the plot flooded completely with water. Then the new seedlings stacked. In fact, rice farming needs a lot of water and manpower.

Actually, in Tuban three harvesting seasons are possible. But in many areas in Indonesia, up to four harvesting seasons is the reality. That depends on the climate conditions. Tuban is very hot and dry during the dry season. More than in other areas. That’s why only three seasons are possible.

The farmers doing almost all work by hand. A small tractor is the only machinery. The tractor is in use as a plough to break up the hard and dry soil.

In some spots, the rice cultivated in terraces. While in hilly areas it’s a common way, in Tuban existing just a couple of such terraces. All the time, I spent in Tuban I always impressed by the farmer, their hard job and the rice fields of Tuban.

Bull racing in Pamekasan

Bull racing in Pamekasan is one of two places for bull racing on Madura island. It is my second time on the island. During my first time on Madura, I visited Bangkalan on the north coast. At this time, I’m on the way to Pamekasan on the south coast of the island.  Pamekasan is a city almost on the east end of Madura.  The access to the island by car is via the Bridge of Madura from Surabaya.

All the time in Indonesia I had a wish to visit the bull racing event. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to visit Madura during the bull racing season. Bull racing is a special thing only on Madura and well known in Indonesia, especially in East Java. However, for this year the bull racing event takes place in Pamekasan. Unexpected heavy traffic and a huge traffic jam extended my travel time dramatically. Madura has along the south coast only one road.

Bull racing, in Indonesia called Karapan sapi, is a public event on Madura island once per year.

It seems everybody from the city is on their feet. Parking was a little tricky. To find a parking slot close to the racing course isn’t easy. A crowd gathering on the way to the main gate. However, street marketers selling all possible stuff right and left the narrow road.

Rules are easy, teams racing against each other. Two bulls have one rider. The rider sitting on a frame pulled by the bulls. Two competitors running straight away down a two hundred meters run. Of course, the first is the winner. It’s funny to watch how people anticipate in the race.

It was hot, dusty and noisy on the racing course. After all, I have seen the famous bull racing from Madura island finally.

Kampung Warna Warni

Kampung Warna Warni promises fancy colors and fancy people. South of the city center of Malang in East Java Indonesia, a little village became attention by locals and tourists. Kampung Warna Warni is the name of the community.  Kampung Warna Warni means in Indonesian “Colourful Village”. For sure, that’s the right name for this wonderful place with all these fanciful colors.

Row upon row, the houses jostle each other on the slopes of the valley. A small river meanders through the valley. For a small fee, everybody can visit the place. Of course, the residents sell souvenirs, drinks and other odds and ends to the left and right.

All in all, a shiny puzzle of colours, red, blue, green and in between orange or purple. The colours are an expression of lifestyle. The artistically styled walls with animals or fantasy pictures looking amazing.

I learned from the locals, the village was a project of students from a university from Malang. With their intention, to turn a shabby grey place into a shiny colourful village. The village reminds me of Rio’s Favelas. It seems that some inspiration came from there. It’s incredible to see the small houses with small rooms and all in different flashy and garish tints. As much as possible, the villagers painted almost each and every little thing. However, the roofs, the walls and even the stairs all ornate painted.

A walk through the narrow streets takes two hours around. In fact, Kampung Warna-Warni is a great and nice idea. It’s not only for the outfit of the village but also for the villagers to get a small business. Despite all the facts, the village became a famous spot for people from Malang and for tourists from outside as well. Moreover, it’s open to everybody and welcomes everyone.

It is carnival in Tuban

As like every year it’s time for carnival in Tuban. Even after so long time, I spend in Tuban I still surprised and wondering about this tradition. For sure, it’s the same intention as in Germany. Uncountable people waiting next to the road for the carnival parade. Most people coming from Tuban but also from villages around the town.

Carnival in Tuban seems to be really a highlight for everyone, around today’s early afternoon. So many people sitting on the curbs, on the sidewalk and wherever a bit of free space is. The roadsides are completely occupied. I’m very early but it’s already difficult to find a good place for watching the carnival parade.

Carnival seems to be a worldwide thing. Even in South East Asia people celebrating the day of fun. Colourfully dressed people in an endless parade queue, fill the roads and moving down the roads.

Luckily, I found a place where I got a nice view. However, it’s already afternoon and the heat of the day is at the peak. I hope to overcome the crowds of people and the heat of the afternoon. It’s a persistent shove back and forth of people like waves in the ocean.

Starting from Alun Alun until the end of town, the parade route is probably 3 km long. What I miss during the parade are the princess and the prince couple. But I saw a lot of couples in front of some carriages imitating the princess and prince.

My favorite theme was the tribe from Kalimantan.  I’m really impressed by the well-prepared costumes. The Kalimantan style is a bit different from the other themes but that’s what I like. The music is surprisingly very widespread. From traditional gamelan until modern dubstep. Every style of music sounds out of the loudspeakers.

Kayangan Api a mystic fire

I heard about a mystic fire in the jungle not far from my home in Tuban. The name of the fire is Kayangan Api. What means something like an eternal flame. The place deep in the Javanese jungle is around 25 km from Bojonegoro, a town next to Tuban.  A sacred place with a mystical fire in East Java’s jungle sounds exciting.

The Indonesian island Java is a volcanic and seismic active island. Moreover, Java has huge natural resources in oil and gas. Where gas is seeping to the surface and venting to the atmosphere eternal flames may occur. The flames are a natural phenomenon and can be burning for centuries. Such eternal flames are quite common all over the world. Many eternal flames are also sacred places. Like the mystic fire near Bojonegoro.

Kayangan Api is a mystic fire and eternal flame in the Javanese jungle. The people believe if they make a wish on the eternal flame, that wish becomes true.

The fire pit is a circle of around four meters in diameter. In the center of the pit stones stacked up to a pile. There, the flames coming out between the stones and burning above. Small shrines surrounding the fireplace. On Friday evening people from near villages gathering here to hold ceremonies for instance. In addition, the mystic fire is a visiter spot.

Like everywhere in Java has this place also a legend. The legend says that a sword made in the flame get magical power. I came late in the afternoon because I’d like to see the flame in the darkness. However, the flames burn with a slightly orange or red till purple color. This unique atmosphere with the flickering flame, the little shrines, and jungle around make this place quite mystic. Especially in the darkness.

The Milky Way our home galaxy

The Milky Way is only one of myriads galaxies in the universe. I believe our universe is the most fascinating place in our perception and imagination. Darkness covers our world each night. That gives the unique chance to see myriads of shining and blinking stars. The darkness is the mystic thing beyond to make that possible.

It isn’t really a big challenge to capture the Milky Way. No doubts the result are amazing pictures. Astrophotography isn’t so difficult. Because the sky is full of stars each night obviously. Many of these nebulas, interstellar dust or stars shaping the Milky Way. Our home galaxy covers a huge area of the firmament and is easy to find in the night sky.

Everything has to do with light and its counterpart which is one of the most mystic thing, the darkness.

However, a few things have to consider before getting impressive and amazing pictures from the night sky. Most important is the location. A place with low light or even better without light pollution is the right choice.

My choice is Ganga Island. An island in the Celebes sea in North Sulawesi. Due to the isolated location of the island, light pollution is very low here. Well, I think the nights on the island are dark enough to see the Milky Way very clear. Even to find a suitable place on the beach wasn’t so difficult.

Actually, the Milky Way is visible with the naked eyes but a long-exposure image shows much more details. Fascinated by people since ancient, the Milky Way is easy to capture in the days of digital photography.

The image is a long-exposure image. Shot on 2017/June/26 at 22:58:54 from Gangga Island near Manado, Sulawesi in Indonesia. The position is 1°45’43.42″ N, 125°2’57.86″ E. The altitude is 2.5 meter.

Ganga Island in north Sulawesi

Ganga island is an island located in the north of Sulawesi. It takes one hour by car to drive from Manado airport to the small village with a little harbour. From here it takes a half-hour again to crossover the sea to the island. The boat waits already and the crew is ready for the ride on a cloudy and windy day.

The crossover to the island wasn’t pleasant because of the windy day. However, the boat had to fight against the high waves and strong currents. Both engines ran loud at full power. At least lifebelt and life jackets are enough prepared on the boat.

This charming tropical island is a perfect place for watching dramatically sunsets or amazing stargazing. The blue ocean and the white beach gives the perfect image of a tropical paradise.

The islands around Ganga are all diving locations and well visited by divers. Another diving paradise is around Bunaken island. This island is more than an hour boat ride away from Ganga in front of Mando.
However, it’s a diving paradise and well equipped with a scuba diving center. The guys around Johann are lovely people. Always ready to help and support. Diving in the blue ocean is a great experience. All the colorful fishes, starfish and corrals are a fascinating underwater world.

During my first visit to Manado, I fascinated by the amazing and beautiful sunsets. Even from Ganga island the sunsets fascinating me so much again, all the time I spend on the island. It’s a stunning moment when the sun just drops into the ocean.

In the night the sky is so clear and with low light pollution, it’s so easy to watch the stars. The southern constellations and the Milkyway are easy to identify and stargazing could be so emotional.

Limestone mountains in Tuban

The limestone mountains in Tuban are a stunning landscape. Tuban a city in the north of East Java has an interesting geological history. However, it’s not because of volcanic activity. It’s more of the limestone mountains around Tuban. In the past Tuban only had a small industry. Around the town dominates agriculture. But today, because of the settled industry Tuban turned in an industrial centre. One reason for this process is the huge limestone deposit.

Long time I thought that the mountains are a result of volcanic activities in this area. Because Indonesia is part of the ring of fire. The amount of volcanos is one of the highest in the world. However, the limestone mountains are definitively not a result of volcanic activities. In fact, the limestone mountains are coral reefs.  When millions of years ago the Java sea level dropped the reefs came out of the sea to the surface. These lifted reefs shaping the landscape around Tuban today.

The limestone mountains are old coral reefs. Composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as corals, shells or sponges.

Most of the limestone used in the nearby cement factories. Limestone also used as filling material for construction works or as bricks for houses. Besides the big factories, there are also smaller businesses. For instance, where workers burning the limestone to quicklime. The limestone business is a huge industry. So far, luckily many people have a job there.

Visiting the limestone mines became famous for the locals in the last time. The pits shaped in terraces and around 50 m deep to the bottom. The limestone mines shaping a stunning landscape. Visitors coming to that place just want to have a look into the pits. Some taking pictures others just want to have a walk through the rocks.