Category Archives: Indonesia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

September 20, 2014 – Indonesia:Day003

Motion is the theme this week from WordPress’s photo challenge and my entry is on fire.

On the night the family and I went to the zoo in Bali, Indonesia, we were also treated to a performance of African dancing.

In addition to people in costume as giraffes and elephants, the troupe also played with fire. Courtesy of the low light and the long time the lens of my camera stayed open, this is what I caught when I snapped of photo of this flammable spectacle in motion.



Plain Vanilla Title – Nothing To See Here

November 30, 2014 – Day 445

So what is it like living in a country that has certain red lines that cannot be crossed. By “red lines”, I mean that there are specific topics (such as this and this) that are off-limits to be discussed by news organizations or by people on social media networks?

Here’s an example.

An English-language newspaper in this country (let’s call it the Post) had this story as their lead about a family surname losing a desired status.

If you read the link, this story in the Post goes into detail about the three criminal suspects who all share the defrocked family name. The article goes on to state that…

The letter making the order, which has been widely circulated on social media, says the revocation applies to all people using the name [name redacted by blogger], not just the suspects.

Notice that the Post‘s story makes no other mention of who else might share this family name.

But this story from the BBC does.

I would say that phrase “burying the lead” applies to the Post, except they never mentioned the “lead” so there was no way the Post could bury it. They simply ignored it.

POSTSCRIPT: In advance, I apologize for any and all offense given by this post. I’m only trying to share observations with friends and family back home.

POST-POSTSCRIPT: The very fact that I felt the need to obscure certain names and topics so that this post doesn’t show up in certain search engine results should serve as a great example of what it is like to live in a country with red lines.

The Nighttime Zoo

September 20, 2014 – Indonesia:Day003

In our mini-vacation to the island of Bali in the country of Indonesia, we took the opportunity to experience the local zoo at night.

An advantage to attending a zoo is the chance to see all sorts of animals that one (especially a city-dweller like myself) does not have the chance to see in everyday life. The downside to plunking down your money and buying a ticket to walk around a zoo during the day is that you are not able to see those animals that are mainly nocturnal. The nighttime zoo gives us the opportunity to see those creatures that are active from dusk until dawn.

The downside to attending a nighttime zoo is that it is at night. This makes taking pictures rather difficult since nighttime, ipso facto, means “dark” and my camera (a 16 megapixel Nikon Coolpix S1600) does not do well in dim light and creatures of the night tend to spook at flashes (which were prohibited during our journey).

Be that as it may, here is what we saw on our trip to the nighttime zoo at the Bali Safari and and Marine Park.

First – and trust me, it is there – a Komodo dragon.


Here’s an elephant in real life…


…and here’s an elephant in stone which is a representation of the Hindu deity, Ganesh.


The highlight of the nighttime safari is when we were able to move through the animal enclosures. We were able to do this safely because we were loaded into the back of a pickup truck that was surrounded by a steel cage. This was sort of like being in a shark cage, except we were not in the water and we were going through the feline carnivore section, such as the lions…


…and the tiger, which actually jumps onto the top of the cage (and again, trust me, it’s there).


We also saw zebras.


To finish up, nighttime safaris are a wonderful way to see animals you normally don’t get to see be active in a zoo during the day, but they are darn difficult to make a decent photo album out of.

When You See It : Indonesia

September 19, 2014 – Indonesia:Day 002

There is an activity on the Internet (and I first discovered it on the image sharing site, imgur) where people post pictures that look, at first glance, to be completely benign. However, the poster of the picture will provide the caption of “When You See It”. Those four words are the clue that there is something rather amiss with the photograph.

For a better (and more visual) explanation of the WYSI gag, jump on over to this link for sixteen examples.

In that vein, I offer you my own version of the WYSI game. The picture below comes from our family’s mini vacation to the beachy area of Kuta identified on most maps belonging to the city of Bali, Indonesia. So, here you go – – when you see it…


This picture was taken outside of a temple right in downtown Kuta. Okay, so I admit that the item in this picture that caused me to do a double take and spit take all at the same time is not that well hidden in this image. But, that is the point. The symbol known as the swastika is a symbol of good luck here in Southeast Asia and so it is not hidden or kept behind closed doors. According to the Wikipedia entry on this symbol,

In Chinese Taoism, the swastika is a symbol of eternity. For Tibetan Buddhism, it is emblematic of the element of Earth. It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbols on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi.

The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture…

The above definition being what it is, it was still disconcerting to open up the bathroom door in our hotel room and see the following decoration hanging above the porcelain throne:


In my travels around Bangkok, I have also encountered this symbol. The last time I saw it was a few weeks ago when I was at a local grocery store. As the cashier was scanning my milk and broccoli, I saw the swastika tattooed on his right hand in between his thumb and forefinger.

I know it means good luck and has other religious significance, but my gut always ties itself into a knot reflexively whenever I see that symbol displayed so openly.