Sunday, July 28, 2013

Keeping the Trekking Local

A few weekends ago we went camping at Walker River Resort (one of our favorite places to camp ( So, I thought I may keep up with this blog as I do travel around the world and places closer to home.

Steve often goes out on rides when we are at Walker, but this was the first time I went along. We took a quick ride to Ludwig Mine.

Mining brought Nevada into the Union. Although there are many abandoned mines throughout the state, Ludwig is a well-visited safe mine. :) Ludwig overlooks the Smith Valley which is rich with agriculture. Depending on the list you find - the one I looked at cited 60 working mines in Nevada  Next trip I hope to go to the mine with ice floor :)

Many rural areas are dependent on agriculture. (Fallon = cantaloupe, Yerington = garlic and onions, many more and lots of ranches too!) The average ranch is about 3500 sq acres. Nex trip I hope to get over to the feedlot - maybe even get a tour - such a NERD I am!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One more book to add - that came to me at the end of the journey. This author and ex-pat now lives in Indonesia and has for about 15 years. Some from our group met her. I love short anecdotal stories like this. I wish I would have know about this book before - I definitely would have read it!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Books I used to prepare for the experience

I left Indonesia ten days ago and am still processing all I saw and learned. As I process, reflect and create lesson plans I will continue to share.

One thing I try to do before I travel is read about the place I am going in order to give me some background on history, politics, culture, religion, etc. In order to prepare for Indonesia here are some books I used.

If you are planning to travel and want to read up, try this cool website

Saturday, June 22, 2013

School Visits

Yesterday we had the privilege of spending the day with Lauren and Jacqueline and their gracious host Agustina. We visited three schools - all very welcoming and energetic.

The first school was an Islamic boarding school. There are about 2000 students and 200 faculty at this school. Beautiful campus. Teachers can also live their with the families. The education has a strong Islamic focus, as would be expected - building the academic and the virtues of being a Muslim. The students sat divided - boys in front and girls in back. However, the girls always seem to be more eager to ask us questions. These students asked some GREAT questions.

At the second school, we met wth teachers. I met with a group of English teachers who were learning some new strategies for getting students to talk in their classes. It took me back to my days of teaching Spanish. There is more similar in our education systems and pedagogies than different. These teachers were fun and eager to learn and participate in the activities. We talked for quite a while about the challenges we face - again, more similarities than differencces.

The last school was a vocational school where the kids hung around after school to wait for us and meet us. We had another Q & A round, with some great questions.


Yesterday, June 21 we got up really early to go to UNESCO World Heritage site - Borobudur. The hope was to see the sunrise, which we did from the parking lot. That's ok. We have easily slipped into the Indonesia price mindset, so what would consider expensive has changed.

Regardless of the fact that we paid 6X what locals do to get in, I was really excited to be there early. There were not a lot of people yet and it was very lovely clinbing around the temple without THOUSANDS of people. We actually have pictures with only us in them.

Who is the 'we' I keep referring to??  My awesome travel partner, Uzma Shah Biology teacher from New York. We have been traveling together since we arrived two and half weeks ago.

So, the Buddhist temple is an amazing reminder of the diversity that exists in Indonesia.

After Borobudur, we stopped at another small Buddhist temple that was right next to a beautiful Buddhist monastery. Later we traveled back into Jogjakarta and went to a lesser known temple - Plaosan (4th picture). We pretty much had the place to ourselves. This was a Buddist temple - again diversity.

Tonight, June 22, we will be visiting the other famous temple here, Prambanan for the Ramayana ballet.

Temples visits just add to the history and cultural diversity of Indonesia.

Money, Money

It has been very easy to slip into the Indonesia price mindset. The exchange rate in about 10,000 rupiah to $1- so the math is simple. Everything I read in order to prepare for this trip said to be sure to bargain. That's what they do here - in the market places, not in the shops.

So, if you are in the wet market (picture 2 - 4) you can bargain for anything. If you are in the Songket market (picture 5) you can bargain. If you are in the Batik shopping district (picturue 6) you can bargain. If you are traveling by bejak (picture 7) you can bargain.

You cannot bargain in the stores. Bargaining can be fun but it can also be challenging. Once you begin bargaining, you are more or less commited to the sale. They wll continue too bargain with you even if the price is not met.

So, the cost of some things that have been purchased/paid for:

Liter bottle of water R3000

Lunch R30,000

Taxi from airport to hotel in Jogjakarta R60,000

Parking R2000 - R5000 (you have to pay for parking everywhere or even when someone helps you pull out of a parking spot into tough traffic)

Batik shirt for Steve (shhhh, don't tell him) R65,000

Shadow puppets - R50,000

Entrance into Borobudur - R190,000

Ticket to Ramayana Ballet -R150,000

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Musi River

The Musi River is the largest river in South Sumatra. As it splits Palembang in half, it transports petroleum, coal, rubber and palm oil out of the country. It is used locally for tourism and subsistence living. Many of the local food favorites contain fish from the river. Further upstream, when it floods, they are not necessarily devastated...."they can fish out their front door"! Enjoy some of these pictures from life along the Musi River.