We are back in Jakarta at just the right moment. Eid is just about to start, and the majority of Jakarta's residents are returning home in the mass exodus known as pulang kampung. In the next few days the city will empty, the grey-orange haze will lift from the horizon, and the roads and boulevards will flow freely. It's a great time to be back in the city.
I can kind of totally appreciate why everyone looks so forward to turning their backs on the city and going home to their villages. The kids and I just got back from about two weeks in the countryside, and guys, the country is amazing. There is endless beauty here. You just need to leave the city, to get off the freeway and head down some half-paved road, and then you're hit with the most beautiful vistas you can image. It's hard to believe that, given the dirt and girt of Jakarta, this fresh green world of rice fields and mountains exists just beyond the city. It's like riiiiiight there, and getting out into it is so restorative.
I traveled out to Garut for a work thing. I'm doing a series of photographs about rural farm workers. The guy I'm working with invited me to bring the kids (and after the thousandth rendition of itsy bitsy spider to quell their shrieking in the car, which, ps, was never really quelled, I'm sure he was reeeeally glad of his decision! But anyway.)
We drove up into the hills where the air is much cooler, so cool, in fact, that we didn't even need A/C at night, but scarves and jackets to ward off the morning chill. We stayed at this beautiful resort which featured little bungalows all surrounded by water and lotus flowers and orange koi fish who allway were appreciative of some bread crusts, much to the delight of Hugo, who's hobby is throwing things into water.
The accomodation was basic, but lovely (save for, perhaps, the call to prayer speaker which was located like 30 meters from my bedroom and pointed directly at my ear. That was less than delightful when it started squawking around the 3 am mark announcing the last chance to eat before fasting starts.) There was also a pool fed by hotshot springs, which sounds totally ridiculous given Indonesia's tropical climate, but trust me, the mountains are chilly and that hot spring pool is the only reason I got into the water.
I spent a good deal of time rising well before the sun (see also ramadan + extra enthusiastic calls to prayer), chasing good light and being totally blown away by the loveliness of rural Indonesia.
I'm more and more convinced that this country is, like, well, I don't want to say spiritual home, but something less douchey, but along those same lines. I love it here. And there is so much to discover, so much variety in landscape and beauty. I'm more and more sure that I want to make the most of our time here, and get out into the country as much as we can. Anyway, here are a few pictures from that trip if you'd like to see.