The first weekend the crew was in Bandung, half of the crew wasn’t in Bandung (hm, paradox!). Instead, we voyaged to nearby Ciapanas, known for its hot springs and volcano hiking. Now, when I say “volcano hiking,” I imagine trumpets blaring, and for some reason (no doubt, a good reason), I am wearing a cape, spandex, and I am pointing.
Yes, [cue trumpets, don cape] VOLCANO HIKING.
We arrived in Ciapanas to check in at the Terta Merta hotel on a Friday. The rooms were nice enough, but the major pull was the in-room natural hot tub/toilet combo. The volcanoes that surround Ciapanas generate a great deal of hot water. This water is channeled into various locations, one of which is the Terta Merta. So, in comes the water, piping hot, to a tile room connected to the sleeping quarters. It swirls around for a bit until it is channeled into the toilet. The toilet water then exits the premises and goes. . .somewhere. The point here is that the well conceived water flows permits the hot tub water (which I/everyone inevitably urinated in. . .it’s more than a habit, it’s a compulsion, and don't pretend you are above it) to enter the toilet, where it belongs. It’s like the engineers behind the Terta Merta had me (and you) in mind.
After enjoying the hot-tub/toilet combination during the evening, a small group of ETAs left early to ascend the looming Gunung Guntur. Yep, the volcano’s name was Guntur. The personification would have been an Indonesian with big shades and an awesome mullet. We ambled up through a village and eventually made it to some dirt excavation sites where our “path” became more of a labyrinth. Fortunately, no David Bowies were present. Also fortunately, a quick-thinking entrepreneur decided to shirk the dirt for a day, put down his shovel, and lead us up the correct “path.” We managed—with his help—to find the two waterfalls and to make it to the top (kind of) of Gunung Guntur. The hike was pretty grueling, lasting about 12 hours total, with a lot of elevation gain and some nasty, loose rock. Once we got to the first caldera, we decided that was the top.
|Getting close to the top.|
|Brian, and the top of GUNUNG GUNTUR. Not Pictured: exhaustion and the caldera|
Excursion Two: “BAH ANKLUNG DONE BROKEDED!”
The following weekend we went to an angklung performance. The angklung is a traditional instrument made from bamboo. It plays a single note when jiggled, so an angklung set is used in much the same way one would play a xylophone or marimba. However, let’s not lose focus; the angklung is not struck with a mallet. It is jiggled. There are few things that are jiggled, much less jiggled intentionally, but an angklung is something I can confidently say is jiggled with purpose (I contest that Jello is most often jiggled unintentionally. What say you, Bill Cosby?). Let me tell you, there was some awesome angklung jiggling at this performance.
The performance was at Saung Angklung, a school where angklung(s) is/are made and taught, along with the teaching of traditional dance. Though a bit touristy, the location satiated my previously unknown appetite for all things angklung (jiggling included).
Despite an overwhelming urge to type “jiggle” repeatedly, I think the pictures of this excursion can stand alone. Here they are. Jiggle.
Oh, and the relevancy of this title is that one of the ETAs in our group was given a defective anklung at the time when the audience participates in the performance. Instead of graciously waiting and enjoying the soothing and percussive surrounding music, she stood up on her own hind legs, drew herself up to the intimidatingl height of 5 foot nothing, and, bellowed, “BAH ANKLUNG DONE BROKEDED!” [this translates, roughly, to “unfortunately, everyone, my anklung is not currently functional.”] All jiggling stopped. She then sat down, proceeded to smear one of the five pieces of fried chicken she had purchased all over her face, and occasionally managed to angle it close enough to her mouth for ingestion.
Talya: one classy dame.
Excursion Three: Classroom Visit
|Where are the Americans?|
Excursion Three and a Half: Miscellaneous
The time spent out of training, and not on the previously described trips, was ambled away in various ways. Dinner was always a delight, with a bunch of restaurants in walking distance and many more just a short angkot ride away. Cloud Nine, a neat bar set atop a hill that overlooked Bandung, provided a few nights of enjoyable entertainment. Then, there were errands to be run, the city to see, holidays to enjoy (Idul Fitri/Lebaron, the celebration at the end of Ramadan), and an abundance of good company.
Bandung: not an anti-fecal sentiment, but a great host city for training, adventures, and Indonesian acclimation.
|Kelsey Ritzel, of photo notoriety, looking . . . comfortable?|