October 19, 1961 – Java

Duta Indonesia Hotel, Djakarta, Java – Clear, cool

      Waking up this morning I was excited to see some of Indonesia.  I was hungry when we went down to breakfast but after I saw what they were serving I could only eat a couple of hard boiled eggs that were there.  I was very disappointed too because the dinner I had had last night was so good.

      Breakfast done, Edith and I returned to our room to get ready for a day long trip to Bandung.  We decided to only take our flight bags with us and leave our big bags here since this section of our excursion was only for one night.  John had recommended not taking any more than we needed for overnight since we would be coming back here to this hotel in Djakarta before going to the airport for our flight to Bali.  I had trouble deciding what to take and what I wouldn’t need for one night. After packing the flight bag I only hoped I didn’t leave something vital behind.

      Edith and I were the first ones in the lobby and we had to wait several minutes for the others.  I wasn’t upset though because I’d gotten used to having to wait for things and it gave me time to relax a bit before leaving.  I was anxious to see what the country was like but once our bus took off I was glad that I hadn’t eaten a lot because the roads turned out to be terrible and the ride bouncy.  The beauty of the scenery was the only thing that made up for the bumps and bruises I was sure my body was getting.  On our way to Bandung we went through Bogor which was known for its pleasant weather during the dry season.  Passing through the little town we saw the Dutch had built some truly beautiful homes with their Colonial Dutch architecture style for their people to live in at that time of the year.  John explained the Dutch liked living in Bogor during the hot months because the 7,000 foot elevation provided a clearer, cooler environment than what was found in the capital. 

View of Rice Terrace on Drive to Bandung

View of Countryside on Drive to Bandung

      While traveling I noticed Edith had been making some notes on paper periodically.  I guessed they were things that she wanted to remember to include in her next letter back to the Fillmore Herald.  When I asked Edith about what she was writing she said she was making notes about this country and what to warn people about.  One not to mince her words, Edith said she wanted people to know that if they were particular about their conveniences that they wouldn’t get them here like they did in Japan.  She said they would get mosquitoes and a severe lack of services instead and that she could have done without this portion of the tour.  I knew that she had been particularly unhappy since we’d arrived in Indonesia but I was surprised at what she planned on writing back to the paper. 

      When I asked Edith if she wanted some notes from me too, she made a point of telling me “no, that won’t be necessary”.  Since I had taken to putting my letters home where she couldn’t get to them Edith had been a little touchy about what she took from me to send to the Herald.

      I was so glad when our bus stopped at the Puncak Pass hotel to eat lunch so I could take a break from the bouncing around.   I found the food surprisingly good and I only hoped that I didn’t get nauseated once we climbed back aboard our bus. 

Lunch Stop at Puncak Pass

View of Countryside at Puncak Pass, 7000 ft Altitude

      After eating we were given a few minutes to enjoy our surroundings before taking off again.  I had a chance to see vegetation that I had never seen before such as the water chestnut trees which were in full bloom and were quite colorful.  John also introduced us to the Kapok tree which was unique in several ways.  Firstly he showed us that their tree limbs were growing horizontally from the trunk.  Secondly he pointed out that they had seed pods the size of an egg that remains on the branch till they mature.  Once mature we found out the pods were harvested for their fiber and used for various purposes such as stuffing mattresses, upholstery and teddy bears.  John mentioned that the seeds also produced an oil local people used for soap and conversely used as fertilizer.  That little fact made me wonder what the soap would smell like. 

      Once we started traveling again we passed several rubber plantations and coconut groves.  It was exciting when our bus stopped at one so we could watch the people harvesting rubber from the trees.  We were told we wouldn’t be able to see how they harvest coconuts but it would have been interesting.  We’d been told they did it with monkeys who were trained to climb the trees to pick the coconuts for them.  I would have loved to get a picture of that!

Village on Tour to Bandung

      All of us were relieved when we finally arrived at our hotel even though we had enjoyed seeing the countryside on our trip.  After we checked in at the Savoy Hotel Edith and I found our rooms and they were far lovelier than we had expected.  We found we even had a lanai or balcony attached to our room that we could enjoy.  One of the first things I noticed when I stepped out on the balcony was there weren’t any flies and it wasn’t humid like it had been in Djarkarta. So even for one night we felt like our trip had been worth it. 

Street Scene from Hotel in Bandung

      While we were getting settled in our room Curt called from the lobby to let Edith and I know that there was a small parade going on outside the hotel.  He didn’t know what the occasion was but he said he thought we would have a good view from our balcony and indeed we did.  I loved sitting there watching the simple little parade and I wondered what the occasion was. 

Picture of Parade Taken from Hotel in Bandung

     Dinner at the hotel turned out to be really good.  After we ate there was entertainment which turned out to be some Javanese dancers and fifty eight children who played for us.  The instruments were made of different sizes of bamboo and produced a variety of tones.  While I enjoyed the dancers I really loved listening to the talented kids and could have spent hours doing so. 

      Once the entertainment was over we returned to our room for the night and I was glad of it.  I let Edith take her bath first so I could write a letter to my sister-in-law Vee to mail when I could.  I finished my letter and left it on my bed to seal up when Edith came out of the bathroom and went to take my bath.  When I was done and went to get my night clothes on I found Edith holding my letter to Vee.  I shouldn’t have been surprised but I was. 

      When I said something to her she asked me if she could copy my letter to Vee because I’d written some things down about what we’d seen that she hadn’t.  I replied I would be happy to copy it for her and send the letter on to the Herald for her and she grudgingly agreed that would be fine instead.  I heard her mumbling under her breath as she turned her back on me and headed to her bed.  I folded the letter up and put it back into my purse to work on later.  I knew I would have to continue to keep my letters put away after this because she didn’t seem to want to share any credit for what was printed in the paper. 

      I went back into the bathroom to finish up and when I came back out I found Edith sound asleep and it didn’t take me long to join her after crawling into my bed.


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