connecting
people and cultures – inspiring journeys
sharing meaningful discoveries in Asia

Journeys and Stories

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Welcome to this new page which will include some stories of journeys…

so keep checking back for more!

 

Click below for stories which may interest you:

Oct 2017:  the 350th anniversary of the Breda Treaty and exchange for Manhattan Island.
See this BBC story of the tiny island of the Bandas that was traded for Manhattan: 
http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20171010-the-tiny-island-the-british-traded-for-manhattan

Exploring Eastern Indonesia:  Click Here


August 2017:        
Akha Swing Festival and Chiang Rai

May-June 2016:    Silent Walks in Sri Lanka

February 2016:     Twilight over Burma: A Journey to Hsipaw and a story of a Shan Princess

September 2015:  Sacred Migrations: Sri Lanka to Laos

July 2015:             Sri Lanka: Trincomalee and Kailash of the South

April 2015:           East Java Volcanoes:  Mt. Ijen to Bromo

August 2012:        Sri Lanka: Peraheras and Peace

May 2012:             Sri Lanka: Adam’s Peak and Tea Leaf Vision School


March 2016:
  Easter Reflections from Indonesia:
On this Easter Day, I could not help but reflect on the wonderful boat trips we did in
past years throughout Indonesia.

ei2
ei11

With the MSY Perintis, we would schedule our trips to the islands east of Bali around Easter time. The town of Larantuka on the far eastern tip of Flores holds a Good Friday procession each year, maintaining a more than 400-year tradition.  It was always very touching to observe the ritual of lighting candles throughout the town, the singing of Ave Maria, and a re-enactment of Veronica wailing at the stations of the cross.  The procession lasts throughout the night in amazing devotion.
The communities on these islands are predominantly Christian blending in their ancient animist beliefs. Many of the trading communities along the coast are Muslim. And traveling to this part of Indonesia was a true example of the Unity in Diversity. The local Muslims helped the Christian community in preparing the palm leaf candle holders along the route for the procession. And when the Muslims celebrated Idul Fitri, the Christians come to celebrate together.
To the east of Flores is the island of Lembata.  We would visit a special village on the south coast called Lamalera-  a community which practices subsistence whaling. Perched on a dry and rocky slope of an active volcano, there is limited food source available. In dry season, villagers walk several kilometers to get fresh water. During certain times of the year, the sea hunters of Lamalera set off on their traditional boats with palm leaf sails and manage to harpoon a few whales, their main source of protein.
An actual hunt is not exactly my cup of tea to watch, but their boats would come out to the Perintis and we were able to see a demonstration of how the harpooner jumps on to a whale- imagine trying that for real! Learning about the community structure and how the whale hauled ashore gets divided up is fascinating.

Lamalera whaling boat 2aw  Children at Lamalera, Lembata Island

The villagers of Lamalera are also known for their traditional weaving skills, producing textiles in handspun cotton and natural dyes. Coming ashore, we were always warmly welcomed by the school children having prepared welcome dances and songs along with some wonderful miniature traditional boats.
Lamalera was the first community Threads of Life began working when these boat trips came to an end. The initiative of Threads of Life was for communities to not sell off their ancestral cloths, but to continue the art of weaving in a sustainable way.
Learn more about Lamalera textiles and Threads of Life on:
http://threadsoflife.com/textile-archive/lembata/

We would call into Lamalera a few days before cruising on to Larantuka for Good Friday. On my last cruise,  I remember the school teacher Pak Ben saying that some of the villagers were excited to be coming to Larantuka for Good Friday that year, and we looked forward to seeing them there.  Their plan was to hook up an outboard engine on one of their boats- something they never do when going out for a whale hunt. But a trip to Larantuka is quite a distance.  By late evening on Good Friday, settling back on board the Perintis, we had not noticed any of our Lamalera friends amongst the crowds in town. Next early morning, while lifting anchor to sail out, we saw the Lamalera boat coming into the harbor. Their engine had broken down and they rowed all through the night- sitting upright on planks, singing Ave Maria.

One of these​ days I may get around to scanning some more ​old photos of these wonderful past trips, but below are a few I thought to ​share- including a black and white photo of a village welcome on the island of Timor:

Timor village 0004aw

Traditional dancers, Watublapi, Flores

Perintis groupin ikats

Feeling fortunate for the wonderful times with the Perintis…
More on Eastern Indonesia-  Click Here

and wishing to honor the beloved ships the Society Explorer and World Discoverer
which brought me to Indonesia from the Antarctic across the South Pacific back in 1989.
Plan to write more on that wonderful journey sometime.. so check back!

the beloved Explorer aaweb

WD front

 

Click below for more:

backtodestination-2

 

Contact Alam Asia.net Copyright 2006 by alamasia.net all rights reserved.