Indonesia Photo Tour Day 17 & 18
By Michelle Alten
After spending the morning on Komodo Island to see more Komodo dragons and other wildlife, our Indonesian crew entertained us with their guitars, drums, and singing on a sandy beach across from Labuan Bajo as we enjoyed a barbeque of beef sate, grilled fish, and tandoori chicken in the evening. Throughout our cruise, the chef, while fasting for Ramadan, worked hard to create a variety of savory dishes for us. His appealing repertoire tapped the spices, sauces, and flavors of many Southeast Asian Cuisines–Szechuan, Thai, and Indian—along with the dishes of Indonesia and its famous Spice Islands.
We end our journey with a trip to a village in the hills of Flores to see a Caci dance performance. This very athletic dance involves using a whip made of rattan. The whip represents a phallus, while a shield represents a woman’s womb. The vigorous competition between two male dancers results in a frequent uniting of the male and female elements. As we watch the intense competition, villagers offer us beetle nut and their homemade alcohol made from sugarcane.
After three weeks of traveling through the archipelago, we have only begun to gain an understanding of this complex and very young nation that only gained its independence from Holland in 1949. We have ventured back through history to the time when Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms gave birth to the great temples of Borobudur and Prambanan and then to modern-day Moslem villages where we were greeted with curiosity and warm hospitality. During our visit the government announced the results of the country’s national election. It is clear, that this young democracy –- the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population and over 300 ethnic groups—certainly faces challenges. Our trip gave me an appreciation for its rich heritage and all that it has already accomplished as a modern nation.
Please email me if you are interested in a future trip.