Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bandung: Hiking, Cache Caves, Waterfalls

So, we decided to rendez-vous at 4am in the lobby to see the real Idul Fitri. We had heard (falsely) that people gathered in any and every field in the city to pray at this ungodly hour, so we walked to a local soccer field to find...nothing. The streets were devoid of traffic and people. I guess everyone goes to the mosque at that hour, and then eats a huge breakfast and sleeps in. Since there was nothing to see, I went back to the hotel and slept for a good while. At 9:30 I woke up and went downstairs to get breakfast, where I got word that 'people' were going to the bunkers, ammo stashes leftover by the Dutch and the Japanese. It was supposedly a good hike, and there was a waterfall to see as well. This brought me to the tree above.

The caves were about what you would guess: very obviously man-made, dark, and complete with Indonesians insistently renting flashlights that barely worked. I had the wisdom to refuse and used my cell phone instead. 3,000 rupiah saved. That's 30 cents:

Check out the bat we found. It is illuminated here by the red targeting light of Jimmy's flash for extra creepy effect:

This place was a family establishment - just check out this mother hen and her baby chicks:

Jagged hills everywhere, and eventually cut through by a river. The topography reminded me somewhat of gorge/river-carving country in NY and PA:

Raj, Vidhi, and Aaron. Candid:

After a long time hiking, we crossed the river:

Look how ecstatic I am:

After probably an hour to an hour and a half's rigorous, mostly uphill hike, we arrived at the main waterfall area. It had two bridges, a rickety red one marked with signs reading MAX 5 ORANG (max 5 people, and it's the same as in orangutan, which means people of the forest from orang people and utan forest), and another one lower down. I captured some peeps on the lower one from the upper:

This is the featured waterfall, looking downriver:

The main waterfall, looking upriver:

5 orangs. Please. The bridge staggered under my massive weight alone:

Jimmy, Graham and I wandered off in search of adventure. I guess we found it? What on earth possessed someone to carve this?

We ended up taking a raggedy footpath up a steep jungle-y hillside. We scattered monkeys wherever we went. Seriously, at one point there was a 40lb+ baboon within 15 feet of us. Here's a jackfruit tree that was right along the path. You can see the other side of the river gorge, so to speak, in the background:

This shot gets at the depth of this landscape. You can just see the jagged hills layering off into the distance:
We wanted to take some of these leaves back with us to show off. Or to use as blankets:

Finally, on the way back in an angkot (a bus with no side door and seating comfortably for 8, uncomfortably for 12+, that rides around town on a preset route and you can hop on and go anywhere on that route for usually just 2,000 rupiah, or you can even hire them out to take you really far away if you pay them a bunch more) I spied a very cute version of the Indonesian Chrysler Town & Country. It is really common to see families like this one or even ones with two adults and three kids all on one bike:

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