On on!

So we’ve been to six hash runs since moving to Indonesia. The family hashes are usually the last weekend each month. We’ve missed the last few because of travel to Thailand and Krakatau, so we were happy to get in on this one.

After five runs you get a hash name. Ellie was donned Princess Slow Poke, as she usually brings up the rear. However today we were the second group to finish! We hiked Rainbow Hill in Sentul City and naturally the pictures don’t do the view much justice.

On on!

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HHH

On on!

Another Hash House Harriers run through gorgeous rice paddies and tiny villages. A few local kids saved our asses by directing us the right way, after we missed the confetti marker. We gave them a sweet bun to say thank you and they cheered us on.

And the dragonfly? There were millions. Such a beautiful trek!

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National Geographic, Eat Your Heart Out

It started at 5:30am on Saturday and ended around 11:30pm on Sunday.

No, it really started when Seth text me on Thursday asking if I wanted to go to a primitive Baduy village this weekend with his friends Ted and Puji, and their friend Nunuz, who is studying the ancient tribes. My initial thoughts were that this would be a great opportunity to get out of Bogor for the weekend, do a little trekking, and witness a several 1,000 year old Indonesian civilization. I asked if Ellie could come.

Ted and Puji spent the night on Friday and the driver arrived around 5:30am. We crawled out of bed and into the car, picked up Nunuz, and drove for four hours to the base camp for the Baduy villages. We came prepared with a backpack, packed with a change of clothes, basic medicine, a sheet and blanket, water, snacks, and a small mattress pad to sleep on.

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We met our guide in the base camp and snacked on several durians before we set out. The hike started easy enough and Eliana walked about 90% of the hour or two it took us to get to the next village. The hike took us up a couple thousand feet and through some amazing jungle filled with durian trees and arenga pinnata (palm trees that sustainably produce brown sugar). We arrived around 4:00 pm to the village we were invited to stay in. The guesthouse was traditional; woven from palms, without furniture, a fire pit used to cook food in the kitchen, and no electricity. The river was the bathroom. No joke.

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Time seemed to grind to a halt. We sat on the front porch for an hour or two and watched the village work. Families trickled in and out, to a small waterfall on the outside of the village where they bathe. Women sat on their front porches and weaved textiles using backstrap looms. It looked terribly uncomfortable, but the women looked at peace while they worked. The clicking of the wooden rods from the looms, and the occasional rooster call was all we heard.

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Just as the daylight started to fade, we unpacked some headlamps and gave some ingredients to our host to cook us dinner. Our host cooked us rice, greens, omelet, slightly fermented tofu (it tasted like cheese!) and sardines in a tomato sauce with garlic. Ellie loved the sardines. We sat on the floor in our house and ate our dinner, then made our beds. After a short exploration around the village with our headlamps, we went to bed around 8:00pm.

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We woke up on Sunday to rooster calls and daylight. It was early and we were starving. We ate a continuation of our dinner from last night, with some fried noodles to fill our bellies a little more. We packed up our gear and head out to travel around the other villages.

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Several obstacles lay between each village. The first was a swaying bamboo bridge we had to cross over a very high river (our toilet, if you remember). We had to escalate several peaks, traversed over large and small rocks, small streams, and a lot of mud. So much mud that everyone besides me and the guide were forced to take off their shoes and walk barefoot, as sandals were pointless in the extremely deep and slippery clay. At one point we crossed a stream and walked to a large lake. Our friend Ted jumped in, but I stood there in disbelief. Did we have to cross this!? It took a few minutes for me to comprehend that we were only there for a swim, not to cross. Whew…

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As much as Eliana struggled to walk the approximate 7 km (4.5 miles) between villages; she was a warrior. She found joy in the smallest things and did a beautiful job keeping herself engaged, without too much panic in stressful situations. We visited around 6-8 outer Baduy villages in total. The people were, for the most part, friendly and inviting. Everyone was impressed that we hiked through so many villages, especially with such a young child. And the biggest bonus of all was actually getting to see and say hello to some inner Baduy people, who crossed our path on the trail. Traditionally it is forbidden for outside visitors to enter an inner Baduy village, so the fact that we got to meet some on the trail was pretty exciting.

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Our trek on Sunday lasted for over 8 hours. We returned to base camp wet, muddy, and absolutely exhausted. We purchased a few things to remember the experience, such as a beautiful table runner woven from the village, the traditional Baduy patterned sari and bandana, and some bracelets. We rested at base camp for a half hour while Eliana, and I’m not kidding, ran around flirting with the village boys. After 8 hours of hiking this kid still had so much positive energy! Amazing.

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The trek was one of the most challenging that we had ever experienced. We were not only proud to have done it, but to have successfully completed it as a family.

Trekking Indonesia

Only about 30 minutes from Bogor, lies the base of Mount Salak and a ton of beautiful waterfalls. We trekked for another 30 minutes to find this little pool and fall. The water was cold and refreshing, and the physical reaction to it was fun to experience. As soon as you’re submerged, or under the fall, your breath quickens uncontrollably. The second you step out, your breath is back to normal.

It was really nice to get out of Bogor for the day. The goal is to trek and be surrounded by nature, but in Indonesia, that means you’re also surrounded by a ton of other adventure-seekers and warungs along the path. After a while you get used to it, and maybe even succumb to the tempting fruit tea along the way.

These treks are every where and what you get to experience is so much more than a hike through Forest Park. There are trumpet flowers as big as your head, monkeys running up and down the hillside, and give it 3..2…1… you have an instant friend wanting to take your picture and contact you on Facebook.

We’re celebrities. And you can call me J-Roo. We’ve finally accepted this practice [of getting our picture taken by random people] and have begun to play with it. Some guy from Jakarta has a picture of me with a giant carrot hanging out of my mouth and my arms flexing like Popeye.

Only in Indonesia.