Bandung is the home of a musical arts school called Sang Angklung Udjo. It is here that students from age 3 years and up learn to master the instruments of the Javanese orchestra as well as Wayang Golek puppetry. Both are incredible to witness and are easily a Bandung must see. This was my first time and I look forward to enjoying the experience again.
The concert, or as they would rather it be called, demonstration, lasts for a little over 2 hours. If you think that’s a long time to be sitting, a full version would traditionally last 7 hours, hence the term demonstration.
It starts out with an explanation of what you are about to witness but the explanation does not do it justice. Not from lack of effort by the emcee but simply because words cannot adequately capture the value of this performance.
The two hours consist of angklung solos as well as full orchestral renditions of modern music done in traditional Continue reading Music and Puppet Artistry in Java
Bandung is a city with plenty of sights, sounds, smells, and charm. Cafes, street vendors, museums, parks, and shops are all within walking distance..and the walk is a pleasant one.
In terms of chaos it is the smaller sibling of Jakarta by far. The streets are busy but they are not constantly clogged. It is a mountain town and used to be known as the “Paris of the East”. Its boulevards and elegant buildings attest to this moniker and there is pride; a proudness for a once great city now firmly rooted in the legacy of its former glory.
The afternoon monsoon rains came thundering down a little earlier than expected and instantly the sidewalks and gutters flow in torrents. Umbrellas explode open above the heads of walkers while the umbrella-less scatter and seek shelter in shops. For me, I took refuge under the eve of a building along with some street vendors and…beauty contestants. Continue reading Paparazzi in Bandung
One of my primary objectives of the trip was to revisit Bandung, the city my family had once called home. Upon arriving however, my curiosity directed me towards a neighboring town where things had been decidedly less pleasant.
I headed towards Tjimahi.
It’s primarily a garrison town once used by the Dutch and now by the Indonesian army. During WWII the area was taken over by the Japanese and used as a POW camp. It was here that my Opa, and many other men were imprisoned.
The old POW camp remains and is still in use as a prison today. The structure was built-in 1886 and is looking pretty good for its age.
If you were an occupant you may see things differently though.
The guards out front were friendly. I can’t imagine they get a lot of camera wielding tourists coming by for a snap shot so a break in the routine was a novelty I’m sure.
Unfortunately I was told pretty smartly that photos of the entrance are not allowed so the one you see was taken as we drove away. For me, seeing the building Continue reading The Spirit of Bandung