Blogs from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, Asia - page 4

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Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh April 13th 2007

Banda Aceh. It's about as far away from Western Civilisation as I've ever been. They even have Sharia law (conservative Islamic law) imposed. I first arrived in Medan; the fight was actually not too bad- bit of a bumpy take-off but then Lion Air's full three-hour full flight service of a plastic of water certainly made up for it. I hope that Lion Air can expand their services to NZ. Medan. All I can say is that if anyone wins a competition for a trip to Medan, just say thanks but no thanks. I had to endure this place and stay the night here. I found a lovely hotel right by the Mosque where at 5am things got going. The following day was a quick exit as I headed to the bus station for another ... read more
agreed
Tsunami damage
Tsunami

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh April 6th 2007

"We advise you to exercise caution when travelling to Aceh, which is emerging from a long-running internal conflict. You should exercise particular caution when travelling to remote areas. You should also monitor all available information on the local situation." (The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. Still Current at: 6 April 2007 Updated: 4 April 2007). Don't take the Foreign Office's advise on Aceh too seriously. The Foreign Office are always very conservative in their advise...they are probably covering their backs should anything happen. That said you should always monitor all available information on the local situation wherever you travel. But to be honest, a Saturday night pub crawl in the centre of Leeds in England where I used to live is probably more dangerous than a visit to Banda Aceh now. But, things do change. ... read more
A work in progress...central Banda Aceh
My bungalow on Gapang beach, Pulau Weh.
Pulau Weh

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh February 24th 2007

We were up early to make our way out to the airport. However, our flight was delayed, so Una decided to tell us a few horror stories about Indonesian Airlines to pass the time. The flight itself went grand and we were met by Indra our driver (Very posh) for the day. Our first stop (as seems the way with Una regardless of where you are in the world) was a coffee shop. It's run by Una's friends in Banda, Rosa and Didi. We also met their tiny little new born daughter Michelle who was chilling in her own ingenious hammock strung from a nearby roof. We were staying with Paul and Michelle for the night who we also met at the coffee shop. Paul quickly drafted Ronan in for a football game with his team ... read more
Baby Michelle And Didi
The Coffee Shop
Shipwreck - The Electricity Boat

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh October 22nd 2006

This is my last entry from Banda Aceh, Indonesia. I am at totally different extremes emotionally - so happy to be starting a new position in East Africa...so sad to be leaving my friends here in Aceh. My heart is getting a workout these days. I haven't had time to reflect back on my time here this year...but I wanted to jot down some thoughts on things I’ve learned about myself before heading off: 1. the moment you force religion or authority is the moment it starts to weaken because it drives out the creative thinkers, leaving those that only know how to follow rules. 2. if an Acehnese person catches enough fish by Tuesday, he will take the rest of the week off. if an American catches enough fish by Tuesday, he will work the ... read more
Aceh Glam Sqaud!
It's the weather stupid!

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh October 22nd 2006

If you come all the way to Banda (and you should if you come to Sumatra), don't just head directly to Sabang. See the major sites (Grande Mosque, beaches, Pasar Atjeh, etc..) but click on the photo's below to get information on other things to see and do in and around Banda. ... read more
Elephant Rides!
Get LOST
Jungle Joe Adventures

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh September 29th 2006

4.25am: I open my eyes, stunned that I can have energy at this time of the morning. Geni, my roommate is already in the kitchen, eating her pre-prepared breakfast of rice and fried chicken. I am still full from the night before, but I eat my usual yogurt, oatmeal and fruit. We down a few glasses of water and soon the horn from the mosques start to sound - the fast for the day has begun. She goes off to pray, I go back to bed. 7am: My alarm rips me out of a dream for the second time of the morning. For a moment, I am resentful of this sadistic tradition which robs me of sleep and food for a whole month. I meditate for 30 minutes and feel renewed. I dress in my muslim-appropriate ... read more
Mosque by the River
Breaking the Fast at Adi's house with friends
Markets doing business late into the night

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh April 10th 2006

Head: She’s making us all look ridiculous, running around like a little schoolgirl telling everyone “my boyfriend is coming for a visit this week!” Heart: Speak for yourself. I think it’s wonderful to see her so excited. C’mon, it’s been 6 months since they last saw each other and I’ve jammed her pack full of emotions…I’ve been looking forward to this day since we left Brooklyn. After all, I’m the only one here that never gets any rest. Head: Not so fast! What were you saying a few months ago?? Um, allow me to remind you: “This is never gonna work! They’ll be too far apart for too long. I can’t take it…” Heart: I had only a mild attack of the “what if’s” just after Christmas…no thanks to you and your “we have to think ... read more
Boyfriend at Work
Message to Boyfriend

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh March 19th 2006

Although my Dad would surely disagree, I don't consider myself an idealist. I came to Banda Aceh because I felt my skills would be useful and I would get work/personal experience that I couldn't get back in New York. I wanted to be in a motivating environment and part of something extraordinary and unique - the rebuilding of a region after the greatest natural disaster in present history. The reality is, well, different. And there's been a few things I've discovered recently that i've had to reconcile personally: FACT: The Humanitarian Aid Industry is a big, highly profitable business. FACT: Aceh got $6 billion dollars for reconstruction, to be spent in about 18 months. (Imagine having to spend a million dollars at the deli down the street, in about 10 minutes.) FACT: I am not working ... read more
Atilio
Copacabana Club, New York City
Smiles of Satisfaction

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh February 20th 2006

Last night was such an amazing night for me that it will be a little hard to explain. Suffice to say, I played a small part in inspiring a big event. I don't have much time to write because I leave for Vietnam in 2 hours and have to pack (meeting friends Deb and Dena there for a little R&R), so I'll just write-up what I said last night to kick off the event. Sanggar Cut Nyak Dhien is a traditional Acehnese dance group that has existed for more than 30 years and has been invited and performed all over the world. But then the tsunami happened and the group lost 8 of it's senior members. Their choreographer, Pak Ichsan, suffered a stroke. Since then, Sanggar Cut Nyak hasn't received any invitations to perform. Two months ... read more
The Whole Dance Group...Can you Spot the Imposter?
Pak Ichsan
Women

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh February 20th 2006

I need to follow-up on my last blog entry about the dance performance. It would be easy to say that it was a huge success. The pics look great and it even aired on local TV news. As a result, the dancers were invited to perform in Quebec and the govt. has offered to expedite the passports. Sounds great!? Yes, it is great. But blogs are funny things...you all wouldn't know any different if I left it at that. But, that wouldn't be the whole story... So, what happened? In short, Protocol. It was "protocol" that we wait 1.5hrs. for the Minister to show up - which he never did. It was also "protocol" that the event's supporters receive certificates on stage (including myself)...which delayed the start of the performance even more. Add to that a ... read more




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