pakgito48

Wanderlust8

pakgito48

Just another Earthling traversing the globe for as many turns as I am allowed.



Asia » Indonesia » Lombok » Mataram October 6th 2018

As I get ready to begin my 40th spin around the sun, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the good fortune that has surrounded my life for the most part. The last of 4 children between my parents, my journey was arguably the easiest of anyone in the family. No longer was mom washing ziplock bags for reuse or dad pinching supplies off the railroad, ha! I grew up in one of the nicer neighborhoods in my hometown surrounded by trees, friends and opportunity. My parents gave me every chance to succeed from supporting my football (soccer) aspirations through countless camps and even a tournament in Europe, to my needed move West to start afresh for my college years. Since then I have seen a few places, 51 countries and counting, worked in a few cool places, ... read more
Mind blown on top of Mt. Rinjani 2016
Peduli Anak tent area for the boys
1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in one class

Asia » Indonesia » Papua February 19th 2017

This is only a 36 hour snapshot of a fascinating part of Indonesia, but I'll try and provide some logistical information for the adventure minded traveler. The first thing to keep in mind is the climate. My trip was in the 3rd week of December. The rainy season had began about two weeks before I arrived. While it did not affect my travels, it did mean that the wildlife was much more dispersed, therefore more difficult to find. My guide, a local ranger named Asep (085244688175), said that October is an excellent time to visit. That would be at the end of the dry season, so you'll find the wildlife congregating around the remaining water holes. So, you will enhance your chances of seeing some of the regions specialties like wallabies, cassowaries, birds of paradise, cockatoos, ... read more
Biodiversity
Home Sweet Home
What a way to bird

Asia » Indonesia » Papua December 12th 2016

Here were the 2 most common questions I was asked when I told people I was going to Papua: Isn't it really expensive? Do you think it's safe? The answer is more or less yes to both questions. The areas that are unsafe to visit in Papua would not be on a typical travelers itinerary to begin with, and my experience with Papuans was that they are overwhelming warm, hospitable and excited to see travelers passing through their corner of the planet. The first question is trickier and depends on a myriad of details. If you want to see the iconic spots in Raja Empat, get your pocketbook out. But, I will break down my trip to the Central Highlands which was not that expensive. I should note that being able to speak Indonesian well and ... read more
Beautiful Stone Fencing
On the Trail
20161214_075752

Asia » Indonesia » Sumbawa October 9th 2016

Nearly 3 years to the date of my last blog, I have just returned from a trip too good not to write about. This will be more of a how to and how much does it cost account of a motorcycle trip I just completed. I still often get asked publicly and privately, "How do you afford these trips?" Some of these trips are relatively expensive, but many like this one do not have to be. I am not going to pretend to be a budget backpacker at this stage in my life. My Indonesian travel buddy, Lilies, and I were rather amused on this trip as some Australians tried justify if there less than $8 room was cheap enough. I quickly remembered that this could have easily been me nearly 10 years ago when I ... read more
Davi Homestay
Mata Jitu
A man and his bike

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Jambi October 22nd 2013

This short and sweet story is about Mr. Lahmudin Surkian. He lives in a village next to a forestry concession I was recently working in. In fact he was the 1st person to live there, before it was a village and before it was a forestry concession. A time when herds of elephants still roamed the land and tigers, too. Mr. Lahmudin not only feels a special connection to the forests, but even to specific trees. Maybe it was his time spent living with the Anak Dalam, the children of the forest, many of whom don't have contact with the "modern" world and live close to nature. However the connection was nurtured, it is deep and sincere, just like the twinkle in Mr. Lahmudin's eyes. He's certainly less than enthused by the slash and burn agriculture ... read more
Unidentified "Chalice" Mushroom
Ecology Team
Remnant Swamp Forest

Asia » Indonesia October 22nd 2013

I'm going to tell you the most incredible story I've heard since arriving in Indonesia. To do that I first need to tell you the story of Mr. Didik Raharyono (Didi). Didi is one of those rare finds whose passion is contagious and whose knowledge seems endless. He's been searching for the Javan tiger for nearly 15 years but has yet to see one. In fact, the Indonesian government declared the Javan tiger extinct in 1996. So why even search you might ask? Early on in our conversations, Didi reminded me, "Poor people are crazy, rich people are eccentric." The 1996 extinction status is awash in corporations lust for money and power. Unfortunately, the tiger's fate has also been bound with the shiny stuff. On Java, where you found tigers, mining companies often found gold. So ... read more
Javan tiger 1957 East Java
Variation of Striping on Tigers in Indonesia
Hastin and Didi

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Palembang September 22nd 2013

The next morning we were whisked away by speed boat back to the city of Palembang. We resupplied and had dinner again with Mr. Arifin, our main contact. After our 1st dinner, Mr. Arifin had insisted on taking me out to try my 1st durian. Many, including myself previously, find the smell quite revolting. Wikipedia sums up many peoples senses with the descriptors, "rotten onions, turpentine and raw sewage." I was holding my breath as we pulled up to a durian stand fittingly next to an open sewer. The 1st piece I cautiously put in my mouth was indeed bitter. My only thought was to maintain dignity and not provide a retching spectacle. They opened another and offered it to me. I was more than skeptical now, but courtesy outweighed common sense and I went for ... read more
Kargo the Legend
What a Life
Simpai or Mitred's Leaf Monkey

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Palembang September 18th 2013

I departed Jakarta for Palembang two weeks ago with these instructions from my Indonesian friends, "Eat pempek." Pempek is a savory treat made from local ground fish meat mixed water, salt and tapioca. It's eaten with a vinegar based sauce. Masakan enak means delicious and all the variations I tried over the following weeks were indeed so. Further instructions came from one of my supervisors Mr. Hendi who said I must try the infamously stinky fruit, durian. A natural procastinator, I quietly put this one off.You'd be forgiven for thinking I had flown to Sumatra to only sample the local delicacies. In truth I had come over as part of a high conservation value asessessment (HCVA) team. In short our mission was to:Search for areas that contain or provide biodiversity support function to protected or conservation ... read more
Field Gear
Field Team
Small blue kingfisher

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Jakarta August 31st 2013

It's always nice to be surprised. Heading to Jakarta's last mangrove forest my expectations were rather low which isn't always a bad thing. Before I go any further this particular blog is more for the birders and wildlife enthusiast. That's because Muara Angke Nature Preserve is a splendid little spot, but it's a bit of pain to get to for the independent traveler. From central Jakarta it takes 30-45 minutes by taxi. Most drivers will not have heard of the reserve, but here's how you say it in Indonesia, "Suaka Margasatwa Muara Angke." My Google searches didn't reveal this name, but thankfully I had an Indonesian friend to call on when our taxi driver was ready to give up. Thanks Pak Hendi! Now that I've been there I would like to share some landmarks and signage ... read more
Mangrove Forest
DSC01799
Just Munching

Asia » Singapore July 27th 2013

Even before stepping out of the airport you know you're not in your typical Asian city. A city where one in six people are millionaires including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Everything is profit driven here, the president made 3 million dollars last year AND gets a bonus based on the country's gross domestic product! Lots of very wealthy people take up residence in Singapore because the highest tax rate is 20% and there is no capital gains tax. The cleanliness and efficiency that are hallmarks of Singapore can be felt even passing through immigration where there was a surprising bowl of candy for people entering. Don't mind if I do. No gum though, it's not illegal to chew it, but it is is illegal to sell it! The mass rapid transit (MRT) system has been stretched ... read more
Lotus Ponds by Art/Science Museum
Fern Garden
Art/Science Museum + Zeppelin Building




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