Scribbled Scribble

The small things in life in a few paragraphs and snapshots

Sri Lanka Series: Colombo

Hello! Hello! 😀 

Since I haven’t written for a while, just in case some of you have forgotten who I am, likely you were my ex-colleague at AIG or Allianz, or you were introduced to me by my ex colleagues there. If you’re still unsure, I am on LinkedIn, look for Grace Claudia, or if you prefer to see pictures, my Instagram is Gracietifully. If you do remember me, thank you! 😀

Btw, I am currently in Galle, Sri Lanka. This is my first ever trip to this part of the world. I arrived in Colombo last Tuesday and although Colombo has no unique landmark, it is still interesting for first timers like me to learn and see the city and people of Sri Lanka. The buses remind me of Indonesia in the 80s, while the trains remind me of the 90s. We don’t have buses and trains like those anymore now. The motor rickshaw or tuk-tuk though is almost identical with what we have in Jakarta. Even how they operate is the same! If they’re parked at certain places, they will charge you more than if you flag one down by the side of the road. They don’t always know the place we want to go to, but will pretend they do. But, so far from my experience, I can conclude that at major tourist sites, the ratio of good honest tuk-tuk drivers versus the not so honest ones are 1 to 3. Outside the tourist areas is the other way around. But, generally people in Sri Lanka are nice and friendly. Although I learnt the hard way that although they are friendly, the good Sri Lanka people will not start a conversation and give help without being asked. The ones that do 99% want money in the end.

As always, children move me everywhere I go. And Sri Lankan children are friendly and will say hello to tourists innocently. They don’t even mind getting their picture taken. Families in Colombo take their children to Galle Face Green in the afternoon, where the boys will play kites as they wait for the sunset.

What impressed me is Colombo is relatively clean and it has parks for people to cool down from the heat. One big park that I visited is Viharamahadevi (used to be called Victoria Park), where courting couples spend time. I hope Jakarta will have more and more public parks too in the near future!

Majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhist, although there are Hindus, Muslims and Christian populations as well. What surprised me was the existence of Indonesian and Malaysian communities in country. I found out about this when visiting the National Museum and saw Keris (Javanese daggers) on display. With Google magic, I learnt the story that when Sri Lanka was a Dutch colony, rebels and convicts from Indonesia were exiled here. Some never returned and their descendants are now a unique cultural group here. 

I took an express train from Colombo to Galle on Good Friday and found many more things to share as it has a UNESCO world heritage site here. I will write more on my next email. 

Here are the photos from my Colombo visit. Happy Easter to my fellow Christians and have a great Sunday and week ahead to all!
 Seema Malaka Temple

  
Buddha statue at Gangaramaya Temple

  
Statues at the Sri Kaileswaram Temple, outer side
  
Viharamahadevi Park

  
Boys playing kites at Galle Face Green

  
Isn’t she lovely!!

  
Swords and daggers on display at the National Museum; Javanese keris on the right, upper side
  

 Sunset at Galle Face Green

Cheers,

Grace

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Long Weekend in Banyuwangi

Hello hello!

How is everyone? I hope you are all well and happy. I am doing well myself. Life has been busy, but I still had the chance to have a getaway last weekend to a city in East Java, Banyuwangi. It is one of the rising stars in Indonesia’s tourism recently, due to its pristine beaches and surf-rated waves. The name Banyuwangi itself means Fragrant Water. Legend has it that a long time ago, a princess threw herself in the waters there to prove her fidelity to her husband. She said if the waters smelled fragrant after receiving her body, then she had been faithful. If not, it meant she had been unfaithful. It turned out that the water became fragrant and since then the place was called Banyuwangi.

Why did I go there? Well, as usual to be where my feet had never been and take pictures. Since my trip was short, I only had the chance to go to three places, all by the sea. First, I went to Red Island beach, a scenic place to see the sunset in Banyuwangi, and a place for an annual international surfing competition. Then, because recently I developed a fondness of traditional fishing villages, I went to Muncar seaport. Muncar is the second biggest traditional fishing port in Indonesia, the first one being Bagan Siapi-api in Riau, Sumatera. Lastly, I went to Green Bay beach. A small beach that requires some adventurous spirit to get there, because there is no easy way to reach it. The options are only two: by land, tracking about an hour on a pretty steep challenging track, or, by sea on a small traditional fishing boat, daring the rather fierce waves of the sea. I opted for the second and honestly confessed the trip to the beach was rather scary. But, I got there! 😀

So, here are the photos. I hope you enjoy them and as the Dalai Lama said: every year, go somewhere you have never been to before. So, pick a destination! Have a great weekend!

Sunset at Red Island Beach

A surfer in a distance riding the waves at Red Island Beach

The colorful fishermen’s boats at Muncar seaport

The numerous fishermen’s boats at Muncar seaport make a colorful view at Muncar seaport

Panorama view of Green Bay beach

A boy starting his castle of sand at Green Bay beach

Cheers,

Grace

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Amazing Flores

Hello, hello! 😀

I haven’t written for quite sometime now, have I? How are you all doing? I hope you are well and happy 😀 I am doing okay. I have a back problem, but it’s getting better now after a couple of visits to a physiotherapist. My cat Sandy is also well, he’s becoming more like a forest cat now, a bit aggressive when we play. But, a few bite marks on my arm are fine!

By the way, I just visited Flores Island, an island on the southeast part of Indonesia. It is really beautiful and I really enjoyed my trip there. I also visited Komodo Island, the island of Komodo dragons. I actually saw a couple of them! So, I can now tick off another item from my bucket list 😀

Well, I’m just gonna let my photos tell you the story now. If you wish, you can also share your bucket list with me and what’s the next item you want to tick off.

Have a great week ahead!

1. Sunrise on Mount Kelimutu Crater

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Mount Kelimutu has 3 craters that are lakes with 3 different colors: blueish green, dark red and black. The largest one is the blueish green in this picture.

2. The Bajawa Village Kids

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Kids love football/soccer so much in Flores. Most of them wear football jerseys, albeit the fake ones. This kid heading the ball is a fan of Robin Van Persie.

3. Mama Bajawa and Me

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In Flores, people address older women as “Mama”. Just like this lady here.

4. The Cathedral of Ruteng

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I did not expect to find a cathedral built with such a picturesque background in Flores!

5. Spiderweb Rice Fields

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In a village called Cara, we can find these uniquely Flores rice fields. They are arranged in a spiderweb pattern and on the center is where the farmers gave offerings to the gods before planting season started.

6. Sunset in Labuhanbajo

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I can do this all year: sit by the beach and watch the sun goes down in Labuhanbajo!

7. The View from Fregata Hill, Komodo Island

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The trekking routes for komodo sighting include the scenic spot on top of a hill called Fregata.

8. The Komodo Dragon

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Last, but definitely not least, the Komodo dragon, unique to Indonesia and only exist in 2 islands: Komodo and Rinca. They are giant lizards that can grow to 3 m long and eat a prey 40 kg in weight.

Cheers,
Grace

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