SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 11, April 2016 - Page 56

a journal entry

in the blink of an eye.

Giacomo Abrusci

Indonesia is a nation of islands and countryside; volcanos and valleys; Islamic mosques, Catholic cathedrals, and Hindu and Buddhist temples; sprawling cities and straw villages; rice terraces and coral gardens, orangutans and elephants, Dutch bakeries and Portuguese forts. Seemingly endless languages and cultures connected not by roads but segmented by the sea, the diversity of Indonesia will astound the most season traveler. The nation begs to hold itself together with crumbling infrastructure and cities bursting at the seams. It is hard to believe that the most polluted raw sewage and trash-filled black bays I ever saw were less than a two hour puddle hop from the most pristine coral fields I had yet to witness.

Planning a trip to a country with somewhere between 13 and over 18,000 islands can be a daunting task- and you will probably realize you

need take more than one trip if you want to see most of the highlights. If I could recommend a quick two week tour it violently cuts out the majority of the country but will give you some magnificent memories to take home.

A day in Jakarta on the way in is worth the stop. Depending on where you are coming from you might want to get your feet on the ground for a minute before taking off again. There are a few sites worth seeing from the National Monument, to strolling crowded streets of Chinatown, plenty of great restaurants, and any of the malls will give you the full experience of city life in Southeast Asia. Next stop would be Jojakarta to see two of the most impressive temples you’ll come across on this trip– get into Jojakarta in the evening so you can grab dinner, check out some art galleries, and get an early night so you can make it to Borobudur for the sunrise. One temple Buddhist and one hindu, you’ll see the stark differences but sit in awe of each as they tower to the sky. Next make your way over to Parambanan and be amazed by the intricate relief sculptures you imagine lost in this day in age. An inexpensive tour from a local is well worth the time. If the weather permits you can tack on a hike between the two temples but steer clear if you are in rainy season.