Friday, February 21, 2014

A Day to Semarang With Elisha & Beppie!

 All four of our passports needed to be extended again for another month.   So Elisha & Beppie invited us to tag along!  She had a dentist appointment that afternoon and both Nick & I are needing one soon!

 We departed out of Salatiga at 9:30 am and got into town around 11 ish!  Elisha suggested we get a bite to eat first & then drop us off at the Mall afterwards.  We would walk over to the dentist office - while he would go to the Immigration Office to hand in the passports.
 The restaurant Lombok Idjo was very nice!  It was undercover but otherwise open eating area.  Very cute!   This seems weird - all open but remember the weather is very much the same here all year round!Even when it rains - it is still very mild out! 

Elisha does a great job ordering (being a Chef!)
so we leave it up to him! It was nice to sit and relax after our drive ~ and enjoy a light meal of rice, chicken, fish and some spinach.

Say cheese you guys!

While we were "killing time"  in the Mall - a gentleman overheard us chatting in Dutch! And he approached us!  He came to talk to us and he spoke in Dutch! special!  Yes - as a boy he grew up in a Dutch School speaking & learning in Dutch! (this was before Indonesia had its Independence) So it was darling to hear - and he was very proud to still speak it after so many years!

He is 79 years old - and he asked us all how old we were?! They do that here very naturally and normally in Indonesia - it is part of their culture to talk or ask your age here! Funny!

I had to get use to that one - never shared my age so' often as here in Indonesia...

Yes Everyone...I am 63! (that is if you are curious! ha!)

Well we headed to the dentist office and Beppie went in first - she is having a crown put in.  And then I went in as well and met Dr Andre - who spoke English really well - and I asked him where he had studied in the dental school....... in Stockton - did I hear that right???????? California????????
YES! He about a "small world!" I told him we had lived in Modesto, CA and he of course knew where that was! What a chuckle for us!  Here we are in Semarang Java Indonesia...and having a dental appointment with someone who received his license in CA!!!! Amazing!
Well that sure did rest-assure our hearts immediately!  I need a root canal and a crown - to save the tooth that he said now has an infection in it...yikes....better deal with it soon!   
  I was glad I went and was pleased with the appointment! 
Beppie too is relieved, we both know how important it is to feel we are in good hands...and we were!  OK - I will set an appointment to have a root canal done and a crown - when I return from Bali!  We must deal with it before we return to the States!  
                             CAN NOT offered it there-no way! 
Elisha came to pick us up when he was finished with the visa process.  We headed back to Salatiga at about - 3:00 pm.  It was getting VERY busy on the road! We decided to eat dinner on the way home...and we stopped at Comery - a restaurant - kind of truck/car stop!
The restaurant was very pretty and it was a place you could take a tour through the grounds - it was a milk factory.

We saw these little love-birds in the cage....cute huh?  Oh my their were cuddling and coo-ing! Adorable and so pretty - bright red!

This tree is one of my favorites!  Look at those branches - very unique! 
                                                        Anyone know what tree this is? 
This place was just gorgeously laid out!  A real treat to see it all!  

Back in the car and another short hour drive...bumper to bumper! 
The one lane road has sometimes 3 cars on it going the same direction!  Cars, buses, trucks, lots of motorcycles passing by on the left and right!  Elisha knows how to get through it - but Nick & I sure don't EVEN WANT TO TRY!!! 

I looked out the window - and a bus passes by almost mirror to mirror...just a little squeeze and he gets in...oh my talk about getting "snug" on the road!  Of course we are driving in very slow traffic but seeing all that passing on the left and right - oh my!
Remember now...all this is happening on the left side - right? See Elisha sitting behind the steering wheel?  Weird huh?  Yes - still strange to see at times.  Especially when someone comes to pick you up with their car and you have to sit up front and get into the car on the front left side!!!!  (see Beppie?)
Nick had to run an errand - and all at once - the rain came down....HARD! In just a few minutes it goes from dry to soaking wet!  Nico was drenched alright!  He could not even take his shirt off by himself! Soaked to the bone!

Well off to Bali we are going in the morning!  We are excited - and looking forward to it! May we have some sunshine while we are there...that is surely what we hope for!  I hear the water is gorgeous - aqua blue!  Snorkeling is what they do down there....but gosh - gotta have some warmer do that.....we shall see! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday ~ Here in Salatiga Java ~

The ash continued to fall through the weekend - for about 4 days and we prayed and prayed for rain and God answered our prayers.....our first rain on thankful!   What a blessing it was - I was never so happy to have it, knowing it was washing the immediate area of the volcano, the crops and cleansing the air too!  Then again yesterday (Monday) we had a very BIG dump of rain...Oh thank you Lord once again!  

It made such a difference in the could feel it on your clothes, skin, was everywhere!  But then last night, Monday night - it rained most of the night...oh wonderful!  
With all this going on - we were without internet for 3 days...and had to go to a local restaurant to be able to read our email.  Thankfully today it has been repaired.  Nick went down to the office and he heard that many other people had come in to say they were disconnected - so it was a larger area of town that had lost connection. Most likely the rain did it!  But we are back on and now able again to update you!

Today is my father's sister Birthday in Holland!  Tante Evie is 93 yrs old today!  
Happy Birthday Tante Evie!  Sending you our love and Birthday wishes here from Indonesia - which is your birth place as well!  

Next week is Mom's (27th) she will be 92 yrs and Jim too will be celebrating his the day after Mom!  Happy Birthday Mom!!!!  Happy Birthday Jim!
The girls were busy getting our bus tickets in order!

We are preparing to go to Bali this coming Saturday!  Finally booked a flight out of Yogjakarta that is 2 hrs from here!  There is a direct flight into Bali (Denpasar).  The chuckle is that on Saturday we need to catch a bus ride to Yogjakarta that leaves Salatiga at 5 am...would you believe it?  So we will be early risers that morning...we hope to find a reliable taxi that will remember to pick us up that morning here at the house at 4:30 am or else we will have to walk it!  Hmmmm maybe we will with out backpacks! 

On Sunday we were invited to dinner at David & Swanny and their daughter Joke for dinner!  They are the people/company Istana Motors we bought the motorbikes from!  David & Swanny have lived with their daughter Joke in Holland for about 13 yrs and returned back to Indonesia 10 yrs ago.  We speak Dutch with them and they can speak it really well even after all these years!  

 Both David & Swanny were very hospitable and we enjoyed a really nice visit with them!

 She worked to prepare a bountiful meal for us!

Joke is handicapped, so living in Holland those years, they explained was very helpful!

But the family is from Indonesia and the roots do pull!  We are pleased to have met them and so thankful to have been able to buy the bikes from them!

Thank you for a wonderful Evening David & Swanny!

We headed into town to run some errands and who do we see in a pretty red dress on a red bike???
 Intan!  Pak Jono & Kasum's daughter!  Intan stands for "Diamond" and yes she is a very pretty girl! She is studying at the Christian university to become a elementary school teacher!
 "Hi Intan...aren't you looking snazzy on that bike!  What a pleasant surprise!

                       This is the symbol of Indonesia - a big eagle with a red heart on the chest!
                                                                    Very impressive!
 After all the ash, rain and more rain and more ash...Nick & I decided to stretch our legs and do some walking - so we headed into town on Monday to buy our bus tickets and found a coffee shop that was in a old Dutch colonial nice to see the large shutters and that this old house had been renovated.  The Dutch did build some really nice homes throughout town and they have a unique style all their own!

 Here is another one that seems like a old Dutch built home.  Cute front porch and again the shutters. 

 I can't find anymore updates on the Kelud volcano - so hopefully things are settling down now after the 5th day!  We sure hope so and that the people can go back to their homes soon!  Of course the debris there is much more serious...lots of rocks and thick ash.  And I did hear there were 3 deaths!  So sad for the families left behind!  Let's continue to pray for Indonesia and that help will come to this immediate area!

Flights are coming into Java that is good!  We have some friends here whose parents had flown to Singapore from the States and were stuck there for a few days.....but I hear they too have safely arrived here in town on Monday!  Yeah! Good to hear! 

Well this is latest!  Hugs to all!  Thanks for the emails and updates ~ always wonderful to hear from you all!  

Colorful right?



Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sunday Morning Latest News on Mt Kelud ~

Last update Febr 15th 

Youtube News ~ 

We Are Constantly being Spoiled by so many Sweet People!!!

 About two months ago - when Nick & I had to leave the country & fly out to Singapore for our visa's ~ we spent one day in Semarang to be able to catch the early flight out the next day.

So we took a ride out to the Old Dutch Quarters of town - looking for the harbor in Semarang!  When we returned back toward our hotel - we took a little local bus (angkot) and met a sweet student "Ririn" studying in Semarang to become an accountant! She was so cute and friendly and helped us on the bus!
 We enjoyed our short time talking and we handed Ririn our card - and she said she would stay in touch! Which she has...we correspond on email together!  Well we get a knock on the door the other evening - and we are handed a box with our name on it!  And it was from Ririn!!! Oh my...what could this be???? Was Ririn in town?  Oh how have missed her!!! We had enjoyed a nice bike ride in the countryside - but didn't know she would be in town???!!!!

There was a kind note in there from our friend and she expressed in it that this was a special gift - 

it is called a "tapih" or songket she said!  To wrap around - and wear it for special occasions!  
That evening our neighbors Pak Jono & Kasum come by with a delicious cake she had baked!  Thank you Kasum!  So yummy!  How nice - do please come it!

We showed them our gift that we had received and I asked Kasum to please help me and show me how this is worn?

It had attached a tie to wrap around the waist and we figured it out...with a little help from Pak Jono...because he said he makes them too! Wow you are so handy Pak Jono!

 Thumbs Up!                                            Isn't Kasum adorable??!!!!!!!
We got it!  Hey that DOES look really nice...... Ellen likes!  It was even lined inside!

 Thank YOU Ririn!  You have blessed me with a beautiful Indonesian Tapih!  I hope you received our messages of thanks!

 Oh we are not sure if you personally came to Salatiga from Semarang or did you have a friend deliver it for you here in our village/kampung????  We are so grateful!!!!  Thank you too for your kind note!  We hope to meet you again!!!!

Nick was sharing something on the computer with Pak Jono and Kasum!  Always enjoyable to talk with them...and we - all four of us try very hard to communicate!  Little by Little we seems to get just a tiny bit better!  Both Pak Jono & Kasum know words in English too!  So you can imagine our special time together!  Sweet!

Saturday - Out & About - a Bit "ashy" out There!

 Like most people - we had been in the house all day on Friday.  It was really weird - so very quiet out there...but wise because this stuff is not good to breathe in! 

Today though we heard people out & about in the village and so we too decided to go out.  The main roads had less ash - because they were being used but dusty it was.  So Nick & I covered out faces with the handkerchief and that helped - we felt like a bunch of hoodlums!  Ha!  Are we planning to rob a bank?  Never thought I would be doing the 'bad guy" look!

 It was dusty all right, and also the sky... still...grayish...can you see it too?

        Notice the roads?

Some people had taken a pail and cleared off their area in front of their shops!

Not as busy out there as it can be - but the people of Indonesia have experienced these eruptions before and Mt Marapi which is very close by Salatiga, erupted 2 years ago!

Mt Marapi is no more the 50 km from here I think!

Many had their masks on too!  This stuff is not good to inhale!
We got our shopping done!  Time to head back home! 

We have been praying for rain - and this evening around 5:30 pm it began to was a good rain for around an hour+ and it will do an initial job of getting the dust out of the air and clean up the roads a bit...but we need lots more rain!  Especially in the vicinity of the eruption!

So please continue to PRAY for Indonesia!  Thank you ALL! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Map of Where Mt Kelud is and Where we Are ~

 This is Central/East Java - Do you see Malang?  To the left of it Nick wrote Mt Kelud on the map...1731 meters (X3=ft) and then if you look on the far left of the page (center) you will see Salatiga just above Surakarta - they say we are about 200+ km from this area!

We woke up this Saturday morning with a little more ash dust it continues to come down out of the atmosphere - but hopefully it is not erupting anymore - not sure really - the news coverage is not updated since last evening.  We did hear of 2 people that have died -due to the debris of rocks that fell on their house close to the mountain.

The farming people grow their crops along the mountain side (as you saw from our pictures from our bike ride the other day) the ground is so fertile here and making those ridges on the hillside seems to be a norm.  But all so close when a eruption happens! Too close! 

Today we will run some errands - (Yesterday we stayed in all day!) We will head out this morning for a while - keeping our faces covered!  People are wearing masks that they picked up at the drugstore.  We might just do the same.  The hanky's might do the job until we get some masks in town.  Being on the bike - it will be dusty out there!  

No church tomorrow - and a lot of schools closed for several days until the streets get cleaned up - and that will only happen IF WE GET RAIN!  No street cleaning sweepers here in Indonesia!  At least I have not seen any!

Pray for Rain - dear friends - for here in Indonesia! Pray for relief to come to the people in these immediate areas!  

Will keep you posted! Have a good weekend everyone!

Yesterday A Wonderful Day on the Motorbikes! Yes!

 Thursday - We had an open day....WAY COOL Nick...lets go for a ride...yes?

OK - good with 2 bikes! 

Off we went at 9:15 am and the Sun was out and just a perfect day for a bike ride!!! 


       YES... Ellen likes!

Nick & I had heard from friends about this nice drive to this mountain called Mt. Gunung Telemoyo ...and you had a beautiful view up there!

There are several mountains all around us but we decided on this one because the ride is fun up to this area that has a lot of countryside!
We rode and rode.going up into the hillside...oh how I love to ride through the villages and see the beautiful scenery! 
Such a treat!  

Once we got to the turn off for the mountain...we paid the gatekeeper a fee to go up it...and as we traveled upward along the mountain road....  
We saw a nice view and stopped to take some pictures!  All along this road local people were working the land!  Ridges of rice...laid out so neatly!
 So hard & diligent working people!
 The views were stunning!

We could not see the top of the mountain - we planned to ride up ~

 But we certainly enjoyed looking down!

 The path was REALLY rough...we had to ride with our feet out because of the broken up rocks and gravel....we went further up and then realized....this was not wise!  What if we get a flat?  What if we slip? 

 That would be no fun at all! 
So we made a turn around on the mountain - and we were both glad we did!  No need to take chances - we were at least 50 km away from Salatiga and the little town below...well just not wise!
 We went down again- waved to the gatekeeper - and off we went riding around the mountain ranges and sawa's...(rice fields!) 

                                       We stopped for a beautiful view of our surroundings!
                One of the village roads we drove along! Nice huh?
 We saw these 2 men with their cattle - hooking them up to a plow that was made of wood...that which they have done for many years - and most likely their fathers too!

We came to a hillside and saw the mosque in the background...pretty sight huh?  See the rice fields being irrigated?

 By the way most of these mountains around us are volcanic!  This is Mt Merbabu!

 Can you believe the little roads we drove many like these!  Nice! 

Look at that cloud forming up there...just had to stop to show it to you!
 It was around 1:30 and we were getting hungry!  Breakfast was early this morning!  So we tried to look for a place to stop at. There was 2 hotels but both restaurants were closed - no guests.  Nick said he knew something down the road back towards Salatiga!

So off we went..riding down down down back towards Salatiga...and Mr Roadrunner Nick was enjoying his ride! And Ellen was a little slower behind him.  No hurry! It was so fun to drive down to town!  We decided

 to stop at Resto Lotus a cute place we had eaten before!  

It was good to take a break!  

Let's have early dinner today?
 Coffee, nasi goreng special, stirred fried veggies and a COLD was hot today!
We got a bit roasted on the arms and face from our ride!  When the Sun is out it can get pretty hot out there!

After we had enjoyed our lunch and surroundings - we headed into town to say Hello to David and Swanny and their daughter Joke who own the motorbike shop where we purchased the bikes!  We had been wanting to say Hello to them!  So we did and had a nice visit - and now we are invited to come to dinner at their home on very kind!  David & Swanny and their daughter had lived in Holland for about 13 yrs and returned back to Indonesia around 2004. So they both speak Dutch!