Friday, 28 September 2012

Living the high life in Bandung

It sounded like a fairly routine work trip with three colleagues yesterday: two meetings at different offices in Jakarta, then a three hour drive to Bandung in the afternoon to be ready for a 9.30 meeting this morning.

An unexpected encounter with this exotic beauty was just the icing on the cake during my visit to Bandung

I had been quite keen to visit Bandung, the capital of West Java. It is higher and cooler than Jakarta and surrounded by spectacular mountains, including the very recently active volcano Mount Tangkuban, which reopened on Saturday after being closed to tourists since 3 September. Normally, it would have been tempting to stay on for the weekend to have a look around, but that wasn't an option this weekend with another 'adventure' already slotted in.

Thanks to Jakarta's infamous traffic, it was after 8.30 p.m. when we arrived at Hotel Padma. Out of the car, into the hotel foyer, and you could almost hear the sound of four jaws dropping. This was not our regular standard business hotel. We passed the restaurant on our way to our rooms and agreed to meet there in five minutes for dinner. The whole way to our rooms there was a chorus of wow, wow, WOW! It even warranted a 5.30 wake-up this morning, so I had time to head out and explore.

Dawn at Hotel Padma

From the restaurant

From the pool deck

I have posted this lovely semi-aquatic plant several times, eg Kebun Raya, but have still to discover its name

The plant above was used here to border the pool terrace

This shows how the hotel is positioned on a forested ravine


African Tulip Tree


Potted bromeliads

And my 'exotic beauty'? The exquisite Jade Vine Strongylodon macrobotrys


A final view looking across the ravine from my room before heading off to work.  If you are passing this way, all this for less than $150 for the room, which seems amazing for the standard of accommodation.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Vertical gardens at Serpong

Just a short post today, after my recent blockbusters. After I returned from my wonderful weekend in the Gili Islands, I spent two days at a workshop in Serpong, about an hour's drive from Jakarta. It was an eye opener. The extent of development going on in the area is amazing. As we drove to our venue, I noticed the lovely gardens surrounding the huge shopping mall, so I ducked out in my lunch break to have a closer look. One feature I particularly loved was the use of vertical gardens on several of the buildings.

I would have loved to have the time to have a closer look to break down the plant selection a little. The strappy-leafed plant to the left of the doorway looks a little like a type of Walking Iris Neomarica.

How I would love to see these lush walls around my local shopping mall back home in Brisbane. I previously posted about the vertical garden feature in Brisbane's King George Square here,  but that is the only one I know of in my neck of the woods.

Finally, tropical lime and orange zing, courtesy of the cannas and, once again, the gurkana jasmine.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

My blue heaven

It's difficult not to believe you are in heaven when you first wade ashore on Gili Trawangan, one of the three exquisite Gili islands, just off the coast of Lombok in Indonesia.

Our brief boat trip had begun in the small port of Bangsal. I had read a few warnings about running the gauntlet of relentless touts, but we had a great cab driver who drove us directly to the ticket office, rather than the more usual terminal about a kilometre away. It was simply a matter of sitting and waiting until there enough passengers to fill up a boat, and we were off.

Bangsal harbour looking towards the closest of the Gilis, Gili Air

The little pony drawn carts in Bangsal harbour called cidomo were a foretaste of those on the island. Because motorised vehicles are banned on the Gilis, the cidomos, together with pushbikes, are the most popular means of transport.

Looking back at Lombok from the boat

My suitcase amidst the produce

Approaching the harbour at Gili Trawangan. Can you believe the colours of the water?
'Fifty Shades of Grey' be darned. Give me fifty shades of blue any day!

Once I had secured a room at Dream Village, which had been recommended by a friend in Jakarta, I decided to head off to see the sights, and what better way to start than to circumnavigate the island by cidomo.

Entry to my hotel, the Dream Village

Apologies in advance for a very poor photo editing on my part. Every scene was so beautiful, it was hard to cut any!

Traffic Trawangan-style!

These simple coral wind chimes are another idea I will take home with me.

Not such a pretty snap, but it gives idea of the dryness (in the height of the dry season).

Loved this driftwood horse with his necklace of coral

Even without that blue, there was so much beauty. For starters, the bougainvilleas.

Palm inflorescence

After two wonderful days, I very reluctantly dragged myself back to the little harbour we had arrived at. I briefly watched the locals at work, then, all too soon, it was time to leave Gili Trawangan. I hope I'll be back.

Exquisitely coloured sarongs like those I saw in Lombok


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