On September 30th we were celebrating Aniekes birthday with a small group of second years, when one of us noticed a Facebook post announcing an IFP meeting the next day. Attached was a satellite picture of a mysterious coastline. After seeing this post, most people immediately seemed to forget the purpose of the gathering and quickly reached for the nearest computer/map/mobile phone/etc. to find out where this satellite image was located (myself included). Friends and family were consulted, and after about 1/1,5 hours of searching, a friend of Floor told us the location.
The next day at the meeting it was (for me) immediately clear that we were on the right track. Not only because Harald told Floor that she was ‘not allowed to say anything for the rest of the meeting’, but also because of the picture on the first slide of the PowerPoint, showing Harald with an Indonesion man in traditional clothing.
The Marketing Committee asked me to write something because I’ve been to Indonesia before. Four years ago I did a group travel with my parents and my little sister. Guided by a local guide named Bram and an excellent bus driver (excellent because the traffic there consists of a myriad of scooters, which ignore traffic rules and transport the craziest things) we travelled from Jakarta (Java) to Sanur (Bali). Along the road we stopped at all kinds of touristic highlights, such as Bogor (Buitenzorg), the Borobudur and the Bromo volcano on Java, and the Bratan lake, and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Temple on Bali. However, also the journey itself was amazing. From the bus we enjoyed the view of hilly landscapes covered with sawa’s and volcanoes in the background, interspersed with busy city street scenes.
Since the International Field project will not take place on Java, but on Bali, Flores and Komodo island, I will only tell you a little bit about my experiences on Bali (and perhaps I can inspire the second years to plan some of these nice activities in their free time). We stayed in three different places: Lovina (in the north), Ubud (in the centre), and Sanur (in the south).
From Lovina’s volcanic black sand beach we did a dolphin sighting trip. In the early morning we left with small boats and only after short while we were surrounded by a large group of dolphins. It was amazing to see these animals from so close. Every now and then they disappeared below the surface, only to jump out of the water somewhere else a few minutes later. It is definitely a nice and fun experience, although I read somewhere that it is not very animal friendly, because the boats with tourists seem to disturb the dolphins. After seeing the dolphins we were not done. We returned to the main beach for breakfast, and then immediately left again for a snorkeling trip. In the shallow water near the coast you can find beautiful coral reefs where different kinds of exotic fishes live.
Ubud is known as the cultural centre of Bali, famous for its pictorial art, but also religious ceremonies, traditional dance performances and festivals can be witnessed. From here we did a cycling tour, which was an amazing way to discover the Balinese countryside. In the morning we were dropped off some 30 kilometers outside Ubud, and on our way back through the rural countryside we passed rice fields and villages. The tour ended with a lunch with a local Balinese family. The food in Indonesia is excellent, and – in case people are wondering – especially on Bali you can eat vegetarian very good. However, I must admit that after three weeks of nasi for breakfast, lunch and dinner I started to crave for a Dutch ‘boterham met kaas’ at the end of the vacation. Near Ubud you can also go rafting, which is very fun, and provides a nice way to view the environment from a totally different perspective – from the water.
We spent the last days of our holiday in Sanur, which was a good place to end our holiday. The southern part of Bali is the most touristic, and therefore has the most to offer. Unfortunately I became ill on one of the last days.
Overall, I very much look forward to visit Indonesia again, and to discover a new part of this beautiful country. Although I have only seen two islands of this immense archipelago, I dare to say that this is one of the most diverse countries on earth. The cultural difference between Java and Bali was already huge (while the ferry takes you from one island to the other in only 30 minutes!), which makes me curious to see what Flores is like. And, of course, I’m looking forward to explore the islands and its local tourism industry from a different perspective. The General Research Question we must try to answer during our field research is: ‘Where and how to intervene in tourism related value chains to make their performance more sustainable in the context of a specific destination area?’
Indonesia, kami datang!