Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cikapundung River Bank

With a population density of nearly 15,000 people per square kilometer, Bandung is one of the most crowded cities in Indonesia. Nowhere is it more evident than along the Cikapundung, the river that runs across the city from the north - where its spring is - to the south where it meets the Citarum, one of the major rivers on the island of Java and one that this Daily Mail article says could be one of the most polluted river in the world.

The above photo is the crowded kampongs along the Cikapundung at Cihampelas area. As you can see, the river has turned brown, a sign that it is heavily muddy and polluted.

Our grandparents said that just about 50 years ago, this river used to be (was still) clear where people could bathe, play, and fish. Now, there is nothing there but polluted water and rubbish. Population explosion and incompetent and corruptive goverments have contributed much to this environmental disaster.

The distruction of the Cikapundung river valley is one of the major contributors of the floods that the lower southern part of Bandung has to endure annually.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Skywatch: High Altitude Worker

Working in high altitude without a helmet and a safety rope is absolutely dangerous. But this worker and the company he is working with did not seem to care about it. Sigh.

It's Friday, and time for the skywatchers to post a photo of the heaven. Check what they have here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blonde Mannequins

These blode mannequins at King's Shopping Center on Jalan Kapatihan look attractive. But then I began to ask questions: Why do they have to be blonde? And white? Is that how they are supposed to be made to look attractive?

But we are brown-skinned and black-haired.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Funny English

English has become a fashionable language in this city of ours. Many people use it as a matter of fashion or because they want to look fashionable and classy. Unfortunately, even an advertising agency with enough money to put up a huge billboard like this in the prime area of Pasupati Flyover can't afford but looking careless, underclassed, and stupid with this kind of English.

Why don't they just use Indonesian and be proud of it? Most of the people passing and reading the billboard would be Indonesians anyway.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bandung Architectural Heritage: Kantor Pos Besar Bandung

This is the facade of Kantor Pos Besar Bandung (Bandung Grand Post Office) at Jalan Asia Afrika 47. In front of it is the sculpture of Universal Postal Union or Union Postale Universalle (UPU). The building is painted grey and orange because they are the colors of PT Pos Indonesia (Indonesian Postal Company).

The Grand Post Office building is listed as one of Bandung's architectural heritage by Bandung Heritage Society. This building was built in 1928 and was designed by architect J. van Gent.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Artsy Protest

This is how the fine art students at the Indonesia University of Education (UPI Bandung) voice their protest. The writings on the left and right sides of the painting read "It's not the bulding, but the persons."

The painting and the writings were placed in front of the location of a demolished old building where a new building will soon be erected.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Coconut Husk Fiber Mat and Friends

These keset (coconut-husk fiber mats) are for sale on the side of Jalan Dr. Otten street along with sapu ijuk (black palm-fiber brooms) and sapu lidi (brooms/rakes made of coconut leaf spines).

Because coconut trees are available in abundance here (Indonesia is the world's largest producer of coconut), a lot of household implements are made of coconut tree elements. Virtually every part of the coconut tree is usable.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chinese Lanterns and Chinese Gate

As in many other cities around the world, the Chinese colors of red and gold have been coloring Bandung for the past few days to welcome the coming of the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year). This year, which began today, is the year of metal Tiger.

To those of you who celebrate it, happy new year! May this year be a prosperous one for all of us. Gong Xi Fat Choi!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Locomotive Engineers

I live in the suburb and even though I don't like driving very much in this overcrowded city, I take the car or motorbike to go to work. Only every now and then do I take the KRDE Baraya Geulis commuter train, especially when I am not in a hurry and don't have to be at a particular place on time. (Baraya Geulis is clean and comfortable, but it runs only six trips a day and is quite often delayed, so as much as I want to, I can't rely on it.)

A few days ago, I took this train and was sitting in the front-most car where the engineer cabin/cockpit is. There were only a few passangers in the car, so I could get close to the engineer cabin and took this photo from behind the glass window.

Locomotive engineer is called with different names in the English language: railroad engineer, train driver, train operator, and engine driver. In the Indonesian language, they are called masinis.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Nyiru" and "Leunca"

Yes, I'm still at the traditional market where these vegies are sold.

You may be familiar with some of the things in the picture as they are quite universal: tomatoes, carrots, shallots, cauliflower, red chilly, and red beans are "world class" vegetables. But some of the things in the picture are local and may not be familiar to you.

Yes, the first one are those large bamboo trays. I think they may only be found in east or southeast Asia. We - Sundanese - call it "nyiru". Javanese and Indonesian would call it "tampah". There is no English translation for it, I don't think so.

Before the age of plastics, we had a lot of tools, baskets, containers, and vessels made of bamboo, which are availble in abundance here. Now some of those things have been replaced by environmentally-hostile plastics. Sigh.

Next are those green, bean-like vegetable in the front center "nyiru". Many of us love it and call it "leunca". Some reliable internet sources say that its Latin name is solanum nigrum L.

However, Solanum nigrum L is considered poisonous in North America and some other places. On the contrary, "leunca" is considered (and has been proven by some research at some Indonesian universities) to have some medicinal properties, including that of aphrodisiac.

Regardless of what science says, we have eaten it for ages. Not only is it delicious (if you know how to cook it like we do), but also good for our health.

Monday, February 8, 2010

local produce

These vegetables sold at Pasar Baru traditional market in the city center are locally produced.

More than 90 percent of our vegetables are locally produced in the valleys and mountains sorrounding the city. They are sold in the local markets as well as for exports to other cities like Jakarta.

Vegetable markets here begin at midnight when farmers transport their produce to Pasar Induk (lit. mother market; traditional markets that function as distribution centers). I took this photo at about mid-day when most of the vegies have already been sold out.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

flowery cart

A street vendor selling flowers and other decorative plants on a cart at Jalan Aceh (Aceh street).

Thanks to its volcanic soil and temperate high-altitude climate, a lot of flowery plants grow well here. The city was even nick-named the flower city by its Dutch colonial rulers in the early 20th century. As some of you may remember, I have also previously posted a story about a village here whose farmers are specializing themselves in cultivating local and foreign flora.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Old Railway Crossing Flagman House

An old railway crossing flagman house on Jalan Braga next to Bank Indonesia building.

This house was built way before railroad crossings had automatic gates. Now it's empty and not in use anymore as the level crossing now has automatic gates. Over the years, the house has changed colors and been renovated several times. But I'm glad that most of the original architectural design is still in place. I hope PT KAI (Indonesian Railway Company) will preserve it for its historical value.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Face-lift at Ciwalk

I have previously told a story about Cihampelas Walk or Ciwalk.

Throughout last year they did some face-lift and construction extension to the premises. Some new features were added. These include a boutique hotel and a skywalk. Quite a few architectural features of the extension buildings are very interesting. This bright-colored, futuristic looking ark-shaped building at the gate, for example, is very eye-catching. So are the tilted columns and brightly colored roof of the corridors at the entrance.

The ark-shaped building may have been inspired by the Noah's ark facade of Perahu Jeans shop located nearby it.

If you are interested in learning how the site looks like after all the construction projects are completed, you may want to visit Ciwalk's official website here.