Archive for November, 2007

powerful quakes rock indonesia

November 26, 2007

Here’s an excerpt from the most detailed news report that I have found about the latest quakes that have hit Indonesia:

Two powerful earthquakes have hit eastern Indonesia, leaving at least three dead and dozens of people injured in the latest in a series of tremors to shake the archipelago.

A government official on Monday said at least 45 people were injured and dozens of buildings destroyed or damaged.

Indonesian officials said the first earthquake of magnitude 6.7 struck about 50km northwest of the island of Sumbawa just after midnight on Sunday. A second earthquake of magnitude 6.8 hit the same area about four hours later. The tremors were also felt on the nearby resort islands of Lombok and Bali.

One of the dead was reported to be a 5-year-old boy, killed by falling masonry. Suriyani, a local doctor, told AFP on Monday that most of the injured were being treated at the general hospital in the worst-affected district of Dompu on Sumbawa island. “We received 34 people injured. Some with slight injuries have gone home already but some 20 people are still under hospital treatment, with broken bones, open wounds and head injuries caused by collapsing walls.”

The Indonesian meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning but it failed to reach the media via the text messaging service usually used to send out alerts. “There were some problems with the technical equipment and the quake was read as being on land, when actually it was undersea,” Ali Imron, an agency official, told AFP. “The threat has already been lifted.”

Witnesses said electricity was temporarily cut in some places including a hospital, which was briefly evacuated, Antara state news agency reported. A worker at the hospital in Raba town about 50km east of Dompu said the tremors caused panic and led to the evacuation of 300 patients, but no casualties were reported in the area. “All the patients in the hospital rushed to the open air outside, they felt the quake quite strongly,” Nining told AFP. “There was panic but I have heard no reports of damage.”

Agung Prasetyo, a local police officer, said the ground shook violently for around 30 seconds.

Earlier on Sunday, a separate earthquake rattled residents on the west coast of Sumatra island causing dozens to flee their homes in the earthquake-prone region. No death or injuries were reported.

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Where is Kalimantan?

November 26, 2007

Kalimantan is Indonesia’s region of Borneo, the third largest island in the world after Greenland and Papua. It is divided into 4 provinces: East, South, West, and Central Kalimantan.

kalimantan2.png

According to The Nature Conservancy in Indonesia, East Kalimantan Province contains some of the last remaining large, intact wilderness areas in Indonesia. Primal rain forests, limestone spires and huge tracts of undisturbed mangroves and seagrass beds all converge here.

According to API Tours, East Kalimantan is the home of the original inhabitants of Kalimantan, the Orang Gunung or Mountain People. The tribes are collectively called Dayak, although this name is not embraced by many tribes-people themselves, who prefer to be known as separate tribal names such as Iban, Punan and Banuaq. Local tribes traditionally live in communal longhouses called Lamin or Umaq Daru and many of those are artistically decorated with carving using animals and plants as motif. They are built on wooden piles, sometimes 3 meters high as protection against animal and flooding. The interior of the longhouse is divided into separate family quarters with a communal where village meetings are held and ceremonies are performed. Guardian statues are usually placed in the front of the house to protect them from evil spirit.

South Kalimantan is divided into two distinct regions by Meratus Mountains, in which the eastern part is mountainous with dense tropical rain forest, while the southern part is much flatter with large rivers meandering through the lowlands to vast mangrove swamps along the coast make the areas exceptionally fertile, and is where the indigenous Banjar people dwell. South Kalimantan is full of colorful and distinctive traditional arts and cultures which can be seen in its people’s way of life, art, dance, music, traditional costume, and ceremonies. The Barito Rivers are literally the life-blood of the city and everything revolves around them. A lot of business is done on the waterways; floating markets flourish selling enormous variety of daily needs.

Central Kalimantan is the biggest province on the island and most of which is dense jungle. The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach, while the central area is lush tropical forest, and the southern area is swampy and has many rivers. The climate is hot and humid. The art of Central Kalimantan clearly bears the marks of the Kaharingan religion, a form of ancestor worship mixed with elements of animism which is the traditional belief of the Dayaks in the hinterland of Central Kalimantan. Aside from their aesthetic properties, many objects are appreciated for their magic value.

West Kalimantan covers an area rich in a variety of mineral and precious stones, and remains largely unexplored. Kapuas River which is the longest river in Indonesia (1143 km long) divides the town into two providing an essential and historical communication link, and like Java and Sumatra, West Kalimantan was once an important cultural cross-road around the 4th century during the arrival of Hindu and Buddhist and the coming of Islam around the 5th century. The coastal area of west Kalimantan are mainly swampy land with more than 100 rivers sculpting the flat plains, while in the mountainous eastern parts of the province, away from the city and plains are where the Dayak people live.

el refugio del burrito

November 8, 2007

Sounds like a joke doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.

donkey.jpg

El Refugio del Burrito, literally meaning “donkey’s shelter”, is a registered Spanish Association primarily concerned with the welfare of donkeys and mules. It is involved with rescue cases in Spain and have now established their own refuge in Fuente De Piedra, in the north of Malaga. It provides a safe haven with wonderful facilities for many donkeys and mules.

According to visitacostadelsol, El Refugio del Burrito is located in a traditional Andalusian country house surrounded by leafy olive trees and other typical houses. It is housed in a traditional Spanish cortijo or farm. The nearby Flamingo Lake is famous for the fabulously coloured flamingos that flock to it. Entrance to El Refugio del Burrito is FREE. It is open daily from 11am until 7pm.

El Refugio del Burrito investigates cases of neglect and cruelty and lobbies for improved legislation for donkeys and mules in Spain and the rest of Europe. In Mijas it helped ensure the proper treatment and care of the famous ‘burro taxi’ donkeys that are used to ride tourists around the town of this beautiful white Andalucian village.

El Refugio del Burrito is a subsidiary of The Donkey Sanctuary in Southern England.

no matter what your parents told you, it’s perfectly ok to lie

November 4, 2007

I found this useful list of bargaining tips when traveling, courtesy of pbs.org.

HOW you bargain:

  1. SMILE. It’s like the monster ride at the amusement park. If you’re not having fun, get off.
  2. Don’t bargain with the first person who approaches you (i.e., when looking for a taxi at the airport.) In general the further you go from the center of action, the cheaper the price.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use walking away as a bargaining tool. You can always come back.
  4. Don’t let pride get in the way of coming back (or Rule #3 is useless).
  5. If you really want something and the price isn’t coming down, give in gracefully. (It’s that pride thing again.)
  6. Don’t always assume you’re getting ripped off just because you’re in a third-world country. Sometimes the price they’re asking is the real one.
  7. Bargaining is a time/money tradeoff. If you’re in a hurry, be prepared to pay for it.
  8. Ask fellow shoppers the price of an item before you begin bargaining.
  9. Always carry small bills. Otherwise all that work is likely to be for nothing.
  10. Always bargain in native currency. Conventional wisdom says anyone who has dollars can afford to spend them.
  11. If possible, keep going back to the same person until you’ve gotten to know him/her. Most third world countries have a name for this kind of relationship. The deal is that you offer your business on a regular basis and the seller responds by saving you their best tomatoes (fattest chickens, etc.). Caveat to Rule #11: Trust but verify.
  12. No matter what your parents told you, when you’re bargaining it’s perfectly okay to lie.

universal traveler

November 4, 2007

I have always loved the band Air. One of their songs, Universal Traveler, is very simple but gives a poetic view of traveling. This video captures the joy I find in travel. Make sure to watch the ending!

I know so many
Places in the world
I follow the sun
In my silver plane

Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler

If you have a look
Outside on the sea
Everything is white
It’s so wonderful

Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler

So far
So far
So far away

I met so many
People in my life
I’ve got many friends
Who can care for me

Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler

Just feel everywhere
At home tomorrow
Is a brand new day
Let’s go somewhere else

Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler
Universal traveler

So far
So far
So far away
So far
So far
So far away
So far
So far
So far away
So far
So far
So far away

first indian to ski to the north pole

November 4, 2007

You will have to read the Limca Book of Records to find out. What is it?

According to Wikipedia, the Limca Book of Records is a record book of Indian origin, containing the world record breaking achievements of more than a billion people of India and is the only record book of its kind in India. It was first published in 1990 and has published its 17th edition in 2006. The current editor is Vijaya Ghose.

Why is it called Limca? Well, let’s follow the money. The Limca Book of Records is published with the patronage of Coca-Cola India which manufactures the soft drink called Limca, a lemon and lime flavored carbonated soft drink made in India. It is less bubbly than Seven Up or Sprite, and it has a slight flavor of ginger.

The Limca Book of Records is sold in both hard copy (300 rupees) and soft scopy (220 rupees).