A Breathe Of Fresh Air
We took Our Kid camping just over a week ago, or rather, friends of ours with three teenish children and two cars, took the Jakartass threesome.
Weekends in the hills surrounding Jakarta are usually totally macet
at weekends, with traffic barely crawling over the pass. Come the fasting month and it's a different matter. Apart from a road block halfway up caused by traffic police looking for traffic infringements and, possibly, Idul Fitri presents, it was smooth travelling all the way.
At the Cibodas camp site entrance we booked ourselves in, hired a couple of porters, who for an extra fee helped set up the tents, did a bit of shopping, primarily for beers, and watched over us during the night.
With a choice of 12 different spots in the camp site we managed to choose one away from other folk with their portable TVs and the few warung/cafés and had a largish area to ourselves. I taught our children how to build a good campfire, a task made simpler by the surrounding trees. At about 1,200 metres, the surrounding forests are coniferous rather than tropical, so there was plentiful kindling from fallen pine cones and twigs.
Food had mostly been pre-prepared, with hot water from a thermos, so my only 'complaint' is that I wish there were portable spring mattresses to prevent the endless awakenings. That night I felt much like the princess with her pea.
Before bedtime, with little coercion we had a team game of hide and seek - without torches or lanterns, parents versus children. Luckily the rainy season had yet to arrive and, although overcast, with a full moon occasionally poking through the cloud cover there was enough light to be caught, and enough shadows to blend into.
The Sunday was spent checking the visitor centre and the three kilometre hike up to some impressive waterfalls in the Gede Pangrango National Park.
The visitor centre was opened last year by the Minister of Forests, Malam Sambat Kaban, currently assisting the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in their inquiries
into abuses in the issuance of logging permits in Riau, Sumatra. We were informed that no permits, logging or otherwise, are required to go up to the waterfalls, although they are for the more strenuous, and risky, climbs to the peaks of Mounts Gede and Pagrango - something I first did 19 years ago.
A peruse of the exhibits showed a model of the park which, according to a set of published accounts cost Rp.300 million to produce - a nice round figure for a contour map made out of plywood and painted green. There were no brochures or maps to give us meaningful information, and the official website
listed doesn't exist.
However, I have since discovered the "Unofficial Website of Gede Pangrango National Park
" which has a Quiz to Test Your Knowledge
. (What else, eh?
)What do you get when visit this site, hope will be useful addition knowledge's for you. Well better try to see that, bad points it will not regret, 'cause you try it your self.
Better information can be found here
.Since the 19th century, the Gede-Pangrango area has been a living laboratory for researchers. The trail on the south-eastern slopes was found by Sir Thomas Raffles in 1811, although the earliest recorded climb of Mount Gede was by C.G.C. Reinwardt in 1819.
Among many points of interest in the park, Bodogol Conservation Education Center offers wide variety of interests. Hanging twenty-five meters above ground, a canopied walkway is one of the park’s best attraction although extra precaution should be taken at several points in which the walkway’s condition has deteriorated.
Our climb up to the waterfalls proved that we were fitter than a busload of grannies from Tangerang. Our kids too were fleet of foot, probably because they were engrossed in discussing and quizzing themselves on the relative qualities of anime characters, whatever they are.
My fellow dad and I heard a couple of birds - is that a cuckoo or a wood pigeon? - thus demonstrating the importance of the bird watchers area.How to Get There: From Jakarta, go to Bogor and further up to Cibodas in approximately 2.5 hours drive (100 km) by using a car.
One enjoyable excursion we all had, minus the wives who preferred to gossip in the camp kitchen, was to the mini-waterfall pictured above. Not too strenuous, we were able to gorge ourselves on a fruit we were told are known as arbey
. On this fruit list arbey
translates as strawberry. However, strawberries grow on plants at earth level, whereas the fruits we ate were on trees at head height.
They look somewhat like strawberries, albeit a brighter red, but apart from the acidity of those not fully-ripened, their taste was bland without the sweetness and juice of England's summer treat. I wonder if they are related to mulberries which, in Indonesian, are arbel
. If you know, please comment below.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, the Welsh are extremely proud
because they've just gained a mountain. To be classified as such the mound / hillock / pile / whatever has to be over 2,000ft (609 metres) high. Until this week those responsible for measuring such things had got it wrong by 75 centimetres. Not far, but a giant step for Welsh mountaineers.
And we were pleased with the steps we took too.