Ambal Trip

Oh wow, look at that... a post title! I never bothered giving a title to the past entries in this blog, but then I realized the permanent link of each entry would show the first few words in that particular entry... looked kinda stupid. So from now on I'll try to think of something to use as a title... though they might sound stupid just the same.

Anyway, here are photos from my recent trip with some friends to Ambal, a region in southern Central Java, to visit another friend who's doing her student community service. Thanks to my awesome navigating skills, we got a slight detour on the way so it took longer to get there than I had previously thought. Still, we managed to find and reached the place safely.

Ah, a typical scenery of rural villages in Java (and perhaps most villages in South East Asian countries), consisting a small road dividing a vast rice field, ending up in a dense jungle-like area where the villages reside within. And yeah, notice the pollution-free sky.

Putra stretching his arms after 3 hour drive. Could be tiring indeed. Oh, and this was taken in the local restaurant. When we got there it was the perfect time to have a lunch. And there's no other appropriate menu to have in Ambal than the infamous Ambal satay!

Waiting for the dishes to come. Dinaya (left) was really excited to see us visiting.

Chicken satay with peanut sauce.... yum! The only color photo in this entry, because BW wouldn't do it justice.

The food didn't last long. It tasted really good. Or perhaps we were just hungry.

After the stomach is full it's time to have fun! The first thought was of course to check out the beach since it's nearby, about 15 minutes drive from Dinaya's homestay. Fifteen minutes of torture for the car too. The road to the beach was so narrow the car had to literally force its way through the bushes.

Putra's car, looking really out of place in the landscape.

Ocean in sight! Hmm, but that beach sure seemed... plain.

Well, because it actually was. Multiply the above view by... well, uh, infinity, and you'd get a good idea of how the beach looked. How very depressing.

There's this lone coconut though. I bet it's depressed to death too.

Putra contemplating the essence of nothingness and all that shit. Perhaps.

Intan did pretty much the same. Oh, and you wouldn't know just by seeing the photos, but the wind was blowing pretty hard at that time.

The nothingness forced us to do stupid things. And believe it or not, this is actually harder than it looks. :o

After half an hour spent in the windy nothingness we decided to go back.

Hah, how's that for a negative space?

They weren't posing for the camera, but talking about someone who's always doing that kind of pose in front of camera.

A farmer watering his field.

We dropped by for a while in the seedling place Dinaya was working in. She and a couple other students are trying to grow various plants in an attempt to bring back vegetation in the beach. Yeah, that nothingness you saw before.

Whoops, it almost went out of the frame.

Ready to get back.

But then inside the car a friend of Dinaya said she lost her cellphone so we drove back to the beach to search for it. Well, actually more like she and a couple of her friends looking for it, while we wait for them around the car. ;) Turned out it was dropped on the seedling place so everything was okay in the end.

Uhm, yeah.

Reflections are funny. Notice the one *not* on the window.

Direct flash!

Some village women returning home after collecting firewood on the beach.

And this one was taken from inside the car as they were blocking our way. Thought this one would look great from the opposite side with the herds walking to the camera with a city car slowly moving behind them... but alas I was too lazy to get out of the car.

That would be all. Next friend-visiting trip would be... a mountain range, I think.

This just came yesterday:

It's a photobook containing the best journalistic photographs of Kompas from 1965 to 2007. The book was first released last Monday (Juli 16th) in Jakarta, and was also supposed to be released in 4 cities outside Jakarta (though in limited release of only 50 books in each city) including Jogja. When I first heard about this news in FN I knew I had to get myself a copy of it, I've always enjoyed the photographs from Kompas and a 300-page book containing only the best photographs from them seems like a good thing to have. Not to mention it's pretty exclusive with limited release.

After the release date I quickly searched for this photobook in large bookstores around Jogja yet until Thursday morning there wasn't a single book available anywhere. I became impatient so I went to the Kompas agency in Jogja in the afternoon. They told me the book hadn't arrived in Jogja yet, so I asked if I could somehow order it instead. They said they'd try to find out if it's possible and told me to leave my numbers. Only hours afterwards they contacted me and gave me the number of the Kompas book publisher in Jogja. I called them, and found out that the demand of the photobook in Jakarta alone had been so high that they decided not to release it anywhere else outside Jakarta. I was kinda disappointed, but I asked if I could order it from Jogja. I was so relieved when they said it's possible and gave me the number of the publisher in Jakarta. I quickly called and confirmed the book order. Friday afternoon I transfered the money and by Saturday (yesterday) afternoon the book was already in my hands. I'm pretty impressed by the service Kompas gave me, it was quick and simple (unlike most complicated Indonesian bureaucracy... heh), and the phone operators were all really nice and helpful.

The photobook itself is... amazing, to say the least. About 30 x 30 cm in size, 300 pages, hard cover, really nice paper... feels really exclusive. The photos aren't arranged chronologically, but rather according to themes with forewords by writer Sindhunata in each theme. There are 9 themes in all, ranging from childrens to terrorisms. Here are 2 samples of the photos inside:

I'm really glad I purchased this photobook. :)

And tomorrow I'll be going with some friends to visit another friend who's currently doing her student community service... in a place about 2 hour drive from Jogja. We still don't know exactly where the place is (planning to ask people on the way), so let's pray we won't get lost. :|
Colors! Photoshopped colors, even. Another unusual one to start indeed. Kinda forgot when it was taken, but this was seen in front of my house. I only show the sky cause my neighborhood skyline sucks.

What the hell, let's get back to b/w again. Still digital.

Lia and her laptop. Always love how monitors can act as a nice fill-in light.

Me playing around with Lia's laptop webcam.

Random tree and a star. Or is it a planet? Yay for my ignorance. Anyway, I dodged that... uh, celestial object a bit. Let's say another yay for digital noise.

And remember when I said I had a TMAX 100 loaded in my FM2 and I didn't want to waste it too much on stupid frames? Well the roll finally got developed, and guess what... it's full of stupid frames anyway. Here they are:

Kinda wish I had a wider lens to use on this one, but I still kinda like it.

Cleaning KM room in campus... which always gets dirty again in about two days after it gets cleaned.

Kocu tuning the radio.

Random stuff on the street:

This photo is not about the pedicabs.

Found on Lempuyangan flyover... Definitely not the best place to write a proposal to a girl you want to marry.

Anyway, when I was shooting this roll I also took a few photos of this interesting activity people do during the afternoon beneath that flyover: watching trains.

But hey, what's so damn interesting about people watching trains? Well you see, it's not just a few people. I'm talking about tens of families, flocking together on a single spot just to watch trains going and coming from the nearby Lempuyangan train station. It almost looks like they're having a big picnic. I haven't talked to the people yet and just basically snapped pictures here and there, but seeing how it could get very crowdy during certain hours I'm planning to go there again to get some informations on how long it's been going, why are they going there, etc. I can already guess it has something to do with the lack of available open public spaces in Jogja, but let's see if I can develop it further.

The photos from the TMAX roll itself are kinda dull thanks to the negscans being too contrasty (I've checked the negs and can see there are more details there than what the negscans suggest), but here are photos from the D50 that I took a few days after the first time I went there.

And for closing, here's a hipshot I like which I took during the above session, though it doesn't really have anything to do with the train-watching activity itself.

I didn't notice her at first even though I sat beside her, since I was looking for any interesting moments I could capture around the area. But then I realized, unlike the other people who came there with their family members (it's usually young parents with their little kids), she was all alone. Well, *I* was alone too but I was doing something. She on the other hand was just like sitting there, gazing off at the railroads. She looked kinda sad and lonely. It crossed my mind to start a small talk with her, but I decided to wait. Moments later she took out this small tube from her bag, and started blowing soap bubbles. It only took a while before nearby kids started to play around with the bubbles she created. She remained the expressionless young lady she had been, even though loud laughters from the little kids playing was around her. A few minutes later she stopped, then called one of the kids to come closer to her. With a smile, the only one she ever made that afternoon, she gave her soap bubbles equipment to the kid, who received it with a wide grin and quickly rushed off to her friends. The young lady saw the little kid going off, then picked up her bag and left the place, disappearing in the crowd.

Now that I recall this, I wonder if I should have talked to her.