Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sawo Duren (Chrysophyllum cainito)

Jalan-jalan menyusuri Jalan Suryakencana, Bogor selalu menarik. Banyak toko-toko yang telah membuka usaha sejak jaman dahulu dan juga keragaman jajanan khas Bogor yang dijual di sepanjang jalan tersebut selalu menjadi daya tarik tersendiri.

Penjual buah-buahan pun bertebaran di emperan toko. Meski memakan trotoar jatahnya pejalan kaki tetapi tidak terasa mengganggu. Selain buah-buahan yang lazim dijual, misalnya mangga dan jeruk, seringkali pula dijual buah-buahan yang sudah langka. Setidaknya di Bogor.

Kali ini saya  melihat buah bundar berwarna hijau dengan semburat ungu. Semakin tua warnanya semakin ungu.

Sawo duren/sawo manila yang dijual di Jl. Suryakancana, Bogor

Rasa penasaran saya terusik, memaksa saya menghentikan langkah untuk melihat buat tersebut. Penjualnya menyebutnya sebagai sawo manila. Saya membelinya dengan harga Rp. 25,000/kg. Sepertinya mahal, tetapi tidak bagi rasa penasaran saya.

Sesampainya di rumah saya segera belah buah tersebut. Cairan putih encer keluar saat buah tersebut dibelah. Semakin muda buah tersebut maka semakin banyak cairan putihnya.

Penampang buah setelah dibelah

Informasi nama buah dari penjualnya dan mencecap rasanya tidak membuat rasa penasaran saya terpuaskan. Setelah googling barulah diperoleh informasi lebih banyak. Menurut Wikipedia nama buah ini di berbagai daerah di Indonesia adalah sawo apel, sawo ijo atau apel ijo (Jawa Tengah), sawo hejo (Jawa Barat), sawo kadu (Banten), kenitu atau manécu (Jawa Timur), dan sawo manila (Lampung).

Di negara lain disebut juga star apple karena jika dibelah akan terlihat pola seperti bintang. Sayang saya membelahnya dengan arah yang berbeda sehingga pada foto di atas tidak terlihat pola bintang.

Buahnya lunak setelah matang dan kulitnya tidak bisa dikupas. Untuk memakannya buah harus dibelah. Pada saat dibelah itulah keluar cairan putih encer, terutama pada buah muda. Cairan putih itulah yang membuat buah ini disebut juga milk fruit. Bahkan di Vietnam disebut vú sữa yang secara literal berarti air susu ibu (breast-milk).

Cara memakan buah yang paling praktis adalah disendok (seperti memakan buah kiwi). Hati-hati jangan sampai bagian berwarna ungu dekat kulit luar termakan, karena terasa agak pahit dan kesat. Daging buah di bagian tengah yang berwarna putih terasa manis dan segar, dengan tekstur mirip sawo kecik.

Photo credit: Imanudin (


Thursday, July 4, 2013

The unfinished business

I was traveling to visit my friend's house in Ha Long area (Quang Ninh province of Vietnam) during the lunar new year (Tết) holiday 2005. Ha Long was not crowded as usual as most Vietnamese spent their time meeting families at hometown. During the first 4-days of Tết holiday the whole country was shut down, almost paralyzed tourism business as well.

I was taking a ferry and managed to take a shot at the Bai Chay bridge (Cầu Bãi Cháy) which was still under construction at that time.

I've never had a chance to cross over the bridge after it was completely built, till I went back to Indonesia in 2009.

The Bai Chay bridge under construction, photo taken in Feb 2005

I feel I have an unfinished business there. I hope I will have a chance to visit the place in the future...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Journey to the Past with Red Banana!

It was a regular weekly shopping at a leading supermarket chain in Bogor, suddenly something caught my attention in a corner of fresh fruit area. The red banana! I didn't remember when was the last time I ate this banana. It might be when I was in kindergarten, thirty-something years ago!

picture copyright: Imanudin

The price tag was approx. Rp. 27,000/kg (US $ 2.8/kg), which was way more expensive than Cavendish banana at less than Rp. 15,000/kg. But heck, I don't find it everyday.

I ate it at home. I had to admit that this red banana is not the best banana in the world, but it brought me a time travel to the past.

The red banana scientific name is Musa acuminata (AAA Group) 'Red Dacca'. Lots information on this banana in Internet, you might want to start from this Wikipedia link here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yes, I climbed the Mt. Anak Krakatau

This time I will let those pictures do the talking:

I found a trip to Anak Krakatau offer in the facebook organized someone called himself Wisata Bahari. I replied the offer, so did other 30s people. I'd never met them before, except one: my work-mate Kelik. We met up on Sat Oct 6, 2012 at TPI (Tempat Pelelangan Ikan - Fish Auction) Lempasing in Bandar Lampung. The appointment was at 7am to leave the harbor. Kelik and I came there at 6:30am to meet none of them till 7am when Iwan and Geby showed up. After completing the waiting game, we finally left at 8:45am. The sky was not blue, it was grey. Really a mood killer for my photograph mission. But I was too excited to climb the Mt Anak Krakatau.
Three-hours sailing took us to Sebesi island. I didn't think it was a real island. To me it was another volcano in the middle of the sea, occupied by 2000s villagers. We had lunch on boat, and then harboring the island.

That afternoon we went to a snorkeling spot near the island. It was a big dilemma to me, to choose between swimming and taking pictures. Yogi encouraged me to taking pictures than swimming, and that was I did. The first spot had a strong underwater current, which forced us to pick another spot not far from Sebuku island. They were busy swimming and snorkeling and I was busy taking pictures and wondering why the pictures I took not as beautiful as expected :-(
We went back to Sebesi island in sunset time. Too bad, the Mt. Sebesi stood between my camera and the sun.
We had dinner on the island, tried singing karaoke to the song we were not familiar. Villager had special party, organ tunggal! For those who don't know what organ tunggal is, try googling it. We went to bed (not really a bed, just a mattress lying on the floor, with four of us on the top of it) for the big day the following morning. I didn't know who snored louder than me, if any.

We started the day early. I woke up at 3am and we left Sebesi island the next hour. The plan was to climb the Mt. Anak Krakatau and observing sunrise on the top of it. The wind was strong, the waves was high, but my eyes were sleepy still. The boat headed south to Mt. Anak Krakatau. One hour later I saw a volcano and thought it was Mt. Anak Krakatau until I look at the other side of the boat. Then there was Mt. Anak Krakatau which was smaller than the first volcano I saw, Mt. Rakata.
It was still too dark to take any picture, especially if you're on moving boat. We arrived at Mt. Anak Krakatau, apparently too late to climb before sunrise. There were some speed boats on the beach, and I saw some tents on the island. They must be camping there from the night before.

We landed at the part of the island with vegetation. The beach had black volcanic sand. There was a ranger station nearby, a hut and a big name sign welcoming us said "Cagar Alam Krakatau" (Krakatoa Natural Reserve). I was lucky enough to be there early. I bet this name sign would be a favorite place to take picture by visitors, and it would be too crowded, not fun.

Surprise, Minnie was here! I can't imagine somebody brought Minni Mouse to Mt. Anak Krakatau. We're living in the same planet anyway, right?

I was intimidated by some pictures of Mt Anak Krakatau in the internet. Conical shape would be tough to climb, the loose sand on the volcano surface would add the suffer. Did I mention those sulphuric smokes everywhere?
I decided to wear a hiking sandals after looking at some pictures of people climbing this volcano wearing hiking sandals, on the facebook. This decision which I regretted later. But hey, look at the picture above. It seemed to be a fun hike that morning..... initially.

But then. the forest disappeared... but I still had my hat.

The soil got softer, it was completely sand. Whenever you stepped, your foot got sink. You climb
ed three steps up and the gravity pulled you down by a step. To my surprise, the surface was full of dried granulated mud. And I tell you, it was hard with sharp edges. You just don't want to get it stuck between your sandal and your feet. It hurts!
Please wear good high hiking-shoes with thick socks.

You would find a lot of holes on the surface of Mt. Anak Krakatau with different size. I found one with approx. 1 meter depth, as picture above (with Geby, Kelik and Iwan left to right). I always found one dried ball of mud in each hole. It must be a kind of volcanic bomb, thrown away from underground.

I had good reasons for posing:
1. It's a proof I was there
2. Posing gives you time to catch your breath, elegantly. You don't want to let people to see you running out of breath, right? Try posing or acting like taking lots of picture
The angelic face of Mt Anak Krakatau, facing to the west. It looked smooth, quiet, just like smiling at me!

We met a yacht which visited Mt Anak Krakatau. The government of Lampung Province held the annual Krakatau Festival, this year at Oct 6-7 2012. One of the attraction was a visit to Mt Anak Krakatau. I thought this yacht was carrying the VIP guests.
I was wondering what the hell they were doing over there

The devilish face of Mt. Anak Krakatau, facing to the east. It represents powerful anger, show-no-mercy attitude. The volcanic mud/lava keep flowing to the sea. No vegetation on the beach. This is how the island size is growing constantly, also the height. Wikipedia stated that Anak Krakatau has grown at an average height of five inches per week (eq. 6.8m/year) since 1950s

Mt. Anak Krakatau, as seen from the sea when we were leaving the island. You could only climb up to the hill in front of the main dome. You will see a valley between the hill and the main dome behind. You may see some footpaths with lighter color on the hill in the picture above. This is the only part of the island with vegetation and sandy beach.

Mt. Anak Krakatau (foreground) and Mt. Rakata (background, taller volcano)

We used this vessel for the trip. KM Singa Laut was designed as a fishing vessel, for hobby not commercial fishing. Made of wood, equipped with radio communication system, a room with AC-system, a pantry, a toilet and a common room for singing karaoke! It was a fast vessel.

On the way back to Lempasing, sit back and relax on the top of the boat. There was no other better place to enjoy the ride and taking pictures than on the top of the boat. Nothing would block your view. This was how I got my sunburn.

The 2Days-1Night trip ended here, Sun Oct 7, 2012 4pm the harbor at TPI Lempasing. I got severe sunburn on my arms and face. I was not sure how I should prepare my weary body to attend a wedding party in the evening that day. I was worried with my camera. Salt water, sweat, and volcanic dust are not get along with camera and coated lenses.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Mystical Dieng's Temples

I visited Dieng plateau in the highlands of Central Java, Indonesia back in May 2010 as my very first visit. The plateau actually sits at the floor of ancient giant caldera of mount Prahu. You could find at least 8 craters, high geothermal potential, and volcanic gas emission which sometime is deadly. Let's leave alone those volcanic stuffs.

It has 6 lakes including Telaga Warna. If you happen to be there, don't forget to observe sunrise. Mount Sikunir is one of the most popular spot to observe sunrise. I have a post on observing sunrise in Dieng in this link, here.

Dieng also is a home to some oldest Hindu temples in Indonesia. There are 4 group of temples in Dieng:
  1. Arjuna temple complex, consist of Temple Arjuna, Temple Semar, Temple Srikandi, Temple Sembadra, and Temple Puntadewa
  2. Temple Gatutkaca
  3. Temple Dwarawati
  4. Temple Bima

I visited Arjuna complex and Temple Bima only, due to time shortage. I took some pictures of those temples.

Tips: weather in Dieng may change very quick. Morning time is the best time for taking pictures before dark clouds coming at you at noon time.

Temple Bima

The entrance to Temple Bima

Temple Bima - rear view

Temple Bima

Arjuna Complex

The name sign of temple Arjuna complex

Temple Arjuna (left) facing temple Semar (right)

Temple Arjuna
Temple Semar

One of reliefs

Temple Srikandi (left), Temple Sembadra (middle), Temple Puntadewa (right)

A view of Temple Srikandi and Sembadra, from the inside of Temple Semar

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sekelumit Kisah Dari Perjalanan ke Guangxi

Musim Semi - April 2007

Berangkat jam 6 pagi dari Hanoi menggunakan minibus menuju Lang Son di perbatasan Cina, ditemani seorang staf biro perjalanan yang menyediakan penerjemah Cina yang bisa berbahasa Vietnam. Saya akan menjadi "obyek serah terima" antara dia dengan penerjemah merangkap guide di perbatasan Cina. Saya ditugaskan perusahaan tempat saya bekerja untuk mengunjungi pusat perdagangan rempah-rempah di Guangxi, tetapi saya tidak akan menceritakan hal tersebut. Saya hanya ingin mengabadikan kenangan di luar urusan pekerjaan yang saya peroleh selama perjalanan tersebut, sebelum terlupakan digerogoti waktu.

Sesampainya di perbatasan sekitar jam 10, bertemu dengan guide saya dan melanjutkan perjalanan dengan taksi ke kota terdekat, Pingxiang. Di sana saya makan masakan yang sangat enak, phi tan (sejenis telur asin) ditumis. Tetapi telurnya sudah melalui proses sedemikian rupa sehingga kuning telur berubah warna menjadi hitam dan putih telurnya menjadi transparan seperti jeli.

sepiring phi tan, favorit saya

Kereta api membawa kami ke ibukota propinsi Guangxi, Nanning. Melihat dari pakaian sederhana dan gaya berbicara yang akrab saya menduga para penumpang sebagian besar "orang kampung" yang mau ke kota. Mereka sangat ramah dan tidak malu-malu berinteraksi dengan saya meskipun tidak memahami bahasa masing-masing.

Gerbong kereta api Cina lebih lebar daripada di Indonesia, menggunakan rel standard gauge 1,435mm

Stasiun Kereta Api Kota Nanning, mungkin begitu arti tulisan di atas bangunan tersebut

Stasiun kereta api Nanning adalah sebuah bangunan yang sangat luas. Begitu keluar dari stasiun ternyata Cina memang serba besar. Jalan-jalan lebar, trotoar lebar, bangunan tinggi seolah berlomba-lomba dibangun. Suasana kota Nanning memberikan kesan kota yang sedang tumbuh cepat dengan kegiatan masyarakat yang dinamis. Nanning diproyeksikan menjadi hub perdagangan Cina dengan negara-negara ASEAN. Penginapan yang sudah dipesan guide saya ternyata tidak jauh dari stasiun, terletak di seberang jalan.

Sebagian gedung pencakar langit di Nanning yang terlihat dari atas bis kota

Di luar dugaan, saya menemukan restoran muslim tidak jauh dari penginapan. Di situlah saya seumur-umur memakan mi tarik dan melihat langsung cara membuatnya sebelum dimasak. Saya senang makan di sana, selain halal rasanya enak dan porsinya besar. Bermalam di Nanning hanyalah untuk transit.

Mi tarik yang dibuat langsung sesaat sebelum dimasak

Banyak restoran di Nanning menyediakan ini di atas meja pengunjung, misterius karena gak bisa baca labelnya

Keesokan harinya perjalanan dilanjutkan dengan bis ke kota Yulin. Yulin dikenal sebagai sentra perdagangan rempah-rempah dan bahan baku ramuan herbal. Di sana saya mempir ke pasar yang menjual rempah-rempah dan ramuan herbal termasuk binatang-binatang yang dikeringkan untuk obat. Tokek, ular, biawak, kadal….

Pasar Khusus Obat Tradisional Cina di Yulin, begitu katanya

Sebelum melanjutkan perjalanan keesokan harinya, saya mencari sesuatu untuk sarapan. Saya menemukan penjual makanan dari tepung terigu dan telur. Dilihat bentuknya mirip dengan banh cuon di Hanoi. Itulah sarapan saya hari itu, bisa dilihat pada gambar di bawah ini.

Nama makanan ini? Yang jelas terbuat dari tepung terigu, telur, dikukus dan digulung setelah matang. Disajikan dengan sejenis kecap, yang botolnya ada di gambar sebelumnya

Persinggahan saya berikutnya adalah kota Wuzhou, terletak persis di perbatasan propinsi Guangxi dengan Guangzhou. Kayumanis sikiang yang terkenal banyak diperdagangkan di Wuzhou. Kota Wuzhou lebih kecil dari Nanning dan Yulin tetapi jelas terlihat aktifitas perekonomian kota ini sedang menggeliat. Pemandangan dari jendela kamar hotel saya dipenuhi dengan ruko-ruko tempat berniaga.

Pemandangan pagi hari dari jendela penginapan di Wuzhou, musim semi masih menyisakan dingin dan kelabunya musim dingin
Lokasi tempat yang dikunjungi pada peta (sumber Google Maps)

Wuzhou adalah persinggahan terakhir sebelum kembali ke Nanning. Saya merasa seperti kembali ke peradaban ketika tiba kembali di Nanning larut malam. Paling tidak ada beberapa hal yang saya kenal, Pizza Hut dan McDonald. Sebenarnya saya tidak terlalu tertarik makan di situ. Masalahnya malam itu adalah malam terakhir saya ditemani guide. Bahasa menjadi kendala tetapi Pizza Hut dan MacDonald memiliki store manager yang bisa berbahasa Inggris.

Pak sopir taksi yang ramah, membawa kami di Wuzhou

Bis yang saya naiki kembali dari Nanning ke Hanoi, istirahat di rest area jalan tol menuju perbatasan Vietnam. Jika teliti di dalam bis terlihat ada pramugari bis dengan seragam senada warna bis

Berbeda dengan saat saya tiba, kali ini saya menggunakan bis dari Nanning langsung ke Hanoi keesokan paginya. Sebenarnya tidak langsung, kami berganti bis di perbatasan. Mereka mengganti bis Cina yang besar dengan bis Vietnam yang berukuran lebih kecil di perbatasan. Sore hari itu, saya sudah kembali ke rumah kontrakan saya di Hanoi, dengan banyak kenangan dari perjalanan di Guangxi.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My First HDR Picture

HDR? I had no idea what this word mean. What I knew was it relates to surrealistic looking pictures. I visited a group in flickr named "HDR". Then it led me to dig HDR further and made me realize that I needed a software assisstant to generate HDR pictures. Professor Google told me some available freeware, and I chosed Picturenaut.

After some trial-and-error sessions (tripod or handheld? static or dynamic object?) finally I got my first decent HDR pictures, no ghosting. I used a Nikon D90, Nikkor 35mm/1:1.8G lens, ML-3 remote shutter, Aperture Priority mode f/5.6, ISO-200, bracketing +/- 2 stops and put the camera on a chair. This is the result:

Exposure time 1/6 sec (-2.0)

Exposure time 0.62 sec (0.0)

Exposure time 2.5 sec (+2.0)

The result

I didn't do any processing on these pictures but HDR processing by Picturenaut. No curve, no brightness, no white balance nor other adjustment. Sure, this picture is not in the same league with pictures in this link. But this has made me so excited...... I didn't pay attention on composition, color balance at all. I just wanted to get one decent HDR picture first.

Next stop: try to get better HDR pictures, composition, framing, color, exposure....... or maybe better software?

By the way, thanks to my 9-years old son for holding his breath for these pictures. Any comment would be highly appreciated.

Note: I still have another HDR picture in my Photoblog page, here.