Tag Archives: Leisure

Bird hunt in a giant reservoir

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At the north-end of Jatiluhur Dam, Purwakarta, lush trees at the foothill of Mount Lembu that descends to the giant reservoir makes perfect habitat for bird and lizard.

Shading between the trunks and wriggling roots, these animals once in a while appear to seek food and water, and that is precisely when the danger awaits them.

From the opposite distance, the men on the hovering motorboat set watchful eyes with air rifles pointed forward in search of animal sightings. This place, after all, is not a natural reserves. No one was reserved about killing beings.

DSC_0648The hunting frenzy in surrounding area has become a popular holiday purpose for hobbyists from nearby big cities such as Jakarta and Bandung, riding their spiky 4-wheel vehicles with excessive light sources at the top in front of the modified freestand single seat.

Purwakarta is not known to have any forest in protection, and the remaining wilderness is of negligible wildlife variety, insomuch that one can find an abundance of natural habitat in Purwakarta open for public every day promoted as eco-tourism destination.

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Herons are prized in this area for their beauty and for their relatively sheer numbers, so told by the locals. The easy access to their living habitat through the giant reservoir, built as a part of Jatiluhur Dam, the oldest and remain as the biggest one in the country up to current date, makes them easy prey even among novice with their fancy gears.

Having meticulously observed what might be behind the outermost layer of treetops through telescope, the hunters under the warm afternoon sun were desperate to catch a tiny movement.

Just when one thought that there was nothing in there, a random shot scared a pair of herons away and they flew over the discontented faces who watched them disappeared to the far horizon.

The pack of hunters on the drifting boat realised that they would have to let go of them and focus on other sitting preys. There were still many left to shoot at, but they got nothing until sun set.

Jatiluhur Dam took a total area of 8,300 hectares in Purwakarta, having played a vital role in watering over 242,000 hectares of agricultural field, producing 187 megawatt electricity for the region from 6 turbines, preventing flood on wet season and drought on dry season.

Local government’s initiative to clamp down on the excess of fishing activities-many had trespassed into the turbines zone-and unruly settlement on the embankment, has taken place in the past several months. Click to read The village in a reservoir.

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Fishing for rent along the foothill that forms the surrounding environment of Jatiluhur Dam. These makeshift floating tents are unregulated, polluting the reservoir which is used to supply water to tap water facility. Fifty years after its construction, the dam is a rich ecology that draws human exploitation. Many view this a boon following Jatilihur Dam construction.

Night at the cruise ship

Costa Atlantica deck at night

Costa Atlantica deck's bar
Recently boarded passengers chat at one of the deck’s bars.

A few men isolated themselves on the deck of Costa Atlantica from over 2,500 passengers, most of which have just boarded the ship two hours prior to departure.

A small group remained stuck in the crammed lobby to get through time-consuming but necessary boarding arrangements. Most others had started discovering every interior part of the lavishly decorated ships.

Many stayed in their rooms to get a break from the mass tourist.

On the deck, the gathering place at the top level of the ship where only very few people have had the thought to look at, the peace in vacation was found.

Minutes of departure

Under the dark sky and facing dark seas, people did not notice that the ship had just departed the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. The main engine was hardly heard or felt. Their conversation was louder than the sound of waves.

Costa Atlantica viewing deck at night
Work hour: A crew member walks past the panorama deck as the ship begins the 5-day itineraries across three Southeast Asian countries.

Costa Atlantica picked Singapore as the port of origin in one of its cruise line maiden journeys in Southeast Asia.

In the late evening that does not differ much in temperature than in daylight, it set sail to two cities along the Strait of Malacca—the city of Malacca, Penang—and ended its journey in Phuket Island.

The visit to three ports and return trip southward to Singapore took five days to complete. The Strait of Malacca was barely challenging, as calm waters and windless days remained so for the entire vacation on board.

Crew members were on duty the entire day and they made up around a third of the total number of passengers.

Costa Atlantica lobby
Cruise staff seemed leisuring in the glitzy lobby. “Cruising in Italian Style” makes them able to mix professional on-duty hours with relaxing attitude.

Money spenders of Asia

Due to the economic slowdown in the western continents, cruise business activities have shifted to the east. People in the region with curiosity for the experience and cash are more than willing to fill the vacant rooms.

Thus, Costa Cruises Group operate their Asian cruise lines from Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal. They become the pioneer in international cruise lines making Asia as homeport.

People in the region now can take a cruise vacation without having to fly to European ports beforehand.

Nonetheless, this is still a luxury vacation, yet at a relatively affordable rate considering the cost the Asian riches had to pay to get such a holiday at the time when cruise lines operations were concentrated in far-flung regions.

Costa Atlantica at the Strait of Malacca
New business frontier: Costa Atlantica sails off the Strait of Malacca.

The ship looked empty on day as most passengers disembarked to quick visits at one of the ports of destination along the Strait of Malacca.

Cruise journeys benefit the coastal cities situated along the course. Money spenders of Asia make the tourism and hospitality businesses all the more promising.

Budget flights and hotels gain a strong foothold in Asia. The ship garners some success in its new venture in Asian territories due to the operator’s ability to align themselves with Asian behavior in terms of meticulousness in leisure spending.

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Dining at Tiziano Restaurant of Costa Atlantica

Cruise dining

At one section of the cruise, Tiziano Restaurant offers not only fine dining experience and exquisite interior lightings, but also a pleasant surprise by the well-clad waitresses who show a love of Italian rhythm and melodies.

More than just a gastronomic indulgence, Italian culinary feast on an Italian cruise is a mixture of delightful taste and vacation life style. This is a culture that celebrates every bite of food, every musical note, and each colorful moment in life.

To see more photographs of Costa Atlantica, go to Morning cruise in the strait of Malacca.

Staycation is over

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Sunset at Ancol beach

For the past week, Jakartans enjoyed more air and space in the city as millions packed their shirts to their hometowns for the country’s longest holiday period at the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan. But in just a matter of days, the air is about to thin out again as the mass urbanization will return with new addition of newcomers, as usual.

Urbanization in Jakarta numbered on average 50,000 newcomers annually, at an increasing rate year to year, bringing along low-skilled workforce to add up to 3.5 million in total outsiders making a living in Jakarta as of 2013, municipal data showed.

Job opportunity, largely from informal sector, if it is even classified a job, is the top contributing factor. Even some of them are outsiders who somehow have stayed in Jakarta for a long time, some sort of permanent settlers.

However problematic, Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo has quietly abolished Operasi Yustisi, the public enforcers notorious ID checks routine in Jakarta to expel outsiders back to wherever they came from.

So it will be harder from here on to identify their numbers or characteristics. But a part of some ten million city residents who chose to stay during this long holiday spent a good time at the beach although the waters looked quite murky.

But there is no time to care about that, or about the harm and good of ID check abolition, as long as clear air stays still, and so for the time being the sound of laughter seemed to echo longer than ever before.