Despite it being a Sunday I’ve had a busy time in the office scanning old slides as I continue my efforts to wade through the archive and get everything on to my Zenfolio picture website.
Eschewing the recent series of rail pictures I picked out some old travel slides that I’d placed with the old ‘Lonely Planet’ picture library back in the 2000s before they were sold to the BBC and then on to Getty. The world of travel pictures was very different then and it was rather a nice income stream. Those days are long gone. I had the original images returned by Getty a few years ago when they joined the rest of the archive awaiting scanning. This morning I scanned a selection from Indonesia taken on my travels in 1992 and 1998. Here’s a look at a few of them.
This is an image taken at Lake Maninjau in West Sumatra back in June 1992. I spent several weeks on the island which was a fantastic place to travel. In those days you could enter the island by ferry from Georgetown on Penang Island Malaysia. A hydrofoil would carry you across the Straits of Malacca to Belawan in Northern Sumatra which was the port for the main city of Medan. In those days backpackers like myself would travel overland and the next stop for most (including me) was the volcanic Lake Toba. But, I’d been tipped off by other travellers I’d met heading in the opposite direction to me that there was an even more amazing and magnificent volcanic lake – Maninjau – in West Sumatra. They were right. As much as I enjoyed Toba and the Batak culture, Maninjau and the local Minangkabau people were even more interesting. Ever visited a matrilineal Muslim community before? No, neither had I! The lake itself is 16 km long, 7km wide and averages a depth of 105m. It sits at the bottom of a volcanic caldera and it’s an amazing place to arrive at when you reach the lip of the crater then drop down a road with 44 hairpin bends before you reach the main village on the edge of the lake. The picture as taken from the back deck of the little homestay I was residing in. You could bask in the sun, have a swim and then watch the weather change like this, as a rainstorm crept in from the West and boiled in over the crater edge. You knew you still had 20-30 minutes before it reached you. It was a beautiful place to stay, kick back and relax and enjoy activities like walking or cycling around the lake – or just sit and read a book before heading out for some delicious Padang food. I’d love to go back as I was last there in 1998.
This picture was taken on the same trip. I left West Sumatra by ferry from Padang and headed to Java, making my way slowly Eastwards across the island by rail and bus until I arrived here at Mt Bromo.
It’s the most incredible landscape as it really doesn’t look like it belongs on this planet. This is the view from the edge of the original volcanic crater which was taken one sunrise in June 1992. Three smaller volcanos sit in the ‘sea of sands’ inside the original crater. It’ll take you 45 minutes to walk across to them. The volcanoes are still active and have erupted several time in the past 20 years the last time being 2015. Indonesia is famous for its volcanoes, many of which remain active. I visited several but Mt Bromo has to be the most spectacular.
Here’s something a bit different from another trip Lynn and I did across Indonesia back in 1998. This shot was taken at a big cremation ceremony in Ubud, Bali back in October 1998. I’ve long admired the way the Balinese have managed to hang on to their distinctive culture despite mass tourism and being part of an overwhelmingly Muslim country. You might not see much of it if you stay in the tourist traps of Kuta and Sanur on the islands most Southern tip, but get into the hills and it’s very different. The reason I took this shot is because of the juxtaposition of the traditional and modern. Here’s an important and wealthy man in traditional Balinese dress who’s helping run the whole ceremony and he’s on his mobile phone. This is 1998 remember. In those days only 1 in 5 people in the UK had one. Lynn and I were still communicating with most people via ‘snail mail’ and poste restante letter drops as the few places you could find internet access in Indonesia were Post Offices where you used slow, expensive and unreliable dial-up internet. How things have changed in 20 odd years!
If you want to view the rest of the pictures from Indonesia, click on this link.