Thursday, 19 February 2015

Indonesia, Bandung (Saung Angklung Udjo)

Finally, I had time off to blog about Bandung! It's Chinese New Year today so it's a public holiday in Singapore. I'm so happy and ... relieved! Been slogging at work almost everyday for the past few weeks and I am both mentally and physically exhausted. Didn't manage to go overseas though because the break is too short.

Speaking of Bandung, I had the opportunity to watch the most interesting performance when I was there. It was known as Saung Angklung Udjo. 

It is simply a place where you wouldn't want to give a miss if you are in Bandung. You can buy an angklung for Rp 20,000 and here's my mini angklung!

It was a totally enjoyable place to be. Ok, I think I have repeated myself but it's the truth. I had the opportunity to see a very tightly-knitted community, from various age group, working together to keep the unique culture alive. 

We were greeted by a very handsome host, who is fluent in English and make us at ease. Personally, I feel that this place might be where the true heart of the Sundanese community lies. 

The performance started out splendidly. There was clearly a lot of energy and excitement invested here. It allows me to get a glimpse of some of the cultural ceremonies practiced in Bandung. Shown above is the 'kuda lumping' (flat horse) dance...

and a colourful procession, which is usually participated by children, in a circumcision ceremony.

These are the different types of puppets used in a puppet show. It was easy to differentiate between the good and the evil characters because the features of the puppets were purposefully exaggerated.

I was impressed when at a certain point of time, the host showed us how the puppet master worked behind the scene. I realised that it was a tiring work to man the puppets. All limbs were preoccupied during the performance so it was understandable when the puppet master was seen slightly limping at the end of the 10 min show.

An interesting fusion of the West and the East. This talented youngsters really do make their parents proud.

As the programme moved on, I was immersed in a sea of cultural experience. I can feel the positive vibes of this place: from the welcoming hospitality of the staff, right to the passion shown in their dance and music. And most importantly, the conviction in what they were representing was totally amazing. They made the whole auditorium wanting to join in the fun. In fact, each of us was given one angklung and we played 3 songs under the direction of the maestro and his sons.

This is the maestro conducting an angklung orchestra. One of the songs that he conducted was a Michael Jackson song. Imagine MJ beat on angklung... I've never thought it was possible. Well, at the end of the show, my cousin and I were truly glad that we had attended the performance. Saung Angklung Udjo has definitely earned a special place in my memory. In fact, I don't mind going again if I visit Bandung the second time.

The fun didn't stop there. At the end of the show, we all get to play a traditional childhood game and interact with the performers. 

Well, that's all for Bandung from me. Meanwhile, I'm still thinking what to do during my short break.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Indonesia, Bandung (Lembang Floating Market)

Yeay.. we're going to visit the north of Bandung on our third day. I was pretty excited at the beginning until I got to know about the entrance fee for Tangkuban Prahu. 

Alas, our decision is to skip Tangkuban Prahu totally. YES!! The reason is because Tangkuban Prahu has become a tourist trap, which the Indonesian government wants to profit from. The sharp rise in the entrance fee from IDR 50,000 to IDR 300,000 is absolutely ridiculous. 300 000 per pax is an awful large amount of money!! Seriously! Grrrrr...

So we headed to a new attraction recommended by our driver - the Lembang Floating Market. Curiosity got the better of me after the disappointment and I was hoping hard that this market will not be an imitation of those in Thailand. 

Flowers seem to bloom really well in the north of Bandung. As the car drove along Cihideung area, flower gardens spread before us. Unfortunately, I couldn't catch even one great photo of those flowers because our car was moving quite fast. Our driver wanted to start our journey early or we would be stuck in a traffic jam.


Finally, we're in Lembang Floating Market. It was surprisingly a good place to visit. There was a lake and we walked around the garden. There's also little huts where you can relax and enjoy some family bonding. 

See the blue coin in the background? You need to buy these coins to buy food in the floating market later on.

Some nice architecture around the lake. 

This place is suitable for families. We saw quite a number of families opting to ride on the boat. Looks fun but I think I'm too old for this. My cousin and I went all out to savour the street food of Bandung. The food here were sold in the tiny sampans, aka the Bandung version of a floating market.

And we need to spend all the coins that we bought as they could not be exchanged for cash.

We tried quite a lot of food on that day. Cilok goreng, tahu gembal, batagor, pangsit ayam, singkong keju and banana fritters with chocolate. Yummy.. yummy..

If you happen to buy the food here, it is best to just sit in front of the stall hawker and make sure you are visible to her. We tried to queue and wait for our turn initially but it seemed that the people here did not know the concept of queuing so we did the same as the locals. Or else, you would be waiting till tomorrow for your food!!

I recommend the 2nd street food in the photo - pangsit ayam. We went for second serving because it tasted good.

As you can see, almost all the street food is fried so all the health conscious people, street food may not be your thing. 

Hehe.. we were kind of full so we skipped lunch and cancelled our trip to Kampung Daun. Instead, we need to rush back to Bandung city as we had a performance to attend. I will blog on this in my next post. Until then, ciao.