When I and Chino arrived at the Ambon Airport we found difficulty looking for the Welcoming Party (WP).
The WP decided not to put name notices thinking that they would be able to ascertain our identities through our names on the belief that Chino Febre could be an Italian or a Latino and Dominador could be a Spaniard thus possessing tall height, aquiline noses, white complexion and other Caucasian features.
They were surprised to find out that we were not possessed of the desired identity.
Ambon in Filipino means “drizzle”. We came to know also about the existence of the Bereengid Invische Compagnie – a Dutch company which controlled the business in the area during the 16th century.
Visited Goa on December 26. I saw the undecomposed body of St. Francis Xavier who arrived in 1542.
Similar to the Quiapo Church, they sold candles likened to parts of the body or the body itself which are burned in the hope that the ailing part(s) of the body or the body itself would be healed.
The elevated setting in Ladakh similar to that is Tibet. It is bordered in the Southwest by the great Himalaya Range including the impressive peak of Nun (7135 meters) and Kun (7087 meters) the highest peaks in the Kashmer Himalya
North and parallel to the Himalya is the Zanskar range which is the main range between the Himalaya and the Hindus Valley.
There was difficulty in breathing necessitating the intake of paracetamol Mahayana. Buddhist Tibetan Gumpas Monasteries dominated the Ladahk landscape.
The guidelines in visiting Gumpas are:
- Your arms and legs should be covered;
- Remove your shoes before entering a shrine
- Don’t drink, smoke or spit;
- Never touch religious objects;
- Don’t disturb monks during prayer including festival ceremonies;
- Never use a camera flash.
The frescos are very fragile. Maniwalls with saved incriptions and prayer wheels in a clockwise direction keeping them to your right.
Among the Gumpas visited are the Shay gumpa, Tiksi Gumpa, Sankar Gumpa, and Hemis Gumpa.
I witnessed the fertility of the Hindus Valley on our way to see Lake Sudan. My past experience at the Kashmer airport was repeated. There was chaos while checking in to the airport as they gave preferential attention to big tour groups and not on a per arrival basis.
All carry-on bags were prohibited to be carried except for the clutch bag to contain your passport and related documents.
Despite the hardship I’m thankful to God for having me visited the place and being allowed to purchase original artifacts.
I was privileged to visit the island with a westernized, youthful, beautiful lady companion to assist my old self.
The tour started from Padang, Western Sumatra through a small pump boat which ended up at Sibeirut after traveling for at least ten hours starting at 9 in the evening of the preceding day.
From Siberut, we rode a motorized banca to reach a primitive settlement called Sakelot where the females do not have upper garments while men wear only loin clothes.
It was an arduous journey as we hiked through the slippery muds with leeches, snakes, wild pigs and thorny plants and other obstacle for at least three (3) hours.
It was further aggravated by the stamina of my aging self which intermittently had to rely on the helping hands of others to climb elevated areas and cross rivers.
When we reached the house where we would stay, my body was filled with mud from the shoes up thus necessitating to proceed immediately to the bathroom and toilet.
True to the earlier pronouncement provided in the notice there was neither bathroom nor toilet.
It is unfortunate that the river which is the place to take a bath is situated at least 50 meters from the house and that you have to pass once more through the muds to reach it.
In view of the circumstances, I was compelled by necessity to request my companion to accompany me.
During these critical moments, I realized that there would be no room for any form of inhibitions.
My companion was similarly interested in cleaning herself and performing related activities.
We even exchanged notes on the ecstasy and relief of unburdening.
During the subsequent two days, to answer the call of nature is always characterized by fear thus necessitating the presence of the lady companion who was coincidentally and willingly predisposed to perform a similar activity.
The only consolation is when you hear the query “Are you through there?” “Yes, I am” was my courageous manly answer to cover up the lingering fear.
The journey for the purpose of experiencing the difficult primitive jungle life could have been perfect had we not discovered that there was some sort of misrepresentation that they could not speak in English.
On our way back to Sabeirut, the leader of the Village who joined us accidentally spoke in English. Realizing that he violated the trade secret, he secretly admitted to me that he could really understand and speak English and that they should not appear to know the same in the presence of tourists.
The lesson in this complicated world is that even in a remote jungle area, do not to accept everything on its face value.
My first visit to the place was when I visited Lake Toba which appeared to be the biggest lake in Southeast Asia as it comprised of 1707 square kilometers. At the middle of the lake is a wedge-shaped island called “Samosir.”
My second visit was when I visited Nias 125 km of the West Coast of Sumatra through Medan.
Nias has beautiful artifacts. It was unfortunate that they don’t have documents to explain the artifacts as they follow the oral tradition.
Legend tells that Niasans are descendants of six gods who settled in the islands. Anthropologists link them to the Batar of Sumatra, _______ India and the aborigines of Taiwan.
In Medan, I’m reminded of their good food. While Korean food has various appetizers before the main course, the Sumatrans have various viands which are immediately served and that they are eaten with bare hands.
When I went to Mentawai Islands, I had the opportunity of visiting “Bukitinggi” whose houses are characterized by pointed spheres.
The museums displayed among other the abnormal animals like carabao with two (2) heads and goat with eight (8) legs, etc.
The animals in the zoo were sleepy and looked very tired like the one making this report.