Saturday, May 29, 2010

Taman Sengkaling, Malang, Indonesia

Spent the weekend visiting the theme park was very relaxing. Especially after a week full of work that makes you tired.
This time I was with some colleagues visited a theme park in the Tourism area of Sengkaling Malang, East Java.

Admission price is fairly cheap, especially if your friend paid it for you, it would be awesome...

In this Park there are lots of shady trees that made the atmosphere cool. We also visited a fish pond for Arapaima gigas which is located near the entrance door.
It was said that this fish is the largest freshwater fish in the world that comes from South America. This fish can grow up to 3 meters long with a weight reaches 200

After passing through this pool, you can down the stairs to visit the public swimming pool. There is also the lion's den near the playground.
The playground here is quite comfort. Luckily, when we came the situation here was not too crowded.

We continued our footsteps passing through the bridge over the Brantas river. The river which divides the city of Malang has a fairly strong currents.
Even so, the scenery in this river is also beautiful ... Especially when you're listening to the sound of it's flow... Extraordinary ...

In addition, there is a four-dimensional cinema, a restaurant on the boat, astray park, and even a games for outdoor activity.

There are some students from primary schools that are undergoing an outdoor game with their teachers.
Quite fun to watched them play with mud and swinging on flying fox. In fact, there's also a horse riding around the park.

After walking around the park, I found a nice cool seat to unwind while enjoying an ice cream that I bought. The food prices here is not too
expensive. Moreover, the situation of the gardens are nice and clean enough to make you relax.

At noon we were looking for food in the cafeteria near the fish pond. We enjoy the coffee milk, while accompanied by nice music.

But we couldn't spent our time much longer here, because at noon we had to return to the airport to flight home ...

Truly extraordinary day to release the stress in your head ...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Divers explore sunken ruins of Cleopatra's palace

Plunging into the waters off Alexandria Tuesday, divers explored the submerged ruins of a palace and temple complex from which Cleopatra ruled, swimming over heaps of limestone blocks hammered into the sea by earthquakes and tsunamis more than 1,600 years ago.

The international team is painstakingly excavating one of the richest underwater archaeological sites in the world and retrieving stunning artifacts from the last dynasty to rule over ancient Egypt before the Roman Empire annexed it in 30 B.C.

Using advanced technology, the team is surveying ancient Alexandria's Royal Quarters, encased deep below the harbor sediment, and confirming the accuracy of descriptions of the city left by Greek geographers and historians more than 2,000 years ago.

Since the early 1990s, the topographical surveys have allowed the team, led by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, to conquer the harbor's extremely poor visibility and excavate below the seabed. They are discovering everything from coins and everyday objects to colossal granite statues of Egypt's rulers and sunken temples dedicated to their gods.

"It's a unique site in the world," said Goddio, who has spent two decades searching for shipwrecks and lost cities below the seas.

The finds from along the Egyptian coast will go on display at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute from June 5 to Jan. 2 in an exhibition titled "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt." The exhibition will tour several other North American cities.

Many archaeological sites have been destroyed by man, with statues cut or smashed to pieces. Alexandria's Royal Quarters — ports, a cape and islands full of temples, palaces and military outposts — simply slid into the sea after cataclysmic earthquakes in the fourth and eighth centuries. Goddio's team found it in 1996. Many of its treasures are completely intact, wrapped in sediment protecting them from the saltwater.

"It's as it was when it sank," said Ashraf Abdel-Raouf of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, who is part of the team.

Tuesday's dive explored the sprawling palace and temple complex where Cleopatra, the last of Egypt's Greek-speaking Ptolemaic rulers, seduced the Roman general Mark Antony before they committed suicide upon their defeat by Octavian, the future Roman Emperor Augustus.

Dives have taken Goddio and his team to some of the key scenes in the dramatic lives of the couple, including the Timonium, commissioned by Antony after his defeat as a place where he could retreat from the world, though he killed himself before it was completed.

They also found a colossal stone head believed to be of Caesarion, son of Cleopatra and previous lover Julius Caesar, and two sphinxes, one of them probably representing Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII.

Divers photographed a section of the seabed cleared of sediment with a powerful suction device. Their flashlights glowing in the green murk, the divers photographed ruins from a temple to Isis near Cleopatra's palace on the submerged island of Antirhodos.

Among the massive limestone blocks toppled in the fourth century was a huge quartzite block with an engraving of a pharaoh. An inscription indicates it depicts Seti I, father of Ramses II.

"We've found many pharaonic objects that were brought from Heliopolis, in what is now Cairo," said Abdel-Raouf. "So, the Ptolemaic rulers re-used pharonic objects to construct their buildings."

On the boat's deck, researchers displayed some small recent finds: imported ceramics and local copies, a statuette of a pharaoh, bronze ritual vessels, amulets barely bigger than a fingernail, and small lead vessels tossed by the poor into the water or buried in the ground as devotions to gods.

Alexandria's Eastern Harbor was abandoned after another earthquake, in the eighth century, and was left untouched as an open bay — apart from two 20th century breakwaters — while modern port construction went ahead in the Western Harbor. That has left the ancient Portus Magnus undisturbed below.

"We have this as an open field for archaeology," Goddio said.

info : Yahoo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

South Korea upsets China for first Uber Cup title

South Korea ended China’s long-time supremacy in Uber Cup badminton women’s team championship with a convincing 3-1 win over the defending champion in the final in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

The victory capped South Korea’s six attempts to lift the trophy, five of them were foiled by the same nemesis.

Second doubles team of Lee Kyung Won and Ha Jung Eun assured South Korea of the coveted title for the first time ever after coming from behind to beat world number two pair of Du Jing and Yu Yang in a thrilling three-setter 19-21, 21-14, 21-19.

South Korea had taken a commanding 2-0 lead, thanks to nearly flawless performance of first singles player Bae Seung Hee who downed world number one Wang Yihan in straight sets and first doubles team of Lee Hyo Jung and Kim Min Jung who bounced back to upset world number one team of Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli in three sets.

World number two player Wang Xin had to overcome psychological pressure to beat Sung Ji Hyun 21-14, 16-21, 21-7 and keep China’s hopes alive.

Well... what can I say... Korea has written the new history for Uber Cup...

info : The Jakarta Post

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

7 children killed in latest attack at China school

An attacker hacked seven children and one teacher to death Wednesday and wounded 20 other people in a rampage at a kindergarten in northwest China, the latest in a string of savage assaults at the country's schools.

The slayings occurred despite a countrywide boost in security at schools, with gates and security cameras installed and additional police and guards posted at entrances.

The attack happened at 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) at a kindergarten in Nanzheng county of Hanzhong city, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It did not give the ages of the victims or say who attacked them.

Liu Xiaoming, deputy director of the propaganda department of Hanzhong city, confirmed that seven children and one teacher were killed and that about 20 others had been wounded.

"The murderer killed himself afterward," Liu told The Associated Press. He said he did not have any other information.

A Nanzheng county resident reached by phone said crowds had gathered outside the kindergarten, but information was spotty. He said the assailant was believed to have been a local villager surnamed Wu, aged in his late 40s, who owned the house in which the kindergarten was located.

"I saw him before and he looked quite normal," said the man, who would identify himself only by his surname, Li.

The attack is the fifth major incident at schools and kindergartens since late March, sparking security fears among parents, officials and educators.

In Hanzhong, an industrial city of 3.72 million people, nearly 2,000 police officers and security guards had been detailed to patrol public schools, kindergartens and surrounding areas beginning last week, according to a statement posted on the city government's official website.

Sociologists say the attacks reflect a lack of support for the mentally ill and rising stress resulting from huge social inequalities in China's fast-changing society. Such issues have largely been ignored in state media's reporting on the attacks, which have focused instead on increases in security in an effort to quell public fear and potential unrest.

The assaults began with an attack on a primary school in March in the city of Nanping in Fujian province where eight children were stabbed and slashed to death by a former community clinic doctor with a history of mental health problems.

The man convicted for that crime was executed on April 28, the same day a 33-year-old former teacher broke into a primary school in the southern city of Leizhou in Guangdong province and wounded 15 students and a teacher with a knife.

The following day in Taixing city in Jiangsu province, a 47-year-old unemployed man armed with an 8-inch (20-centimeter) knife wounded 29 kindergarten students - five seriously - plus two teachers and a security guard.

Just hours later, a farmer hit five elementary students with a hammer in the eastern city of Weifang before burning himself to death.

The government has sought to show it has the problem under control, mindful especially of worries among middle-class families who, limited in most cases to one child due to population control policies, invest huge amounts of money and effort to raise their offspring.

China' recent assaults at schools:

- May 12, 2010: A man hacks seven children and one teacher to death at a kindergarten in Hanzhong city in Shaanxi province. He then kills himself.

- April 30, 2010: A farmer ttacks and wounds five kindergarten students with a hammer in Shandong province's Weifang city before burning himself to death. The man also strikes a teacher. None of the children has life-threatening injuries.

- April 29, 2010: A 47-year-old unemployed man attacks 4-year-olds in a kindergarten in Jiangsprovince, wounding 29 of them. Two teachers and a security guard are also hurt.

- April 28, 2010: A teacher on sick leave due to mental illness breaks into a primary school in Leizhou city in Guangdong province in southern China and stabs 18 students and a teacher.

- April 12, 2010: Yang Jiaqin, 40, hacks to death a second grader and an elderly woman near an elementary school in Xizhen village of the southern Guangxi region. Yang's family was scheduled the next day to send him to a hospital for psychological treatment for a mood disorder.

- March 23, 2010: Zheng Minsheng, 42, kills eight children in a knife attack at the Nanping Experimental Elementary School in south China's Fujian province. Zheng is executed April 28.

- March 2, 2009: Xu Ximei, 40, hacks a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old to death with a kitchen knife and wounds three others and a grandmother at a primary school and nearby yard in Mazhan, a village in Guangdong province. Xu was believed to be mentally disabled.

- Feb. 24, 2008: Chen Wenzhen, a former student at the Leizhou No. 2 Middle School in Guangdong province, stabs to death a boy and a girl, then kills himself. Chen had dropped out because he suffered from headaches and could not concentrate on his studies.

- June 13, 2007: A man identified only by his surname, Su, breaks into the Chiling Primary School in Longtang township in Guangdong and kills a 9-year-old boy with a kitchen knife. Three other students are seriously wounded. The attacker had quarreled with the boy's parents.

- May 24, 2006: Yang Xinlong hacks a neighbor to death in the village of Luoying in central China's Henan province, then takes 19 elementary school students hostage and kills one. Police shoot him when he refuses to surrender.

- Nov. 25, 2004: Yan Yiming, 21, breaks into a Chinese high school dormitory and stabs nine boys to death in Ruzhou, Henan province. Yan's mother turns him in to police after he attempts suicide on the day following the attack. He is executed two months later.

- Aug. 4, 2004: Xu Heping, 51, a part-time gatekeeper at a Beijing kindergarten kills one student and slashes 14 others and three teachers. Xu had a history of schizophrenia. The attack, near the compound where President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders live and work, prompted the government to increase security at schools nationwide.

info : The Jakarta Post

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Selong Belanak: The remote charm of southern coasts

Unlike the western coasts of Lombok, Selong Belanak and Lombok’s other southern coasts are still unexplored. That is just one of the many reasons to go there.

When my friend Anin suggested we visit our friend Ana in Selong Belanak, I did not take it seriously and responded immediately because I thought that Lombok was just Senggigi and the famous Gili Islands.

But when she said that the area we would visit was remote (there is no cell phone signal), I quickly said yes.

Holiday without technology intrusion is heaven on earth.

It was luck knowing that Ana’s schedule and mine aligned. To make things short, we finally met in Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport to fly to Lombok together. While the Bali-Lombok flight was only about 20 minutes, it took about two hours to reach Selong Belanak from Selaparang airport, Ampenan.

The April sun scorched on the road, but it was cool inside the car. The ride passed along paddy fields and hills that flanked the road. At certain areas, the road was bumpy and steep.

When the car was climbing another hill, Ana turned her head to me and said, “Hey girl, get ready for the view.”

As the car reached the peak, we were stunned by the blue azure water that sends waves to a pocket-shaped white sandy beach enveloped by lush green hills. A small island was popping out in the middle of the bay, just like a beauty spot.

The area is still relatively untouched by tourists. The only accommodation in the beach’s vicinity was Villa Sempiak, Ana’s workplace. After getting our bags into Ana’s room, we headed to the beach. The white sand was smooth carpet on our feet and the water pleasant.

At night, the ocean sounded a special kind of music with waves hitting the shores. Sounds of nocturnal bugs were amplified in the peaceful atmosphere. The area was free of pollution, including noise and light pollution and a good place to become more familiar with the map of astronomy.

Sitting there at two o’clock in the morning, I tried to find Crux constellation of the southern sky and one that I’m most familiar with, but to no avail. With so many stars in the night sky, they flickered as if they were in a blinking competition.

In the morning, I took a walk on the beach with my friends. There is a fishermen’s village just near the beach and it is was teeming with activities at five o’clock that morning. A group of men pushed boats to sea.

A couple of black storks flew around, trying to catch small crabs or fish, oblivious to the stray dogs that ran around barking. The sun rose from the hills, a sign for us to start our exploration on Lombok’s southern area.

For the journey, Ana asked her friends Amak Susi and Amak Kasturi to accompany Anin and I. Amak is the local word for common men. For men of noble birth, the word is Lalu. Public transportation in Lombok is rare and tourists usually rent a motorcycle or a car in Mataram to get around.

Our first stop was Sade, a traditional village of the Sasak tribe. The village has 150 houses and is inhabited by about 700 residents. Our guide said that usually residents intermarried among their cousins because there was a fine of three buffaloes if the men married with women of other villages.

Selong Belanak beach seen from a hill nearby reveals a refreshing azure water and greeneries.

There are three types of buildings in the village: houses, rice barns and beruga (Lombok traditional gazebo).

According to our guides, only women are allowed to enter the rice barns. Legend has it that the men would become ill if they entered them.

The houses have low roofs so that guests honor the house owners by bowing before entering, the guide said. The house has two floors. The first floor is for parents and the sons, while the second is allocated for the daughters’ room and the kitchen.

From Sade village, we headed to Kuta beach of Lombok, which was quite deserted. There were only three teenagers who approached us to sell us bracelets.

As we walked along the beach, our feet stumbled on the shells washed ashore. We gathered them and it did not take a long time to find a handful of beautiful shells.

While we were at Kuta beach, several boats were coming in. A group of men and women were closing in on a boat that had just touched the beach. While men were pulling the boat ashore, the women were handling the catch of the day. The women hauled baskets of fish out of the boat and carried them on top of their heads. A basket of fish were left on the sand, tempting the children to play with them.

Another deserted beach to visit is Mawun Beach, which also haspocket-shaped terrain. Unlike Kuta Lombok, a free beach, there is parking fee at Mawun Beach.

It was noon when we got there and the sun was scorching mercilessly. Fortunately, there is a big tree just a stone’s throw away on the shoreline. We sat there, sharing the shade with a group of foreign tourists with surfboards.

Nothing needs to be said when nature exercises its charm. The waves move back and forth, the wind blows an airy breeze and leaves rustle. Time seems to stop. But when the sun tilts to the west, it is a sign for us to get on our feet and head back home.

I got this from The Jakarta Post


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