Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Wall of Boredom

An old Dutch inscription carved on the cell wall within the Fort Marlborough
By: Adriansyah Putera

Last Updated: September 14th, 2017
The Fort Marlborough is a historic site to stop if you are visiting the city of Bengkulu. This massive 18th century fort which symbolizes centuries of the British and Dutch colonial power in Bengkulu still stands tall on a hill surrounded by other interesting sights of interest and is today the city's top historic landmark.

You can read more details about the Fort Marlborough here. This time we would like to present an article which is focused on the old Dutch graffiti carved on the cell wall within the Fort Marlborough. Although the Dutch graffiti still survive and can be seen today, yet many visitors don't know about them and even miss them when they're looking at them.  

At the Fort Marlborough, visitors will see more than old cannons and headstones. In a small inner room within the guard cell secured by a barred door, with daylight coming from a barred window, visitors will be able to see two old Dutch graffiti. The apparent graffiti include an old Dutch compass drawing and an old Dutch inscription carved anonymously. These two graffiti are low on the cell wall near a barred window as if done by a person sitting on the floor.

If you look closely you can see that the compass drawing has a shape which looks like a 32-wind compass with Dutch abbreviated compass directions written in capital letters. This compass drawing was partly made with charcoal scratches, while the compass direction points were carved into the cell wall with a piece of pointed metal perhaps an iron nail.  

The graffiti are low on the cell wall as if done by a person sitting on the floor

However, the one who made the compass drawing wanted to leave more than his/her compass drawing. Taking perhaps a small iron nail, right beside the compass drawing, he/she incised a message with capital letters in the cell wall. The message reads,

“DIE DIT KOMPASS AANZIET
BERISP DEN KNOEIJER NIET
BEDENK DAT LEEGEN TIJD
TOT KNOEIERIJEN MIJ LEIDT
EN DAT VOOR TIJDVERDRIJF
IK DIT HIER NEDERSCHRIJF”

Which translates as,
“TO THE ONE WHO SEES THIS COMPASS 
DON’T REPRIMAND THE SCRIBBLER
THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT EMPTY TIME
LEADS TO SCRIBBLING
AND THAT FOR PASTIME
I WROTE THIS HERE DOWN”
(Translation by Nilca van Leyen)

After that, he/she awaited his/her fate. And if he/she died, the graffiti would serve as a “memorial”.

Who did make the graffiti? Why and when were the graffiti made?
As there is a clear connection between the compass drawing and the inscription, it is widely accepted that they were made by the same person either a Dutch prisoner or a Dutch soldier who spent time within the cell wall. However, the basic questions of who exactly the author of the graffiti was and when exactly the graffiti were carved on the cell wall remain mystery that is puzzling archaeologists and historians who have been studying the graffiti. 

The graffiti do represent their author’s feeling. The graffiti author’s motivation behind leaving the compass drawing and the carved inscription anonymously was more than just a desire to pass the time. The graffiti author wanted to express what he/she felt, experienced and hoped. From the carved words, “Bedenk dat leegen tijd, tot knoeierijen mij leidt,” he/she expressed that he/she felt trapped in a forced empty time, no place to escape. A feeling similar to unbearable pain that forced him/her to carved graffiti on the wall. Through the carved compass drawing he/she made, he/she tried to relieve the repetitive heavy boredom he/she felt, and also hoped that he/she would return home safely. 

Fort Marlborough at sunset
“The one who made the graffiti on the cell wall was bored. I originally assume that the compass drawing and the rhyme dated before World War II, bearing in mind that the rhyme was carved in a bit old Dutch language,” says Nilca van Leyen, a daughter of a Royal Netherlands Navy veteran. 

Today the carved graffiti are widely accepted as a reminder to the unknown Dutch soldier. Many people believe there are likely to be other old graffiti in the Fort Marlborough, which have since been lost or painted over.


How to locate the graffiti?
If you want to find these old Dutch graffiti you need to enter the colonial guard cell, then go inside the smaller room that is on the left side. Look to your left, you will see the graffiti are low on the cell wall near a barred window. Keep an eye out as you are likely to miss them.

A Request to the Fort Marlborough Authority 
We really hope that the Dutch inscription can soon be transcribed and displayed on a board in the original Dutch text with its translation to Indonesian and English so that both local and foreign visitors can have a deeper insight into all those who spent time within the cell wall.

*****

A special thanks to Nilca van Leyen who has helped to transcribe and translate the Dutch inscription.   

About Nilca van Leyen
Nilca van Leyen was born in CuraƧao to a Dutch couple. Her parents were born in Java and had lived in several cities in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) until World War II. She has wonderful memories about the Netherlands East Indies life in the past time from her beloved parents.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gunung Kaba, Suaka Bagi Hiker Di Provinsi Bengkulu

Pemandangan kawah belerang gunung Kaba
Artikel ini terakhir di-update 22 November 2019
For the English version click here!

Gunung Kaba atau yang juga biasa disebut bukit Kaba oleh penduduk setempat, memiliki panorama yang indah dan alami dengan temperatur udara yang moderat, gunung ini menawarkan pengalaman inspiratif bagi mereka yang memiliki hobby trekking atau mendaki gunung untuk menikmati pemandangan hutan tropis plus kawah belerang yang spektakuler dan unik. Gunung Kaba merupakan gunung berapi aktif yang berada di dalam kawasan Konservasi Wisata Alam Bukit Kaba yang memiliki luas area13.490 hektar dan diusulkan untuk pengembangan pariwisata di provinsi Bengkulu. 

Pendakian ke gunung Kaba menawarkan petualangan, semangat hiking, dan tantangan fisik melewati pemandangan hijau yang mempesona. Di bagian puncak gunung, terdapat tiga kawah – bukit Kaba (1.952 m / 6.404 kaki), bukit Itam (1.893 m / 6.211 kaki) and bukit Malintang (1.713 m / 5.620 kaki), dua dari tiga kawah tersebut masih aktif. Saat Anda mendaki punggung gunung Kaba Anda dapat mencium bau belerang, ini bukti bahwa kawah-kawah tersebut masih aktif. Nikmati pemandangan spektakuler di sekeliling Anda. Uap tidak henti-hentinya keluar dari 12 retakan tanah, dan sejumlah mata air panas (tidak layak untuk diminum) dapat ditemukan di sekitar kawasan bukit Kaba. 

Pendakian menuju puncak gunung Kaba
PENJELASAN TRACK 
Pendakian ke bukit Kaba dapat ditempuh dari berbagai arah, tapi dua rute yang paling populer yaitu jalur reguler/jalur jalan aspal yang dimulai dari depan pos POKDARWIS dengan menelusuri jalan aspal hingga ke puncak, dan kemudian jalur hutan yang dimulai dari belakang pos POKDARWIS. Para pengunjung diwajibkan untuk melapor dan mengisi buku tamu di pos POKDARWIS sebelum pendakian dimulai. Biaya masuk Rp. 100.000 (sekitar US$ 7,08) untuk wisatawan asing dan Rp. 10.000 (sekitar US$ 0,71) untuk wisatawan domestik. Bagi para pengunjung yang ingin berkemah beberapa hari di sekitar puncak gunung, mereka akan dikenakan biaya tambahan. Ada beberapa tempat parkir sederhana di dan di sekitar pintu masuk pos POKDARWIS untuk akses dan kemudahan bagi pengunjung yang ingin menitipkan sepeda motor atau mobil mereka untuk hanya beberapa jam atau bahkan berhari-hari. Biaya parkir Rp. 5.000 (sekitar US$ 0,35) untuk sepeda motor, dan Rp. 20.000 (sekitar US$ 1,421) untuk mobil. Waktu yang baik untuk mendaki Gunung Kaba yaitu di musim kemarau antara bulan April – September.
  

Opsi Jalur Reguler
Durasi pendakian: 1 jam 45 menit hingga 3 jam pendakian
Jika pendakian dimulai di pintu masuk pos POKDARWIS, biasanya memerlukan waktu sekitar 2 jam untuk sampai ke puncak melalui jalur reguler jika Anda merasa energik. Ikuti saja jalur jalan aspal, jalur tersebut akan menuntun Anda hingga ke puncak. Durasi hiking tergantung pada kecepatan langkah kaki Anda, kondisi cuaca, dan seberapa sering Anda berhenti untuk beristirahat dan melihat-lihat pemandangan. Durasi yang kami berikan untuk opsi jalur regular adalah perkiraan, karena semua orang berjalan pada kecepatan yang berbeda-beda. Anda sangat disarankan untuk mengambil jalur reguler jika Anda melakukan pendakian di saat/setelah hujan. Saat musim hujan durasi pendakian bisa menjadi lebih lama.

Opsi Jalur Hutan
Anda dapat menempuh rute jalan setapak melalui hutan untuk melihat pemandangan yang lebih indah dan merasakan sensasi trip petualangan. Hiking melalui jalur hutan juga dapat lebih menghemat waktu tempuh dan tenaga Anda dibandikan hiking melalui jalur reguler, tapi jalur hutan ini sangat beresiko jika Anda tidak familiar dengan tracknya dan mencoba melakukan pendakian seorang diri, Anda bisa tersesat di hutan. Para pengunjung yang belum pernah melewati jalur hutan disarankan untuk menyewa pemandu atau ikut mendaki bersama kelompok pendaki lain yang berpengalaman. Anda dapat menyewa seorang pemandu di Pos POKDARWIS dengan tarif Rp. 50.000 (sekitar US$ 3,54). Hati-hati dengan kondisi jalan setapak dan tebing yang licin dan mudah longsor. Jangan ambil jalur hutan di saat/setelah hujan, lebih baik menghindari resiko dari pada Anda menyesal kemudian. 

Butuh tumpangan sepeda motor ke puncak?
Anda harus dalam kondisi bugar untuk mendaki gunung Kaba. Jika Anda tidak yakin bahwa Anda cukup kuat untuk mendaki, Anda bisa naik ojek dari Simpang Pasar / Simpang Bukit Kaba menuju puncak gunung Kaba melalui jalur reguler dengan tarif Rp. 80.000 (sekitar US$ 5,6), atau naik ojek dari pos POKDARWIS dengan tarif Rp. 50.000 (sekitar US$ 3,54). Untuk menghindari penipuan tarif jasa ojek oleh orang-orang yang menawarkan jasa ojek, sebaiknya Anda membuat dan memastikan kesepakatan tarif jasa dengan tukang ojek terlebih dahulu sebelum Anda menaiki sepeda motornya dan bayar hanya jika Anda telah sampai di puncak gunung.

Kawah belerang gunung Kaba
Info Tambahan Gunung Kaba:
Elevasi puncak: 1.952 m (6.404 kaki)
Koordinat: 3.52 S, 102,62 E
Tipe gunung: stratovolcano (gunung berapi kerucut/komposit)
Erupsi terakhir: 26 -27 Agustus 2007

Lokasi: Dusun Sumber Urip, kabupaten Rejang Lebong, provinsi Bengkulu. Untuk menemukan lokasi gunung Kaba di Google Maps klik di sini!

Petunjuk lokasi secara umum: Gunung Kaba berada sekitar 19 km (11,8 mil) dari Curup ibukota kabupaten Rejang Lebong atau sekitar 104 km (64,7 mil) dari kota Bengkulu. Dibutuhkan waktu sekitar satu jam berkendara dari Curup, 20 menit berkendara dari Simpang Pasar / Simpang Bukit Kaba, atau sekitar 3,5 jam perjalanan dari Bengkulu untuk sampai ke pintu masuk pos POKDARWIS.

Wisatawan asing sedang menikmati pemandangan kawah
Ayo Dukung Responsible Tourism!!
Jika Anda akan bermalam di puncak gunung Kaba (secara lokal dikenal juga dengan nama bukit Kaba) jangan lupa membawa kompor sehingga Anda tidak perlu menguras pasokan kayu bakar yang terbatas. Ketergantungan pada kayu bakar untuk keperluan memasak dapat menyebabkan terjadinya deforestasi/penggundulan hutan yang cepat. Jika Anda terpaksa menyalakan api, gunakanlah perapian yang sudah ada. Gunakan hanya cabang atau ranting pohon yang sudah mati. Pastikan bahwa Anda benar-benar memadamkan api setelah digunakan. Jangan meninggalkan sampah-sampah Anda dan pastikan orang lain di kelompok Anda melakukan hal yang sama. Mari kita dukung "Resposible Tourism" (Pariwisata yang Bertanggung Jawab)!!!!



Jangan gunakan foto-foto dari blog ini untuk tujuan apapun tanpa izin dari saya. Jika Anda ingin menggunakan foto-foto di blog ini silahkan email ke kurt_reyhans@yahoo.com 


Ekstra foto dari gunung Kaba


Gunung Kaba menawarkan jalur trekking yang menakjubkan 
"Gunung-gunung sedang memanggil, dan saya harus pergi." - John Muir


Gunung Kaba dikelilingi oleh lautan topografi hijau 
Menikmati pesona pemandangan gunung Kaba
Puncak gunung Kaba yang berkabut
Hiking bersama keluarga
Puncak gunung Kaba mengepulkan uap panas
Perhatikan dan puaskan sisi petualangan mu di gunung Kaba!
Pendakian Gunung Kaba - bersama kita bisa

Kontak: kurt_reyhans@yahoo.com
Foto: Adriansyah Putera, Peter Kimball, Jeff Clairmont 
Referensi tambahan: John Seach. “Kaba Volcano”. http://www.volcanolive.com/kaba.html


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tips for Traveling on Rainy Sumatra Days

Mount Kaba hike

You will encounter iffy weather if you visit Bengkulu province or other provinces of Sumatra during the rainy season. In Bengkulu province and its neighboring provinces including South Sumatra & Lampung province, the rains normally start from October to March (peaking in December - February) slightly later than the north parts of Sumatra. The weather is still hot and more humid in the coastal areas, but at higher elevations tend to be cooler.

Traveling in Bengkulu province during the rainy season especially within the wettest months December – February can be very challenging and inconvenient for most travelers. The December to February rains can come in sudden tropical downpours, and or it can also rain nonstop for a whole day. If you want to go backpacking to try a rainy season escape or a very adventurous trip that many travelers miss out on, perhaps in the rural or mountainous areas, it will require not only willpower but also preparation and a lot of patience. Make sure you carefully plan what to wear on a rainy day and bring the right gears. Here are some important tips from real travelers and my own experiences for traveling on rainy Sumatra days:

General rules: planning and preparation are half the battle. 
First identifying which regions you want to visit & stay, what you want to do and how long you want to travel before packing for your trip to Bengkulu province to get a greater understanding of what will be needed.

Suggested items to bring

Going rural
  • A light waterproof rain jacket (heavy plastic raincoat might be too warm to wear in the coastal areas).
  • Four of five t-shirts should be enough. The weather at higher elevations tend to be cooler, you can layer t-shirts for warmth instead of strictly winter clothes. You can buy extra t-shirts at low prices in many places in Sumatra if you need more, but if you are a big and tall person it will be very difficult to find plus size t-shirts. 
  • Two or three pairs of convertible long pants for backpacking, hiking or for any outdoor activity you may partake in. They can keep you warm when the temperature drops and can be turned into a stylish pair of shorts when the temperature bubbles up. 
  • An emergency kit. It can help with some unpleasant situations that arise while on the travel trail, especially if you plan on hiking or going rural. It can be adapted to your needs, type and length of travel, and destinations. The basic emergency kit should include at least the following items:
    1. First aid kit & enough medication for your entire stay. It is best to keep your medications in their original containers with clear labels, officials at ports of entry may require proper identification of medications.
    2. Ready-to-eat canned food and drinking water.
    3. Cellular phone.  We suggest you to bring a cellphone or buy a cheap cellphone and a local SIM card in Indonesia for your communication needs.
    4. Multipurpose utility tool like a Swiss army knife.
    5. A flashlight, the waterproof one is recommended. Power outages are frequent in Sumatra during thunder storms. 
➤ Don’t bury your emergency kit at the bottom of your travel bag. Keep it handy in case of an emergency.
  • Sturdy hiking boots for going rural or hiking.
  • Waterproof bags and zip lock bags (for use in protecting your camera equipment, electronic devices, travel documents, emergency kit, etc).
  • A folding umbrella.
  • Extra socks to wear while wearing shoes/hiking boots.
  • Sandals/flip flops.
  • An extra towel. It almost always comes in useful! 
  • Rainy season is also mosquito season, so don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent and anti malaria tablets especially if going rural.  Recommendations for suitable drugs to prevent malaria can be found at www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/drugs.html
  • Locks for your luggage, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We greatly recommend that you go through a final checklist once you think you have got all items with you.

Packing
Don’t bury things you needs such as emergency kit, extra clothes, or drinking water at the bottom of your backpack or travel bag. If you are going to go backpacking, your backpack has to be balanced or you could fall over. Don’t make your pack too heavy at the top or bottom, it’s best to keep the heaviest items close to your back. Access and balance are the keys to packing well. 

That is all that we can write. Remember that a Sumatra escape or adventurous trip during the rainy season is only suitable for those who enjoy slow travel and don’t mind stopping for one or more days due to weather disruptions.

Tips for driving safely on rainy Sumatra days, click here!