December 5, 2009

It can be too close to comfort, Mt Semeru, Java, Indonesia

Location: At the summit of Mount Semeru, Indonesia (7°59'7.19"S 112°59'9.64"E)
Date: 18 July 2008; 6.45am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5

One of the major tourist attractions in Central Java is the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. Most tourists go to gawk at the three volcanoes at sunrise from a distance. It is a surreal environment and scene, really well worth a visit. I highly recommend doing such a trip if you are in the vicinity especially if you are in Indonesia itself. Others, a little crazier, will trek up the highest volcano in Java, the steaming Mount Semeru. Mount Semeru is really steaming- it throws out lava and huge boulders every 15 minutes or so. One has to keep a safe distance at the summit from the mouth of the volcano to avoid the heat but more so, to avoid being hit by rocks and boulders from the eruptions- there were a couple of deaths from such boulders a few years ago. However, it is an amazing experience to be at the summit, watching and in some cases, running away from the eruptions.

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December 3, 2009

Friends having fun at Barkhor Square, Lhasa, Tibet

Locations: Barkhor Square, Lhasa, Tibet, China (29° 39′ 11″ N, 91° 7′ 53″ E)
Date: 19 May 2005; 6.35pm
Camera: EOS 300D with kit lens

Lhasa is a major pilgrimage destination for devout Tibetan Buddhists. Two of the sites stand out as some of the holiest in their religion- the Potala Palace and Monastery. There are virtually thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over China visiting these places every day, for various reasons. The Tibetans will come to pray, pay respect and circumambulate at these places while tourists come to see, take photos, be amaze and so on. Barkhor Square where the Jokhang Monastery is located is one of the busiest spot in Lhasa at any day. All sorts of people mill around the square and the atmosphere is positively one of joyousness, especially among the pilgrims who have spend many years planning and relatively big amount of money to come here. Even the kids will not always remember this experience.