Day 3: A day of sightseeing around Bandung to see the Tangkuban Perahu, Bandung Cathedral, Gedung Sate, and watch the Saung Angklung Udjo. Then spending some more time with my wonderful grandaunt at the convent.
The blazing Ramadan fasting siren woke up me, but I fell asleep to the praying over the megaphone… My second awakening was to the choir singing in the chapel next door.
Finally out around 9 a.m. my grandaunt was waiting for us with breakfast and after a filling meal we jumped into the black Toyota van to start our day of sightseeing.
Bandung is the third largest city of Indonesia and the capital of West Java province. Previously settled by the Dutch there was still many original Dutch colonial houses, many of which have been renovated into expensive mansions. Now the city has become a weekend getaway for locals to escape the heat and chaos of Jakarta.
We headed to the volcano that was 30 km away with one stop at the bus station to get tickets back to Jakarta the next day (70,000 rupiah the way back?). Our driver also bumped into an scooter on a turn, causing the guy to fall over. He picked up his scooter and gave our window a hard slap before cursing and driving away.
The ride to the volcano was about two hours, which we spent observing the small town life and learning about my grandaunt’s experiences in her 64 years spent in Indonesia, which included some incredible stories during Indonesia’s anti-communist purge.
Arriving at the entrance, we paid the fee (50,000 rupiah) and parked the car in the empty lot. The volcano crater was much larger than I had expected and is now dormant after its last eruption in 1983. The fog rolling in and out of the crevice created an eerie effect. The smell of sulfur was intense.
“Guides” crowded us to sell us a guided tour. The path around the crater was lined with stalls selling shirts, crafts, rocks and sand from the volcano.
We didn’t stay too long and headed back to downtown Bandung. We ate the food prepared for us in the car because it was Ramadan and everyone else was fasting.
Back in town, we visited the governor’s office which is housed in a colonial building built for the Dutch East Indies in 1920.
This cathedral was built in 1922 and renovated… today. Unfortunately the scaffolding covered the front of the building on our visit, but we were able to access the interior.
Back at the convent, we had a quick dinner with our host. She said a prayer for us before we started the meal and before we knew it, we were back in the van, rushing to a show.
We went to the attraction partly because it was a well known performance and partly because my grandaunt knew the late Udjo Ngalagena, who created the musical.
After we purchased tickets at the desk (100,000 rupiah), we were escorted to the seating area and given a welcome drink and Angklung pendant.
The Angklung is an instrument made of bamboo that is played by shaking it.
The performance started with a traditional one-man puppet show. Children then danced onto the stage as the band played behind them. Eventually they gave each member of the audience an Angklung and taught the everyone how to play. The experience was very interactive and amusing. The grand finale involved pulling audience members to the stage and having a huge dance party.
Bandung Roman Catholic Convent
After the show we went back to the convent and were given a tour of the grounds. Unfortunately it was already dark so we couldn’t see too much of the gardens and cemetery.
Aunt Gitta introduced us to the other sisters and also gave us a both some parting gifts. She is really an amazing lady who has devoted her whole life to the service and aid of others… Spending only one day with her has humbled and inspired us. We couldn’t thank her enough.