The Remains of Olympic Games

The Rio Olympic Games 2016 will start in around 2 weeks. Upon realizing this, I was reminded to an article about the fate of building and facilities which were used as venues for Olympic Games. Some got re-purposed as apartments, or indoor garden. But most of the facilities left to decay due to enormous amount of money needed to maintain the facility. Some even witness the brutality of war, against the spirit of peace brought by modern Olympic Games.

Few years ago, I got a chance to visit Beijing National Stadium and Beijing National Aquatic Center, or often nicknamed “Bird Nest” and “Water Cube”. Beijing host the 2008 summer Olympic, and Beijing National Stadium was the venue of the opening and closing ceremony.

Beijing National Stadium

I came at night, and didn’t get a chance to go inside as the venue is already closed. Instead, we were presented with different color of lights that coming out from the Bird Nest. In the plaza right in front of it, people take pictures of the unique structures. Others just sit at the benches lining up the plaza, having a chat, drinks or dinner.

The Beijing National Aquatic Center, right next to Beijing National Stadium was also spectacular. Its bubble-like surface glowing with different colors of mostly blue and purple. Similar like Beijing National Stadium, many people crowd the plaza next to it for pictures

Beijing National Aquatic Center

Those two buildings, the Beijing National Stadium and Beijing Aquatic Center, are among the few survivors of Olympic Venues. Even in China, not all venues of 2008 Olympic survive the test of time. A waste, maybe. And I hope most of the venues in Rio 2016 Olympic will survive the test of time, just like The Bird Nest and The Water Cube

This post is made for WordPress Discover Challenge: The Things We Leave Behind

Pine Forest of Bantul, Yogyakarta

Just in case you are wondering, the picture below is not some fungi viewed through a microscope.

Not Under Microscope

It is actually the peak of Pine Tree, pictured from its base on the ground.

Tall Pine Trees

The Pine Forest (in Bahasa Indonesia: Hutan Pinus) of Yogyakarta is located in Bantul, around 1 hour driving from Keraton (Palace). It has been lately major destination for people who just want to chill out, visitors who want to take good selfies, and amateur as well as professional photographers who do photo sessions, including pre-wedding.

And finally, just to give some perspective on how tall those Pine Trees are, look at the background of our picture below. Beware of falling pine.

Us and Pine Tree

This post is created for WordPress Photo Challenge: Look Up

Paper Map

4 PM at the office, and I have this thought: How many traveler these days still using paper map to find direction?

Photo credit: “Explorer,” © 2011 Sakeeb Sabakka, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

I still remember, during the good old days, before Google Map, 3G, and GPS device, every time I arrived in new country, the first thing that I look for is free tourist map at the airport.  The map is my primary guidance to find places and public transport

Did I get lost? Yeah, for sure I did get lost. And what did I do? I ask around. And asked around created the interaction with local people. It is the old romance of traveling that is missing these days, interacting with locals.

Not only that. When you walk with paper map, your eyes won’t be fixed on the red pin that move as you move. You are forced to see your surroundings, and recognizing landmarks to match with the map. And while doing so, you might encounter some unplanned interesting stuff that can enrich your experience.

Once upon a time on my first trip to Bangkok, Thailand, I was exploring the city on foot. I bump into streetside stall with a lot of people lining up. I joined the queue, and it turns out to be the best street food in Bangkok that I’ve ever eat.

Photo Credit: Queue by Charles Haynes

Had I follow Google Map, I probably won’t ever bump into the street food. Either I’m taking a different shorter path, or my eyes is so fixated to follow the red pin that move.

This post is made in response to WordPress Discover: Analog

The Mantas of Nusa Penida, Bali

There are a reason on why the specific dive point in Nusa Penida is named Manta Point. It is no other than the frequent Manta encounter in this dive site.

The bottom of the dive site itself is barren. Not so many corals to be seen, as this part of Nusa Penida is facing the Indian Ocean with its strong current. However, it is the currents that make it perfect for Manta to dwell.

The Manta is available almost all year long. But, if you are here at the right time of the year, and with some luck, you won’t need to chase the Manta. It will be the Manta coming to your way, while you are hoping that you won’t get hit by sea creature 3 meters wide.

The Spirit Lake Kelimutu

Where does the spirit go when people passed away? That is the question that any civilization on Earth has. The people on Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, has an answer: They are all go to Lake Kelimutu

The Changing Color of Lake

Lake Kelimutu is actually 3 lakes, formed by ancient volcanic activity. Each lake has different colors, which changes every several years. The scientific explanation of this change of colors is geological activity that is still happening beneath the lake. So, if you are here, don’t be surprised if you found lakes with different colors

But to locals, the spirit of the dead will end up in one of the 3 lakes.

Lake of Good Spirit

Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, the first lake, is where the spirit of good young men and women will go when they died.

Lake of the Evil

Tiwu Ata Polo is for the spirit of men and women who were evil during their life. I think it is comparable to the concept of hell in western culture. It is located just next to the lake for the good, separated by rather thin wall.

Lake of Old People

Tiwu Ata Mbupu is where the final resting place for the spirit of old men and women.

This post is created in response to weekly photo challenge: Earth

Not a Tourist, Not a Backpacker