We tasted some fantastic tea from Indonesia and decided to bring that tea to our customers in Missoula, Montana. We contacted the Indonesian tea farm this fall. In addition to being very helpful with our tea order, they graciously invited us to visit them this winter. We jumped at the invitation. We found ourselves in the most populous city in Southeast Asia and the capital of the world’s largest Muslim majority country – Jakarta.
The population of Indonesia is 250 million, and more than half live on the island of Java. Jakarta was inundated with flooding between the airport and our motel. We saw kids swimming and men fishing in the floods.
We saw slums, chickens, modern high rises, fast cars, thousands of scooters, motorcycles, bicycles, and brightly colored mosques. We finally found access to our motel by circumnavigating flood zones, and the normal 20 minute drive was an hour and a half.
We met our professional driver, Acep, the next morning and headed out of Jakarta. We met our hosts in Bogar. We had an Indonesian cuisine lunch with fish and prawns, fried rice and vegetables, chicken satay and an interesting beverage called Jamu. The Dutch colonized Indonesia in the 1600’s and gained independence from them after World War II. You can see the influence of the Dutch in the architecture, with columns and deep verandahs.
We quickly drove south skirting volcanoes and entering rural Java, where rainforest and agriculture meet. Driving along narrow, windy roads, we finally descended down to the Indian Ocean and the town of Pelabhutan Ratu. We stayed the night in a hardwood bungalow.
The following day, we started the winding, mountainous road to the organic tea farm….to be continued…
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