So, I’ve been to the Dieng Plateau and back. My days of half functional keyboards are over, at least for now. Here are a few highlights of the week in photos.
I showed up at Dieng village last Sunday an chose the cheapest place I could find. There was a reason the room was only 50,000 Rp. ($5.50) a night. At least my room was better than the one across the hall.
The view out my door, into the room across the hall.
Immediately on arriving, I met a nice Canadian couple eating at the single semi western-friendly restaurant in town. We spend the next couple of days seeing the sights together, whenever the rain allowed.
Sunday, we started with temples.
Temple Arjuna, 100 yards from the main road in Dieng. These are the oldest Hindu temples on Java.
The temples are old, but after Borobudur and Prambanan, not so visually impressive.
Monday, it was a walk to Telaga Warna and surrounding fields.
Telaga Warna means 'colorful lake'. In fact, it's just one color (green) and at least when we were there a not so spectacular green.
Potatos are the biggest crop on the plateau, one of the only places in Indonesia cold enough to grow them. There was concern among the farmers while I was there, however, about the cheap new Chinese potatoes finding their way to Indonesia.
One quick note that’s not going to fit anywhere else: Remember the big wind I ran into at the top of Gunung Merbabu? Apparently it was windy that night in Dieng, too. One of the biggest storms they’ve had, according to my charismatic guest house manager Teto. I could see evidence: some potato plants were damaged, and there were new trees fallen across hiking trails. The plant above looks good because this little valley was sheltered.
The ultimate Sack of Potatoes.
Trees were removed to create the farmland, and landslides large and small are common on the near-vertical plots.
Dewdrop and fly on a fern near Telaga Warna.
Monday afternoon I went for a drive around the valley. There’s a great loop, around 20 miles. I was impressed by the geothermal energy infrastructure that stretched across the plateau. The columns of steam are visible from everywhere on the plateau. Indonesia has about 40% of the world’s potential geothermal energy resources, and only 5% of the total potential here has been tapped. The locals say that the Dieng geothermal plant is the oldest in Indonesia.
One of the geothermal plant drill points dotted around the plateau. According to locals, the plant has been open since about 1973.
Another steam extraction point with carica fruit tree in the foreground. I saw this fruit all over the valley and didn't recognize it. Only now back in Jakarta have I googled it. It is also called 'mountain papaya', native to South America, and can only be grown in the tropics at high elevations. Apparently it's rare and good. Wish I'd tried some!
Some of the pipes go down one and a half miles to pull up the steam.
Steam is piped back to this central generator miles away which runs 6 hours a day and is capable of generating up to 60MW.
One of the volcanic features, a deep 'well' sunk into the surrounding farmland. It's bigger than it looks here; the water is waaay down there and about 100 yards wide.
Awesome bird going fishing in the well.
Great views driving around the plateau.
On the drive home, I passed this soccer game. The grass was a little long on this half of the field, and the other half was just dirt, but that didn't slow them down.
Is that kid saying he loves me in sign language?