Ian R and Andrew S at Puncak on 25th February 1978

Ian R and Andrew S at Puncak on 25th February 1978

Typical trips

Ian R and I took a share of a bungalow which enabled us to use it once every four weeks. The other tenants were Dutch I think and I never met them. It was Bob N's share which Ian wasn't going to take over until I said I would share it with him.

We used to get our cooks to prepare some food which we put in cool boxes at noon on Saturdays and left then, sometimes with Andrew S, sometimes with a girl or two. We didn't take girls up very often though, if they couldn't speak English very well they got bored. It was better to take girls to Puncak if there was a party or a Hash run.

At first it was a pleasant journey up a fairly minor road to Bogor - we didn't take the main road which was full of lorries. After Bogor it was a slow crawl up to Puncak and there was a traffic jam where a bridge was being rebuilt. Later a motorway - the first in Indonesia - opened to Bogor and some way beyond which made it a faster trip but I missed looking at the roadside houses and activity.

We usually stopped at a restaurant a few miles before Puncak for a late lunch in the early afternoon. It reminded me of English tea gardens in the 1930s which were fading away in the 1940s when I was young. There was no one around at that time of the day and we sat under a pergola with flowering creepers looking over a garden sloping down to a fish pond with large koi while we had nasi goreng and a beer.

There was an old houseboy at our bungalow who heated up the pre-cooked food for us. We had a log fire as the temperature often felt cool to us, about 65 to 70 degrees F. The garden was quite small and sloping but had lots of flowers and creepers as well as a view of cloud-covered hills.

Puncak and Bogor were weekend destinations for the Jakarta population too. There were pleasure gardens and botanical gardens in both places which I visited. I once went to the Cibodas gardens south of Puncak in the early morning when there was no one about and it was very pleasant, but at 10 am hordes of buses and cars arrived having driven up from Jakarta. It was also a place where scouts had camps.

Tukangs and Andrew S at Puncak on 26th February 1978

Tukangs and Andrew S at Puncak on 26th February 1978

Basically we just relaxed there and went for walks in the fresh air or read books. Often I would take some work which I could do in peace - until the inevitable tukangs arrived and unloaded their wares just inside the living room. It was fatal to start bargaining with them because once you started you were expected to conclude the deal. I bought bits of brassware occasionally.

Once we went into the tea factory and were shown round. It had a lovely smell. The floors were lovely wide boards stained with tea dust. The tea leaves were laid out to dry and later packed in sacks. Quite a pleasant place with a relaxed atmosphere. A good place to work I should imagine, although the wages would have been low.

Puncak photos 1
Puncak photos 2