Archives for posts with tag: Banda Aceh

Baiturrahman Grand Mosque (Indonesian: Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman) is a large mosque located in the centre of the city of Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia. It is of great symbolic significance to the Acehnese people as a symbol of Acehnese religion and culture, especially since it survived the devastating 2004 tsunami intact. – Wikipedia.

So I thought I had done everything I could to look respectful, I was wearing long baggy pants, had zipped my hoodie all the way up to my chin and covered all my hair with a scarf. I even asked a woman before I went inside if I looked ok, she said yes so I went for it. But still, within moments of settling myself inconspicuously in the very back I was approached by a man who brusquely asked me, “Are you Muslim?” At first I thought he was asking me where I was from, as that’s one of the things I am asked most often and his accent was undeniably think, but no he repeated it, “Are you a Muslim?” Well, I’m not about to lie, plus I would be found out pretty quickly if questioned about the theology so I said “No.” He said (still barely polite) “You must leave!” Ok, I’m not going to argue with that, though I would certainly like to. In all the churches, mosques, temples etc I have been into I have never been asked to leave. In fact in my very first mosque I was welcomed with open arms. I was, quite frankly, embarrassed for myself, but also for him. How unfortunate that he couldn’t find it in himself to be welcoming, to educate, to encourage acceptance, to be tolerant.

Fortunately, I’m a little sneaky when it comes to photos so I had managed to grab a few before getting the boot. 🙂

 

 

 

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July 6 – July 21.

Yes, this is a big gap but much of it was somewhat wasted time as I got sick so there wasn’t much to write about, nor to take pictures of, however I will try to fill you in (briefly) about what I got up to.

From Lake Toba I took a 20 hour overnight bus ride (torturous) to Bukit Lawang. While I was there I visited a very dark cave full of bats, I couldn’t photograph that because it hurts their eyes if you use a flash so I took this instead.

I got a quick look at a shy and very fast moving Gibbon family…

Also I got to hang out with these guys, watch them eat bananas, throw them up, then eat it, and then do it again, and again, and again…banana milkshake.

From Bukit I went up to Medan, I was feeling pretty crappy at this point, a cold, a really bad one, so I treated myself to a stay at the freaking amazing Marriott Hotel, a Deluxe Executive room no less. On the 27th floor, with a view over the tin roofs of the city. I laid in the bathtub watching the sunset over the city through a floor to ceiling window and then I watched tv, all from the tub. I think I was in there about 3 hours, I left quite a filthy ring in that tub. I also neglected to photograph the magnificence to share with you, I blame my sick brain.

I flew the next morning (still sick) to Banda Aceh, I’d planned to spend 9 days on Pualu Weh, snorkeling and enjoying beach time. However that flight caused my ears to do terrible things and one of them never unplugged, thus I found myself with my very first ear infection ever, and also far away from an English speaking doctor and decent drugs. I made do with what he had on hand but after my second visit and not much improvement he suggested I see a doctor once I got to Singapore ( a flight I had already booked). So that was my plan. However I did get to explore the island by moto a bit, I saw a lovely waterfall and swam in it (head above water of course)…

A very smelly volcano…

Found this lovely old abandoned mosque…

And watched a beautiful sunset from Kilometer Zero…

I also met this guy, we became inseparable (at least while I was eating feeding him)…

I spent a day hanging out in Banda Aceh waiting to take my flight to Singapore. I visited the Tsunami Museum, a very cool building, though unfortunately not that interesting as a museum…

Saw some sights…

And I had a weird experience at a famous mosque, but you’ll have to read about that here instead.

I got that flight to Singapore and went immediately to a doctor. More drugs, a couple visits to an ear, nose and throat specialist and 10 days (and $350 Canadian dollars) later I was deemed well enough to fly onwards into Java.

While I was killing time in Singapore I took lots of pictures and started my serious first efforts at street photography, or candid people shots, what ever you want to call them it was a great way to spend my days while healing and I now have yet another thing that I look for when out walking with my camera!

Whew, almost all caught up now.