Papa Jero: a gambelan player who became a businessman

The story of Papa Jero isn’t common. Three years ago, he was leaving in a small house without hot water with his wife and three children. He had no job and spent his days talking and playing gambelan, a traditional music instrument made with bamboo. One day, he went back home with a Swiss guy he met on the road. The Swiss boy felt in love with his daughter…

Three years later, his daughter is leaving in Switzerland and has a 1_year old daughter. Papa Jero is managing a guest house, a coffee cooperative and want to create a English learning center and maybe a restaurant… He has too many ideas, talk with everybody, has many employees and a car. Every Saturday evening, the whole village gather at his place to dance and play gambelan.

Lara and me spent one week with Papa Jero’s familly, cleaning his guest house, weeding his corn field or following him in his business meetings. We really shared his family daily life, learning how to cook Balinese dishes and going to a ceremony in the main temple of Bali. We also start to learn how to play gambelan and the traditional drum.

Here are the pictures:

Gambelan lesson with papa Jero


Bali: offerings in the middle of the rice fields

To be back in Asia is a real pleasure, I can enjoy again the beautiful rice fields, very cheap dishes, temple all over the place and smiles !! I discover Bali with amazement. House temples aren’t a small table any more, but enormous structures and flowers offering in coconut baskets are covering the street. People pray less than in India, but they make offerings and ceremony all the time! Women spend hours every day to prepare the offerings they will spread around the house or use in larger ceremonies with the whole family.  Lara and me are trying to learn the art of preparing offerings with the coconuts leaves…

I spend the first days in Kuta, adating to the Balinese culture. I met there young people belonging to the Permablitz movement. They gather every weekend to transform somebody backyard into an organic garden. Then Lara joined me and we settled for a few days between Kuta and Ubud, in a cute house in a small village. We met the neighbours and have time to visit the beautiful « Green School » constructed only with bamboo… Such an amazing place !


We then spend two nights in Ubud in a new ayurvedic center and hosted by a couchsurfer. Enough time to enjoy an ayurvedic massage, a yoga lesson, discovering some local handy craft, visiting a spices plantation and getting lost in the rice fields… I convinced Lara to hitch-hike around. We never wait more than 5 minutes, and it is a great way to met many people and learn the Indonesian language. So we hitch-hiked to the North of Bali to reach Bedugul and meet papa Jero. But this is another story…

And here are the pictures:

very atistic !!

From Brisbane to Darwin: hitch-hiking in the Australian outback

Lara and me traveled 6 days to reach Darwin, 3 200 km away from the Sunshine coast. Fortunately, hitch-hiking has never been easier, because heat could reach easily 40°C. Stephan drove us on the first hundred kilometers, and 4 rides later we spent our first night in a public garden surrounded by wallabies. The next day, after two nice ride, we meet Wayne and Dave, truck drivers carrying glass windows and doors. They are almost finishing their day, but they will drive us far tomorrow. So we camp in a private house garden and wake up at 5am to hit the road with our new friends. The sunset on the road is amazing, but ends up in a brutal encounter with a kangaroo. There are unfortunately many of them smashed on the side of the road. This 3rd day, we travelled 1200km in a dry savanna with very small hills with trees or red sand full of termites mounts. We cross a few towns every 200km: it is better to not run out of gas !

We spent our 4th night near a natural warm swimming pool in rocks in the middle of a tropical forest. We cooked bunya nuts on the fire, we enjoyed with some left over of cheese: simple but delicious! The spot was so magic that we decided to stay there the whole morning. So we only hitch-hiked 100km that day, to reach Katherine. We met there many aboriginal people and finaly spent the night in their garden, discovering their history and their culture around a few beers… Hitch-hiking and camping enabled us to meet amazing people, whose stories taught us different sides of the Australian life. We learned a lot about aboriginal people, cattle and mining business but also the ecological issues of Australia.

We traveled to last hundred kilometers with a family, and stopped on the way to see a beautiful waterfall. We spent one night at their place before couchsurfing in Darwin. Darwin is a quiet little town, and it’s good to be able to rest there for a few days before starting the Indonesian adventure…

Here are the picture: