Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Featured Flikr Photos - Jayapura

***This is the beginning of a series I'll be doing of featured photos. Most of the photos are NOT mine, so you'll have to click on the picture if you want to see more about the photographer or more of their work. I draw the photos from public sites like flikr. ***

Jayapura, the Growing Provincial Capitol of West Papua

One of the crazy things about the growth of the technology is the way the world now has access to the tiny town I grew up in. I can do web searches and come up with blogs from people on the island, or type in "sentani" on flikr and come up with a number of people who are photographing the place I call home.

To me, the island of Papua (Irian Jaya on the map below - the name was changed a decade ago) and the country of Indonesia are home, though I don't even have residency. I left when I was 18 to come to the U.S. for college, but I have a bit of a love affair with the beautiful place I grew up in. I never get tired of the photos and stories from home.

Map of Indonesia

To all of you who read my old blog: I am sorry if you are bored stiff of seeing photos like this. :)


This is Jayapura, the capital of the province of Papua. I lived a half hour and then an hour away from Jayapura most of my childhood, but anytime we had to meet with government officials or make a big shopping trip, we made the trip to the "big city". Jayapura HAS grown.

Lovely Jayapura

They now have a KFC. While I was in high school they opened up the very FIRST fast food restaurant in the area, and it was CFC, California Fried Chicken. Never heard of it before? Me neither. It's just like KFC. In Indonesia KFC is usually the first fast food place that makes it to a new town, and over the past few years they finally opened up a branch in Papua.

4000th KFC in Asia

The 4,000th branch in Asia! They serve rice with chicken here. It's a pretty slick little place, and when Isaac and I visited two years ago we took refuge here against the brutal afternoon heat.

And... a nice hotel! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this place. Who stays there???

Swissbel Hotel Papua

They apparently also have a swanky coffee shop and a pizza place. Oh... and a stop light. Well, they've had stoplights downtown for ages, but in my little town of Sentani they didn't get one until just recently. The stop light was there when we visited, and it was pretty funny because no one knew what to do with it. When it went red traffic slowed, some stopped and some didn't. One step at a time, I suppose!

The downtown area is nestled in the foothills of a mountain, and as the city grows it grows UP the hills:

Stepped Houses, Jayapura

And out onto the water:

Floating City, Jayapura

Outside of the dirty downtown, this is a stunning area. One one side is the Indian Ocean, and the town is backed by a 5,000 ft. mountain called Cyclops. On the other side of the mountain is Sentani Lake. It apparently used to be connected to the ocean because the water is a little salty and has a strange mix of ocean and lake fish and crocs.

This is lake Sentani:
Lake Sentani

You see the remnants of jungle, but most of the area is stripped bare because General MacAurther put a base here during WWII, and sprayed the whole area down to kill the trees so that the Japanese troops wouldn't be able to sneak in on them. The remnants of WWII are still in forgotten corners and buried in gardens and the memories of the old folks. Most of them were fiercely against the Japanese and excited about the American troops.

The Papuan population is quickly being outnumber by the transmigration programs of the Indonesian government. The fairer skinned and straight haired Javanese are coming in and taking over the government and business, and bringing Islam with them. I heard recently that the Papuans are now a minority in the Jayapura area.

Western Indonesian transmigrated school kids in Jayapura:
1st Day in School

Muslim Girls

While Jayapura has grown by leaps and bounds, they are still remote and lack a lot of basic infrastructure. With the quick exposure to the modern world, HIV has made its way into Papua and is growing faster then anywhere else in Indonesia. The old killer malaria is still around. For most of the Westerners on the island malaria is something that we live with, like the flu. For the Indonesians and Papuans that don't have access to good medical care, it often becomes deadly:
Malaria, the 'King of Diseases'

There are definitely a lot of tensions on the island between the health, the struggle between cultures through the transmigration program, the Papuan independence movement, the clash of religions, and the ongoing encroachment of modern culture into the stone-age people of the interior. I long to be there, but for now I watch from afar. Despite the tensions, Papua is still a place of striking beauty and peace in many ways. Do I sound like a tourism pamphlet? I feel like one!

Cari Ikan

Next Featured Photo post will be dedicated to the little town of Sentani that is an hour away from Jayapura.

The road out of Jayapura to Sentani:

Sentani Hub, Jayapura

To view other Featured Flikr Photos, see previous posts about the Most Romantic Spots in Chicago, drinks from around the world,  Papuan village life, Sentani, and Jayapura.


junglewife said...

The hotel IS beautiful, isn't it? We've never stayed there but we have eaten a few meals at the restaurant there - it has a beautiful view and decent food. Friends have stayed there and say it's really nice - A/C, pool, little spa, etc. It's surprisingly packed most of the time (we had friends who wanted to stay there and it was completely full) I guess with conferences, etc. Oh, and I guess there is a Swiss-Bel in Manokwari too...

I've heard the statistic too about AIDS growing faster in Papua than in anywhere else in Indonesia. On one hand, that may be true. On the other hand, I kind of wonder if it's because Papua is one of the only places where there is a lot of survey work/treatment being done. I find it VERY hard to believe that Jakarta would not have as much or more AIDS than Papua does. Part of me thinks it's just being kept under wraps...

Anonymous said...

Make the Indian Ocean north of Mount Cyclops and Jayapura the Pacific Ocean...
Keith ... Former Pos 7 Dweller

Anonymous said...

Thanks for share this picture. I miss this town so much. I live my precius 4 years there. Hope to see that beautifull city again soon.....thanks a lot.

erwin ardian

Anonymous said...