Stories from Indonesia:
HOT TIMES IN JAVA - Nearby world
wonders Borobudur and Prambanan draw more tourists, but off-the-track sites
like Dieng Plateau and Gedung Songo offer equally-ancient architecture in
stunning settings with another advantage: no queues. For Time Magazine, join me
on a jaunt
in Central Java.
THE BEST HOMEBREW - What better way to savor Java's smoking volcanoes than at sunrise, from the balcony of your own luxury villa? Even better, while sipping some of Java's finest coffee, produced from surrounding plantations of the organic grounds of the new Losari Coffee Plantation resort.
BATIK CENTER - Bali and Yogyakarta are its biggest boosters, but experts say the best batik by far comes from Cirebon, a coastal port that also claims succulent seafood and art everywhere you look.
STEAMING BACK IN TIME - A quirk of history means that Indonesia claims Southeast Asia's finest collection of vintage rolling stock. Train-spotters are in for a thrill at the Ambarawa Train Museum, where you can board a 100-year-old steam engine on a trip back in time.
After East Timor, what Indonesian hotspot will be next to go? Will a new president be able to maintain stability in a diverse nation of hundreds of ethnic groups across 13,000 islands, or will the nation fragment like the next Yugoslavia?
Is Megawati the Queen of Javanese Justice, like the people pray, or the daughter of darkness, as longtime ruler Suharto felt? That's the question in Indonesia as political deal-making goes on behind closed doors, while coup fears run rampant in the riot-plagued capital of Jakarta. Can the daughter of founding father Sukarno save the nation, or does she, as critics say, lack the vision thing?
Muslim clerics in Indonesia say Megawati, meaning any woman, is unfit to lead a nation, especially the world's largest Islamic one. One wonders if they ever looked around Asia, where more women have taken power in greater number - and earlier - than even in "liberal" western nations. Look at the list of sisters in power.
Kaliklatak, East Java - Java is the largest island in this exotic archipelago, a place of teeming jungles, temples and wild tribes. But after a day of adventure, nothing is better than heading to an Eden-like paradise to enjoy a home-grown feast and the best cup of Joe in Java.
Sumba, Indonesia - Spears fly and blood flows, as the worms wash ashore in a sexual frenzy when the moon is full over Sumba. Then, and only then does the unique festival of Pasola brings a carnival of killing and sacrifice to the head-hunting tribes of Indonesia.
Gusmao and Aug San Suu Kyi by Ron Gluckman; rest by David Paul Morris