Day 116: Bandung to Yogyakarta
The violent, unpredictable energy of the volcanoes has created a Garden of Eden as well as a killing field. These plains may have seen devastation and destruction but for now, the rich, intensively cultivated countryside on the road between Bandung and Ciamis is unequivocally benevolent. Amphitheatres of terracing rise on both sides of a narrow valley. I count forty-eight levels on one side alone, all still worked by traditional methods. Men with long-handled rakes push the mud back and forth to make it ready for sowing and women, wading through it up to their knees, insert the carefully husbanded rice shoots. The colour and quality of the soil on these slopes is unlike anything I've seen. It's deep maroon, a rich plum-coloured satin.
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