Bali IB DP English

In Cultural Context, Max Havelaar, Mrs Havelaar's Travel Despatch, Tina Havelaar on 16/04/2009 at 14:13
our last sight of holland

our last sight of holland

Mrs. Havelaars travel and culture diary

When my husband, who is in the coffee business, informed me that we were going to travel to Java, I was shocked yet excited. I decided it would be a new adventure for our family, so as I agreed and my husband, son and I left for Java. I knew it was going to be a challenge, the different culture and customs of the land and people. But I was ready; I decided to create a column to send back to Holland monthly to be published in the local newspaper, so people will be able to read about Java from a different perspective other than the usual coffee traders’ articles (which usually are about coffee). Our journey was certainly an adventure, my last photograph of Holland (as seen above) is when we were about to board the ship, our first stop was Cape Town then the south of Africa, India and finally our destination, Java. Traveling with little Max was not easy, he grew restless when we were at sea for long periods of time. There was never any fresh food and I often became sea sick. I recommend to all travelers making this trip to bring crackers, I found that this helped a lot with overcoming sea sickness. We were traveling with coffee and spice traders, one of the pepper traders, Hans, was an older man who had many experiences over seas in foreign lands and at night he would entertain us all with wild stories, little Max enjoyed these. Sometimes his stories would scare us, stories of pirates and ship raids in the Indonesian waters. As we reached these waters I couldn’t help but look out for pirates, my husband thought I was being ridiculously paranoid. When we reached Java there was a large group of natives waiting for our arrival they had fruits, in woven baskets which were beautiful, and their clothing! The men wore long skirts called a sarong, the women wore these as well. Beautiful cloth, intricately woven with marvelous dyes and patterns, it was hot and humid, very different from the cold weather in Holland. We then had to travel by horse pulled carts to our new home but before Max had to have a meeting with Javanese royal members which was very tiring as I had to wait and look out for little Max and we were both restless from the long trip. Although something interesting did happen during their meeting, little Max was near the royal members and two of the men started talking in the native language, Indonesian, and looking at the top of his head. Apparently he is a royal child because he has a user-useran, a double crown of hair which in Javanese culture is meant that the owner is destined eventually to wear a royal crown. I found this to be a charming thing to learn about the culture and cannot wait to learn more, I am already quite taken with the country and am excited to share my excitement with Holland.

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