Down and Out by the Arau River

banana sellerOn the bridge to the north of an old Padang hotel, a group of vendors sell early evening snacks of sweet corn and roast banana. The corn is grilled over charcoal until the tops of the kernels turn dusty black. Then the vendor hands the ear to her assistant (sous chef?) and she drenches it fast in a drying salt water and a whisk or two more of butter. The results are glorious and crunchy.

Continue reading

130 Years of Krakatoa

Krakatoa_eruption_lithographA hundred and thirty years ago this month Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano erupted, sending plumes of ash so high it discolored the horizon in San Francisco. The explosion killed nearly 40,000 people and dispatched pumice as far away as Zanzibar. The boom is reported to have been the loudest sound ever heard in modern history. Via The Jakarta Post, read more

Continue reading

“Dear Anonymous,”

telephoneIt’s not every day you write an email that starts “Dear Anonymous” and I am honored to have done so today. Continuing to report more on local responses to the groundbreaking new documentary, The Act of Killing. To follow is my note to Anonymous, the silent co-director who worked alongside Joshua Oppenheimer.

Last question: Are you okay? So simple yet so serious.

Continue reading

Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded


“The volcanoes that are truly dangerous are those that don’t erupt,” Winchester explained. “The largest of this nature is in Yellowstone Natural Park in the United States. Everything else will pale in comparison when that erupts.” By that time, however, human life is expected to have long gone extinct. Via The Jakarta Post, read more