This morning, National Geographic Orion sailed along the coast of Java to our afternoon destination. Wonderful presentations by Ron and Bergit provided education on the natural history of the Sunda Shelf and Buddhism.
After lunch, we set out for the city of Cirebon. On an island of 140 million, Cirebon is a small city with only 330,000 inhabitants. The word "Cirebon" derives from the Javanese word caruban, meaning "mixed," a reference to the city's mix of Sundanese, Javanese, Chinese, and Arabic cultural elements. Above the city center and not far from sea level rose Mount Ciremai, which last erupted in 1951.
In the spirit of expedition travel, our dry landing turned wet. A wonderful performance welcomed us to this community before we headed to the mayor’s residence. Taking open air buses, we had a police escort to the residence, and we were greeted by a gamelan ensemble. Two of our guests became the guests of honor and were gifted beautiful leis before being escorted to seats beside our hosts. An array of performances welcomed us before we sat down for traditional dances, such as the mask dance. After the performances, we headed for a little shop that sold the traditional batik cloth this city is known for.