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(From Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Byline: Augusto F. Villalon
THE INDONESIAN Railways prestige train, "Aerogede," makes the uphill run from crowded, muggy Gambir Station in Jakarta to the cool hills of Bandung in West Java in three hours.
Vistas change with altitude. Rice paddies that texture flat land around Jakarta give way to tea plantations as temperature cools. Tea plants grow in neatly clipped, orderly rows, a linear topiary landscape that undulates with the hilly terrain. Growing at still higher altitudes, forests and crisp mountain greenery backdrops the plantations. It is a sight to remember.
Altitude, spectacular mountain views, and cool weather have made Bandung, the capital of West Java, a popular holiday destination since colonial days when the Dutch established the city as a Hill Station to offer relief from oppressive tropical heat that debilitated their European bodies.
In the early 19th century, Dutch …