Thursday, 20 December 2012


Social media

Love it or not, social media is increasingly becoming a feature in our lives. 
And how about (social) soaking? 

Well, you are of course all familiar with the Facebook page of Soaking in Southeast Asia. Besides this there are many other hot spring Facebook pages, mostly dedicated to just the one soak. Particulary active are the U.S. Facebook pages of Cougar, Deep Creek and Pah Tempe. Beyond these though there's no much on offer, surely no regular original content. 
Certainly not in Southeast Asia. Or is there? (Note, there are many Japanese language hot spring pages ...).

Twitter? No idea.

Pinterest? What about this one, I Love Hot Springs? Personally, I don't get Pinterest ...

Soaking spirit, my alter ego on Tumblr, seems to be the globe's choice of tumblr soakers. There are though a few more solely dedicated to hot springs, but with very irregular postings ...

Instagram seems to receive quite a lot of photo's concerning nextgen soakers, just use the search function followed by #hotspring.

Surging ahead
Ongoing drama. The CS Monitor (Nov. 5, 2012) questions nuclear or geothermal for Japan. 
'Located nine miles southwest of Fukushima city, Tsu­chi­yu is launching a bold test in harnessing the potential of Japan's huge subterranean reserves of volcanic water.
By spring 2014, Tsuchiyu hopes to be generating 250 kilowatts of electricity – about a quarter of its total needs – at a new geothermal plant located on its outskirts'.
The Financial Times (Nov. 4, 2012) then has an article on the same theme, but concerning Indonesia. It notes many regulatory and technical shortcomings but remains upbeat:
'As the world’s most volcanically active country, Indonesia has been bestowed with unparalleled potential reserves of geothermal energy, which is renewable and produces almost no carbon emissions.
With the Indonesian government trying to fulfil surging energy demand while reducing carbon emissions, it is keen to accelerate the development of a raft of proposed geothermal power plants backed by local and international investors'. 
Though it highlights the dilemma between soaking and electricity generation in Japan, it neglects the issue in Indonesia. Is there no dilemma in Indonesia?

Apparently not, Japan's Sumitomo completes a 110 MW plant on Sumatra, Indonesia: 
'Located in the Ulubelu district, Tanggamus county in Lampumg Province at the southern tip of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, the Ulubelu power station was built as the first large scale geothermal power generating facility on the island'.
Malaysia is developing it's first geothermal plant, to commence in two years. What the future entails
'In addition, to enable access to the project site and transport drilling rig, plant and equipments, an access road of approximately 18km in length, including 3 bridges, need to be constructed'. 
Soakers need not apply.

Meanwhile things are going so smooth on Leyte, Philippines: 
'Several groups have joined forces to oppose the sale of the unified Leyte geothermal plants on Leyte, Philippines. This is based on the fear of increasing electricity prices for the single most important power plant complex in the country'.
Just (or unjust?) politics then...

Create your own?
  • Malaysia
A new find, Kampung Bongkek, Negiri Sembilan, Malaysia. From the New Strait Times (21 Oct., 2012): 
'The hot spring can still be seen today, right by the river bank and  with shrubs growing around it.
Basri said there were suggestions and efforts to develop the hot spring to attract more tourists to the village, in view of its history.
“However, the land belongs to someone who is not willing to give it up yet so we have no right to develop it”'.
  • Singapore

'Tekong Hot Spring'.
Singapore. From flickr member chia_alfred
  • Indonesia
Another write up on Angseri hot springs, Bali, Indonesia. It adds this: 
'The natural attractions in Angseri Hot Spring used only as a traditional bathhouse. Starting from the strong desire of local communities to manage the hot water source and on the idea of ​​thinking Angsari six villagers in October 2007 where it was built and opened to the public a comfortable bathing area. Furthermore formed groups totaling 80 people and brought the name of the citizens Angseri Group Is Nature Angseri with legal forms CV'.
Another Angseri experience:
'Each cabin contained a stone bathtub, large enough to seat five people. A black-and-white checkered cloth covering the lower part of the bamboo walls allowed some privacy to soak in the invigorating, clear water that was hot enough to render my friend’s skin as red as a boiled prawn'. 
The same author also condures up the following on the hot springs of Tempuran, Wonosobo: 
'The first ponds weren’t exactly located in Wonosobo, but in a similarly blessed district on its west:  Banjarnegara. The hot springs were scattered in a neighborhood called Wanayasa, and together they form a bathing compound called Tempuran.
Please be warned that you shouldn’t go there at night, the way we foolishly did. We gambled with our lives when thick mist suddenly blanketed the hills and we had only about a five-meter field-of-view of the road, kind of like in the horror movie Silent Hill. All the while a deep gorge was on one side of the path we traveled on our motorbikes. My ex cried and begged to go home. But we soon forgot the terrifying time spent on the route from hell once we got to Tempuran.
Tempuran has different ponds for males and females, but the last two don’t. Women and little kids usually go there earlier than the men. To give you a heads up, most people bathe naked in all of these ponds'.
'A hot springs pond in Tempuran late at night. Cold and traumatized, we quickly jumped into it as soon as we arrived. Photo by Indra Nugroho'.
And steadying the nerves. Can anyone tell me why the need to smoke?
  • Thailand 
Sometimes soaking news can be very special: 
'Occupiers of a row of rented apartments in Huay Yai Village, located on the southern outskirts of Pattaya [Thailand] reported the possible discovery of a geothermal hole situated at the front of one of the apartments on Wednesday afternoon.
Although highly unlikely, officials from the Pollution Control Department, the Department of Natural Resources & the Environment along with Huay Yai Municipal Officers led by the Mayor of Hua Yai made their way to the block of rooms to see for themselves the hole which had been created by locals to uncover the hot undersoil which was producing steam.
A thermometer recorded a temperature of 50C inside the hole and a demonstration involving a Chicken egg took place whereby it was cooked and ready to be consumed in under 20 minutes after being placed inside the hole. Checks were made and an explanation was given by officials who blamed poor installation of electrics and the rise in the water table due to recent rains. We were told that checks on the electrics installed in the rooms, which were constructed 4 years ago, indicated a leak of power into the ground which accounts for the occupiers unusually high electric bills which, up until now, could not be explained. As the water table rose it came into contact with the leaking electric causing the water to increase in temperature and evaporate which produced the steam and made the ground warm under-foot'. 
Can't believe it's true ...

Is there a post 21st?
What will the future look like?
'Tongjing Hot Spring Resort will start construction at the end of 2012, planned to be completed in March 2013, after which it will become a tourism highlight in Chongqing, the hot spring capital of the world, according to Chongqing Municipal Government on November 5, 2012.
Covering 342 mu with an investment of 1.28 billion yuan, the Resort is located in Tongjing Town, Yubei District, Chongqing. It will be built in accordance with the national 5A standard with a capacity of 1 million tourists. The hot spring center covers an area of 75 mu, including an indoor hot spring center and a outdoor park, able to hold 2,500 persons'. 
Hope not!

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