Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indonesia Java & bali

Well i think its about time i updated this thing! I am in Australia at the moment getting re-acquainted with the western world (and western prices boo!!!)

So i decided again (because my life is so hard right now!) that i deserved some chill-out time at a tropical Bali! But of course going by land is the most interesting way! I stopped for a night in the city of Bandung and i will never forget this place as i had the most comfortable bed EVER!!! Wow i just sunk into its cosyness as it melted away all the pain from my achy post-mountain climbing muscles! I actually stayed another night or two in Bandung just to sleep in the bed again!

There was something here that was so unusual to the other asian cities....the beggers and homeless people just kind of got on with their life, i didnt get asked once for money even when i said 'hallo' to them. Oh this was brilliant, i decided that the people here deserved some money for not harassing me so i went around like a little fairy giving out a few pence here and there....probably about E5 in total but so much to these folks.

One homeless family, there was the grandmother minding a baby and the mother trying to dry their clothes by hanging them on a bush, and all of their belongings in a little bundle on the ground. I walked past them and said 'hallo' and the lady gave me a tired smile and well i decided they were going to get the star prize of 20,000 rupies!!! (....thats about E1.50) they were so grateful and happy about this it made me super happy! What a good day that was! I also bought myself an indonesian-english dictionary as i had learnt the basics in the mountains in Sumatra i was dying to say some new words!

So enough of the citylife, i hopped on a bus to a place called the Dieng Plateau. I had great craic chatting to everyone on the bus using my dictionary! It was a long, long journey though, after about 14 hours i just had to hop on one small bus that looked a bit like a rocket to get to the village i was going to. This man came over to sit beside me and started asking me in a Barry White kind of voice ....'do you like to make luuuuurve?' , so i said 'Yes with my HUSBUND'. Oh jaysus this didn't deter him in the slightest, he was singing to me and asking would i like to make luuuurve with him for the whole damn journey. It was funny to a point, he asked me was i scared of him, i took out my dictionary and explained no im not scared, just bored of him. This was a little more effective.

Anyway this place was feckin brilliant!! The whole plateau is filled with volcanos and hot springs and beautiful lakes....ahhhh i was in heaven! It was also quite chilly which was a welcome relief from the last few months of hot and humidness. It was lashing rain when i arrived so i threw my bags into the only guesthouse and i decided that i would just think about the state of the place later! Off i went for a little walk.

Chickens trying to shelter from the rain

I found some nice temples almost hidden in the mist that was covering the plateau, it gave the place a really eery, mystical feel. This place was also full of the funny, mad people i have found to live in mountain areas in asia. One woman with the worst sun/wind burnt lips i've ever seen kept grabbing me by the arm and kissing my cheeks EVERYTIME i walked past, thanks to the ole dictionary i was able to chat away to this woman and she loved that i had sunburnt lips too!

Misty temples

It was so strange...this place really reminded me of Dharmasala...a lovely place in the mountains in North India then i came across or what!

This area was just covered in these gorgeous trumpet flowers, they smell so fresh and sweet and the smell just fills the air.....ahhh nature is great!! The locals also informed me about its psychadelic seeds and how many locals have gone a bit mad (madder?) from it.

This temple is right opposite my guesthouse and as it is still Ramadan in Indonesia there was chanting going on here 24 hours a day. There was this one chant that went from 8-9.30pm just one man singing, without a break it was amazing and it put me into a deep sleep everynight!

Just for the craic i put my scarf around my head like the muslim headscarf and everyone was so interested to know if i was really a muslim?? Great folks in this little village a very, very friendly place and just a little bit mad....exactly how i like it!

Later that day i walked to a volcano tons of steam was pumping out of it so i wasn't sure how close i could safely go...was there lava inside or what!? Oh i just had to find out....well i decided in the end it was better to live than find out as when i got close it was actually a bit frightening, an extremely load boiling sound, and steam blowing all over the place, and the strange feeling you might just 'fall-in' if you go too close! Anyway here's a pic to give you an idea of it!

The other super-amazing thing i saw in this area was the 'colour lake'. So because there is so much sulphur around here from the volcanos lots of it seeps into the lake making it a bright turquoise.

This lake also had bubbles coming up all over the place!

The highlight of my trip to this village was to see the sunrise view, across the mysterious plateau to the volcanos. This required a 4am start, a friendly local fellow assured me 'oh no not too misty!' so off we went.

Now before you get excited this is what it SHOULD have looked like....

For me unfortunately it was a little on the misty side....i could barely see the end of my arm for gods sake!! Anyway he promised to bring me up again the next day, possibly better view

The forest all around the place was sooo cool though! Very mystical

After this he brought me to the hot springs!!! Well i became addicted to hot springs in a little village in India called Vashist (which i stayed for a month just because of them!!) so i was very excited about this. Also the cold, dampness of Dieng was starting to get to me, i had no proper warm clothes and i after a few days i was feeling the cold in my bones!

The hot-spring was just bang in the middle of the mountains, oh it was SO SO good to soak in here just listening to the birds. I felt so clean after....but one problem i stunk of sulphur oh noooo! This was terrible. I was avoiding the ice-cold shower in my guesthouse but eventually had to grit my teeth and just get on with it....brrrrr!!!

The next morning i was up again at 4am to check out the amazing promised sunrise..............

Well here we have a little bit more success that yesterday if you look very closely you will see a tiny white dot and this was the sun. He offered to go next day again at 4am but i think i was happy enough not to try again!

The end of Ramadan - Idul fitri, was coming and this is the major event of the year for Muslims...think xmas & new year combined so i thought it was best to get to a city for a few days as i had enough of starving during the day (no food allowed during ramadan until sunset) i didnt want to risk not being able to get food over the celebrations as many folks celebrate this at home with their family.

I headed to the city of Jogjakarta. After getting up the last 2 days to see the sunrise on my first morning there i woke at 4.30am so i went for a little wander. It was so calm and peaceful and you realise what long days the streetfood guys have, starting work by 4.30am and you can still find them at 11pm. By 10am though the place was manic! Crowds of indonesians come to this town to celebrate Idul Fitri so the the place was pretty buzzing with every type of market you can imagine.

I moved into to Jaya's house for a few days. A nice couchsurfer guy who was from Borneo but lives now in Jogjakarta with his two supercute, happy dogs! Its great to meet someone who loves dogs as much as me especially in a muslim country where dogs i have been told are seen as dirty so there are not many around. Jaya was a supercool guy who managed Indonesias most famous band! His house was a haven of peaceful music and happy dogs. We rode around the city late at night on his 1970's scooter, he brought me to the most delicious indonesian restaurant and we chatted for hours and hours about funny travel stories....this guy has inspired me a lot for my future adventures!

Since i was in the area I visited the famous Borobudur temples, that everyone raved about. Indeed they were a nice set of temples but i realise now after all the travels im all more for a while!!!

Here is Buddha having a look over the plains

Some wasps living at the temple

Busking on the bus!

Some cool grafitti around Jogjakarta

My visa was running out only 6 days left time to go to Bali!! Coming up to almost a year in asia im certainly a hardeded woman when it comes to asian public transport but this was the WORST train journey of my entire travels...19 hours in a sweaty oven where there wasnt even room to make your way to the toilet! I felt very sorry for myself. I kind of went into a sweaty, dehydrated, hungry, tired trance where i stared out the window and switched off my mind even to the pins and needles in my legs from not having any space. Nice sunset though.....thats a very active volcano in the distance.

At first i didnt like Bali too much! I settled for a day or two at Lovina beach on the north of the island. Most of the people here come to Bali for a nice 3 week holiday where they pamper themselves and spend, spend spend! For me right now i was on a very tight budget and after almost a year in asia im so used to the silly stories locals use to get toursits to pay stupid prices that i didnt feel Bali was for me. I think i had become a bit too hardened by all this tough travel!

Lovina beach was a bit of a dump, sewage pouring into the sea beside the guesthouses...

However i walked a few km along the beach and did find some much nicer spots with black sand. I was so proud of myself to be able to speak a bit of indonesian as instead of shooing away the ladies selling stuff on the beach i was like 'come here til i practice my indonesian on ya!'. The ladies were so sweet giving me free fruit while telling me all about their lives. I love this.

Nice Lovina beach sunset.

I decided that even though my budget is supertight i could definately afford to splash on a luxurious place for a night and so i did!! I headed inland to the town of Ubud...supposedly a big spiritual, crystal hugging, hippy spot! A tiny balanese woman picked me up on her motorbike and she drove recklessly (pretty tame by indonesian standards!) to the hotel. Ohhh it was paradise indeed!! My room smelt of fresh flowers and opened onto a pool, surrounded by a garden filled with chirping birds and hindu god statues. I could easily get used to this!

Ubud was a nice spot, pretty much a tourist town. I did a very intensive yoga class and couldnt walk for a day or two after, i walked around a lot, and generally just chilled out in nice cafe's chatting about yoga and mediataion before retiring to my humble abode!

My last stop in Bali was Nusa Lembongan a nice island away from all the maddness! It was a really lovely chilled out place that i could certainly have spent more time in. Just along the beach were about 10 guesthouse and behind this were many many little bamboo huts where the locals lived. This place was famous for its sea-weed and there were huge bundles of the stuff all over the place drying out in the sun. One evening i got chatting to a local woman who took me into her little bamboo house to show me her baby and the room was stacked high with seaweed while the little baby hung from the cieling in a crib.

I hung around with Scott an american photographer who lived in Mumbai. We chatted all about funny, great Incredible India.

Here Scott and I compare our cameras!

Nice sunset on mushroom beach

One morning as i was having my brekkie i got chatting to a friendly surfer guy from the states who had been on the island for 6 months!! He was heading to a little secret beach later that day so a bunch of us rented scooters and off we went. We spent the day snorkelling then chilling out on the beach all to ourselves!

He told me a few weeks ago there were huge waves that washed all the sand away.

Sunset on the island.

Last but not least...the indonesians are crazy about cock fighting. Its their national sport and the locals are very proud of their fightin hens. I was wondering one day why a guy was washing his hen in a bucket of water, gently cleaning his face and feet! He was getting it ready for a big fight!

Some roosters here ready to fight!

These men are chatting about the upcoming match between their prize roosters. The insisted i hold one, very strong birds i have to say!

Woah look at this fellow! I would be scared of him if i was another rooster....

Anyway it has been over 2 months since ive been in Bali so this is about all i can remember! Time now to head to Philippines to meet Dave my wonderful friend from ireland......... I will have to come back to Indonesia again.

1 comment:

Koji said...

Hey! Nice to hear from you! ;)
gros bisous ma belle!