A Travellerspoint blog

Mt Bromo, Java

27-10-10 to 28-10-10

sunny 28 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

Wednesday - 8am pick up in minivan to transport us and luggage to Probalingo, a town hub for trips up Mt Bromo volcano. We arrived at Probalingo at 4pm, changed to a different minivan to be taken up the mountains winding roads in the dark fog. Helen and I sat in the front so we had a great view!! Slept at a hostel that im describing as a 'dive'*, where nothing had been cleaned, the bathroom had soil from an air vent spilling down the wall from the ceiling, the toilet was yuk n we had an ant invasion somewhere between the minivan and the hotel room (luckily for me n hel, this only involved dutches bag). Plus I needed food and was served bad* noodles for dinner. (*please note this is a replacement word for blogging purposes, I am sure u can think of worse ones to adequatley describe the 'hotel' once u see photos or hear the description).
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I hate it when locals take advantage of the fact that tourists will be booking on a tour, so no effort is made with service or accommodation. And the tour we were sold ended up having different accommodation to the one we were shown back in yogjakarta when we booked it (we were expecting something like this would happen).

Thursday - Up at 3 the next morning for sunrise at the viewing area on the top of mt nr by for a couple of hrs then on to climb mt bromo.
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I got a horse ride up to the start of the steps (the horses were there, he hill was steep, it took 10 mins and cost about 70p!), climbed the steps alongside a 60yr old man, he over took me, i over took him and so on and so forth (altitude is a killer!) then at the top j enjoyed suffocating by sulphur. It's free n everything! Just breath in the egg fumes at the top of the volcano as they blow towards you. Beautiful.

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All that aside, amazing views, you can go right past the railings and commit suicide in the volcano itself should u wish (I should point out I'm writing this sat at Bali airport the day after a flight cancellation so apoloies if I have a bitter edge in my narrative), but I'm sure you'd have horrific injuries first on the way down since the sides are so steep. If u keep your sanity at the top, and you make it back down the steps you get to drive across the salt planes at the bottom in jeep. Its fun. To stand on the filled in crator of a once humongous volcano that now houses 3/4 smaller volcanoes itself. After all the excitement, it was back to 'hotel' for a 10am pick up to take us back to probalingo.
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Upon arrival at the tour office we were suprised when we were given money back (50,000rp) since the trip was meant to include a ferry n bus to lovina, Bali. However 'suddenly' this section coludnt be arranged. We got a bus to the ferry (6 hrs) then bought our own tickets for the hr ferry journey n out the otherside at 8/9pm when it was dark. we had to negotiate with a bemo driver to take us to lovina. Luckily there were 5 of us because normally you have to pay for the entire bemo or wait for more people to come. I couldn't see much chance of more ppl coming but a French couple did. That sold it and the bemo took us to lovina for the 50k we were refunded. A beautiful start to Bali.

Posted by RosiePony 02:51 Archived in Indonesia Tagged mountains java volcano backpackers Comments (0)

Yogjakarta, Java

24-10-10 to 26-10-10

sunny 30 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

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Sunday - Arriving late last night wasn't as bad as I expected. Yogjakarta is a cool relaxed city where it's safe to go out late at night alone (not that I ever was alone) so we got cash out, walked to Bladock, our hostel and hoped they had room for us all! They did n we went straight to bed since it was about 3am...I got up early ish and went to do a rekky of the area: find a place to hand in laundry and find out prices for Batik courses (more on this later). Walking along the main road there are lots of cycle rikshaws that can hold 2 ppl, and horse drawn carridges taking people down the road (have to do it!). I've learnt the phrase 'jalan jalan' which means just walkin around so no one bothers me too much. It's hustle and bustle down the main road, with stalls of crafts (bags, clothes, jewelry etc) which tempted me into buying some bracelets and a batik bag! Bargained of course ;)
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I returned to meet Helen and Aljan, who then ventured out with me again down the main road in search of food. We ate off a street vendor
(has spring rolls and mie goreng - fried noodles and chicken) which was delicious. Then we visited a batik showroom, where 35 artists
created different pictures on canvas using the batik technique - you use hot wax to create an outline of the design, then add colour and
more wax to build up a picture of your design. Finally the wax is melted off leavin the design clearly seen. Helen and I picked out what
we liked, haggled and I was 'lucky' enough that my artist happened to be in the studio, so I got a piccie with him. After a while I got a
price I was happy with, got the pack and left. It was only when we were walking down the main road and someone came up to us asking if we wanted to see a 'real' batik warehouse that we realised we may have been duped?!
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We went along anyway to compare prices, Aljan teasing us all the while, only to find, they had the same 'unique' batik pictures for sale- luckily at the price I paid, so I didn't feel bad, liked my purchase and could see the funny sideWe took a horse and carriage ride back home (Which has a pool did I forget to say?!) to freshen up then we had dinner. We arranged a batik course for the next day as well as a massage (in need of one from all the bag carry travel in bogor) for the eve and then had a beer n went to bed.
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Monday - Today is our Batik painting course. Very exciting. We designed our patterns of pictures in pencil on a piece of square linen material before being shown the batik process:
- use hot melted wax to protect the material from the colours you add to the design.
- use paraffin wax to protect the colours you use from running with the final colour background.
- melt all wax and you have batik design
This sounds simple but you have to use an old style nib to apply the wax to the cloth and it can spill or blob, the trick is to keep the application slow. Anyway this whole process took the entire day but it was pleasing to see the end results.
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Tuesday - 8am pick up in minivan to the temples, an hrs drive away from yogjakarta. Lunch restaurant is pointed out and we get tickets to the temples, enter the complex, get a free map then head off on our exploration. The first temple is Borobudur. This is a single temple,
with steps leading uptown the main stupor with 4 levels on the way up. Each level depicts different scenes on the walls as you walk round.
The steps are guarded by lions on the base of the main staircases. The steps are not uniform and are steep. I went straight to the top
(Learnt to do this in china since getting up is the hard part, coming down is easy!) to explore and saw the main stupa was surrounded by
lots of smaller stupa in a circle on the level below. Inside each stupa is a Buddha that if u can reach through a hole in the stupa, u
can make a wish on. I could so did, can't tell u wot I wished for tho otherwise it won't come true! I was asked for photos by lots of indonesians so I was reminded of china a bit, then got chatting to some students who wanted to practice their English with me. 20 mins later I had found out their ages (16, 17 and 20), had discussed football, my travels, going to university in indo and how much it costs (lots for them) as well as the uk and if there were any temples there (I mentioned stone henge since it's the only thing I though they could relate too). Back to the minivan to be taken to a mid stop on route, another temple with an admin fee so I bypassed it and visited a Buddha monastery instead which was much more peaceful than walking past the hawkers outside the temples- trying to sell me another batik bag (they wouldn't buy mine back off me when I offered). Then onto pranayama (Hindu temples) which reminded me more of Angkor Watt temples that were four or five temples situated around one main complex. Again steps up each one! So a good workout today ;)
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The thing about these temples is that they have been rebuilt due to 'conservation' since the earthquake in 2002(?). So whilst they look
pristine as they once might have, they have been pull apart bit by bit (or excavated in the case of the earthquake) and then labelled and
reput back together. That's one big jigsaw puzzle! Back in the minivan to yogjakarta where we met dutch for dinner at the hotel. We had arranged a massage the previous evening for 9pm tonight - my massage was with hot jasmine oil for 1.5hrs (blissful sigh)...as I was lying there I heard Dutch finish his massage (it was an hr), rustle around and say the fateful words we've been teasing him about ever since "excuse me, may I show you something?". I knew instantly Whiteley and I had the same thought reactions ('it's not THAT kind of massage parlour'), but in dutches defence, he IS a qualified physiotherapist and genuinely wanted to share knowledge. So whiteley and I found ourselves mid way through a physio seminar held by Dutch at 11pm the eve before we have to get up at 7 to go climb a volcano! Classic. Pity the Indonesian boys who did the massages didn't look remoteley Interested. But in thanks the owner gave Dutch a buddha head statue which he is still reluctantly lugging round in his bag, ha ha ha.

Posted by RosiePony 04:53 Archived in Indonesia Tagged java backpacking yogjakarta Comments (1)

Indonesia - Jakarta

19/10/10 - 24/10/10

sunny 30 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

Tuesday - Arrived in to Jakarta airport at 11.00pm Jak time (1 hr in front of Malaysia) but had managed to sleep on the flight out here, which I kinda got upgraded on - it was a pretty empty flight so i got to sit at the emergent exit, a new level of responsibility for someone who was feeling like crap from a stomach bug :s
Going through the airport rigmarole was smooth, got my visa, went through customs, got my baggage (saw bag as it was about to go back out into the world of conveyor belts but couldn't run for it in time), then exited to crowds of people waiting to collect their respective relative or business colleague. Searched for whiteley... Nothing! Turns out she is stuck in the hugest passport control queue that I must have missed. An hrs wait later n she emerges from the hubub bags in tow. In the meantime I'd arranged a taxi (although we found out later it was a rip off taxi) to the hostel. News to me, Indonesia doesn't really do hostels, since hotel rooms are so cheap. But I found one anyway n it's turned out to be amazing - it's an apartment with a pool, jackoozie and shops outside. The owner is an interior decorator so it's beautiful inside! The girls who manage things are v helpful n friendly.

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Wednesday - After a good nights sleep - the dorm room houses 8 guests in bunkbeds, and the duvets are amazing, like being back home in uk and their is aircon too!! I got up n had some porridge drink, took my meds then asked the girls what they recommend doing in Jak. The plan for today is to do nothing but rest n sleep, enjoy the pool etc. So we had lunch at a nearby restaurant then sat by the pool, read magazines (catching up on uk gossip) and napped :-)
For dinner we ventured out to a shopping mall where I got some new shorts (thank you M n S!) then we had dinner- a REAL salad for me,
with an egg n everything!! Been craving fresh greens for a while now...so satisfied :) And my stomach was behaving itself. So well see how tomo goes as we are exploring the city by foot, and heading onto our next destination by train. Or that's the plan.

Thursday - I let Whiteley sleep in to recover from jet lag, then we got read n headed out to the mayhem that is Jakarta. Now as cities go, I thought it was pretty same same the main difference between it and say, KL is that Jak is way dirtier! Like, way way dirtier. But not as bad as Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), still my worst polluted city. So we got a cab (they're metreds and cost less than a pound anywhere, so why not?!) to he national monument, took photos then walked (in the heat humidity hot hotness) to the national history museum which told us alot about Indonesian history re old artefacts. Now, this excited Whiteley as an archaeologist, and me as a geographer, who like old things and maps! So we spent til way past lunch there. My tummy noticed this n protested loudly but then we were escorted round the fourth n final floor which held gold and ceramics by what looked suspiciously like school children since they all shared the same light blue school top uniform, who read the english card translations outloud for us whilst pointig at said object. Felt rude to fob them off so endure a further 20mins before practically running round the rest of the floor to finish. Then we walked to the backpacker area, Jalan Jaksa to see what we were missing. Turns out nothing and that our hostel rocks! It's such a shammy run down looking street with hardly any westeners or backpackers (sometimes a good thing but not in this case) so we had lunch in a bar there cos we needed food but it was forced on my part. Then back to the hotel for naps before exploring our apartment block for dinner. Bit disappointing, as ended up with noodles from the corner shop... :( can't wait to be able to eat normal food again!
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Friday - We woke up early, checked out n got taxi to Gambir train station. We bought our tickets to Bogor (10,000rp £0.70p) which is 1 hr by train. However, this depends when the train actually gets into the station. We had another train waiting at the platform we were due to board the train to bogor, and so the train from bogor (whih turns into the jakarta - bogor train that we needed) was held at another out of town station. This meant that despite turning up at the train station at 9.30, we left on the correct train at 12.30. And it was longer than an hr due to passenger numbers and stop offs.
A new phenomena I experienced was a female only carriage (guarded by 4 male armed guards) which we didn't actually ride in because we had met Aljan, a dutch guy who started chatting to us during our train wait. He is travelling indo for 2 months and so far has joined us in our adventures from Jak to Yogjakarta (not that this isn't a current blog...ahem!)...Upon arrival in Bogor we came across the tourist info centre who told us the hostel of our first choice (can u see this coming?!) was fully booked so our second choice would be better. Hot n tired we couldnt b bothered to argue so we went to our second choice nearby.
It turned out to be ok, Helen and I shared a double room costing less that our last hostel beds put together. The room was sufficient if a bit damp. We were right above the river, which I can imagine u all thinking is lovely, but in reality, imagine this: a brown river (it's slash n burn time of yr so the rivers have high silt contents) wih rocks that stop the rubbish from freeflowing downriver. Rubbish pile ups can be seen generated by the ppl living in houses on the opposite bank simply casting away their rubbish as far as they can into the river wihout a second thought or backward glance. Next time you curse the bin men for forgetting your bins or not doing an efficient job, remember at least you have bin men!
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After an afternoon nap, we explored town (a dirty small town not v salubrious and bit dodge) trying to find somewhere for dinner. Not caving into the KFC monopoly out here (I considered it, but would set me back ill wise) meant eating back at the hotel, so we took our bearings, noted the Internet cafe and headed back for dinner. Despite ordering Nasi goreng (fried rice) it was too oily so I resorted to peanut butter sandwiches whilst Hel did a 'dad' and became the human dustbin (she remains stick thin despite her intense love relationship wih chips!) :)
Internet after dinner - can't upload photos yet so will have to wait :( home then bed...

Saturday
We got up very early (met for breakfast at 7.30) and checked out of our accommodation. We took our bags and got a local minibus partly
towards the botanic gardens. I say partly because when u agree a price for 'three' per person, you think it means 3,000rp (locals pay 2,000rp) but the greedy drivers hink it means 30,000rp. Now, this is pittance, I know that and they know that but the principle is, pay what the locals pay relative in the scheme of things otherwise ppl get greedy, and u waste travel money. So we paid 3,000rp and got out halfway there, meaning we sweated our butts off (nicest way I could phrase that, sorry!) walking with my 16kg (????? Plasters?!) backpack on my back and mini bag on my front to the botanical gardens getting lost on the way (Whiteley was map reading!).
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So were the gardens worth it. No! Not at all. Silly Lonely Planet saying u could spend half a day there! I'm glad I've gone for the challenge, experience blah blah but it was like walking round the lost world and coming across the occasional sign in Latin for the plant species. The only redeaming feature was the restaurant which served us fish n chips for breakfast at about 11am! Not to mention the school kids who were out in force. One teacher spotted me and called me over, kids swarming to engulf me. The teacher made the kids practicetheir English by pointing at a child n makinthem ask me a question ('how old are you?') etc. I answered them all the the Yeager leapt into singing! The next thing I know all
the kids start singing 'kae sera sera...(what ever will be will be...)'! So of course me Helen and Aljan join in at the top of our lungs ;) classic!
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After the gardens we got a bus for 4 hrs to Bandung (40,000rp £2.50), got off the bus, realised it was much the same as Bogor but perhaps
slightly bigger, so we got a local bus to the train station (after waiting for 45 mins for it to fill up, watching the hawkers sweep throughthe bus selling mangoes, cigarettes, busking songs etc) then booked a train to Yogjakarta (110,000rp £6) which is where I am writing this from (the train). The train ride to yogja (as its called) is 8 hrs so we get into the city at about 1am. Not ideal but necessary I think given our travel time scales. It's now quarter to Ten in the eve, I woke up at about 4am this morn then again at 7.30 when the alarm actually went off, so I am cream crackered! Need a lie in, laundry, and a nice hot shower :-) Then beddy byes... Zzzzz

Posted by RosiePony 04:46 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta indonesia backpacking Comments (0)

Back at 'KK'

16/10/10 - 19/10/10

sunny 28 °C
View RTW Part 2 (Aus/New Z/Cook Islands ... home time) on RosiePony's travel map.

Back home at the beachouse :-)

Sunday - spent day doing nothing and it was great! Last day of taking medication. Went to supermarket briefly and had food, watched tv, relaxed. Slept.

Monday - Liz's birthday (happy birthday Lizzeeee). I slept in, ate, went on Internet, read, ate, called Liz, ate then went out for dinner. Went for a walk along the beach and then went to bed.

Tuesday - had stomach cramps again last night so this morning went to see the kk docs. Got a 11.30 appointment, was seen at 12. Now waiting for medication. Had an injection to stall my stomach (it's in overdrive at the mo aparantly). Gonna get some immodium, charcoal
tablets and was told to eat porridge (yuk!) and soup... Then when feelin better I'm allowed my favoite drink that I discovered out here (after iced Milo) 100plus (electrolyte drink) :D silver lining and all...

Now I have meds, and have been to the supermarket n got porridge drink (quite nice actually, thanks nestle) so have had dinner (peanut butter sandwich followed by porridge drink) and am now sat at airport waiting to see what gate I am boarding at - although there are only 4 to choose from so it seems a tad irrelevant really...I'm sleeepy tired. Plane is meant to land at 11.10 Jakarta time then have to get baggage
etc and meet Whiteley! So I will no longer be a solo traveller :-) for 3 weeks at least ;) it'll be a nice change. I just need to sleep n get over this bug then I'll be on my way to traveldom again... I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by RosiePony 04:39 Archived in Malaysia Tagged malaysia borneo backpacking Comments (0)

Uncle Tans - Sepilok

14/10/10 - 16/10/10

all seasons in one day 26 °C

Thursday - Had dinner, watched tv, read and prepared bag for trip into the jungle the following afternoon.

Friday - However, the next morning I awoke with stomach cramps, another ear infection and diarrhoea :( I was taken into sandakan to the docs where I got a zillion pills after registering and waiting. Back at the base camp in sepilok, I got medicated up and went to see the ourangutans in the afternoon. I got a refund for the jungle trip since it was looking very unlikely I'd be well enough to go and the jungle camps facilities would be very basic (no showers) so I took the sensible option, despite the dissappointment.

At the ourangutan sanctuary you go down a walkway to the feeding platform. On the way we (I was with an English couple from Uncle Tans) saw a male juvenile playing in the trees. Then on the feeding platform there were two mums with infants feeding on the fruit left there. After ten mins some males came to eat, their presence being made clear by the tussling bushes and treetop movements causing one of the mums left via a rope. I took photos and videos to try n capture the moment I am so inadequatley trying to describe!
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It started to rain (downpour) so I got a taxi back to the camp with a Japanese lady staying there too. I felt pants so went back to bed. I spent the evening chatting to a British couple I met at the ourangutan sanctuary, who were wry nice.

Saturday - I got up and booked my bus ticket back to kk, then spent the morning packing my bag ready for the afternoon. The bus came at 2pm and cost 30 ringgit, taking about 6 hrs. As the bus rounded yet another corner (trying to go to the toilet was near impossible so quickly gave that idea up) we stopped off for a break in a small town on the way to Mt Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in SE Asia. The sun was setting as we drove past the mountain, beautiful! Joe from the hostel met me in a pickup van since the bus stop was 8k away from kk city. Priorities back at the hostel after dinner: put my washing on, had a shower n went to bed!

Posted by RosiePony 05:37 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking sepilok Comments (1)

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