If only we were in Bali at the time....
10.07.2012 - 09.08.2012 28 °C
So its back to squat toilets, yummy and sometimes nondescript street food, relying on questionable public transport, not quite knowing whether your being scammed when purchasing toilet roll, vibrant colours, sights and smells, humid nights and even hotter days.......... Its back to the hustle and bustle of South-East Asia.
First Island Java
Our first night we arrive into Jakarta airport slightly anxious and anticipating a long debate and possible bribery at the visa desk as to why we do not have an onward ticket out of the country. Who knew this was a requirement to enter Indonesia.....With deportion in the fore front of our minds and with luck on our side we managed to squirm our way past immigration (thanks to to the guy who just started his shift and didn't bother checking our onward tickets that we didn't have) and we finally entered Indonesia.....
We scrambled outside of the airport and headed straight for the bus. It was here where I noticed that everyone who pointed us in the right direction or gave us any info were genuinely being helpful and were not trying to scam us, something that I don't think I have experienced alot in Asia but I am liking it a great deal.
We spent a couple of days in Jakarta organising transport and having a wander round the city. Came across a national monument – couldn’t actual tell you much more about as everything was written in Indonesian obviously but here is a lovely picture for your enjoyment. What we did find here was that there was alot of ‘hello Mr hello Mrs’ from giggling teenagers wanting a picture of us with them. And then families flying their kites spotting the foreigners and running over just for a photo. I still find it amusing, Somewhere in Indonesia there is a family photo album with us two.
We also came across a fair in Jakarta which happens once a year and it is kind of like a January sales with fair rides for the kids and knocked down foods on sale followed by a parade with princesses, brass bands, doctors and nurses with ‘blood’ down them. All very random in my eyes but nonetheless very entertaining.
Onwards from here we travelled by bus to Pangandaran, the place we like to call Bety’s. The bus that was meant to take 8 hours took 13 however it was a reasonably comfy bus and we paid an extra dollar for aircon which was a wise move, so there was no major dramas.
We found a sweet little place couldn’t tell you what its called but the lady who ran it was called Bety who made amazing Banana pancakes. We found a local Warung place which did amazing food cooked in the back of the shack for 25,000IDR including drinks (1.75 GBP). Awesome!!
We met some guys on route, little did we know at this point how much time we would spend with them....Emily and Jez who are mates from Hazelmere come out travelling together for 5 weeks and a couple, Joe and Hannah who are travelling for a couple of years. We had some lovely nights having a few drinks and dinners. During the day Brett and I went off to the fish market and tried out the local fish cuisine.
Then we spent the next couple of days hiring a motorbike and riding around the local town and up to Batu Karas. The first day we went it was rammed because it was the end of the holidays for the locals, the following day was completely empty in comparison.
We attempted surfing however I found the current far too strong and failed miserably (It had been a couple of years since we last did it). Of course Brett managed to do it being the sporty type he is....not jealous one bit. Joe and Hannah then did a bit and just put us to shame really.
We soon realised we were moving on the same time as the other guys to a place called Yogyakarta. A place full of sweet little alleys, each alley has its own unique design every corner we turned. Indonesia is known for its batik art especially more so in Yogyakarta so we thought it rude to visit Indonesia and not purchase any art. We even met the artist as they had an exhibition on at the time. That is now on its way home to the UK to be stored.
On one of the days we all went to Borobudur, this itself is a buddhist temple that is in the ranking with Bagan and Angkor Wat....It also cost $20 to get in but thats ok because its going to be amazing, we even got to wear a sarong kindly placed on by security (although I did already have my legs covered so I still do not understand this concept?) It was ok, nothing to what we were expecting. Maybe we have been spoilt in Nepal with the magnificent, vibrant stupas and religious sites, however the restoration of Borobudur was quite interesting. The temple was covered by volcanic ash in 1006 and not found again until 1814, since they have been restoring it following another natural disaster by a volcano erupting.
From Yogyakarta we were all splitting up and going our seperate ways. Brett and I were going to Surabaya at 7am in the morning, Joe and Hannah were to to Solo and Emily and Jez were flying to Bali which we were suprised at how cheap it was to fly there. So that evening we all sat having a beverage I think Emily said something along the lines of, ‘do you fancy changing your plans and coming to Bali with us...’ It was too tempting. We cancelled our boat ticket and booked a flight to Bali (38GBP!) and the next day instead of travelling on a sweaty train to Surabaya we were flying to Bali.......
In total we spent two weeks Island hopping with Emily and Jez, at which point Brett and I decided that this would be our first year anniversary holiday. We started in Kuta which to be honest is very much like Khao San Road. Crazy manic and many drunken holiday makers. However this was just a port to begin our island hopping. We met a tour agent ‘Bat’ who did a cracking deal for us 4 and also mentioned he does visa extensions without us having to have an onward ticket (of course paying a little extra). So we thought he was a trust worthy guy and left our passports with him for the next few weeks whilst we went island hopping.
Our first place was Nusa Lembongan, a fishing Island with beautiful beaches, beautiful views, amazing fresh seafood and rather bumpy roads. Our accomodation was amazing with the restuarant heading out to sea. It was Idyllic. Whilst riding round the Island we came across a cliff jump (Hanban you will be pleased to know I did not do this.....But Brett did) 13 meters. Crazy thats all I’m going to say. Jez jumped before he was meant to and was lucky to have caught onto the ladder before the wave got him, however managed to pull a mooney. And then Brett jumped. Fools the lot of them, but survived so added bonus. We spent alot of time eating, lying in the sun (getting an amazing tan which I am swiftly learning I may lose very soon by a major balls up – time will tell) exploring the island via motorbike and playing cards on the veranda.
The next Island we visited was Lombok. It was here where Emily was meeting up with a family friend, Max for the first time in years who lives on the island. I think she was slightly apprehensive – not sure if thats because she was worried that we would also meet him ha ha! He was a very lovely guy and also his mates, he even invited us to his house for a fasting feast as it was Ramadan and in the evenings after sunset they put on a massive feast, it was brilliant and very tasty! We felt very honoured to be invited especially having just met Max and his friends. We spent a day travelling round the island and came across a local waterfall following a local guide across bridges that they made theirselves and taking us to this secluded waterfall. It was stunning. The guys did there manly thing and jumped in off the rocks. It was a very well needed dip as it was a rather hot day. We also decided to spoil ourselves and spend a day at this lovely pool – and it had a pool bar, cocktails everything. It was perfect.
Gili Islands – The place with no roads just horse and cart
...But it has a pizzeria?!
The next day we caught a boat to the Gili Islands, first stop Gili Trawangan. This Island is called the ‘party island’ and Brett and I weren’t going to spend much time on here and our original plans were to head over to the islands during the week. Of course we like to change plans regularly and decided we would stay on this island, it grew on us. Another one of Emily and Jez’s friends lived on this island as a dive instructor, Ellie so we met up with her initially and then she helped us locate a sweet little room. We then literally chilled out for the rest of the week. We went snorkelling one day with Ellie and her crew which was very awesome! And I think it was this night that we met up with Joe and Hannah again. A couple of days in we met up with Felix, a friend of Jez and Emily’s who came on holiday for a couple of weeks.. It was a little reunion on GT. We had many nights of drinking and for me and Brett a couple of ‘detox’ days as the local alchol is not the best on the stomach. The nights I had been warned were to get heavier, and that they did! On a couple of these days of ‘detoxing’ we heading over to Gili Meno. Known as the chill out island and that is pretty much what we did. The first day we headed back to the main land then Brett and I decided to head over again, then we saw the sweetest room on the island with no door and the sea just lapping by our feet, we were in perfect position to watch the sun go down and watch the sunrise – too awesome to turn down so we stayed on that island for the day and night then headed back to GT in the morning. We literally had nothing on us apart from what we were wearing that day so we probably stunk the boat out on the way back home.
The next day was Jez’s 24th Birthday so we greeted him with a large Bintang which i am sure he loved us for We spent the day chilling on the beach, attempting to paddle board and then a few cocktails to start the night. Jez had birthday cake and we went out for a meal which was kindly paid for by Jez. Which in return we all made sure he had an awesome birthday night – It esclated from there.
The following day was our one year anniversary. I think or I know we woke up feeling how Brett felt a year ago on that day – luckily we got to lye in and sweat out the lovely hangover. We met up with the guys for brunch at about 1pm. Literally finished eating and they pulled a suprise on us – they booked us a couple massage and it was amazing and definately needed. Ellie then as a gift for our anniversary gave us this waterproof bag which is fantastic for travelling so we are well equipped now. We chilled out for the rest of the day followed by an evening meal at the best pizza place we have ever been to (Including England – it was run by an Italian.) We finished our day by a couple of drinks followed by a skype home to family (who were having a BBQ for our anniversary). It was great to speak to everyone. It was an awesome First year Anniversary spent with some awesome guys and one we will not forget, thanks guys xxx
So it was back to Bali or ‘Indonesia’......
Back to Kuta for the last few nights of our holiday before going into the depths of Indonesia. That was if we didn't miss our boat back to the main Island. However after much debate we managed to get back that day on a different boat.
The last few days with the guys were spent chilling and having a few beverages. We also had to arrange our transport to our next location which I wish now we went for the first option - which was to go with Bat (the guy who had our passports - which we got back safely) on a tour to Mount Bromo. But we both decided we would arrange it ourselves. Flying stupidly was cheaper to get to where we needed to be followed by us arranging our own accomodation and other transport. So we booked our flights to Surabaya, the following days we said our sad goodbyes to Emily, Jez and Felix. It has been an awesome month spent with them and definately would have been a different experience going to Bali on our own so cheers guys for a rather awesome time!!
We caught a tiny plane and finally made it to Surabaya. We were doing it cheaply so we shunned all the taxi touts and made our way to the local bus. We wanted to get to Gubeng and a local guy showed uis the correct bus. However we suddenly realised half hour in we were going to Tubang - lost in translation.......We got told to jump off the bus as it slowed down, we then ran across an eight laned highway and waved down a bus going in the direction we just came from. We jumped on and made our way back to the bus station. Quite funny and even got to listen to some live local music on the bus. We arrived back at the bus station and got shown the right bus (we hoped) which turned out it was but dropped us off in the middle of nowhere we knew at which point it was dark. We eventually gave in and got a taxi to the train station so we knew where we were on our map. Whilst there we thought we'd book our train tickets to Bromo for the next day. Excellent at least we have got that done. Now to find a hotel. Brilliant found hotel. Check in. Yes we have room........Can I have your passports please.....sure one moment......
Actually no - the passports are still on the plane in the pocket of the seat we were sitting in.
We catch a taxi to the airport, we spend an hour talking to the airline at which point (8.30pm) we decide to get dinner as all we can do is wait to see if they find them. The plane has already left and gone to Lombok....We catch a taxi back to the hotel. Nearly crash the car on the way back because of the driver not getting on with other drivers at which point I insist on him stopping the car to get out. To no avail. He gets the idea and slows done for a bit. We arrive back at the hotel and sleep.....
Realisation sets in
So we are in Indonesia, no passports, no luck in finding them and with the thret of having to go home on a temporary passport to get it sorted........Its not a bad place to be stuck, that would be if we weren't in Surabaya, Bali would have been better given the choice.
Things happen for a reason.......I'm waiting on the reason.
Till next time.
Bethany and Brett xxx
P.S We'll update you on the passport situation soon, we may be seeing you all a lot sooner than we thought.
P.P.S We will be going back out again once we have got the passports sorted. Hoping 2 weeks max.