We arrived in Jakarta with Katy,Sat and Ruby who were continuing the second half of our intrepid trip with us, Amy and Andzik also with us but they were on the earlier flight.
After landing we all had to queue to get our visa,s, unfortunately there was a power cut and we had to wait about 90mins. We all jumped into a taxi together and arrived at our hotel but had missed our group meeting. There are only four new people on this tour with us, Manuel from Spain and a family from South Africa. Jenny,Hielke and their daughter Bridgette.
Andy our tour guide takes us to a restaurant where we all eat. Then we wander back to our hotel to bed.
We meet at 7.45 after breakfast all ready to leave on our long journey. We take a mini van and taxi to the train station. Our train ride is for 3 and a half hours, but most of us manage to sleep through most of it. We all get something to eat here, mostly sandwiches from Dunking Doughnuts.Then we catch 3 taxi,s to the bus station, where we catch the local bus which takes us to Pangandaran. The bus is quite old and very very leaky ( its raining yet again) and guess what? You can actually smoke on the bus, but luckily not too many people did. The bus took seven and half hours and because of the rain you couldn't,t see too much out of the windows. We did have a quick stop where you could get something to eat if you wanted too. Emma had a buffet meal, which cost about 50p, but she said it tasted O.K.Every bus stop a new busker got on the bus and played his guitar and sang ( luckily most of them were quite good.) The money here is Rupiah and you get about 16,000 to the pound, so you could give a 1000 and they were very happy. WE also had four young singing chickens on the bus, but sadly they were too young to sing. The last part of our journey was by tricycles,which are similar to rickshaws. Our hotel was nice, but after a long day travelling we all go off to bed.
Our hotel is in Pangandaran and its called the sunrise. Its a great hotel, we have a sea view, the rooms are nice and spacious, there is hot water and a swimming pool. the only thing that is missing is the sun. Sadly the weather is very rainy!
I get up about 7.30, have breakfast, then go off for a walk to explore. At some points you can see the sea on both sides of you, obviously the land here is very narrow. The beach is sadly quite dirty because of all the rain and things being washed up on it. The weather doest,t help either because its very cloudy and looks like it will rain any minute. I pop into the Internet cafe to check my messages and check if there is skype.
I head back to the hotel room, where I find Emma, she has just been doing lengths in the pool, but gave up because of the rain.We head off to the restaurant, Emma to have breakfast and me lunch, but then I decide to go on a guided your of the national park.
Only Jenny, Hielke, Bridget and I decide to go on the trip, this is most probably because of the weather, but luckily it stays dry for the three and a half hours of our walk. We see Bats and some Porcupine in a cave. A Scorpion, which Bridgette holds(brave girl) a forest crab, some beautiful birds, deer and a Millipede as well as some amazingly beautiful scenery.
I get back just as Emma,Ruby and Katy are going to have a Massage and after my long walk feel I deserve one.My massage was great, she really worked hard on my back and shoulder muscles which were very tight.
Emma and the girls had decided to go on a boat trip, they had fun, but the waves were quite big in there small boat and sat was quite scarred because she can only just about swim.
Our tour guide Andy took us to a local fish restaurant for dinner, Sat and I shared our meal, We had fresh fish and prawns, with lots of different sauce and free Jasmine tea. it was delicious. Emma went back to our Hotel for dinner and had fish and chips there. we met in the Internet cafe,to down load some pictures with no success we have so many problems with the Internet, its either mega slow or it just won,t down load anything..very very frustrating. We head off to bed and I fall asleep while we watch a movie on T.V.
Weather, Yep you guessed rainy. Emma and I decided to go for a swim in the pool. Emma did well and swam about 60 lengths, I didn,t manage to do any, I was having stomach cramps and had a bit of Deli Beli. After food I took my usual walk to the Internet cafe to see if we wanted to prolong our stay in Bali or go to Aussie on the 28th as planned. Most probably will lave Bali as planned, because our visa is only valid for 30 days and you have to leave and re-enter Bali to extend it,
I went off to bed about 2pm because of a bad head and stayed there until 7am the next day.
Emma, was busy getting her diary u to date ,then eat at a local restaurat for 75p and got free prawn crackers.Katy, Ruby, Sat and Emma then played a few games and listened to some music.
At last sunshine, I get up at 7am and go for a nice swim in the pool, heaven. then go back to the room to shower and pack. Emma has a lie in today and doesn,t swim.After a late breakfast, we are picked up by mini vans then catch a train to Yogyakarta. The scenery was really pretty, with lots of people working in the paddy fields.
We arrive at our accommodation, which is called a Home stay(although its not actually a house) Which is very quaint, the rooms are very small and basic, but breakfast and afternoon tea with cakes is included and we have a pool.
Our poor tour leader is pushed into the pool, shortly after we arrive for talking on his mobile too loudly by a stroppy English guy. As we had just arrive he has all his money and passport on him and his passport gets ruined.....
We all go out to a great little restaurant called Via Via and have great cheap food.
Today after breakfast, we all head to town on a local bus to explore the local town of Yagyakarta, it is quite a large bustling town.We catch the local bus there. First we walk around the local market, which sells fruit,(which we get to taste snake fruit, which looks like a large clove of garlic)vegetables, fish and meat. Andy also tastes some local herbal medicine, which can cure anything....We also look in the local old shopping mall. Then we walked around a Dutch fort,which wasn,t very interesting. We then rode in a horse and cart to walk around the Sultans Palace,then we walked around a local bird market, the Indonesian people love racing pigeons and pretty birds. then we walked around an underground mosque, then looked around some old ruins, which had great views.
That evening we all went out to watch Ramayana ballet Prambanan and had a nice buffet meal. The dance show was about a beautiful princess called Dewi Shina and her prince who wants to marry her called Rama.
This morning i got up at 4.30a to go an see the famous Borobudur. It is a famous because it is the worlds largest and grandest Buddhist temple.It was constructed somewhere around 825AD. The structure symbolises the 10 stages of Mahayana Buddhists cosmic system.27000 pictorial panels stretch for 5km clockwise around the temple, to portray Buddha,s life story, reincarnation and final quest for truth.
The rest of the day is free, Most of us meet up in Via Via for dinner. Sat, Ruby a couple of guys we meet and I decide to stay up having a few drinks at our home stay. i go off to bed about 5.30...rather a long day.
Once again we pack up our bags and after breakfast head off on a seven hour bus journey and then an hour car journey to stay at Seloliman nature reserve, which is called PPLH environmental centre. PPLH is Indonesia,s first environmental education centre and was set up in 1990 to help educate and increase people,s knowledge and empathy with their environment. Its an amazingly pretty place surrounded by Paddy fields.Our rooms were really cool with an outside bathroom. The only bad thing was tat there were so many HUGE spiders, Manuel found 3 whopper's under his pillow.....(YUCK) Katy, Ruby, Sat and I decide to head off for a walk to stretch our legs after our long journey, but end up having some great ginger tea and trying to play some music on Indonesian instruments,It actually sounded O.K. We had a local guide helping us, whose name was Didi.
Then the group meet for dinner to eat local mainly vegetarian food, which was OK, but not really to my liking....way to healthy... Then we all watched a video on Orangutan's and about why they are such an endangered species. This is mainly to do with forests being cut down. Then we head off to bed, luckily I don,t see any spiders, but before i get into bed I check it very thoroughly. Emma see,s one on the wall, but luckily it runs off, but we hear Ruby screaming as one chases her around her bathroom.
Today we get a lie in and meet for breakfast at 8am. Its a nice breakfast of pancakes, fruit,honey, jam and some strange potato. Then we all head off for our tour of the local village and the PPLH centre. We visit the gardens where they grow most of their vegetables, fruit and herbs. The herbs are used to make medicine The garden's are completely ecological and they never use insecticides or fertiliser. We stop to visit an old lady in her home. in the village, She doesn,t know exactly how old she is because they never use to worry about the date or year you were born. She made us coffee and showed us how she grinds it. The house is very very basic, with chickens wandering in and out. We then go and look at the micro-hydro, which generates enough power for the village and the PPLH centre.
We walk through the fields and see the magnificent views and see people working in the paddi fields.
Then its time to go back to the centre have a quick shower(in our amazing bathrooms) pack have lunch and head off on our three hour taxi ride to Yoschi hotel where we are going to see the amazing mount Bromo. AS usual we all have a group meal, then head off to bed early as we are getting up at three am. The hotel is not great, its dark and damp ( Emma and I both sleep in our sleeping bags) at last we use them again after caring them around for months.
MMMM 3am and we are up and getting ready to go off and see sunrise over Mount Bromo, we have about a 45 min drive there and then wait for about 45mins for sunrise, unfortunately its not very good and quite cold, but we all have fun taking photo,s. Then we head off to trek up it and take more photo,s. There is an option to ride a horse to the bottom of the steps of the Volcano, but most of us decide to walk.Its about a 30 min up hill on volcanic sand...by the time I was half way I wished I had ridden a horse, but I kept going and then had to walk up nearly 300 steps. Mount Bromo is 2392 m high. I was really pleased to reach the top and the view into the volcano was amazing. The wind started to blow while we were at the top of the volcano, and the smell was really disgusting, you could hardly breath because of the sulphur and smoke in the air. I was nearly sick and had trouble breathing.Going down was a lot easier, but we had to walk fast to get back to the car for 8am.
One car left before ours as we were slightly late and had to get back to our hotel to have breakfast and pack to leave at 9.30. Our car ran out of petrol, so a very nice man went off to get us some in a bottle. Then after a while the car started, After a yummy breakfast of banana and porridge, we set off all 12 of us squashed into one Minni van, with our rucksacks on the roof, luckily this was for only about an hour.Then we caught a train for 5 hours, where most of us slept for a while. Then we had a 10 minute walk to catch our ferry over to Bali. The boat trip was only an hour and was a pleasant trip with no one being seasick. On arriving in Bali, we had another 2hour trip by mini van to Lavina, our first stop on Bali . The hotel was nice with a great pool. We all had dinner and went to bed, early, exhausted by all our travelling and our early start.
Lovina is a nice little town, where there were some nice shops and bars, the beach isn,t great but it is sandy.There is lots to do here snorkeling,diving,dolphin trip,massage people on the beach and a lovely pool to chill at in our hotel. Manuel and I go and find the dive shop and book a dive for the following day.
At 12.30 Andy our tour guide takes us on a trip to Munduk waterfall , some natural hot springs and a hike. Seven of us decide to go and have lots of fun. The waterfall is stunning and its great fun going under it, although it is very cold. Then the walk is amazing with beautiful scenery with lots of plants flowers and herbs growing everywhere. We stop off at a house where the old couple roast coffee beans and the man has made all the machinery himself to dry and roast the beans. The coffee is wonderful with a chocolaty after taste.
Then its off to the natural hot springs, which are very warm, where Katy,Sat ,Ruby and I have a great time.
That evening Emma, Katy, Manuel, our tour guide Andy and I head off for a meal, cooked by a local woman at her house. It is a fabulous meal with so much good food. We all eat lots, but there is still an amazing amount of food left untouched.
After the meal, we look around the shops briefly then meet up with Amy.Anject.Ruby and Sat and have a few drinks and dances in a local bar, which is great fun.
I'm up early today to have breakfast with Manuel, then off to do diving. We leave our rucksacks in reception all packed and ready to travel with the rest of the group, when they will pick us up later. Manuel and I are picked up at 8am. Then we head off to the Spice dive shop to pick up all our equipment. We meet our Dive master who with his assistant will be looking after us. There is also another guy diving with us who,s name is Jeff and he is from U.S.A. Jeff doesn,t stop talking for the whole of the journey, about his life and his charity work. He also boasts that he has dived all over the world and is a very confident diver. I tell our Dive master I'm very nervous and still new to diving.
We arrive in Tulamben, where we will be exploring the Liberty wreck. The Liberty was a cargo ship,hastily armed with bow and stern gun for world war II service, that was disabled by a Japanese torpedo in the Lombok straight early in the morning of January 11, 1942. The wreck offers a rather rare combination in a dive site, easy conditions lying less than forty meters off shore.This is most probably the worlds safest large wreck to dive. We enter the sea from the very pebbly beach and this is tricky with all your dive equipment on (air tank, weight belt and carrying fins and mask).
our first dive is around the outside of the wreck and we see lots of amazing fish and coral. I buddy with the dive master as the other two divers have so much experience. After the first dive we gave a nice lunch on the beach. Our second dive I buddy with Manuel and the assistant looks after us.Geoff turns out to be a crap diver with bad buoyancy, so he buddies with the dive master. The dive was amazing, swimming through the wreck(there were no skeletons or I wouldn,t have gone in) The coral was absolutely stunning, the visibility was great(about 20 meters) and so many fish. Our second dive was for 59 minutes which is a fantastic amount of time to be under and the water was really warm 30 C. So all in all a fantastic dive and most probably my favourite so far.
We have to wait about an hour for the two mini vans to turn up with the rest of the group. Some of them where up at 6am to go Dolphin spotting and the others had a lazy morning by the pool(including Emma).
We arrived after about an hour at Tirtagangga, which was in the middle of nowhere and we stayed in very basic accommodation called Prima Bamboo. Andy organised a walk for us, but five of us stay behind. Ruby gives Emma a haircut and then trims mine. Then we all head off to the Water Palace,which was built for a Raj and his concubines. This is a pretty place where we all have fun jumping around on the stones around the ponds. Then we have our usual group meal at a small local restaurant(we are the only people there). I then go off and have a great massage in my room, where the guy uses his feet some of the time to massage me!.Emma is in Ruby and Sat,s room next door with Katy.Amy and Andzik. They start singing Xmas songs as it is Xmas eve, they even make up a song about the 12 days of Christmas.
1st day A handsome Russian swinging from a tree
2nd day Two scary spiders
3rd day Three scooters beeping
4th day four tiger balms
5th day Five singing chickens
6th day Six balls of rice
7th Seven dogs a barking
8th Eight gecko,s dangling
9th Nine fruit shakes
10th Ten boring temples
11th Eleven mozzies biting
12th Twelve people travelling
This song was written about things that happened during our trip. We sang a few more songs then went off to bed.
I wake up early, but it really doest,t seam like Christmas day. Emma has her pressies on her bed from her mum( which Sandy brought out for her in Nov) I head off for a shower, but mmm NO water at all in our room. So a good start to Xmas day. Emma opens her pressies which are very sweet. Then we all meet at 8.30 for our breakfast....mmm also not very good, but we all stay happy, especially because we are leaving here at 9.30am to head off to our final destinatin, Ubud. We stop off on route at klungkung to have a quick look at a cloth market and to look at Temple, which wasn,t very interesting.
We arrive in Ubud and check into Artini cottages. This is a really nice place which has a lovely swimming pool.Most of us go off to a really nice kafe for lunch, where I have a delicious prawn and wild mushroom salad, followed by lemon sorbet for desert.
Nearly all of us have a lazy afternoon by the pool, enjoying the sunshine. Then we all head out together to have a Xmas celebration meal. We eat in a nice restaurant called The dirty Duck.After dinner a few of us head off to find some music and have a boogie. We end up in a Reggie bar, and have a drink and a boogie. Emma is chatted up by a local guy, who has enormous holes in his earlobes. We leave there when the band stops playing (Emma has had enough for the night and heads off back to the hotel)Katy, Ruby ,Sat and I look for some where else to party,but sadly everywhere is closed, we end up chatting to two guys who come back to our hotel,where we have a few drinks and a swim. We end up going to bed about 3am.
I manage to get up at 8.30 and have a yummy breakfast of banana pancakes and fruit, before I head off on an organised walk by Andy. Bridgette and her father are the only people on the walk.We jump in a taxi for about 15mins where we arrive to start our 2hour walking tour. Indonesia is a very beautiful country with lots af pretty flowers and the colours of the rice fields are stunning. Andy spoke to an old man who was up to his knee,s in gooey mud planting out his seeds for his next rice crop. He offers my help to the man who thought it was very funny.(I would of helped if it wasn,t so muddy.
After the walk,I had a nice swim in the pool before we headed off to lunch. I went with Sat to the same Kafe as the day before and we met Manuel there so all had lunch together.
While travelling I had read a book called Eat Pray, Love given to me by a cool American girl called Kira. from N.Y) In the book the woman befriends a medicine man( who can also read palms) So Amy who is reading the book,Katy and I cycle off to find him. we get slightly lost but end up at his house in a small village. We are amazed that we actually find him and Amy and I are really excited. When we get there Ketut(The medicine man) is talking to a young couple. We wait and all go and sit with him together. He is very pleased to see us and says that we bring very good karma. He asks how we know about him, Amy and I have our books with us ( which he later signs, he does this very slowly because he is not very good at writing). He looks at your nose in your ears,at your wrists and at your shoulders and back. He tells me I am a very lucky person, in Luck and in Love, he says I will live until I am 109 and have a very happy life and that if I want too, will be married within a year.(This is the fourth time i,ve had my palm read while i have been travelling and every time i have been told that I am going to get married again soon, the other three also said that I would be having another baby. So I am diffidently staying away from all men) The book is being made into a film at the moment, with Julia Roberts playing the leading lady.
We quickly cycle back to our hotel where we have 15mins to get ready to go out to watch a local fire dance.
Then we all head off to a restaurant together to celebrate our great tour and our last evening together.It was also Andy,s birthday. Amy and Andzik have bought him a cute little chocolate cake, so naturally after our meal we sang happy birthday to him. Poor Andy was quite embarrassed. We all headed off back to the hotel and off to bed..
Our flight is not until 00.50m, so after breakfast with Manuel I was getting ready to have a lazy morning at the pool, when Emma suddenly arrives and says she that her paper work says our flights are at 2.45pm. So we run off to the Internet to check, and yes our flight is in the afternoon. So I head of back to the hotel to quickly pack, while Emma runs to the shops quickly. We say goodbye to all our new friends and head off to the airport.......