Ok, well i'm doing the Indonesian island of Java as one blog (which will please some people i'm sure, maybe not others) because i haven't got too much to inform you about.
We landed in the capital of Jakarta, but had heard from a number of sources that it wasn't very nice so we hopped straight on a bus and travelled to the town of Bogor. It lived up to its name as there was bog all to do!! We spent just two nights here before moving on to Bandung, again the name says it all. Pretty 'dung' really.
At this point we were getting a bit fed up and disappointed with Java, but then took a train ride to Yogyakarta (pronounced jog jya karta, don't ask me why they spell it with a y and pronounce it with a j, they do actually have a j in their alphabet aswell??????!!!!!!) Anyway, this place was a little bit more like it, so we spent four nights here.
The first day we took a walk to the Sultans palace, where, for a change, Dave had to cover his shoulders, but i was ok to go in in my vest top. It's all very confusing with these religious rules. Anyway, he had a vest on so he had to borrow a B.O infested t-shirt and pay for the privilege, he wasn't best pleased! It took us a while to get there as well due to many locals trying to sway us into visiting an art exhibition instead, or telling us the palace was closing in an hour for a meeting (i wanted to say, we have been to Bangkok and been told all these lies already, think of something original and more convincing - YOU CANNOT SCAM US ANYMORE!!!)
The palace, was a little bit un-awe-inspiring but worth a visit. The first thing we saw was a puppet show of the Ramayana story. Apparently it takes 7 hours to act out in its full glory so we only stayed and watched about half an hour. The locals enjoyed it, they were all giggling away at the lines the lines that we couldn't even understand. The music and instruments are pretty cool though, enjoyed listening to that. Very relaxing.
Whilst at the first entrance to the palace, we were faced with a group (20-30) of giggling school children as we walked up the stairs. When we reached the top their 'english teacher' asked us if it was ok for them to practise their english on us and ask us a few questions. Once we had been exhausted with questions, we had a class photograph wih the children and then was set free. The funniest thing was that we had just said to each 'right, we are not haveing our picture taken with anyone today' and then that happens and we couldn't refuse.
The following day we took a trip on the local buses to Borobudur candi (temple). Not quite as impressive as the likes of Angkor Wat, but impressive all the same. Borobudur isa Buddhist temple, believed to have been built in the 9th Century and abandoned in the 14th Century when Buddhism aswell as Hindu collapsed in Java and the religion of Islam came ino force. The carvings around the square temple are amazing and a lot of them still on good condition. I hope you don't get bored looking at my pictures! But i was very impressed with the Buddha statues that havd been enclosed in perforated stupas at the top of the temple. I have one picture to show you what i mean by this. The most nnoying thing about visiting this temple was the amount of cameras, all pointing at us!!! I am not really sure what the fascination with white people is in this country but by god it's annoying.
It rained, heavily on the journey back so we just ended up back at the guesthouse for the rest of the afternoon and evening. It's nice to relax sometimes though, especially when you have movie channels on the TV.
Our final day was lovely. We went to the Prambanan candi (temple). Prambanan is a Hindu temple and most Indonesians now follow Hindu as their religion. Prambanan is also believed to have been built in the 9th Century but abandoned, mysteriously, soon after its completion?! Hindu believe in a number of different Gods but the main God is Trimutri who has three manifestations, Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer) and Shiva (the destroyer or transformer). There are three main temples at Prambanan, one for each of these three Gods, and then many more smaller temples (there were once 50 temple sites) each for the many other Gods, Hindus believe in. In the evening we went to the Ramayana ballet, amazing evening. We spoilt ourselves a bit and bookes the package with a buffet meal (which was the selling point for Dave!! eat all you can and he's sold) and open-air ballet show. There are some videos, one i've uploaded already so won't explain anymore.
Finally, we booked a two day trip that took us to Mount Bromo and then onto Denpasar, Bali. Well that was extremely tiring. We set off from Yogyakarta at 08.30 on the first day, stopped for a total of an hour and arrived at our mucky, filthy accommodation at almost 9pm. Aware that we needed to rise at 03.45 to set off walking to the volcano at 04.00, ready for sunrise, we went straight to bed. We had the option to take a jeep trip to the volcano, but we thought it would be more of an adventure to walk it and that it was. First we had to make our way down the side of a hill, with only one torch between us and not ever seeing the path before, it was a little bit of a challenge. We made it down safely, then had the challenge of finding the correct path to the volcano. In the light of day this would have been fine, but in the pitch blackness and a vast open space, it is a little more difficult than one first realises. Anyway, we made it, and watching the sunrise at the top of the volcano was cold, but lovely. The volcano itself was pretty amazing. You can walk around the crater edge, but it is very narrow and there's nothing stopping you from falling down into the hole below, plus i am a wimp so i didn't want to go.
The final leg of the trip took us from Mount Bromo to Denpasar. That was even more of a challenge than finding the volcano in the dark! We were meant to arrive in Denpasar at 19.30 but only got off the ferry at 19.00 and had a four hour drive ahead of us so we already knew we were going to be late. On the way, me and Dave were sat in the front of the mini-bus and could see that the headlights were a little dimmer than when we set off, then a little dimmer. The driver had also noticed but continued with the journey until we literally had no light at all! This wouldn't have been as bad if we were on a lit road and the drivers were not maniacs, but none of the above are true so we had a big problem. We finally stopped at a lorry park and asked for some help. One of the lorry drivers eventually came and ragged the accelerator to give us some power 'and there was light'. We continued on to denpasar and arrived at 00.00 with nowhere to stay but were safe and still alive which at that point was a small miracle!
Alright, i know i said i didn't have much to say and have rambled on for quite a long time, sorry. We obviously had more fun than we remembered!