I arrived in Surabaya, Java early in January and there were a few places I really wanted to see, the first being Borobudur, the famous ancient temples of Indonesia. Surabaya is in the east of Java so firstly I headed west on one of the local trains. I couldn’t get a 2nd class seat so ended up in 3rd class which for the locals was a very strange thing to see. It isn’t that much more for 2nd class, that’s why it’s very rare to see a traveller in this carriage. I remember having plenty of stares. As its unreserved it first come first serve on the seats. As I was carry an 18kg backpack I didn’t stand much of a chance in getting one, but one of the locals who did speak English managed to find room for me.
These are of course the more working class of Indonesia, I was surprised as to how good there English was as they were in their 60’s. They were fascinated by me, it was a great experience that day. They asked me more questions than I can remember. Who I was and why I wasn’t in 1st class. I had few quite a stares from the other locals but I never felt in danger. Since Anousheh left I felt a bit out of sorts with travelling, as to whether I was actually enjoying anymore. The big downside to travelling on your own is not the loneliness as you might imagine. It’s actually going to these amazing places and not being able to share it with anyone. I remember thinking that day, that this is why I travel and although it’s not as much fun on your own, it’s still well worth doing.
Anyways, I arrived at Borobudur and had a look around; it’s a spectacular place and must have been magical in the times it was built. The most surprising thing about it is it location, its so well hidden in a valley and forest you can’t see it until u are right next to it, which is incredible as to the size of it. I going to be lazy and say that I actually can’t remember the history to it, I’ll add that at a later date, but if your interested Google it, there is loads of info on there.
The next stop on my list was Mt Bromo, for the whole trip id being told that you couldn’t go as it had being erupting. I’ve have learnt that never take word on the street for granted instead go and find out for yourself. In this case it proved the right thing to do, as when I got to Probolinggo the main hub town to Bromo, you could go. The locals said although it was erupting it were no threat at the moment to human life. Of course there is always a small risk but there is to everything in life I think.
I met a guy from Bosnia who was going the same way and we jumped in a minivan and head up into the hills towards. Wow is all I can say, as we climbed the landscape changed. The whole area was cover in a thick layer of grey ash. The photos show it better than I can ever describe it. We arrived at the hotel to see this thundering volcano, billowing away and chucking out a huge as cloud. The volcano itself is not that impressive but the landscape around it is awesome. It’s surrounded by a huge dried up lake and sits in a mountain range. The only thing that even comes close ive seen, was Machu Pichu in terms of landscape.
As you can see from my blog I’ve travelled a lot of the world and being fortunate enough to see a lot but as we got up the next morning and headed to the view point I knew I was seeing something very special. A volcano erupting, that takes some beating. The photos I took that day I think are my best and I’m really proud of them.
People always ask me when I get home what is travelling like so I’ve been trying to explain what I’ve learnt and what feelings you go through. I’ve been to Asia now 3-4 times and I have to say, I might have mentioned this before that travellers seemed to have change or should I say the types of people that travel have. When I first started you could walk into any hostel or backpackers and meet people, they always seemed to be interested in where you’re from, being and going. I noticed in the last year that now people travel in groups and aren’t really interested in meeting new people. Or if they are alone they just sit glued to a book or a laptop. Maybe it’s just me or maybe I’m just getting old but I’m sure things have changed. Of course this isn’t everyone and you do still meet the odd few people that are great. I’m off to Africa soon and I’m hoping it’s different there, I didn’t meet many people out and the ones I did were really friendly. Maybe that’s it as there are so many travellers in Asia; everyone gets fed up with saying the same stuff, where you’re from, being and going too. It’s very sad if that is the case.
Back to Java, after Bromo I left to see another volcano, ok so maybe this trip was dominated by volcanoes but they are quite addictive haha. I headed to Kiawah Ijen, this was similar to the first volcano id seen as it was sulphuric. As we headed there by minivan the guy stop off at a stream. The water was green, he explain the water was acidic and that washing your clothes was brill!! He made us taste it, I nearly went green, let only the water.
There was about an hour trek up to the volcano and as we headed up, we met workers coming down carrying these 2 baskets on their backs, attached to a pole. There were carrying pure sulphur in them, large clumps yellow in colour. It was quite amazing to see that this was how they still got the stuff off the mountain, man power. So the next time you light a match, think of those poor sods on a couple of dollars a day, carrying this stuff.
Ijen is a really cool site, its kind of how a volcano should be like, large round and smelly lol. But the crystal green water makes it stand out. I just wish the clouds were not so low that day.
After that I headed to Bali for a week in Kuta. It had been a long 4 months and I needed a break to sit on the beach and party. I met up with a friend from the last trip I did, Pete. (the guy from the UN). He was on holiday with his girlfriend. I knew he was going to be there and I’d seen on his Facebook that he had caught Malaria one week before he was supposed to go. I sent him a message saying I’m guessing you’re cancelling your trip to which I got the reply. I’ll see you in Bali mate!!!!
Now I’m guessing that you are not supposed to travel half way across the world, be taking Malaria tablets and drinking like a fish!! But that is exactly what happen, Pete your legend, I’m not sure anyone could have done the same!!! It was great meeting up and seeing him again.
After a week in Bali, I knew the trip was done and id have to do the thing I hate the most!!! WORK!!!! Well I got lucky the English guy Sean id met in India came through and got me a job on a pig farm. I stayed there for 6 months in a place called Albany WA. I was lucky in that I managed to save a good amount to go travelling with and I’ve even got myself a little car back in oz as well.
So here I am now, its July 2011 and I’m heading off to Ethiopia, this will be my third big trip abroad and excited can’t describe it. I’ve been waiting to go to this part of the world for a long time and its finally come. So from here the next blog hopefully with be from there.
Catch u soon