|7/5/13 - Firstly, Indonesia blew me away from the word go. Arriving in Yogyakarta (pronounced Jogjakarta)it really did feel so different from all the other places I'd been to. Everyone was really friendly & the whole feel of the city was fab. As I hadn't been to this country before I wanted to throw myself in & so made my way to The Dieng Plateau a couple of days later by public transport to get a feel for the place. 130miles(not far) & 7hrs later(!) the charm had faded a little & I arrived up this mountain, surrounded by cloud & drizzle, in flip flops (die hard, me!). Water off a duck's back though & so the next day got to see some interesting sites, bubbling craters, volcanic lakes & a few Hindu temples, it was worth the trek. Met a couple of Chinese girls up there too, who happened to have driven up from Jogja for the day in a private car who nicely offered me a lift back that night. Me, bags packed extra speedily & got back to the city within 3hrs & that was stopping for dinner along the way. Ching & Ling (yep, that's their real names), thank you so much!!!
Not sure what it is about me & mountains right now, but a couple of days later on my way to Bali I went via Mount Bromo. Now this was pretty amazing! Bromo erupted about 2yrs ago & is still active, & watching the sun come up over it was very cool, even with frost bite. We'd only had about 2hrs sleep the night before as had to be up by 3.30 & couldn't find anywhere to stay on the mountain as the president of Indonesia had decided he wanted to come up too - very inconvenient! Upside was, as all the foreigners were being bused off the mountain next morning, before Mr President arrived, the roads all the way down the mountain were full of school kids waving & cheering us, bless them! Turned out to be a nightmare travel wise, but brilliant.
Since then it's been Bali after Bromo & then on to Lombok. Off to the Gillies tomorrow, I need some sunbathing!
22/5/13 - The Gilies - This little group of islands off the coast of Lombok is like coming across an oasis in the desert & I heard someone calling it the black hole of Indonesia too, which is sooo appropriate! Fine white sand & the clearest sea i think I've ever seen, which makes the snorkeling here something special. A whole lot busier than I was expecting as the rainy season has pretty much only just finished, but it has everything to tick all the boxes. The days are spent lying around on massive beanbags on the beach tanning & beer o'clocking it, with a little snorkeling or paddle boarding thrown in for good measure. The snorkeling really is good & I've not done it yet without seeing turtles. The water's as blue as anything & visibility is about 5-6 metres. Got myself a little fan club too at my bungalows with the boys who work there & once they realized I wasn't going to be their Mrs Robinson, everything fell nicely into place. They bring me treats on my breakfast tray every morning & in return I give them relationship advice, it all works perfectly. There's a fab street food market here too where I've been eating every night & the bars all take a turn at being the party night throughout the week, this place has all corners covered!
So, how come I'm still on Gili T? Well, whilst I have everyone's attention, please give a round of applause to the little sh!t who decided to liberate me from my rucksack!! They are now the proud owners of a whole load of dirty washing & clothes ready for the bin - what a waste!! My life as I affectionately call my little plimsole bag with all my valuables in is safe but my rucksack did a disappearing act on a night bus as I was on my way to Flores. I'd been travelling for almost 24hrs by this point & still had an 8hr ferry crossing to Flores, when changing buses at 4am it was gone. What followed would probably be best be described as comical & I'm past surprising myself these days, but i'm not going in to it here, another time, another place. Lol, everything's replaceable, & i'm not sure why i'm laughing, i'm just gutted about all my little trinkets I've brought for myself & everyone along the way over the last 5 months! Matt, I am eternally grateful to you for taking everything i'd bought up to that point home with you from Singapore in February. A fab example/story of easy come, easy go too, & probably a little karma thrown in - whilst on Langkawi I found a sapphire & diamond gold ring, i'm thinking 'fab, sell that & buy a new wardrobe of clothes on my return'. Nope, it was in my toiletry bag, never to be seen again. Keith, we never will know how much it was worth! Anyway, after spending hours at the police station (they didn't speak English) King, who worked in the canteen (& doubled up as my interpreter, but to be fair I think my Indonesian was better) whisked me round the town to do some shopping on the back of his scooter. There was no shopping to be done there for anything appropriate & I knew by carrying on East to Flores, it would get even quieter & there would be even less chance, so my only option was to head back west & sort myself out. I was obviously not meant to go to Komodo (sounds familiar!;)) & trekking in flip flops up mountains would have been an accident waiting to happen! So, 48hrs after leaving the islands I'm back, in the same clothes as I left in, hadnt had a chance of a wash & 17kilos lighter. The boys were brilliant, got me sorted with a bungalow & Sam was going through the lost property box for me, didn't find anything, but bless him for looking! Now I've one week left in Indonesia, my home clock's ticking with 3 weeks left & I figure if I spend it all on beaches I don't need to buy many of these dodgy clothes. So what are the basic nessecities? Bikini, toothbrush & a sarong to lay on, yep got it covered, let the jolly continue!! :)