Thursday, August 12, 2010


Goodbye to Indonesia then. 30 days to begin the trip - probably 10 days too many, especially having not seen any of Sumatra, left me feeling in the last week and a half that I was just going round in circles. Which is exactly what I ended up doing of course. Indonesia’s amongst the easiest countries I’ve travelled in. Everyone - everyone - speaks enough English to make getting from one place to another easy and learning even a smattering of Bahasa - which I did - means that you can’t really go wrong here. Though it’s probably appreciated that you make an effort in the native tongue, rest assured you’ll be answered in English which is vastly superior to your pidgin Indonesian.
Java was definitely a little more frayed at the edges. In certain parts, you’re very much a novelty - the bullĂ© - whilst in others your appearance inevitably draws cries of ‘Transport? or, just as often depending where you are, ‘Young girl? Yes?’ etc. Highlights in Java were watching brown sugar being made in a remote village in the hills outside Cianjur, Prambanan and Borobudur temples outside Yogya and walking around the Dieng Plateau for a day. But every day in its own little way was a highlight. It’s easy to become numbed to the fact that you’re in a completely different environment and utterly out of your comfort zone. It’s all about the little things - waking up in a brand new city with a map and little else to go on, a bus ride through the stunning countryside, the hundreds of short conversations you have with Indonesians which don’t lead to ‘You come see my shop,’ and lastly, the fact that in Indonesia a smile is always returned with interest. I look forward to using a currency which doesn’t scare the shit out of you. I don’t think that I’ll ever get used to keying in 1,000,000 (the Rupiah equivalent of €87) of any currency when I go to make a withdrawal, or paying 5,000 of anything for a bottle of water. Bring on the Ringgits!
Bali, as I’ve already said in another post felt like an entirely different country. Once you’ve become accustomed to being beeped at by taxis and those bastard Bemo drivers, you find yourself settling into the Balinese groove. Ubud - surely laying claim to the most at ease with itself city in the world - was a highlight here and Lombok will also be fondly remembered, simply for Rinjani and its seemingly never-ending scree at 5am with an air temperature of 4 degrees. Thanks for having me Indonesia.

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