Life is what's happening while you're busy making other plans

03 mai 2011

Java – Ketapang and Sorabaya

After getting my open water certificate, we left Padang Bai in Bali and moved on to Lovina (up north of Bali). We stayed there for almost a week. It was so peaceful. We stayed in a little guest house by the sea. We spent a day diving on the island Menganjan. It was beautiful! We saw a lot of very colourful coral. The highlight of the dive was seeing a pygmee seahorse, only just a few milimeters tall! Another day we rented a motorbike and went for a ride. We stopped at a natural hot spring. I was doubtful at first because who wants to take a hot bath when it's 35 degrees outside, right? But in the end I have to say that it was very relaxing... a little too much, my legs felt like jelly afterwards. We drove around the countryside for a while, up a little windy country road. Nothing to see but a sea of green and little houses with chickens and kids playing kite. When we came back we stopped by the sea side and had some grilled fish. It was a great afternoon.

On Friday we finally got the motivation to stop lounging around and get moving to Java. We took a bus to the far west of Bali and then hopped on a ferry to the far East of Java, in the little town of Ketapang. We spent the night there. In our hotel we met three Indonesian men from Jakarta. They were in Ketapang for work, to repair a ship, but the ship was delayed and they had been waiting around in this little town for 5 days already. So they were very happy to see some new faces and practice their english. Thomas played a game of chess with them. We had dinner together at one of the little food stalls in the street. It was a great experience, sitting there on the sidewalk eating our Ikan goreng nasi (fried fish with rice) having a chat with these three indonesian guys. They were absolutely lovely and insisted on paying for our dinner.

The next day we were up at 5 to get the 6 o'clock train. We travelled on the economy train, and the tickets only go on sale 1 hour before departure. It was fine because we were only in a little town so not many people were getting on there. We had 300 km to get to Sorabaya, which took 7 hours. Our backs had a bit of trouble getting used to the uncomfortable benches. The train was full but not packed. The alleyway was a to and fro of vendors, from lunch bags to books, from plastic toys to birds in cages. We lunched on nasi goreng (fried rice) with our fingers and our neighbours offered us some cakes which weren't bad but we couldn't make out what exactly we were eating.

Sorabaya was a real shock after the 5 days we spent in peaceful Lovina. Big, dirty and loud. Huge avenues full of trucks, cars and a million motorbikes. Brrr... But the good news was that we met up with my good friend Aude from Belgium. We had no choice but to spend one night in Sorabaya which we spent chatting away.

The next morning we were up at 5 am again to catch the 6 o'clock train to Yogjakarta. Despite getting to the station at 5:30 we were informed that the train was full! We were able to buy our tickets anyway, without any seat number. We rushed onto the train when it arrived and managed to get some seats. But after a few stops we were forced to move as our seats had been reserved. We moved on to another wagon and were able to find seats again, not next to each other but seats. And luckily we sat the whole 7 hours. The train was jam packed. We were seated by 3 on benches for 2 and people were standing in the alleyways, while the usual train vendors tried to force their way through. No aircon of course, just small windows and a couple of fans... which for some reason are turned off everytime the train stops. So it was a long and sweaty journey! Aude's neighbour, a cute old lady missing a lot of teeth, was a real chatterbox and spoke away in indonesian to her. Thomas had people stroke his arm in disbelief of his pale skin and freckles. Good fun!

We are now in Yogjakarta. We have finally fixed the computer so we will be able to post some photos very soon!!

Posté par wendorej à 03:29 - Indonesia - Permalien [#] Partager