A Travellerspoint blog

Chapter fifty nine - Sengiggi

Bank Holiday movie marathon and Baggies

rain 23 °C

Day 219: Sengiggi, Lombok, Indonesia 05/05/2012

After yesterday's long day of travelling and the need for a decent night's kip, we are helpfully delivered breakfast to our room at 6.45am. Thanks, much appreciated. After this we get a couple more hours before we head for the bus station for another long day's travelling. We manage to get a minibus that goes direct to Padangbai (for the ferry to Lombok) and though slightly more expensive than the public bus, takes out the hassle of changing buses. The driving in Bali is marginally less scary in the daylight than at night and before long we arrive at the ferry port, where we are able to book a ticket direct to Sengiggi through a travel agent (boat and taxi). However, Gemma is left fuming as an annoying posh couple seem to have got their tickets to a further destination slightly cheaper than we were told. To cheer her up I buy us a very hot and spicy lunch (which results in me with chilli all over my face on the boat (stingy). Although we are sat in what is basically an open air section of the ferry, we are suffocated by diesel fumes and cigarette smoke. The ferry takes its time (about four and a half hours) but throughout the voyage there are some stunning views of Bali and Lombok, both of which are beautiful islands.

Back on the minibus (where we seem to have spent the last week) to make the final leg of the journey to Sengiggi, travelling through Lombok where the rugged coastline and huge mountain ranges make for a spectacular backdrop for the journey. Incredibly, there is a West Brom fan on the mininus, who on first impressions seems a nice guy. After finally arriving in Sengiggi we manage to find ourselves a little bit of luxury on a budget, checking into a brand new hotel with plasma TV, sofa, huge bed and hot shower. Grab dinner in a roadside cafe made of tarpaulin before watching the FA cup final in the room with a couple of beers with the WBA fan.

Day 220: Sengiggi, Lombok, Indonesia 06/05/2012

Wake up for breakfast and enjoy the luxury of a long hot shower and Fox Movies channel. As we are having breakfast, we see the Albion fan off to check the beach out, aptly kitted out in board shorts, sandals, plastic bag and a fleecy jacket. Turns out he is not so normal but I suppose the writing was on the wall all along you might say. We follow suit (going to the beach that is, not wearing our winter gear) around middayish. It is not a beachy beach, more geared up for watersports, and there are hundreds of locals there (Sunday). Almost as soon as we step foot on the beach the heavens open so we head off for a well earned lunch.

The weather drives us back to our luxurious room and we have a very nice afternoon in front of Fox Movies Premium. We may also both have had a nap. Again Gemma takes it beyond what could reasonably be described as a nap, grabbing a good three hours of shut eye. We have dinner with the Baggies supporter, who kindly agrees to let us use his laptop to skype. Good lad, we think, until 'oh, sorry do you mind if I just...' before logging on to skype himself, having an argument with his mum and throwing my headphones at the table. We end up in the internet cafe opposite.

Day 221: Sengiggi, Lombok, Indonesia 07/05/2012

After breakfast we have a proper Bank Holiday Monday (just like you lucky folks at home) and with Fox Movies Premium in fine form we have a very lazy morning. We head up the road a bit later on to sort out the next leg of the journey and successfully negotiate a good price for the two of us (Rp 40,000 each instead of the advertised Rp 75,000) to get to the Gili Islands (which came highly recommended by Billy). Have a decent lunch - chicken salads all round - and Gemma befriends an iguana that looks uncannily like her...

We buy a new iPod charger as the iPod has magically decided it will accept one, and with a packet of biscuits in hand, we smash the movies for the afternoon. Begrudgingly leave the room for tea and haggle a really good price to get back to Bali from Gili Trawangan from the same guy and have another skype session. More films, more biscuits.

Posted by tevs 03:03 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beaches indonesia lombok sengiggi Comments (0)

Chapter fifty eight - Denpasar

Having a lava in Java

sunny 25 °C

Day 218: Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia 04/05/2012

A very, very early morning (ten to three) is our reward for yesterday's slog and we are out before three, with our trusty poundland head torch, for the walk up Mount Bromo for sunrise. The very early morning is accompanied by a very steep walk and before long we arrive at a very dark and desolate plain to cross to reach the volcanoes.

'Which one is Bromo?' Gemma asks as we are confronted by numerous peaks, and I point confidently at the one dead ahead. So up 'Bromo' we go, struggling in the dark and with the distinct lack of footpaths. After trying and failing to ascend this mountain, and me falling flat on my back down a ravine, legs kicking like an overturned turtle, and with the sun starting to peak over the horizon, we look up to next volcano to see trekkers casually strolling up to the summit laughing and in good spirits. It appears that I was wrong on my assessment of which volcano was for us...

So we arrive at the top of Mount Bromo just in time for sunrise and despite the few, ahem, technical hitches we enjoy the spectacular spectacle of the sun rising over this prehistoric landscape, with Bromo's menacing, smoking, smouldering crater nicely contrasting the stunning views around. Glancing across at 'the one that got away', it becomes clear this is a near impossible climb given the steepness of the sides and the softness of the terrain. Still, a bit of ambition never hurt anyone...

Hitch a lift back to the hotel on a motorbike, shower then hijack a nice minibus back to the bus terminal out of town, before boarding a bargain bus to Bali. An easy journey up until the ferry, a relaxing journey on the water (like crossing the Mersey) and a truly terrifying one once on Bali, with oncoming lorries, blind overtakes and manic speeds causing the most distressing journey since India. Eventually arrive in Denpasar (after being pulled by the police twice) and have a bit of difficulty finding a room, before settling down to some spicy chicken and Eddie Murphy's Coming to America.

Posted by tevs 04:39 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia java volcano bus sunrise ferry journey bromo Comments (0)

Chapter fifty seven - Ngadisari (Mt Bromo)

Time to erupt

sunny 26 °C

Day 217: Ngadisari, Java, Indonesia 03/05/2012

So, we arrive on the train to Surabaya at about 6am, where naturally there is a two man band playing to about fifty people on the station concourse. Some very welcome baby wipes are bought from the station supermarket followed by an even more welcome breakfast. Take a taxi to the bus station and get straight on the bus to Probolinggo for Mount Bromo (a geographer's dream haha). It is when we reach Probolinggo the headaches begin, with the accommodation for Bromo two hours up the road and the local minibuses not even dreaming of moving until packed to the rafters. As the only two people looking to go there this could be a long wait (really welcome after a night on the train - the Lonely Planet has a lot to answer for) so we sit at a cafe and have a drink (where an old lady walks around serving tables with a saw in her hand).

I take a walk down the road to enquire into alternatives and despondently heading back without any ideas I am shouted at to run to the minibus by an old man, as apparently it is waiting to leave. So after my best Forrest Gump impression to the minibus it naturally does not move for another forty five minutes.

We eventually get to where we wanted (some twenty hours after leaving Pangandaran) and find a room. A quiet afternoon and an early night are much needed.

Posted by tevs 04:26 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia java volcano bromo probolinggo Comments (0)

Chapter fifty six - Somewhere in Java

A loooong journey

sunny 25 °C

Day 216: Somewhere in Java, Indonesia 02/05/2012

Wake up slightly the worse for wear after yesterday's drinks (quite a lot by recent standards) and with this our bonus day in Pangandaran (as decided last night) we are soon at the beach trying to decide on our next move. Reading the Lonely Planet when have a brainwave...why not travel overnight?

Straight to the internet cafe to check the train times, when on the way in we see a baby monkey tethered to the tree outside. As I run back to get the camera there is a seven year old boy feeding the monkey using a baby's bottle. Take a moment to stroke him. The monkey that is, not the boy...

It soon becomes apparent that the overnight train is a possibility to get to Mount Bromo tomorrow. We hurriedly gather up our stuff, head to the bus station and learn the last bus to Sidarejar (the nearest train station) has sailed and the next one is in the morning. However, there is an alternative route according to the old bus conductor, going from Banjar to Surabaya - check this online and he is right. So, we jump on the bus to Banjar, hopeful we would be on time for the train, get dropped outside the station in good time and after a quick tea we bunk down in the train carriage ready to cross a fair chunk of Java by the morning. Reasonably comfortable to be fair.

Posted by tevs 04:10 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia java travel train Comments (0)

Chapter fifty five - Pangandaran

Hard times on the beach

sunny 30 °C

Day 205: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 21/04/2012

Up and about earlyish, no messing about with cheese and chocolate sandwiches this morning as breakfast is a darn sight better in noodle form. We grab a tuk-tuk to the train station and after swinging by Dunkin Donuts we find ourselves on a pleasant and clean train carriage, with comfortable seats and ample leg room (for Gemma). Unlike the train we saw yesterday with hundreds of people crammed on the roof, this one is fairly empty. We both fall asleep and sweat profusely.

Arrive in Bandung after about three hours, where we catch a cab to the bus station (quite a way out of town) and are on the bus to Pangandaran for about three quid each. Bargain, particularly when one considers that it ends up taking eight hours to get there, not the five hours we were expecting. Eventually arrive after what seems to have been a very, very long day. We make the short walk into the town from the bus station, bizarrely having to pay a toll to get into the town, a first for us. There are lots of youths hanging around the street ragging their motorbikes up and down (is this the 1950s?) but we eventually get through all these young people having fun and find ourselves a nice room at a bargain price. Dinner then bed.

Day 206: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 22/04/2012

Fully recovered from yesterday's journey and after a quick breakfast, we are on the beach for elevenish. Whilst not the very best beach we have been to it is still very nice and the complete lack of tourists, Indonesian or otherwise, makes it seem even better. We do very little at the beach other than sun ourselves and after a beautifully uneventful day we head back to shower.

With it being the weekend we find somewhere to skype - a restaurant where the proprietor brings out his (German?!) laptop, allowing us to speak to the people back at home. In the search for normality we so love on our travels, we notice that the restauranteur has a number of portraits of himself in some extremely strange poses dotted around the walls of the establishment. My personal fave is the one of him with the gold, diamonte encrusted staff, sunglasses and bowler hat. Couldn't make it up. A quick tea after skype before heading back to the room.

Day 207: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 23/04/2012

Breakfast on the porch again before we head to the internet cafe - where annoyingly all the computers are set up on the floor - to send Cesca a Moonpig birthday card for her 21st. A very cheap and cheerful lunch from here before setting up shop at the same point on the beach as yesterday. Again we move slower than a Geoff Boycott innings and after seemingly hundreds of games of Uno and shithead I go for a haircut (where I am a bit of a novelty - don't think they have ever seen hair bleached blonde by the sun in there before) and then we head back and shower.

Tea encompasses a strange fried potato/chicken pakora thing for me and some greasy fried rice for Gemma before we head to the supermarket for some real culinary delights - Bintang beer, peanut Cha-Cha's (M&M-alikes) and apple jelly sweets.

Day 208: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 24/04/2012

Back to the beach again today (surprise) and after allowing my fresh tats a few days to heal, I am itching to put the skills I learned and honed so well in Hikkaduwa back to the test. However, the term once bitten, twice shy springs to mind as I ensure that I take adequate precautions to combat sunburn. Rent a board and realise that surfing is like riding a bike (and my mum likes to remind me I am no good at that either - nearly failed my cycling proficiency apparently). In all honesty, I feel I am doing ok on the board (still find it hard work paddling out against the waves) but after a brief rest after lunch I am laid up for the rest of the day as the end of the board is damaged by the leash (has clearly happened before). The man I rent from is fine about it and I even manage to negotiate a discount for the next day's rental.

Tea happens at the crazy portrait man's restaurant and despite being a ropey portrait subject he is a surprisingly good chef. Another night of uno and cards and reading. Life is hard.

Day 209: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 25/04/2012

Beach after breakfast, where unfortunately I cannot find the surfboard rental man from yesterday. Manage to rent from somewhere else (no insurance I am grumpily told) and am soon back in the sea. Have a great day with some incredible local surfers and feel that I could make a reasonable surfer yet if I was to devote this much time to it in future...wishful thinking I think...

After completely knackering myself out we head back to the room and then out for tea. Gemma discovers a great little shack where she has barbecued chicken cooked roadside (with a fan assisted barbecue grill). The fan looks like it may have been a bit close to the flames a few times before (the melted plastic is a bit of a giveaway) and seeing the liberal doses of lighter fluid dispensed by the old man cooking it is clear why this is the case. Accompanying my noodles and Gemma's BBQ chicken we end up with a plate of spaghetti and amazingly the three dinners with drinks come to well under four pounds! I daresay we will come back, especially given the welcome given by the old couple who run the place.

Day 210: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 26/04/2012

For maybe the second time on the trip I wake up earlier than Gemma and sit outside the room reading, before making it to the beach early enough to catch the cheaper board rental man, my friend Ang. Don't find him. Loads of locals surfing. Back to room.

Breakfast with sleepy head then back to the beach, where I do find the man himself this time, giving a lesson in the sea. He has left me a board in the bar apparently...how annoying that I didn't take it earlier! I spend all day in the sea again surfing and, I feel, progressing nicely, whilst Gemma lays on the beach topping up her filthy tan...

After a full day in the water (more and more knackering) and Gemma's full day in the sun (apparently more and more tiring as well!) we head back to the room and wash the black sand off of us. Head back to the roadside barbecue place and after BBQ fish for me and 'super meatballs' for Gem we grab some beers and head back to the room.

Day 211: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 27/04/2012

Continue our arduous routine of breakfast then beach - straight into the sea for me again, straight to the sunlounger for Gem. Some big waves today and strong currents see me end up about 400 metres down the beach. Pot noodles are meant to make for a cheap lunch but rip off drinks brings it all to the same level as normal...false economy I daresay.

After lunch, and whilst sitting in the shade, I am befriended by a rather odd Dutch gentleman who tells me early that he would take no offence if I told him to 'f*ck off'. After five minutes I really begin to wish I had done, especially after he tells me Gemma is looking 'provocative' and that he wants to 'mount a horse'...weirdo.

Waves are very strong in the afternoon and my leash snaps, leaving me to swim against the tide to reach the beach. End of surfing for me today. In parallel to our morning routine, we now have an evening routine, where we eat at the shack then grab refreshments to consume back at the ranch to a game of Uno.

Day 212: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 28/04/2012

Another tough day at the beach. Resume our normal spot on the sunloungers and I give the surfing another bash. A very frustrating day in the water, as I seem to spend the whole time paddling on the spot, trying in vain to get to the 'outside', beyond the breaking point of the waves. Easier said than done and I am wholly disappointed by the morning's efforts (read throw toys from pram).

An early tea at the old couple's place and we get onto skype, catching up with a few of the old faces back home. I also search online for any available advice on how to paddle a surfboard against the current...

Back to the ranch where - shock horror - we have a neighbour! The only other person we have seen there in days.

Day 213: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 29/04/2012

Get up early today to beat the tide and get some good surfing in and am on the beach for 8ish. Find the board - no leash! How annoying. With it being Sunday and before the hottest part of the day, there are hundreds of Indonesian tourists on the beach. Head back for breakfast, then back to the beach, where it emerges the surfboard leash was behind the bar all along.

Have a quality twenty minutes surfing before disaster strikes when I am ragged by a huge wave and pushed under the water. Despite a brief disorientation this is not a problem until I reach the surface and discover the board is in two pieces! Twenty quid later I am on another board but by now the currents and tide make paddling out difficult...

After lunch and spending a lot of the afternoon reading on the beach, I head back into the water, catch a few waves and am happy again. Another evening of skype before dinner then another uneventful evening back at the room.

Day 214: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 30/04/2012

Another early morning surfing again today. Some fairly gentle waves but after yesterday am a little wary at first. Soon catch some reasonable waves before I head back for some breakfast after tweaking the groin.

Banana pancakes and a bit of R&R back at the room - we are both knackered for some reason. We take a walk to the market in search of a new speaker cable and then lunch.

After spending the last few days in the water beating the body up we take a nap and the overcast weather gives us a bit of time away from the beach. Gemma somehow draws her kip out for three hours...an early night follows.

Day 215: Pangandaran, Java, Indonesia 01/05/2012

First day out of the water for some time and the body aches all over, sore groin and a few cuts and bruises equate to a lie in. We have a quiet day - lie on the beach, have lunch then a few afternoon beers. Head to the bookshop in the evening and change the books we have finished before tea. Tough day all round.

Posted by tevs 01:59 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beaches indonesia surfing pangandaran Comments (0)

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