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Entries about surfing

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)

Chapter fifty five - Pangandaran

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)

Chapter thirty eight - Hikkaduwa (part deux)

sunny 30 °C

Day 143: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 20/02/2012

Awake at half five to a mysterious knock at the door. Some local guy is looking for the weird Australian guys staying here. Out on the side of the road before 6am, and on the bus for ten past. Meet a guy from Wakefield on his way to Colombo to meet his girlfriend from the airport. Change at Monoragalam for the Colombo bus. On the way to Colombo we pass a National Park, where we see about twenty elephants! A very hot, busy, sweaty journey is made all the better by a local guy telling us about the much quicker, easier route we should have taken to reach our destination.

Change at Colombo for the journey along the coast, which given the length of the day seems to take forever! Twelve hours after leaving, we arrive back in Hikkaduwa, find a half decent room at a decent price and have an early night. We are not sure we wanted to leave Arugam Bay after all!

Day 144: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 21/02/2012

After a good(ish) night's sleep (the room is VERY hot due to the faulty, pedestrian paced fan and loud because of the noisy main road) we head for breakfast next door before (sigh) heading for another long, arduous day at the beach. Taking care in the sun (after our last experiences here...) I hire a surfboard for the day and take to the ocean waves, man. My previous two days' experience stand me in good stead and I catch a few waves, managing to stand up and ride to the beach a few times.

We have lunch at a Starbucks rip off called Starbeans, where all the merchandise and cups, plates, etc. has the ripped off Starbucks logo adorned all over it. Gemma has a hot dog and baked beans and a chocolate brownie, which is pretty good. I wait an hour and a half for a 'chicken burger', which I would actually call a 'hot (chicken) ham sandwich'. The guy working there went to school with Malinga and used to play for Hounslow, so he says.

Back in the sea for the afternoon, have dinner at the hotel and an early night.

Day 145: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 21/02/2012

Another hot, sweaty, loud night in the room and go for breakfast again next door. Hire a board and head for the sea. Catch a couple of waves and decide to step up to the better waves near the big boys that can actually surf. Turns out to be a good move, as the better waves are bigger and quicker and I find it easier to hone my skills. I still crash and burn numerous times but also catch a few waves in quick succession. A turtle comes and swims right under the board.

Another tough afternoon spent at the beach. We go for dinner next door where they also show a film at half seven, but the food is average and the volume too low, so we go for a walk along the beach instead, where we piss about for a bit.

Day 146: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 22/02/2012

Our third sticky, noisy night in the room. Of course another day at the beach for us - hire a board, surf for a few hours and find the whole experience more frustrating than golf even, at times feeling I have really nailed the tekkers, at other times feeling like I am getting nowhere with the whole thing. Find the hardest thing of all paddling back out when there is a set of waves coming in - keep getting knocked backwards despite learning to dive under the waves and take pretty much ten minutes longer than every other surfer to get back out to the break point. See a huge green/blue fish under the board and two turtles. Gemma meanwhile is having a torrid time lying in the sun reading her book.

A quiet night, head to the cashpoint and pop our heads round the door of a tattoo studio...

Day 147: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 23/02/2012

Last day on the beach for this leg of the journey. Cue sad faces all round. A crap fan and nearby party has resulted in a poor night's sleep but this is rectified by yet another breakfast next door. We hire a surfboard again and I take Gemma for a lesson (being the surf pro I am). This, perhaps predictably, does not go particularly well - Gemma is not overly fond of being thrashed around by the waves, I am no Mister Myagi on the teaching front.

Gemma goes and does what she does best on the beach, leaving me to have a good morning's surfing. I am a lot more confident and catch some good waves. However, I still struggle a bit with the whole paddling out thing...Spend the afternoon in the sea after lunch and as it gets later and later, I search for the elusive 'one more wave', which does not come. Oh well, learning to surf has been fun and should see us in good stead for some of the other surfer spots we plan on visiting.

The rest of the evening sees us doing something that could see me grounded for life, as we go for a tattoo...

Posted by tevs 21:51 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged beach surfing sri_lanka hikkaduwa Comments (0)

Chapter thirty one - Hikkaduwa

sunny 31 °C

Day 124: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 01/02/2012

Another good night's sleep aided by the Lion lager and we are ready to leave Colombo and head for some sun, sand and surf. Gemma washes her hair (I know!), whilst I head for some directions on how to get to the place we have our eye on next. We eventually catch the right bus with the help of some friendly locals and find that the Sri Lankan bus system is infinitely less stressful than India's, with smaller crowds and a chilled out atmosphere.

An easy two hour journey sees us arrive in Hikkaduwa, a town which seems half surfer orientated, half more upmarket hotel resorts. Find a cheap room for the night across the road from the beach and head out for the beach after booking a couple of nights here. We grab some lunch and a couple of drinks on the beach (again a bit more expensive than we were expecting) and then have a quick dip in the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean. After a quick shower, we take our now customary long Sri Lankan walk. We pop our head into a couple of other hotels/guesthouses that make us wish a) we had got off the bus/walked a bit further down the road b) booked only one night at our place. Oh well. Have dinner at one of these other places (very good) and the old man is a bit of a charmer, though he does tell us some heart wrenching tsunami tales.

Day 125: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 02/02/2012

Up early (7am) for our day on the beach and learning to surf. We stop for a quick breakfast at the side of the road, which sees us get some quality doorstop toast. We hire a board for the day from a guy who tells us he is too drunk to do anything but does point us to a board he claims is ideal for beginners. Hit the water. Hard. Repeatedly as it turns out. It is hard work and we both get a little bit hurt (Gemma is hit on the head by the board first time in the water) but I eventually manage to stand up about four or five times over the course of the (very long) day, so some progress is made.

We leave the beach at around 6pm and the two (now lobster red) British travellers head back down the road, sore, knackered and with highly sensitive skin. Shower and dinner from the barbecue tuk-tuk, where the chef is stood at the roadside in his full chef's whites. The fish and chicken are excellent and after a couple of games of cards we have a very early night (9.30).

Day 126: Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka 03/02/2012

Well after yesterday's efforts and early night we are up and ready to try again at about half past seven. Both a bit pink and sore we vow to give the sun a little more respect today. Breakfast is the same as yesterday and we go to hire a board from the same drunk guy. He tries to give us the same board as before but we would like a smaller, lighter one. Which he apparently doesn't have. We manage to hire a beauty from the place next door for about the same price and the much smaller, lighter board is far easier to control and I find myself able to stand and ride a few waves pretty much straight away. Still crash a few times but the young Ukrainian guy next to me in the water (a dead ringer for one of the Klitschko brothers) asks me to teach him so I must be doing something right!

After lunch, Gemma resumes her position in the shade and I go back in the water. I am nowhere near as successful as I was in the morning but I put this down to fatigue, dehydration, loss of concentration, the wax coming off the board and pretty much any other excuse I can think of that I think sounds feasible.

Knackered again and after another barbecue dinner we play cards with the other English guy at the hostel and have another early night, glistening in our new aloe vera gel.

Posted by tevs 03:02 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged beach surfing sri_lanka hikkaduwa Comments (0)

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