Am I having fun yet? ? ? Oh yes I am.
Spent a lovely evening chatting to a gorgeous young German teacher. She is a travel addict, and spends all her holidays exploring the world. She has also, several times in the last ten years, taken six months leave and really focused on various regions. She spent six months in NZ, another six in Australia, six months in SE Asia, six months in Africa, and now she is spending 4 weeks of her 6 weeks summer holidays in Indonesia. Unfortunately, being a seasoned traveller doesn't prevent you getting sick, and she has spent the last week very ill, and is now on all sorts of meds.
I am a little apprehensive about what I will be facing over the next couple of months.....but this young lady is an inspiration. I reckon if she can do it alone....so can I. She have even written a book about her SE Asia trip....more inspiration. Sorry to miss you this morning. Hope you're feeling a good deal better and enjoy Bali. Perhaps we will cross paths again over the next two years.
Talking of inspiration, I had a really nice email from a guy in the North Island who is following my blog, and admits he is inspired by my journey, and planning a similar trip. I am humbled, but really happy to be responsible for someone following their dreams. Good luck my friend. Perhaps we may also cross paths.
I'm also really chuffed that Ryan, Lyn and Brendon joined me in Bali. We had a great time, and their time with me, helped me become a little more comfortable with Indonesia. Thank you all.
So down to the ferry. It costs me 80 cents for me and Fiona to cross to Java. And it's not a short trip. We seem you follow a big circle across the strait, and then have to wait a while for a berth to be free. So easy though, and just opposite the terminal is a Nasi Goreng shop....feed time.
I can't find my Indonesian map. It's packed away somewhere deep, and my tablet has almost no power. I haven't done too much homework on my route, just know the plan was to go south....so that's the way I head. For the first 5km I'm unsure whether I going into or out of town, but eventually the traffic thickens, I'm heading in.
It all seems a little surreal. I'm in Java, have no map, don't know where I'm heading or going to end up, just going south. This is fun. By the signage , there's a town called Getung about 30km out. Sounds good to me.
There are kids riding on the back of scooters dressed in very colourful traditional dress, all going in my direction. I find out why. There is another festival parade, and before I know it I'm right in the middle of the preparation. There's hundreds of people, scooters, floats, police, marshals, and Fiona and me. Everyone wants to say Gidday....Hello mister, where you from.... It takes me 30 minutes to weave my way through the throng.
I'm not sure what the time is, but suddenly from all directions there is the call to prayer. This is a Muslim state. Wow its loud.
There's a little bit of country...rice paddies, and then I'm in Genteng. I'm in a hotel...$7 for night, and I think I'm a novelty. Tourists are not common here, and the locals do not seem to be as hungry for the dollar as in Bali. All day I've had Hellos, but not once any pressure to buy. Very nice.
I decide on a walk into the town, to find some Monkey Sweat. I'm invited to sit with a shop keeper..... He sells fresh coconut, which I've been keen to try. He cuts off the top, scoops the meat into the nut, adds ice and honeyed water, and it's delicious. He is also a bee keeper, and let's me taste his honey. It's a wow. Whole experience costs 70 cents. So far no repercussions.
Head further up the street, and there's a huge crowd.....I'm talking several thousand blocking the road, and hundreds of scooters. It's another festival parade. Today its the kids. Sunday it's the older kids, and next Monday it's the adults. It's nothing other than spectacular. My Samsung phone goes camera happy. I guarantee I'm the only non Indonesia in the crowd. Lots, both parades, and parents, want their photo taken. Lots of kids spot me and pose. One little one hitches her eye brows at me several times to get my attention.
In between floats, the scooters try to get through. It's organised bedlam. It's amazing. I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of it all.
Back at the hotel, and a group have gathered from neighboring business's, to talk to me.... A young fellah speaks reasonable English, and he translated their questions. I'm bombarded. They all have advice about my safety. I am NOT to camp in lonely places. I am NOT to accept drinks from strangers. I am NOT to wander the streets alone at night....anywhere in Indonesia, I should NOT leave my valuables lying around, and don't forget to order my dinner before 9pm..... I'm overwhelmed by the difference a 30 min ferry crossing makes, and as long as it lasts I'm going to soak it up.
While riding today I realized I've done NO research on what are the "must sees". To be honest, I'm not interested. It's the cycling, the terrain, and most importantly the people that make a trip so interesting, such an adventure. Can't wait for it to continue.