Indonesia · 35 Days · 17 Moments · May 2017

Go Banita / Indonesia

2 July 2017

If you're reading this, it's too late // Getting a bug (finally) It finally happened. I came down with something. And since I don't do this often, it had to be a good one. Ina nutshell, blacking out in a nail salon 20 yards from where I'm staying. Waking up to 5 salon ladies in purple looking freaked out, 2 doctors and a translator πŸ™„ heart rate measured, blood sugars tested, blood pressure in check, a few dabs of tea tree oil on my forehead and (I later discovered!?) on my belly. Diagnosis? Exhaustion πŸ˜‘ What. Can you even get that from holidaying too hard!? After a 15 second scooty lift back to The Chillhouse, it was forced rest. Don't shoot my cynicism because the symptoms progressed to stomach cramps, total loss of appetite and fatigue.. then a few days later, the runs. I'm going to re-diagnose this as Bali Belly because the runs thankfully make sense of this enigma. Bed / poolside / Bed / poolside was now my new itinerary (oh, and the loo) Mum- don't panic. I'm better now

29 June 2017

Intermission // filling in the blanks.. At the turning point in my trip, I have a lot of blanks to fill in on my journal. Please do check back to previous dates as I fill in the rest of Java & Bali over the next few days... Currently a little bed bound, but nothing some rest won't fix! Watch this space πŸš€ Next stop, Vietnam πŸ‡»πŸ‡³

24 June 2017

Checking out and unsubscribing...//Today I did me. Snoozed (it's highly overrated-I won't be doing that again) Gym. Quick shower with Bryson Tiller. Breakfast, in courses. Pool & book. Long shower with Drake. Yes I sang. Checked out. Cappuccino. Unsubscribed from all the detritus in my inbox. Behind on my journal. Still behind on my journal. Left Ubud for the coast. Surfs up babes. πŸ„πŸ’™

16 June 2017

A day of many terrains // Bromo I The day started with heavy rainfall. Those who trek will know the feeling of defeat that threatens even before you've begun walking. Lacking real rainwear, we kitted up in some local delights. We started through the Ngadas village, stopping frequently to indulge in the views. We were literally floating on the clouds. The farmland that blanketed the slopes were almost vertical as the people made use of every inch of fertile land - regardless of how impossible it looked. As the rain tailed off, it was time to tackle the jungle. Taking a deep breath we entered a dense, hot and humid jungle. Plants walled up against us on all sides - as the person in front moved forward the plants would spring back to screen the next victim. Spider webs stretched out everywhere. Looking down our feet were hidden by the dense growth- fearing leeches and worse, it felt like an hour of walking in a slow panic. The jungle opened out into thick grassland....
Into the dead zone // Bromo II Emerging into tall grass felt like being reborn. The humidity fell away and a light breeze was very welcome! The tall grass however was full of its own surprises. Riddled with small rivulets, holes and ditches, we again paced through dense tall grass, unable to see the ground below our waists and expecting to fall into a mysterious hole. Nevertheless, happy to be out of the jungle. The grasslands opened up into a striking, but noticeably dead landscape. A charcoal grey valley stretched before us paving the way to Mt Bromo that sat smug and steaming. We got closer and negotiated the climb up Bromo's steep slopes. Mordor came to mind. After peering the lip of the crater, I felt nothing short of intimidated. The crater was massive with billowing plumes of yellow sulphur. A low but very present grumbling filled the air. The next day we rode up to see sunrise over Bromo. The sky was a ballet of colours. This volcano had me enamoured.

15 June 2017

Ngadas homestay // A village in the clouds... Ngadas. We arrived in sheets of rain. Still dressed for the heat of Jogja, we were now in the single digits. The group split between 3 houses. 3 families who warmly opened up their homes to us. I don't know what it is about homestays, but I l get a little teary at the thought of someone welcoming us to stay in their family home with them. I shared a room with Soph,fellow Brit πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ We layered up and headed down for a welcome snack with the family. Cozying up around a small fire on the kitchen floor, sharing a bunch of bananas and something that tasted like a mochi ball 😊 Following a warm up, we walked over to another home for dinner. We shared little language lessons, learnt an Indonesian song and ate like kings. The village leader gave us an intro to the Ngadas way and we toasted some tea. We returned to our rooms to a pot of hot water and teas πŸ’™ Spongebob fleecy blankets were a godsend as the night was going cold...

14 June 2017

Jogja aka Yogya laterz alligatorz // Yogyakarta to Ngadas Leaving Jogja was bittersweet- welcomed as a euphoric hit by indulging in one place for longer than a night. Home comforts were within reach once more - a familiar affair with western food and some time in the pool was welcomed. The 8 hour train ride that followed can only be described as pouring cement into a pool... πŸ˜” On arrival in Malang, the bell boy jumped out of the train as it slowed to prepare for alight. As the train ground to a halt I thought there was must be a mistake- there was no platform. Then, almost comically, actually heroically, I saw the bell boys head bob along, dragging a flight of stairs for us to alight on. Superman has nothing on him. The drive to Ngadas could conceive poetry. As the sun set we drove further upwards and into a thick darkness. Glimpses of icy cloud beneath us flashed between the trees as we drove higher into the mountains. The air began to prick with cold.

13 June 2017

There are 10 Buddhist monks having their tea behind us.... // Yogyakarta 7 hours of train life ended in Yogyakarta, home of the ancient ruins of Borabodur and Prambahan, respectively Buddhist and Hindu temples. We checked into a hotel in what seemed the soho district of the city and I ditched clothes for pool. The next day saw an early start so we could beat the midday heat, but it hit me like a sack of hot coals. Upon arrival at Borabodur we were given refreshments and had our tea amongst 10 happy Buddhist monks on tour. It set the tone for the day well. Borabodur was nothing short of magical. The stone, the story, the destruction and then the sheer size. Prambahan had a different effect on me. I suppose growing up in a Hindu family took away some of the newness, but either way the architecture didn't fail me. Day 2 was recovery. A bought of heat exhaustion was fixed with some sleep, water and lunch + dinner at a place that made me high. Ready for Bromo.

5 June 2017

A fish bit me on the tummy // Padang Islands The boat pulled away from the shores of Padang and set off for a day of island hopping. Jumping off the boat at the first island felt unreal. The water was so warm and the sand so white. But the best part, the beach was totally empty. No one. I can top this... there were 3 great dogs to keep me entertained πŸ™„my world was complete. Hours of swimming and hunting for shells and fun shit from the sea followed. Snorkelling was a great adventure-completely surrounded, and attacked (!), by beautiful tropical fish. We finished the day off with a birthday celebration. I had fish & chips in return for the bite Mr Fish took out of me today ;) Paradise is an understatement.

4 June 2017

Knives & other complexities // Bukittinggi I have little to say about this place except 😳 Went to some creepy mall which made me feel trippy. Ate only half a red velvet ice cream as once again, I made the mistake of walking home solo with an ice cream πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Had a weird fly infestation in our room. De Kock cafe for lunch became a regret after what seemed like a lovely dinner the night before. On a positive note, a cycle tour of the rice paddies and a steep hike left me with beautiful memories and a painful bum (bike seat). I tanned another 3 degrees and my thighs are officially lethal now πŸ’ͺ On our journey to Padang from Bukittinggi I saw the beginnings of Independence Day as I got acquainted with an intriguing bug that looked like an alien πŸ‘½ Was grateful to arrive in Padang after what seemed like a very surreal few days.

2 June 2017

When Pikachu rollerbladed by... // Bukittinggi Underwhelmed by lunch, I drifted and caught a lonely figure working under the midday sun in what seemed like an impossible paddy of work. Her job seemed eye watering. Mention rice to me and I'll drop you some great facts. I wish her the world. Rice. I'll appreciate each bite I take much much more. Crossed over the equator today to the real dirty south. Life here seems jolly, spins different for sure..I was even presented a certificate to confirm this moment. Pikachu then came skating by on rollerblades. My heart danced a little. We wrapped the day at De Kock Cafe. Indulged in a pizza and guess what a chai 😱 Sealed the deal with 3 Little Birds courtesy of Tommy from De Cock πŸ˜‰Still here...don't stop the music please. Ever.

1 June 2017

The night we tried and the day i didn't /onwards from Samosir // What seemed like the end of the day on Samosir was just the warm up. The night took an interesting turn. I shall let the photos and some informed deduction reveal. I stuck to a 'taste' and gave into a Bintan to compensate. This only resulted in me insisting on better music or threatening to go to bed. Much love for Rihanna followed that would make her proud.. The morning after was an early start. 9 hours on the bus meant stacks of music and podcasts lined up. A stop at a pineapple farm and coffee plantation bagged me two slices of the best pineapple I've ever experienced. A walk through a traditional spice & fish market along with some uncomfortable selfies due to a continued misunderstanding that Indonesians seem to have with my appearance. The night ended with some photo sharing, a walk through the town to shake off the bus and a HOT shower. A review of Lays Butter & Honey crisps to be submitted tomorrow. Peac

31 May 2017

Burning thighs // Samosir Island, Lake Toba Today I hired a bike. I love bikes, but this bike. Oh man. This bike worked me good. After banking my first night of 'decent' sleep since I started this journey a week ago, it was getting whipped straight out of me by this bike. We started off from the hotel and headed straight for the traditional ancient Batak village of Huta Siallagan. Cannibalism here worked as a form of justice. I could leave it at that for dramatic effect but I'm not big on misinforming through omission. Theres a system, a reasoning and an intended outcome to the sweeping generalisation of cannibalism and i left with a very different impression to the one I arrived with as a result of a similar lack of information. Cycling back, a lunch pit stop stretched into a 2 and half hr wait for the rain storm to pass. Aloe Vera, papaya, banana and avo juice happened. Burning thighs had a cold shower. Hunger returning, I popped out to Rumba for a coffee and some bread to finish

30 May 2017

Into the jaws of a monster // Samosir Island, Lake Toba Waking up to an exploding volcano dominating the horizon as we opened our curtains this morning set the tone for the day well. After seeing 2 explosions it was time to leave Berstagi for a much older, dormant volcano - but one that has left a beautiful & sinister mark on the country. As the bus wound it's way through the jungle and villages i started to catch flashes of a large body of water glistening between the trees. The full expanse of Lake Toba is nothing short of breathtaking. A beautiful and enormous lake sits in what was once the crater of a super volcano; hard to imagine such a thing actually exploded over 700 years ago. After a brief stop at a waterfall which emptied its wares into the lake, we crossed the lake In a small ferry to Samosir Island. The journey was one that will last with me a life time. And as for Samosir Island - well I've learnt how to play volleyball 🏐

29 May 2017

//The world & the end of it, under my Nikes - Hiking up Mt Sebayak // 4am start. I find myself hiking uphill in total darkness, almost horizontal, with two slices of buttered and jammed toast and a boiled egg all wrapped up in a tissue. Hiking in darkness requires a certain disposition. First a willingness to risk ones Nikes. Second a degree of recklessness. The hissing sounds of the jungle were replaced by the sounds of the geysers as we approached the crater, mosquitos with the pungent smell of sulphur. The sunrise was worth it. Slow and steady but revealing a beautiful landscape stretching out for miles. The sinister heat and noise from the crater lured us in for a brief walk around the mouth of a beast. As we hiked down through a lost world, the volcano ahead of us exploded leaving us with a majestic show, but also a reminder of our vulnerable position. Ever grateful Mt Sebayak. πŸ‘Š

28 May 2017