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Published: March 14th 2017
Little pancake things- so yummy
Today's 14 hours on the road highlights:
06:00- up and out for early stroll - knee is loosening up, stumble (not literally) upon local local market on footpath- particularly impressed with no less than 15 varieties of bananas. If you went through yesterday's blog entry and all 60-ish photos you will have seen a good bunch of them. The stall holders were predominantly women and all consented to having their photos taken with their produce. I speak fairly dismal Bahasa Indonesia but my basic sentences are OK and seem to be understood.
07:00- breakfast at homestay is as colourful as the room, best one I've had so far. The peanut sauce on the Cap Cay is 10/10.
08:30- convince Dosi I don't need to be escorted wandering the streets of downtown Probolinggo. He drives us "downtown" and stops when I spot an old cinema and lets me loose. Probolinggo is photographically rich with windows, doorways, crumbling buildings and graffiti strewn laneways. The locals seem open and curious. As I head back to the car (I can't believe my luck- I have actually found the car after a maze like wander) a very, very friendly, elderly
Indochinese lady invites me in to the house she was born in, I then have to meet the extended family who all take my
11:00- Dosi asks if I want to visit 'the island'- sure I say. We get on a little public boat in the harbour, it costs 10 000 Rp ($1) each for the 1 hr crossing to Pulau Gili Ketapang. We sit on deck cross legged then wait (for almost an hour) until it's full of people, eggs, oil, planks of wood, bananas (probably from the jolly banana seller I met earlier), etc. Within minutes the other 19 passengers are asleep on deck. I concentrate on the horizon. It is a very smooth ride.
12:45- Arrive on the island and create a stir, the locals have probably never seen such a red faced sweaty woman with red hair before! It is really, really hot. I am really really red and sweaty. Walk around the island which is full of twisty eared goats. Get shown the caves with fresh water (tastes salty), the 2 mosques and the sacred cat temple - apparently back in the day all 1000 of the islands cats disappeared overnight by
(black) magic. Ok.... Interesting. The main industry is fishing... and goats. Pigeon racing is also high on the agenda- bang in the middle of the island there is a cleared area encircled by stick trees- kind of an oval/soccer pitch sort of thing, and there are men and boys animatedly releasing and catching pigeons. If it's at all possible I am even hotter now- don the headscarf scarf to shelter from the sun. I don't blend particularly well sitting at the wharf waiting for our return boat.
NOTE- This is a great trip to do. It feels off the beaten path and I'm really glad to have done it, the boat trip in itself was an interesting experience and the whole thing really spur of the moment. Highly recommended!
17:00- Back at the harbour we drive to Dosi's house to meet his family, they take many photos of me and we have "lunch"- Bakso from the cart next door (once again I cross my fingers), it's been a while since breakfast and is really delicious.
18:30- Dosi tells me we're near a temple from the 14th century (built around 1354, it is a Buddhist temple), Dosi says
I'd love it- "great photos Mrs Gill ", I think he's starting to get my need to photograph interesting structures. We get there in the dark (with cloudy full-ish moon) but the temple keeper comes out with a big torch. It's a red brick tower of 15m and is in need of some reconstruction but, as with most temples I have seen this trip, is still pretty magnificent. Dosi encourages me to take photos.
20:00- arrive in Bondowoso at the Ijen Bondowoso Homestay. I meet Sam and the crew who have organised this section of the trip and hand over a wad of cash (good value IMO for all of the driving, accommodations, sightseeings and my impending trip tomorrow). https://www.facebook.com/IjenBondowosoHomestay/?fref=ts
Head for the shower, have a cup of tea, crash on another comfortably firm bed with the alarm set for 23:15- wake up time for Kawah Ijen blue fire and crater climb.
Today was a BIG day, a really excellent day
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