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Published: April 10th 2010
The free lunch inside the cramped boiling hot dorm area
Indonesia - 6 Weeks
After waiting 3 days and paying $55 to obtain a visa I was allowed to cross the border into Indonesia and was lucky enough to be able to catch the ferry that evening, it only passes through every 2 weeks.
The ferry ride was 2 days and we had to sleep in cramped conditions, surrounded by fascinated and friendly people, one guy thought I was a tattoo artist and I drew something on his arm only to disappoint him when he realised I wasn’t an artist and that I had no equipment (the language barrier aided the confusion). Sulawesi
The ferry dropped us in Pare Pare on the island of Sulawesi and we visited the amazing Toraja area. Amongst the massive granite mountains and all the rice fields are villages with very distinct boat like roofs. In the Toraja area the people still live traditional lives with some additions from the modern world and they are famous for their funerals. The dead body is not buried as in other religions, but instead put in graves that can take from 5-7 months to carve into the side of sacred mountains. They place human
There was far too many people on board, the floor filled with bodies
effigies outside the graves and even place the babies in mini graves carved in sacred trees. They sacrifice many buffalo or pig at the funeral and a person can be dead for more than ten years while the family save money to hold this ceremony. Bali
From Makassar we flew to Kota in Bali and were there on the night of the anniversary of the Bali bombing, some people talked at the monument to remember those that died. The town was a little too touristic for me, full of Australian surf dudes that would have been happy in Benidorm. For this reason we jumped straight on the ferry for the 26 hour ride to the island of Sumba, this time it was so full we had to sleep on the . Sumba
Sumba was a beautiful island, very isolated from the world and they also had traditional and distinct roofs and burial rituals with Stone Tombs. We hired some bikes for a couple of days and drove to the other side of the island to visit some traditional villages and stay on a really isolated beach. Flores
Everyone was very friendly
ride later and we arrived on the island of Flores, part of a chain of volcano forming the chain of islands, Java, Bali, into the Nusa Tenggara islands. The people living on Flores maintained traditional ways of living so there were few tourist facilities. The buses travelled very slowly, having to climb up and over the volcanoes but this gave rise to some beautiful scenery. We took a moto-taxi to the top of one of the volcanoes, Kelimutu to see its 3 different coloured lakes, turquoise, olive and brown. Then from here I went to the very West end of the island to catch a boat with 3 friends from England to sail around and visit the Komodo dragons on Rinca island. The boat trip was fantastic beautiful islands, beautiful mountains, and crystal clear water. We did some snorkelling and then had some beers that evening while the bats came out. We saw an amazing nights sky, and I still can’t believe that I saw 17 shooting stars and Will, sat with me, only saw a few.
The next morning we went to the home of the massive Komodo dragon and made friends with 20 - 30 of them.
There was no hanging around when getting off was concerned
Next we chose to chill on the Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok, for a week. Here Will took way to many mushrooms and we did some diving, drinking and I ate my Indonesian Corn Flakes. Bali
After the boys left I spent 5 days on Bali. Two days in Tulamben, doing a couple of great dives from the beach, one of which was the very impressive sunken battle ship USS Liberty. I then spent 3 days in Ubud visiting some of the temples and more ruins, seeing the traditional artwork and watching a traditional dance with men singing, chanting and wearing costumes dancing and playing with fire. Java
After Bali came Java and the huge Mt Bromo with it´s 10km wide crater, I explored and admired its steaming, sulphur smelling vent but had to leave after a couple of days as I was not going to allow the shower water, at that altitude, to touch my skin.
I stopped a couple of nights in Yogyakarta to see some local handicrafts such as the batik fabrics made using wax and dyeing materials and the puppets traditionally made for the king from animal
Effigies of the deceased looking out over the land, guarding the tombs
On the way to Jakarta I visited the Dieng Plateau, an area 2000m above sea level with a high level of volcanic activity with boiling mud pools, poisonous emissions and lakes coloured by the sulphur. In fact there was so much volcanic activity there was a geothermal processing plant.
Jakarta was nothing special but had many strange statues monumenting its dictorial past.
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