HOT INFO On The Road

Margaret and Keel's Asian Adventure
Riding Tigers: REPORT #17
January 14, 2000, from Yogakarta Java, Indoneisa

US$1 = 7000 rp

Bali to Java

Where were we. When we last met we were climbing volcanoes in Bali. Well we left the Volcano and caught a bus to Lovina a "laid back beach resort" on the north coast of Bali. That is what the Lonely planet guide book calls it. Once again mislead by Lonely Planet. If it was laid back, it isn't any longer. The touts, hawkers and sellers are just as bad as Kuta or the rest of Bali...Snorkeling and Dolphin watching trips are the game in this little town. I don't care to see the Dolphins as I've seen bazillions of them and I would consider the snorkeling... but the sell is so hard that I am no longer inspired. Oh the value of the soft sell is lost on these folks...

So a couple of days in Lovinia and then a bus headed to Gilimanuk to catch the ferry to Java...Bus broke down on the way and we were passed off to a minibus, read Toyota Van...26 people occupied this minivan... I kid you not... it was a sight... had we crashed it would of been all over but the crying... From the bus station in Gillimuk it is a short walk of 200 meters to the ferry Terminal where for the huge sum of .18 cents you can catch the ferry to Java... Upon arrival in Java we proceed to the train station. It is certainly much easier to take the bus but I have an affection for train travel and try to indulge myself when it is available. Waited about 8 hours to catch the train and had to settle for second class as first class was full. I won't go into the details but suffice it to say that on Indonesia trains you want to go Executive Class if possible... if not, reconsider the bus....we changed trains in Surabaya and luckily we were able to get executive class for the remaining journey to Yogakarta...We came here to see the cultural center of Java... We intend to visit the largest Buddhist monument in the world. the Sultans Place and catch some classical ballet in the evenings...Currently staying at the Metro Guesthouse which is a reasonable place with pool and other amenities...50,000 rp gets you a nice double room with fan and cold water shower...as it is hot as the hinges of hell here hot water is not required. The landscape of Java is beautiful and seeing it from the executive class train window is a treat...rice fields as far as the eye can see...back dropped by amazing volcanoes...quite scenic...the people are not quite as hard sell as in Bali but none the less I have seen and heard comments that make me feel somewhat not welcome...I have also seen a little of the tension that is being written about in the newspaper...lots of graffiti and several small protest, we probably stay here for four or five days before heading back to Bali to get ready to head to New Zealand for a glorious month way down under...we can't wait and to tell you the truth as much as I love Asia and the rigors of Asian travel it will be nice to speak the language and not have to struggle with the mundane chores of existence...also looking forward to seeing family and friends...until next time...take care

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