Monthly Archives: December 2012

Lombok Island

Gilli Island was a nice place to visit. Plenty of young smart Indonesians good at getting money from the tourists. I went in the warm ocean a couple of times and enjoyed the peacefulness of the place. But tourism is changing it very fast.

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Gilli Island

I got a shuttle boat back to Lombok Island and a bus down to the coastal town of Singilli. This place is a bump on the road with plenty of high-end beach resorts. I stayed at the HILLVIEW HOMESTAY. It was not a home and there was no hill or view. It was right next to the local mosque and I was treated to the 5 times a day call to prayer. Allah ackbar!  Some of the singing goes on for 30 minutes. The people just go on with their lives as the very loud prayers are sung.

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Really not sure about this guy

Almost everyone gets around on a motorbike here. Some of the young guys drive around without mufflers and the noise is way too loud. I rented a Yamaha and went to a Hindu Temple and some waterfalls. I went for a cold swim in the rapids below the falls and it felt so good. It is very hot here.

I am not alone. Raja from Sumatra is still travelling with me. He is a very nice guy. I finally taught him to shake hands the western way. A strong grip and you look eye to eye. We met Frans in Bali and he is from Lombok and showed us around his island.

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Frans from Lombok

On our bike ride we stopped along the road for a drink of ice tea. We watched some fishermen cast their net into the ocean. Later they brought their net to a stream to clean it out. I don’t know if they caught any fish but it sure looked like hard work.

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Lombok Fishermen

We later stopped off at a local fish place and I had the best fish meal. I sat on the floor and ate the fish, rice and salad with my hands. I am so lucky to make friends in these countries as I get to do local things and see things I never would as a plain tourist.

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Good fish

Travelling my way is an adventure. I am always surprised what I stumble into. When I was at the Hindu Temple a couple of luxury buses pulled up and off came a flock of old white tourists being led around. I am so lucky to be able to get around by myself.

I do not have TVs, air-conditioning and hot water in my hotels but I am getting to see the real thing and not being driven around in a bubble.

Today we got a fast boat to Bali. It was a bumpy ride and we were surrounded by thunderstorms the whole way.

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Fastboat to Bali

So it looks like I will be in Bali Kuta (beach) for the next 10 days. Not a bad place to be. Sorta like Las Vegas by the beach for Aussies. Plenty of live music and good food here.

Got my AirAsia ticket back to Jakarta for 3 Jan. 2013.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL hope all is well with your lives.

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Bali Art

Lombok Island

Gilli Island was a nice place to visit. Plenty of young smart Indonesians good at getting money from the tourists. I went in the warm ocean a couple of times and enjoyed the peacefulness of the place. But tourism is changing it very fast.

image

Gilli Island

I got a shuttle boat back to Lombok Island and a bus down to the coastal town of Singilli. This place is a bump on the road with plenty of high-end beach resorts. I stayed at the HILLVIEW HOMESTAY. It was not a home and there was no hill or view. It was right next to the local mosque and I was treated to the 5 times a day call to prayer. Allah ackbar!  Some of the singing goes on for 30 minutes. The people just go on with their lives as the very loud prayers are sung.

image

Really not sure about this guy

Almost everyone gets around on a motorbike here. Some of the young guys drive around without mufflers and the noise is way too loud. I rented a Yamaha and went to a Hindu Temple and some waterfalls. I went for a cold swim in the rapids below the falls and it felt so good. It is very hot here.

I am not alone. Raja from Sumatra is still travelling with me. He is a very nice guy. I finally taught him to shake hands the western way. A strong grip and you look eye to eye. We met Frans in Bali and he is from Lombok and showed us around his island.

image

Frans from Lombok

On our bike ride we stopped along the road for a drink of ice tea. We watched some fishermen cast their net into the ocean. Later they brought their net to a stream to clean it out. I don’t know if they caught any fish but it sure looked like hard work.

image

Lombok Fishermen

We later stopped off at a local fish place and I had the best fish meal. I sat on the floor and ate the fish, rice and salad with my hands. I am so lucky to make friends in these countries as I get to do local things and see things I never would as a plain tourist.

image

Good fish

Travelling my way is an adventure. I am always surprised what I stumble into. When I was at the Hindu Temple a couple of luxury buses pulled up and off came a flock of old white tourists being led around. I am so lucky to be able to get around by myself.

I do not have TVs, air-conditioning and hot water in my hotels but I am getting to see the real thing and not being driven around in a bubble.

Today we got a fast boat to Bali. It was a bumpy ride and we were surrounded by thunderstorms the whole way.

image

Fastboat to Bali

So it looks like I will be in Bali Kuta (beach) for the next 10 days. Not a bad place to be. Sorta like Las Vegas by the beach for Aussies. Plenty of live music and good food here.

Got my AirAsia ticket back to Jakarta for 3 Jan. 2013.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL hope all is well with your lives.

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Bali Art

More Indonesia

I was glad to get out of Yogyakarta, way too big for me. I bought a ticket for Bali and took a very long bus ride…22 hours. My seatmate was a student from Sumatra. He has some English. His father has sent him across Indonesia before he starts college.

The bus was way over airconditioned and sorta miserable….just part of the adventure. We got to the ocean at 4 am. We all got out of the bus for a rest, then back on the bus as it drove on to the ship for a short trip from Java to Bali. I was surprised, as the sun came up over Bali I could see 4 volcanoes. One was actually releasing smoke.

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Raja and East Java Volcanos

Bali is so different than Java. We drove through Palm groves and there were so many Budhist and Hindu Temples. There were many rice terraces and people out working them. This is how I imagined Bali to look like.

In the first 10 minutes in Bali I saw a terrible truck/motorbike accident. A bike with an adult and a young child was rear ended by a braking truck. They were both thrown from the bike. Not sure how bad they were hurt. Asia has plenty of reckless driving. With all the travelling I do, I have seen my share of accidents.

Kuta Bali is a tourist town, mostly Auusies behaving like Aussies, manyJapanese and Chinese too. I felt I needed to improve my image so I bought a new outfit.

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My $20 makeover

10 years ago over 200 people were killed here when terrorists set off bombs at a crowded nightclub. They have a monument with the victim’s names and nationalities. Bali tourist life goes on..

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In memory of thosr who lost their lives in the Bali Bombing

Plenty of good things to eat, plenty of shopping with everyone trying to get your attention.  My friend Raja likes to walk the beach and I am lucky to be eating normal Indonesian food. Tuna, rice, green salad that looks like Spinach and hot sauce. Dinner for a couple of bucks.

After a fast boat ride I am now in the Gilly Islands, east of Bali, just off Lombok Island. What a change…no cars, no motorbikes. The only noise is the live music at night, the horse carts going through town and the 5 times a day call to prayer from the local mosque. Indonesia is a very Muslim place….but the people like to drink.

I guess I still have my Woodstock vibe, I have been offered weed as I walk the streets. They also offer me viagara… Gili Island is so peaceful, my room is $15 a night with breakfast and great Wifi, especially when you consider how remote it is.

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Gili Island


I think I will fly back to Jakarta Jan. 3, 2013 from Bali. Indonesia is turning out to be a great place to visit.

Java Time

Dec. 10, 2012
After a long day of taxi rides, airports and jet time, I got a real nice surprise at the Singapore Airport. Simone Williams, my old UK friend from Cape Cod texted me that she was on her way to the airport. So I went through passport control and met her for a drink. So nice to see her again. She is the kind of person you just want to hug.

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Simone Williams

I had a bumpy ride to Jakarta, I assume it had something to do with the cyclone. The southern part of the Philippines got hit bad. Over 500 people lost their lives.

Indonesia was a new country for me. Very Muslim. Waited for the blue taxi at the Jakarta Airport and got to the hostel in an hour. Night traffic is bearable. This was another good international hostel (with cold beer). The next day I went to an electronics mall with Hans from Sweden. He likes to travel and has been to many of the same places I have. I needed a 32 gig memory chip for my phone. I have taken so many pictures I was starting to run out of memory.

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Hanging in Jakarta

I got the night train to Yogyikarta. Everybody told me to go there. This was an ancient capitol of Indonesia. Got a ride to a new hostel and it was okay but has no soul… I did met Christian from Poland. This guy was another awesome character that I always get to meet when travelling. He told me that he was going to the Borobudur Temple and I went with him. I thought it was in town but it was 50 kilometers from town. It took us 2 buses and a rickshaw ride to get there.  One big hassle…..but the rewards were fantastic. We had rain off and on in the afternoon. The Budhist Temple was built in the 7th century and it is in great shape.

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Borobudup Temple

On the top there are hundreds of stuppas, like stone bells with statues of Buddha in them. We came down and were surrounded by people selling things. I tell them I have a backpack and can not carry anything more. Christian told them that I was his father and that I had lots of money.

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Sellers at Borobudup Temple

We were lucky to attend a concert of the Indonesia National Public Radio Symphony. They were great.. There were over 70 people playing, several singers and young ladies dancing in colorful costumes. Another cultural experience which I continue to stumble into.

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Concert at Borobudup

We stayed too late and there were no buses to bring us back to town. We got 2 motorbike drivers to bring us back. It took us 1 and a half hours to get back. Along the way our drivers stopped to pray at a Mosque. Our ride was great and safe.

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Stopping for a prayer

Today I bought a bus ticket to Banyuwangi which is right across from Bali. I need to rest up for this 16 hour trip. My next destination is Kota, I am told it is much nicer than the tourist areas of Bali.

One more thing…here is a picture of a tropical grasshopper.

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a very large grasshopper

Seeya Coron, Palawan..Back to Manila

Dec. 4, 2012
I had a nice time in Coron, even though it was hot and the power was off half the time. Each morning I would go to the Coron Bistro for my breakfast. The place was run by an old Frenchman with a ponytail. He had a wonderful expresso machine there… that kept making me come back.

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Coron breakfast

I stayed at the Coron Backpackers Guesthouse for 3 nights. The place is built over the water and the tides came in and went out right under my room. The floor was made from bamboo. You could see the light reflecting off the water in the spaces between the bamboo. I did lose some change which fell on the floor and then into the sea.

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Coron Guesthousr

The place was filled with tourists from China and Taiwan. They were cooking all the time. They had a liitle 5 year old girl who was always playing with an Ipad. She was surrounded by the neighborhood kids. I showed her 15 minutes of Dumbo and she liked it.

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Coron Guesthouse

I got a van out to the Coron Airport. I had to wait a few hours for my plane. Meanwhile a family started to play ukes and one guitar. Mostly old Beatles songs. Perhaps it was a father and his children..they were good. The musical part of this country is one of its best features…and they are not afraid to laugh out load.

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Coron Airport Concert

When I landed at Manila I had to wait an hour for a metered cab. I only had an hour to get to the Vietnamese Embassy to get my passport. We made it on time but the Embassy Visa Section closed early. So the driver drove all the way to my hostle in Quezon City. It was rush hour and I helped with my GPS. It only cost $10 and I got to see parts of the city that I never saw before.

So last month I missed the Japanese tunnel collapse. Now a massive cyclone is hitting the southern parts of this country. Just rain here in Manila. Thank God that I have been safe and in good health.  The trip has been so good so far.

Off to Jakarta on Thursday…I am just gonna chill here for a couple more days…maybe look for a new pair of sandals.

Coron, Palawan, Philippines

Dec. 1, 2012
After a long wait in the Manila Airport I flew to Coron, a very remote and beautiful place.

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Cebu Air small plan

I always try to get window seats and the view coming into Coron was incredible. Many little islands with super white beaches. The airport is just a little meadow surrounded by mountains. We came down with a thump and then a real hard breaking. A 150 peso van ride got you to Coron. This is where people go to scuba dive. My guest house had a very nice lady running it. She told me where to eat and helped me buy a day boat trip.

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Coron boat tour

I met Hiroshi on the boat trip. He runs a fish restaurant in Kobe, Japan and he loves to take trips.

The next day, at the suggestion of my guest house manager we rented Honda 100 cc motorbikes.  We headed along the coast to the village of Conception to see the waterfalls. We were warned that the road was bad but we had no idea how bad. Apparently most of the bridges had been washed out so we had to go over some temporary plank bridges.  Sometimes I wish that I was home on the couch with my remote.

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Biking in Coron

Half of the roads were stone and it was very easy to slide and tip over, we both came close but we never did. When we reached the waterfalls it was worth the thrill ride.

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Hiroshi at Conception Waterfall

So now I have an invite to eat at Hiroshi’s fish place in Kobe. Last night they cancelled his flight to Manila so I helped him rebook his flight to Osaka. It took hours with numerous phone calls to Jetstar. I kept running out of minutes on my simcard… we had to go through the process 3 times before his rebooking was finalized. We were walking all over town late at night trying to get his yen changed to pesos. It was exhausting but fun. Now I have a new friend.

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Coron at dusk

Coron is the real thing, plenty of young people and power blackouts everyday, the smell of food all over town. I hope that it can maintain the charm as it progresses. The kids have smartphones and are listening to the latest music.  The first morning I arrived all the school kids marched in the streets…my timing in running into these kinds of things is a gift.

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Coron Parade

Back to Manila on Monday, pick up my passport and visa from the Vietnamese Embassy and fly to Singapore then Jakarta, Indonesia on Wed.

Still enjoying this amazing adventure!!!

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Me and hat