Monthly Archives: January 2014

Semarang….a big City

We took the bus from Solo up to Semarang on the north coast of Java.  Semarang just had a major flood and many roads, businesses and homes were still flooded.

The bus took us to a terminal outside of the City and we had to get a taxi into the City Center. We found a modest hotel and went to the Mall to see “Wolf of Wallstreet”. Good movie but a bit long for my attention span.  The kids use their smartphones during the films. This sorta sucks because the lights and noise are a distraction. This is Asia and there are few rules,  at least rules people follow.

The next day we went to the former headquarters of the Java Railroad. It is old, rundown but being fixed up. People say it is haunted, it really is beautiful.
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We went to the old part of town and there are some old Dutch buildings still standing. We had a $12 lunch in an old Dutch building and it was real elegant.  The food was great. Always nice going to a fancy place, my budget does not allow me to make this a habit, but it is nice once in awhile.
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Real good fish in a nice place.

We then walked through a local open-air market which just got more rain. Plenty of poor people there, makes you think how lucky you are to travel, afford a good meal in a nice place in a world full of real poverty.

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So whats up with all these pixs of me. Adi is using my tablet and taking plenty of pixs. I am getting lazy.

Next and last stop in Java is Yogyakarta, the first capital of Indonesia.

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Never heard of Solo or Semarang

Lets face it…people who live in the USA know very little about Indonesia. I have visited twice and still know very little. The place is amazing, disappointing and mysterious. I am getting so much more out of this 2 month visit than last year’s visit.
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Solo is the center of the Batik industry. This is an old way to decorate cloth. The traditional way is to make decorative stamps, dip it in wax and make a pattern on cloth.
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They then handpaint the cloth. I am sure you would recognize it when you see it.
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We got to Solo by train and were taken to an old cheap hotel. The most memorable event of our stay was the key not opening the door on the first morning. We had to yell to get saved…we changed rooms.
We were taken around town on a bike taxi driven by Patmo, he soon joined us for all our meals.

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Patmo, our Solo bike taxi driver

We visited the Sultans Palace, a Batik factory, a musical instrument place, toured the markets and ate, ate and ate.

The last night we had tea in a place with 2 singers and many people who go from eating place to eating place playing yukes and guitars and singing. They all do this for times. Some are good, some are not.

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Singers in Solo

Solo was a nice place, we got to see a steam train go through town, it is basically a tourist thing but still something to see.

Patmo drove us to the bus station and we went north to Semarang, a much bigger town which just experienced a major flood.

More Java Tour

Adi’s niece is studying pharmacy in the City of PURWOKERTO. We caught a bus from his brother’s house to see her. She found a nice hotel for us and rented her motorbike to us so we could get around.
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We met the next day to visit another hot spring. The Indonesians have great family places to visit. This one had a gyser, young guys jumping from cliffs for money and of course all kinds of food. I was happy to pay for the meals, it is pretty cheap here to buy good food. They had a band playing traditional music…these guys played for hours.  The music was good and they danced very well.

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Every morning a little old lady would come to the hotel to sell us breakfast. She was always smiling and the food was great.
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One day we drove from Purwokerto back to Adi’s village. We stopped to visit a man made lake. We got a ride on a boat which took us to a restaurant and we had a great fish dinner. The boat guy was surprised when I asked him to eat with us. Food is not expensive and it is my pleasure to feed the world.

BTW….everybody here loves Barack Obama. When I tell them I am from the USA they all smile and say our President’s name. They all know he went to school in Jakarta. I show them this picture and they all smile.
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After our boat ride one of the nicest things happened…we stopped off to visit Adi’s old grandmother.  He lost his parents and seeing his mom’s mother again after 15 years was very emotional for him.
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We stopped at his brother’s house to say goodbye then we left for the 35 mile ride back to Purwokerto.

We took a train to Solo, this is the place where they make Bostic cloth. I bought a bostic shirt and now I look like a tourist.
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More to come on Solo and Semarang.

Java Tour

Adi, my tour guide from Bali, went with me to Bandung. The flight was cheap and we stayed at a nice hotel with a pool (which we never went in). We got a motorbike delivered to the hotel and started to tour. The first place we went to was the Bandung Zoo.

I was not too hopeful that the zoo would be nice but I was wrong. One of the best I’ve been to. The orangutan exhibit was great.
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The caretaker came out with some grass and a bottle of something and climbed up to the orangutan “nest” and started to talk to them and share the food and drink. We had a nice talk with him and I learned alot about apes (monkeys without tails).

I am just about the only non-asian here and people stare at me and want a picture with me.
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We visited a hot spring next to a volcano and the water was very hot. It seems every time we get on a motorbike it rains. Rain almost every day, usually in the afternoon.
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The volcanoes all have tea plantations around them, the tea plants look like carefully cared for shrubbery.
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Bandung is a tourist town which is full of factory outlets with all the biggest fashion names. Many of our clothes are made in Indonesia. The bargains were amazing, but I can not carry anything more in my backpack.

We took a train to Tegal, spent one night there and then a bus to Adi’s village. This was nice as he has not been able to visit his family for 3 years. I got to meet his brother and family.
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The Internet has not been easy here in Indonesia. I have a lot more to write about, but let me see if I can upload this to my blog. Not so easy here in Java.

More to follow..

Keeping Busy in Indonesia

My second Christmas and New Years in Bali were very nice. I really did not do too much celebrating. The rain continues but I manage to get around in the rain with my blue raincoat I bought in P-town this summer.

Adi took me to the mangrove swamp near the Bali airport. We had a great time there but of course when we were in the middle the rains came.
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The mangrove walk brings you to the Bali ocean bay and you get to see the jets land and take off. There are plenty tourists coming and going, mostly Australians but plenty of Indonesians who vacation here.

We made a 4 day trip up the eastern coast to Candidasa. The hotel room was terrible with bugs but the area is nice. We went to Tenganan Village, a living museum/tourist trap. People actually live there and make a living having spoiled tourists walk through their village. The rains reduced the number of us tourists and we were lucky to see a pig roast. An old guy invited us into his home and played a traditional musical instrument for us.
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We also saw a parade of ladies march bye with offerings to their gods.
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We then went up the coast to the Kings Water Palace. This is a beautiful place and most of the tourists are getting around in vans and on expensive tours. I am on the back of a little motorbike and really enjoying myself.
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We then went to Amed a place for divers on the northeast coast of Bali. We ended up on a great hotel, this one cost $21/night. There were 2 Slovenian girls staying there and were surprised that I visited their country.

We had some nice meals in Amed. On the way back we drove past another volcano.
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We stopped at an abandoned tourist hotel and fell asleep next to some Bali cows.
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They built the pool too close to the ocean and the ocean destroyed it.

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Off to Bandung in West Java…more to follow..