Myles Harrington

Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ Category

A Million To Leave

In Indonesia on August 16, 2010 at 11:31 am

As it was our last few days in Indonesia we thought it would be best to do something cultural. Loads of people had told us about an incredible sight that was one of the best things to do in Asia so it would be wrong of us not to go there as we were so close. Gunung Bromo is an active volcano and it was bloody difficult to get to. We shunned the idea of paying more than double to get an AC minibus from Jogja and did it on our own on two public buses via Surabaya. It took 14 hours when it could have taken six. We should have learned by now it’s not worth saving a couple of quid for the extra hassle. Once we got to Probolinggo, the stopping off spot for Bromo both of us had the onset of diarrhea. As you can imagine, it was delightful.

The beautiful land boob of Bromo

A Tale of Two Cities (And a Town)

In Indonesia on August 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Bandung, The capital of West Java, was our next destination on the tour. With a population of 2 million is famous for factory outlets. Something that doesn’t remotely interest me or my overflowing backpack. We arrived by train, which was a very quick and easy way to travel in Indonesia. The views of the Puncak pass were incredible from the train window. Waterfalls, endless amounts of rice paddy fields and mountains were just a few of the highlights scattered on the landscape. The train was even on time! Bandung’s station was great too, a fancy new building and we managed to find a well priced room, with natural light for once, practically on the station’s front door.

The mountain massive

We didn’t do much in Bandung, we went to see yet another film – Inception, which was brilliant and only £1.20 – at the amazing Bandung Supermal. It is so super it even has a theme park inside it. We walked there because Lonely Planet said it was only 1km away. It took about two hours. Still, at least it’s good exercise to hopefully keep at bay the belly I’ve got whilst being away.

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Our Personal Chauffeur

In Indonesia on August 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm

On Sunday night we had to go back round to Stadium Sue’s house because she’d kindly done our backlog of washing. We headed over to her swanky apartment block and had a few beers by the 5th floor poolside. Then we walked over the road to a sports-bar with a pub grub menu! It was the most happy I’ve ever been to see a steak and Guinness pie on a menu, complete with mash and even baked beans. It was incredible. Sue had done a fantastic job with the clothes too and they smelled like a summer breeze. She also, being an amazing instant friend gave us the luxury of borrowing her car, complete with a driver for our trip to the town of Bogor the next day.

Bogor's botanical garden

After a quick breakfast at Memories cafe on Jl Jaksa (where else?) we waited outside for Sue’s driver, Wiki, to arrive. Sue’s car was really cozy and we both nodded off for the whole journey to Bogor’s legendary botanical garden. It was a pleasant place for an afternoon stroll but I was pleased we hadn’t missioned it on public transport just to see it.

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In Indonesia on July 31, 2010 at 11:15 am

Jalan Jaksa is the street in Jakarta where all of the backpackers head to straight off the bus. We of course did the same, via a McDonalds that didn’t have coffee (what?) and a Pizza Hut (we were bored of Indonesian food, just for one meal!) On Jaksa there is a bar right opposite our scummy hostel – Nick’s Hostel, that also doubles as the local whore house – called Memories that our guide-book says is a place that will not make memories. How wrong they were.

Off the bus and we hit the Hut. With my gammy teeth.

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The Calming Influence of Krui

In Indonesia on July 22, 2010 at 1:49 pm

A natural stop off point on the route down through Sumatra was the town of Bengkulu on the coast. The bus ride was an average 16 hour ride in an ekonomi bus with seats s small that it’s as if the coach was designed to transport the borrowers, they didn’t recline and it had tiny windows that didn’t let in a breeze. To make matters worse the bus was a ‘full music coach’, one of the selling points of Indonesian public transport. This meant that they played a happy-hardcore-pop-synth tune on repeat that used a one line Anthrax ft. Public Enemy sample. This continued on and off until 4am and then they started to play it again at 7am; at full blast. At 3am I nearly got up and said something but all the other passengers seemed content with it. I suppose at least it meant the driver didn’t fall asleep.

The 'full music' coach of misery

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Heeelllllllllooooooo Miiissstttteeeeerrrrrrrr

In Indonesia on July 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I think I jinxed us in KL. I said to Claire I missed the feeling of being like a minor celebrity in India. The attention you got was incredible purely because of the colour of your skin. It was great fun having kids running after you, or away from you and friendly locals inviting you for tea. In Sumatra the celeb status has been stepped up a level. literally everyone calls down the street when they see you, or as they swish past on their mopeds and every one of them without fail calls out “Heeelllllllllooooooo Miiissstttteeeeerrrrrrrr”. If I hear it one more time I think I might have to start hitting them, or perhaps just start to ignore them. It gets boring waving constantly and my throat has started to hurt from just saying hello. I don’t know how everyone learned this was what to say to tourists but it soon starts to grate.

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The Indonesian Mission

In Indonesia on July 20, 2010 at 11:58 am

Off the boat in Dumai the next leg of my trip began. The kind people of immigration granted us 30 days in their country for $25. That gave us the mission of getting from the middle of Sumatra to Bali via Java, all overland, for the planned departure date of 12th August. 2,723 km; on the quickest route. We’d been warned by an Irish couple in KL not to attempt it because the roads in Indonesia are pretty horrendous and the public buses, the ones we have to use because of our budget, are in a dreadful state.

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