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Indonesia

Gilli Trawangan

Gilli T the party island

overcast 31 °C

Gilli T

We left Lombok by taking the fast boat which appeared much safer than the over loaded slow boat, the bonus for us was being able to get a room before the others.

It was boiling hot carrying our bags so the breeze and splashing of the waves were welcome. We were looking forward to Gilli Islands as we were quite bored in 'quiet Lombok'.

As soon as we stepped into the main street we were approached by young lads "looking for room? I have....good price." We were dragged around the place being shown room after room. We told them we wanted aircon, but still they showed us fan rooms one after the other. I was getting annoyed, I get fed up of getting pestered, I know what we are looking for and yet despite the promises of "yes we have aircon" we get there and suprise suprise there is none! In the end I politely tell them we will find our own room. Which we did and it was perfect ....big bathroom albeit with crazy magic eye tiles, large flatscreen tv and a dvd player plus aircon all for about £12 pn.

Now Gilli T is the party island so at night it comes into its own. There isn't much to do aside swim, scuba and party. Soo many people....mostly drunk but again.....no fights or problems like there is in the UK. Could be the type of people that travel? I'm not sure but it makes you think.

As females, not sure if the guys had this, but you can't walk ANYWHERE without the local lads shouting at you "Hey beautiful hair" "I love you" "Hey sexy" I could go on and on....all directed at Chloe of course....I got "mama hello" It got really tiresome after a day plus the rest of Indonesia. Having spent time in Thailand and Malaysia we've found the Indonesian lads to be very forward, suggestive and too pervy....they've definitely got some front, far too much!

The guy running our room was a character, he was about 5'2 and as skinny as a rake constantly telling us how many hours sleep he had "I sleep 1 hr last night, I work too much, I have no money." I found this hard to believe as he had a shop which was UK prices plus he always had enough for beer and fags!

We went to a bar one night and we spotted a local old guy who was a miniature version of Morgan Freeman, he followed us around like a body guard getting rid of any overkeen local lads. Unfortunately and shockingly he ended up going up to Chloe and licking her face followed by exposing himself. I went nuts (so to speak) and sent him packing.....seriously what is wrong with these guys!

We were in the street food market and two guys from Peru came and asked where we were from...UK we told them, "where in the UK?"

"oh a small town very south" we replied
"Nr Southampton?" They asked."Weymouth?"

Can you believe that....they were part of the Olympic Sailing Team and knew all about our Town! They invited us to go to an open night in a new bar so we tagged along.

Funny night it was because I then spotted Chloe chatting to a guy, I went over and after explaining I was her mother, always an interesting response, the guy...Mark... had an odd look on his face. "Do you write a blog?" He asked me. Turns out he read one of our blogs after trying to find a route in Malaysia. That was a first for us, so we aptly named him Bloggers! We met his friend James too, both legends. We had a great evening, mainly watching Mark who fell asleep at the bar....then fell asleep at the restaurant ha ha ha.

I had a heated debate with a guy called Teddy, who repeatedly told us he had been in Gilli for 4 months. In the end he refused to speak to me! Completely blanking me. So what was the debate ....compressed air being used as fuel.....his view was that it would be free, my view was it could never be free as there would be compression stations etc where you would have to buy the 'free air' bla bla bla....... Anyways....the night turned to day so quick! Cheers for a great night guys....including you Teddy....jerk....if you can't take the heat don't debate!

We took cycles out to tour the island which is a half possibility as the other half of the island path is sand. Ever cycled in sand? It's impossible!

We rented masks and snorkles but were disappointed in the marine life....scarce....in comparison to Perhentians, Tioman and Borneo.

I went on a protest in Gilli as the entire street is full of bars/restaurants.....90% of which will charge an additional between 10 to 21% of the bill in Government tax. The other 10% not including the street market don't charge a penny. I asked about it and no one could give me an explanation. How can one place charge 10% and another charge 21%? It makes a difference to the bill! We went to eat at Scallywags, which is highly recommended with a 21% tax charge and one of the most expensive places to eat. We wanted an egg roll...simple yeah? They had sausage, chicken and egg but would not make us an egg roll. What? I said just leave out the meat and bring the egg....."Sorry can not the chef say no." So we left after trying to get them to understand for 15 minutes....classic case of computer says no!

We had a great time on Gilli T the time flew and we met some great people. Also a hello to Bonny who despite telling us they had work early the nxt day.....stayed out till gone 5am.....ha ha ha!

Our next route was to be a huge mistake.....Labuan Bajo.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 03:19 Archived in Indonesia Tagged travel restaurants ferry lombok journey mother_daughter blog world_trip slow_boat gilli labuan_bajo chloe_bailey gilli_t government_tax snorkles island_trip Comments (0)

Gilli Trawangan to Labuan Bajo

Don't take the boat....fly instead!

semi-overcast 32 °C

Gilli T to Labuan Bajo......For the brave!

I decided to dedicate a blog specifically to this trip as it has to be the worst trip we have taken in all of our travelling and people should know which way to get there. Boat or fly? If you are hard core and want to take the boat then read on.

We had 3 weeks left in Indonesia and were torn where to go so after flicking through the Lonely Planet and trawling the Internet I decided to take one of the advertised trips on Gilli T to Labuan Bajo in Flores.  It looked great from the Internet photos and ideal for snorkelling and diving.  The trip was for 400,000 each apx £ 24 each.  This is the one we went for and here is how it went.....

Day 1
0815 told to be at the pier for the boat, which we were, however what they meant was the beach further down away from the pier, luckily at 0813 someone came and told us!  We got checked in at the ticket office, this made me wonder if it's cheaper to buy your tickets there....check it, it's on the beach.

The boat is the same  slow boat to Bangsal Lombok but is crammed full of people, luckily the waves weren't too bad but still the boat was tipping quite far to the left (our side).  This took about an hour and we got off to shouts of "TICKETS"  I was relieved we didn't have to go through the bartering process again.....WRONG.....I showed our ticket "Yes, yes come with me"  I looked around for our bus....but it wasn't there.  

Scam....there're horse and carts that want to take you to the bus, which is in a car park about an easy 10 minute walk up the road.  This guy was not from the tour company but was a cart taxi wanting 50,000.  Chloe was feeling the weight of her bag and didn't want to walk so I told him I only had 20,000 take it or leave it....he took it and after 3 minutes at the most we got there, then had to wait.

1030am    The mini bus came to get us after was had waited about 40 minutes.  It was a comfy ride through Lombok to Sengiggi dropping others off and were then taken to Mataram arriving at about 1130 by the side of a road and shops.  We were told we were to wait for another bus which would take us to the bus station by a guy who said he was the owner of the company.  He asked us for our tickets....which were taken by the first driver....luckily he gave us more and told us not to give them to anyone else and not to give anyone else any money for the journey even if they insist....bloody scammers. He also told us there was no other way back but through his company....rubbish again.

1150  Mini bus took us to the bus station which was 10 minutes away.  We were told we had to wait til 1500 til we left and how unusual it was to have tourists in the bus station.  This soon became apparent as we were surrounded by men and young teenage lads.....3 hours of this!  They got the guitar out and had a sing song. I asked why so many men just sat around a the bus station, were they waiting for a bus? Yes and no....they are not going anywhere they wait for the bus so they can get on to sell stuff and to sing for money.....that's their daily income. We told them we wanted to go to the market and guess what....they came too insisting we buy all sorts of things, which we didn't.

1500hrs bus came and we got on.....again bombarded by guys asking for money and food, names, where were we going etc.  one guy who must have been about 60 took an uneasy liking to Chloe and when I eventually told him to leave her alone he told me I was ugly....ha ha....he continued for the entire journey, he was a right pain in the arse.

We were told the bus was air con with a toilet, but within half an hour they had made god knows how many stops picking up sacks of rice, boxes with live birds in etc all stacked neatly against the toilet door.  This stuff didn't move the entire journey....so no toilet.....on this VIP bus...

1800hrs we took the ferry from Labuhan to Poto Tano Subawa.   This was about a 2 hour trip.  We were told we would stop at 2200 for food which we did, however, I wish we hadn't!

2200hrs  food stop....rice and veg in a watery soup......remember this.

2230hrs Back on the road with the pain in the arse old guy still going on and on....he did this til 0300 so we didn't sleep, he kept shinning his torch in our eyes...."awake Misses?" even the French guy sat next to him told him where to go!

Day 2
0300 to 0500hrs sat waiting in a car park in a small and very uncomfortable bus......with lots of local lads....they asked us for money for the trip and we had to insist again we were not paying as the ticket was included and eventually they said ok.

0500 to 0700hrs same small crammed full local bus to dock at Sape.  Sape fields were amazing!  We got off the bus and were waved over to walk toward the ferry.  The ferry left at 0800 so we decided to get on early....this was a good idea.

0800hrs rented a mat to lie on, another a good idea, for 20,000  .......the ferry was a nightmare!  This is when the cafe meal from the night before came into force.....major stomach cramps....both of us for the entire trip.  We tried to sleep but it's difficult to explain this ferry.   Imagine 20 mats next to each other side by side and head to head...people picking up your drink and helping themselves, people sitting on your feet whilst you try and sleep, cockrals crowing, people coughing over you etc.

1830hrs Finally arrived!

So there you have it...thats travelling for you, don't go with Surabaya Indah!

Option two is to fly for £50 apx.....all done within a few hours.

Unfortunately, due to the sickness we were stuck in our accommodation for two weeks and the sickness lasted three weeks. We were too scared to go to the local hospital so kept hydrated with electrolites and the NHS website.

 

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:47 Archived in Indonesia Tagged travel ferry mother_daughter blog gilli_trawangan world_trip sickness chloe_bailey labua_bajo electorlites surabaya_indahl how_to_get_to_labuan_bajo Comments (0)

Pangandaran

Sun, sand, sea and inappropriate sexual behaviour! Green Canyon

semi-overcast 27 °C

Panagandaran

Try saying that after you've had a few, most places in Indonesia are difficult to pronounce.  After a long bus journey here it was good to be away from city life again and back on a coastal beach resort.  I always miss the sea and when I'm away from it I seem to be less tolerable of things, its either that or inland people are more uptight!    In Paragandaran the coast line is the biggest I've ever seen.....miles and miles of sea crashing upon the sand, it's beautiful.   It's a good place to surf but mainly in the morning as the currents are strong so it's quite dangerous.

We stayed in a guesthouse highly recommended by the LP and it was a cute little place with a beautiful courtyard to relax in which was just as well considering I had brought a bug from Jakarta with me and couldn't really do very much as I felt really rough, weak and dizzy.

The only problem with the accommodation is that hawkers would just wander in trying to sell you stuff, initially I didn't mind so much as they are just trying to earn a living but then something happened which made me rethink so we moved.  

We had a massage on our second day, I thought it might help my bug.  The lady was very humble and started to talk to me about when the 2006 Tsunami came, not the boxing day 04 one...not much is heard about the 06 one but she lost her mum and her 11 month old baby.....so sad.  600 people died that day and it took years to recover especially for the poorer people before who ended up living under blue tarpaulin.   They had no electricity or clean water, it was devastating for them.  The people here are so wonderful and kind, you wouldn't even guess what they have been through.  She told me about her husband leaving her for another woman which she was most upset about because the 'other woman' was much older than her!  We had a giggle together and she told me she had just got herself a new boyfriend who was 24... Something that gave the Kampon abit of gossip!

The following day, still feeling poorly I sat in the courtyard on my own typing out a message on my phone when a young lad came in, he was only about 19 and as skinny as a rake.  He asked me if I had any water, in Indonesian so I said "tidak Ada" meaning don't have.  He started to pull at his belt and I was wondering what he was doing, I thought maybe he was trying to show me how thin he was!  With that he stated to take his clothes off until he was completely NAKED!  Now my reaction was not good because I was so shocked I wondered what he was doing!  He went in to a room opposite me, where a member of staff usually sleeps, and led down on the bed beckoning me to go into the room whilst he masterbated!  Seriously!  I sat looking down at my phone thinking to myself 'is he actually doing that? Have you seen properly?'  I  didn't want to look again but I could still see him out f the corner of my eye waving with one hand and .....with the other.  I got up and walked inside and saw two guests, boyfriend and girlfriend and told them what I had seen.  The guy confirmed it after challenging the lad who came out of the room starkers again!  I got the owner who tried to get rid of him but he wouldn't go so the guest ended up chasing him out....he left his trousers behind....not the guest....the naked guy!

With that I thought it would be best to move, considering he just went into someone's room and it could have been worse.

We moved to Ali Beach....owned by Ali himself....a great guy who has portraits of himself in his restaurant.  Really good food here and the accommodation is much better for the same price.  

We hired a scooter from Ali and visited the Green Canyon, which is a green river leading upto a cave, well arch of rock.  Our boat drivers took us swimming and showed us abit further down the river so again we were treated.  It was great being back on the bike, the roads were bumpy and we had lots of toots and waves from the locals.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 00:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged beaches beach indonesia travel sunsets surfing sunrises naked journey mother_daughter blog pangandaran world_trip sickness green_canyon guest_house chloe_bailey masterbate local_ naked-man Comments (0)

Yogyakarta

Borobudur the palace Scamming

semi-overcast 30 °C

Yogyakarta 

Arriving here after another long bus ride, which seems to be the only method of transport Indonesia, wasn't too bad despite arriving late in the evening we knew it was another trek from the bus depot to the town.  Now having been in Indonesia for a month now and travelled all around Asia this is the only place where I haven't felt safe especially after the incident in Pangandaran!

We got off the bus and were hasselled by a group of men offering their taxi....which were incidentally  where to be seen!  This should always be a cause  for concern having read all about the scams around Asia what the outcome could and has been for some is they are not actual taxis but guys looking to use their unroad worthy cars to take you places and there have been allegations of women being sexually assaulted in the cars.  So bearing this in mind we had to make our way past the groups, who are very insistent and will tell you all sorts "No taxis Mrs, too late, too dangerous to leave bus station!"  yes they are right but also too dangerous to even consider getting I to their invisible cabs.  We walked to the entrance of the station and low and behold they were many taxis with all the drivers sat in the road side cafe (shed) drinking tea.  We had a hard negotiation and the guy wold not budge on the price but after the journey, which is quite far from the station we arrived in a dark alley.   The driver refused to take us to our accommodation telling us to walk through the lanes.  Yogyakarta backpacker area is a network of alleyways full of rooms, restaurants and massage parlours - its nice but on arriving first of all it can be a bit daunting to be told to traipse through these with all your bags.  That's like being an advert for 'come and get me....I can't do anything cause I'm weighed down with stuff....stuff you might want!'  We refused to get out of the cab and insisted he take us to our room which eventually he did.

Yogyakarta was probably the only place I felt comfortable, there are many Europeans here and the locals aren't too bad at giving you hassle except for the Art scam.  Is is where they get you to have a look at their Art Show and they to sell you ridiculously overpriced bits of work, which I later found out they buy from local artists at small prices like £1 and try to sell to Europeans and Americans for approximately £100 and some do believe it or not so the scam continues.  

We took a trip to Borobudur which is a temple similar, but by no means as amazing, to Ankor Wat, dated between 750 and 850 AD    The shame of this is they actually cut all the building into blocks and put it back together again.   It was discovered in 1815 under heaps of volcanic ash, unfortunately the site was water logged and started to subside so in 1973 to 1983 they cut it up fixed the water problem and rebuilt it.  Then it was bombed in 1985!   One site was as big as a football pitch just full of blocks of ancient stone, god knows how they will put it together as there are no markings on them.

We went to the palace.....which was an annoying time as we just got hassled by men and lied to about opening times, prices, approached by god knows how many bikes and cars "Where are you going?"   This is a common thing, a random man...always men...will come and ask where you are going, then if you do tell them they try to get you a car.  Sounds helpful?  Don't think that....its a pain.....they will get the driver to charge extra so they get commission.    This is all around Indonesia.  

My shoes broke on the way so my first job was to get a pair of slippers aka flip flops.  Now from the bus journey I was told by a helpful man that I should easily get a pair for less than 20,000 Indonesian rupees as his leather shoes cost this amount.  So as we walk out of our room we immediately get "Where are you going?"  I'm not feeling very sociable so I just say to get some shoes.  "I can get you a good price"  He's being very polite, so we tag along, whilst arguing between ourselves as I just want to go.  We get taken to a small shop who want to charge me 100,000   Yeah right!  In the end I tell him if I'm going to buy shoes I want to pick them....not him.  "Ok  you must see my brothers art work please it's in here."  Hence we know about the art scam, stuck there for an hour trying to get away from buying anything.

The traffic there is horrendous and continuous but in the backpackers area it is quiet because they can't drive through the alleys.  

The food is hyped up for the tourists at tourist prices.

We ate at Atap which had a really good menu and the best meal we had in Yogjakarta.

For a change nothing unusual happened here, so took a flight to Bali early in the morning and were looking forward to some beach time.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 00:54 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia yogyakarta travel journey mother_daughter blog world_trip guest_house chloe_bailey borobudha Comments (0)

Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta

Chillin' for a few days

semi-overcast 34 °C

Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta

We were on a mission here in Tawau to get our visa for Indoneisa and going by our LP bible we had to get it here or else face being turned away on arrival.  Unfortunately we arrived on a Friday evening after the office had closed for the weekend which meant only one thing.....a whole three days with jack to do...being Tawau.    We decided to hunt around for our accommodation and treated ourselves to a top hotel which really was fab costing us only £22 a night, which is very expensive over here.  We loved it though especially the movie channel!  It's nice sometimes just to relax especially after long journeys.

Come Monday we had to find a place to get our photos for our visa which proved difficult, no one told us you can get them done next to the visa office!  It was a simple process but took ages because it was full of others, not Westerners, doing the same as us.   We were given a 60 day visa which was good because usually you only get 30 days.  

We flew out to Tarakan which was the shortest flight ever of 45 mins, there is nothing to do there but we had a connecting flight to Jakarta 4.5hrs later so we decided to pop to the town.  It was chaos....scooters in 5 unmarked lanes, buses, cars....horns blowing and the smog....crazy!  It was so difficult to even cross the road because they don't stop for the red lights, you've just got to step out in front of the traffic and hope they slow down.

In our boredom we thought it would be a brilliant idea to get our hair cut, Chloe opted for a colour....really cheap £18 for both of us....it was needed.  I sat in the chair with my wet hair after having the best hair wash in a hairdressers....no neck wrenching sinks but a lovely slanted soft sofa style chair which made it easy.  I watched a guy chopping at a girls short bob haircut with razor scissors leaving chunks of uneven layers sweeping her neck, I just wanted to get the scissors and straighten it out.  I was hoping he wasn't going to cut my hair but guess what.....yep ....I was his next victim!  I told him not to cut my hair with the razor scissors, after a disaster with the ladyboy hairdresser in Thailand, and to only use normal scissors....I went in his bag and showed him.  As he started to cut I noticed he was actually Edward Scissorhands and had taken about 3 inches off so I told him to stop cutting.  He evened it off to what he considered even, even though I doubt it is at all.....god knows what Kelly is going to think when I get home for her to sort my hair out.  He blow dryer it with the hardest brush ever with a style from 1970!  I waited for Chloe and laughed when I saw they had dried her hair into a middle parting......nice colour though....but seriously it didn't look right at all.  Another lesson learnt!

At Tarakan airport we were the highlight of he day for the staff being Westerners and were invited into the staff back office for them to practice their English and ask lots of questions and the same on the flight.  We were told that Prince William and Katie were coming to the airport in the next few days, i wondered if they would go and sit out the back with the staff but I doubt it.   If it was Prince Harry I think I would have stayed behind and waited for him to arrive....he's a legend....after his naked photos....brilliant!

Anyway...arriving in Jakarta it reminded me of an updated India, being that the vehicles were newer but the chaos and smog was definately the same.   We went exploring the next day and were stopped by a guy;....this is a regular thing if you travel they are inquisitive and want to know everything about you....they are just being friendly but you still need to air abit of caution just in case.  So this guy....he told us his name was Fiji and the opening gambit is usually "Hello, where are you going?"  Can you imagine saying that to someone in the street? You would get ignored or told to bugger off!  Fiji was trying to get us to go on his scooter so he could take us back to our hotel....for a fee.  We're used to this now and told him we had friends here etc, etc.   Then he said the oddest thing, which he seriously believed...."You eat too much spaghetti because your nose is thin."  He then noticed Chloe's blue eyes and asked if they were plastic!  We asked if he meant contact lenses but no he had not seen blue eyes before and thought they were plastic!

We took a train to where we thought we needed to go but ended up on the outskirts of Jakarta, it was a great journey though because it was the low class train with the locals and there was a constant stream of people pushing trolleys up and down the aisle selling stuff from toys, cigarettes, fruit, papers and necklaces to a three man band with a cello, drums and guitar!  Brilliant!  Getting off the train there were people sat on the roof, fare dodging!  

There are so many huge shopping malls in Jakarta which are a far cry from the   stalls at the side of the road.    It's such a busy place, I don't think I would like to go there again.  

The only good thing about Jakarta for me was when we saw a very handsome Westerner, tall blonde guy weaving his way through the road, we were in our tuk tuk and I waved frantically at him....dunno what came over me....yes he waved back!

We left Jakarta behind to get a 9 hr bus to Paragandaran, what I didn't leave behind was a bug I picked up which stayed with me for ....so far a week and still going.

Posted by Vicky Bailey 05:19 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta travel scooters journey mother_daughter blog world_trip chloe_bailey edward_scissorhands hairdressers tarakan tawau Comments (0)

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