Taken from the Air Asia flight between Bali and Kuala Lumper
Hi there everybody
Ok don’t faint, but here is another email from me and only a month since the last one, I wouldn’t get too used to it. So far Gmail has been no problem at all with regard to sending photos so maybe these emails might be more frequent than before, I have also been taking far more photos due to having a new camera.
Well the last time I wrote we where waiting in Kuala Lumpur for visa’s to Indonesia. We left Kuala Lumpur for Melaka as its a much smaller and pleasanter place to spend a few days than Kuala Lumpur (which is just a big dirty city) and from there we went back for a day trip to KL to collect our Visas. We had to show a ticket out of Indonesia before they would issue us with our visa’s so we got a return ticket on the boat between Melaka and Dumai though I very much doubt either of us will use it (we will probably fly out of Bali but who knows).
The boat journey between Malaysia and Indonesia was painless and smooth, the immigration paperwork was all dealt with on the boat too so at the other end we just walked out. In Dumai whilst trying to find the bus station we met a guy who runs and English school and got roped into helping out with his classes for a couple of hours (just chatting to a few teenagers in English) in return for lifts to the bus station and help with getting tickets ect It was interesting to talk to the students and find out a bit about their lives, interestingly the concept of having a boyfriend was quite foreign to them and it seems that you are either just friends or married to somebody here with no in-between. This area of Sumatra is very Muslim though and the girls where telling me how they have to get up at 5 to pray then they go back to bed until 7 when they have to pray again, and then another 3 prayers before bed.
Later on that evening we got the bus overnight to Bukittiniggi which due to the loud music played until about 3am and then the buskers with guitars getting on every stop sleeping wasn’t much of an option.
In Bukittiniggi we stayed at a guesthouse ran by a German guy who was a mine of information about the surrounding area and he invited us on his walks round the village countryside (where he was mapping the area with his new GPS). From Bukittiniggi we climbed up the Gunung Merapi (literal translation is fire mountain and there are volcano’s with the same name all over Indonesia ) overnight which I mentioned on the last email, it was very very hard work and I will never do it again but even though, it was worth it. We also spent a day on a moped riding to lake Maninjou and riding round the lake, and we spent a day with the German guy and his wife going round the Merapi (Fire Mountain) and visiting some palaces. The one bad thing about the place was it was very close to the mosque and the loudspeaker blasting out half an hour of chanting at 4.30 am very very loudly, so loud that we where awakened with a start every morning and earplugs didn’t help enough. We have been careful not to stay anywhere this near to a mosque every since.
From here we went to Padang which isn’t a particularly nice place, we just did a bit of shopping here and Kurt bought himself a surfboard off one of the locals and did a bit of surfing at the break at the river mouth, the sand here was nearly black due to all the volcanic residue that comes down the rivers. From here we flew to Jakarta with Adam Air as it was only a Pound more expensive than a 30 hr bus journey (including a ferry trip) (it cost 270,000RP which is under 17 Pounds including taxes).
In Jakarta we spent a few days but mainly just to get an Indonesian Lonely planet as we had been unable to find a copy second hand (I got talked out of buying a new copy in Malaysia doh). from there we travelled down to the south coast about 6 hrs to Pangandaran which is a beach town with very few tourists (there are very few tourists in Indonesia altogether since the Bali bombs) it was a very nice place to chill out and Kurt did some surfing off the beach (though it wasn’t the best as the waves where crashing down all at once and therefore difficult to surf).
We are in Jogyakarta at the moment, this is where the earthquake happened a month ago and we wouldn’t be here apart from the fact that its on the way to Bali, which is where we are heading on an overnight bus tomorrow (probably).
Anyway that’s about all for now, I have spent hours in here now, but as it seems to be the only decent internet cafe in Java its a good thing. Hope you are all doing well and let me know what you are all up too.