Going to Indo was a spur of the moment decision. It was either Indo or Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. After travelling around Myanmar for a month we were kind of tired and just wanted to chill in one spot for a while. It was dry season in Java and flights were cheap so we just went for it. Our plan was to go to Batu Karas, a small fishing village with a great point break for surfing, and basically stay there and get better at surfing. It didn't go quite as planned but we still had an amazing time.
We landed in Jakarta where we spent a couple days before heading down to the beach. Jakarta is kind of what you would expect for one of the world's most populous cities: really crowded. Cars, motorbikes, and people everywhere.
|Indonesia's National Monument|
|meeting the locals|
|Really cute girls in Jakarta. We were walking through a slum when we stumbled upon these three. The one on the left was apparently really surprised to see a white person|
|Sunda Kelapa Harbour, Jakarta|
|Random boat trip in Sunda Kelapa Harbour|
|festivities in Kota|
It was a six or seven hour bus ride down to Batu Karas. I can't stress enough how amazing this place is. There were hardly any travelers there and the locals were so nice. Surf boards were cheap to rent and the surf was amazingly consistent. The only downside was that there were a million Portuguese Man-o-War Jellyfish. While not fatal, these little bastards do pack a bunch when they get you. Some days there were so many we couldn't surf. Apparently they migrate to Indo from Australia to escape the cold of the Australian winters. They only stay around Batu Karas for a few weeks but that happened to be right when we were there. Our original plan was to stay in Batu Karas for a bit over a month but we only ended up staying around two weeks. Basically because of jellyfish fear. Call me a pussy but these things were scary. You'd be surfing and all of a sudden you'd hear another surfer screaming like they were dying. We didn't get stung luckily but we were really paranoid.
The locals there were some of the coolest people I have met during the trip. One guy was an amazing artist that moved from the big city to stay by the beach to surf, play music, and paint. He had a great outlook on life and was really inspiring.
|I miss it already|
After about a week, I really started to get a better at surfing. It's damn addictive and I want to start doing it more at home.
|shortcut to town|
|The countryside of Batu Karas|
|Soto Ayam! (chicken soup)|
|Boa for sale|
We went to the nearby Hindu and Buddhist temples while we were there. They were beautiful places but overall I felt kind of ripped of because they charged so much money to get in. Both places costed around $20 to visit which is insane in Asia.
|Kiersten with our German friends Anka and Moritz|
|There were a lot of other tourists|
After visiting the temples Kiersten and I rented a motor bike and drove out to Mt. Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Last time it erupted was in 2010: here's a video. Motor biking on Java is a little insane. If I hadn't had so much experience driving in Asia on this trip I would have been too intimidated. Something like 130 million people live on Java and I think most of them drive motorbikes. Needless to say it was pretty intense. We arrived alive (my motto when renting bikes in Asia) in a small village at the base of Merapi and started climbing the volcano very early the next morning so we could catch the sunrise. It was about four hours to the top and the views were amazing.
|Selo Village and Mt. Merapi|
When we arrived at the summit it was still dark and you could see lava spewing in the volcano.
|Sunrise summit pics|
|Steam rising out of the volcano|
|Our awesome guide|
|Near the top it felt like you were on mars|
|More volcanoes in the distance|
|Selo's main agricultural crop was tobacco.|
|Drying tobacco leaves|
|A lovely little lady we met in Selo.|
|Lamb sate, yum!|
|Don't fall in!|
After Bromo it was off to Gili Air (one of the Gili Islands) where we spent two weeks chilling and scuba diving. We did our advanced scuba course and really got addicted to diving. We saw a million turtles, sharks, octopus, giant coral fans, you name it we saw it.
We stayed at an awesome guesthouse run by a young couple, Jodi and his wife Suki. They cooked with us and made our time on the Gili Islands even better than it would have been. I am going to miss eating Suki Sate and tempe.
Anyways, I don't have much time to write before I leave for the airport to go home, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
|Jodi's father's horse cart. The only way to get around the Gili's is by horse or bicycle.|
|Farm land in the center of Gili Air|
|Anke and Brett|
|Chopping chicken and tempe with Suki|
|Chicken sate, tempe and green beans, pelcing, peanut sauce, and sambal|
|Pelcing, one of Lombok's dishes.|
|Corn with basil and tempe with beef and mixed veg|