19.08.2008 - 22.08.2008 28 °C
I flew back to Jakarta from Kota Kinabalu. Arriving at the airport at 11pm proved to be a challenge since taxi drivers are relentlessly persuasive and overcharge by the thousands (rupiah). After attempting to get some ridiculously high quotes from a few drivers, I was extremely frustrated and sat down inside the 24-hour Mcdonald, ready to wait til sunrise for bus to the train station. Luckily, I met a few Spanish backpackers and one Japanese man in his 50s transiting like myself. We naturally striked up some very interesting conversation about different places and cultures after sharing a taxi to the domestic terminal. Before long, the sun was up. My airport friends left to take another flights.
I got on the shuttle to Gambir train station, with my backpack, and went to the toilet. When I came out, my bus and my backpack was gone. My nervousness attracted the attention of a friendly local. With hand signal and broken English, we communicated perfectly and chased for my bus in the terminal after a night of no sleep and sore muscles from the Kinabalu climb one day ago. He accompanied me to Gambir station on the next bus and fortunately, my backpack was waiting for me. I thanked him with quick breakfast and got on the train to Yogya one more time.
I arrived just in time for Indonesia's independent day ceremony. Every village and town had contests such as pole climbing and volleyball etc. Here, poles were lubricated with oil making climbing to the top almost impossible. Prizes were hanged at the top for the toughest locals. Volleyball games were played using instead a normal net, a solid plastic sheet, which prevent athletes from seeing each other. It was most hilarious to watch the two sides catching last minute balls coming down 'somewhere from the top'. I met up with my spanish airport friends and went to the concert outside kraton in yogya. Because of their foreign look, every young concert goers stares at them as we passed with curiosity.
After a week in yogya, I took a train to Bandung, a city for shopping from people in Jakarka. I, of course, had no interest in shopping, but the volcano scenery in this area. I befriended a nice man who sat next to me on the train. He took me to the fanciest Chinese restaurant (in which the fish comes with a hook) for dinner with his uncle and dropped me off at my hotel in his new Honda.
The next morning, I boarded a local bus to Ciwidey. After being approached by tens of sellers trying to make a living out of everything from bread to drinks to cigarettes to fruits to gadgets, we finally left the station with crawling speed out of the traffic jam in the city.
I got off this extremely slow bus before Ciwidey and jumped on an ojek (motorbike) to go to Kawah Putih. Communicating with my broken Indonesian, he became my tour guide and photographer. We trekked around the beautiful turquoise lake in the crater, dangerously close to the bubbling lava until the smell of sulphur was too overwhelming and drove through the extensive tea plantation on the mountains at Rancobali. I must admit that there is something about riding in nature on a motorbike, the freedom with no glass window in between is addictive.
Back to the Bandung bus station, I was choked with pollution and crowded minibus. So I decided to stay another night and treated myself with a good dinner. Luckily, a brand new shopping centre called 'Paris van Java' was 10 minute walk away from my hotel. I searched desperately for what I came here for - sushi. After loading up at a great bakery called 'Breaktalk', I became the only customer at the only sushi restaurant and had the most delicious fried tofu, handroll and tuna sushi. Then watched 'The Mummy' for less than $3.