A Travellerspoint blog

Kuala Lumpur

Day 279 – Sunday 28th October

My last day in Kupang, finally! Really took the piss today and did absolutely fuck all, once I’d eventually got up and showered I went back to bed and spent the entire day reading a book. That was pretty much my entire day gone! Once I’d finished the book, I went to get some dinner and then came back to the hotel and sat around waiting for the football to start. The Liverpool Everton game was the first one on, and it was a pretty good match. Unfortunately an Indonesian guy came and sat next to me half way through and just sat there smiling and staring at me, so I had to stop watching and chat to him so as not to seem rude. He was ridiculously happy to say he now had an English friend and kept touching my hair and shit, he also invited me to stay with him when I come back from Malaysia. He was harmless, and his wife spoke some English as well so I sat chatting with them for a while. There was one awkward moment though, and this keeps happening to me, but they always ask what religion you are and I always say none and then they just sit and stare at you gobsmacked. This guy was one of the most shocked people I’ve met so far; ‘so you’re Buddhist’ NO ‘oh you’re Hindu’ NO I’m not religious. It always ruins the situation a bit, but I told him 30% of English people aren’t religious and it’s my parents fault and blab la and he eventually calmed down. I never get it, because they’re all so religious and you would’ve thought if you told a Muslim you were Jewish they might be pissed, but no they’d rather here you’re anything just not atheist. Anyway, eventually he went to bed and it was time for the United game, which was not being shown on TV, and after spending ages trying to find any website on my phone playing commentary of the game I eventually got to hear just the second half of the match. I didn’t see it so I can’t give my judgement on the whole refereeing scenario, but 3 points is always good especially against Chelsea.

Day 280 – Monday 29th October

Got up to the alarm this morning, packed up all my stuff and had a shower. Then I went to the bar to get my plane ticket for Kuala Lumpur printed off, had some food and then jumped on the back of a motorbike to the airport where I arrived with plenty of time to spare. After about a 2 hour wait, it became clear that the plane was delayed, and given that I only have a 2 hour stopover in Jakarta for my next flight I was beginning to get very worried. The plane eventually turned up just under an hour late, and after a safety briefing which made absolutely no sense, they did it in English as well purely for my benefit (but they obviously aren’t use to speaking English) we got on our way. The flight first made a stop at Surabaya where it let some passengers off and some new ones on before we got going to Jakarta. Having been in Flores for so long now, an island with only 2 million people, flying in to Jakarta, a city with almost 10, was a bit of a culture shock. When the plane landed I had about an hour to get off, get my bags and get to another terminal and check in before my next flight left, so it was pretty obvious I was going to miss it. By the time I’d got out the terminal with my bag it was already 10 minutes before take-off, and after getting on a bus to the wrong terminal I had officially missed my plane. But I did eventually get on the right bus after having to do a whole circuit of the airport, and I made it in to the terminal and asked her to put me on the next flight, which isn’t until tomorrow, and will cost more than the original ticket just to get that! She said the best thing to do would be to go to the lion air desk as it was technically their fault I missed the flight, so I got myself back on a shuttle bus to the other terminal and the lion air office was closed. There was nothing else to do but sit down and have some food and relax, but luckily after my meal an airport person asked me if I needed help and he told me that lion air have another office in a different terminal which is 24 hour, so I headed over there on yet another shuttle bus. Got there and was shown straight to the manager’s office where I explained my predicament and everything and she checked if the flight had been delayed, and was really nice and friendly. But, there was nothing she could do for me! Due to the fact that my stopover was only 2 hours rather than the recommended 3 for international flights its technically my fault and all they can do is offer me a ticket for tomorrow morning, which I took. It is obviously my fault for taking that 2 hour risk, but about 4 flights came and went on time in Kupang, why the hell did mine have to be the only late one, plus I couldn’t have booked a later flight from Jakarta as the one I had was the last one of the night. Anyway, I went back to the international terminal, found a quiet corner and sat and watched a film then went to sleep on one of the benches.

Day 281 – Tuesday 30th October

Got woken up at 4am by a group of about 50 kids all shouting and screaming, I could’ve punched every single one of them. Why does an airport have to have some completely different etiquette? If it’s that fucking early in the morning and it’s dark outside don’t make so much bloody noise, and don’t do it right next to me when there’s an entire terminal where no one is sleeping! And then when I did move and show my face they all started shouting hello mister, really not a great way to get up! Anyway I just sat there for a while trying to get back to sleep before buying a half dozen dunkin’ donuts to get some sugar in my system and try and wake up, having not had donuts in forever as well, it was also just to eat something that delicious again. After a couple hours just sitting around, it was time for check in, and after having to pay yet more money (some bullshit ‘departure tax’) which was a third of the cost of the bleeding ticket, I went through and after a bit more waiting made it on to my plane and we took off at 9am, 12 hours later than I had originally planned. Once we’d taken off I fell asleep instantly and didn’t get up again until we were landing, which almost gave me a heart attack as I thought it was severe turbulence. Once off the plane I had to wait just a bit longer for a bus to the centre, where I eventually made it at around 3pm. I booked myself into a hostel as I was supposed to be getting in around 2am this morning and I wanted somewhere to go, but now I couldn’t be arsed trying to find the place and instead just headed for the centre of china town, and as soon as it started raining just jumped in to the nearest hostel. Got myself a dorm room and went straight to bed. I didn’t get up until around 7, and I went out to get some good Chinese food and have a little walk around to see what this place is like. It’s actually a cool little area, if not a bit too touristy. Once I came back from dinner I spent the rest of the night just sitting on the internet, haven’t had good internet since Thailand, so I was like a kid in a candy shop and there was way too much shit I could do. Bad news was I didn’t make it to bed until past 2 and I have to get up at 8 tomorrow to go sort out this Indonesian visa.

Day 282 – Wednesday 31st October

No Halloween celebrations for me this year! Got up at the crack of dawn and put on my fanciest clothes and jumped in a cab to the Indonesian embassy. Once there I got myself a number (like at a butcher’s) and filled out my forms and sat around waiting for just over an hour before being called forward. I sat down, gave him my forms and my passport and all he gave me was attitude. First he says ‘Are these the only forms you have?’ ‘yes I didn’t know what else there was to fill out’ and then he gives me a proper cunty smirk and bangs on about reading the instructions and that I have to have a passport photocopy and a photocopy of my Malaysian visa. Which I did have and proceeded to get them out of my bag, had he not been a cunt and just asked for photocopies straight away none of this would’ve happened. Anyway, he looked through my forms and then had yet more to complain about. On my occupation I wrote student, as I’ve found that when you put unemployed they just tell you to put student anyway. But I hadn’t written the ‘address of my employer’ as I’m not employed, and he had a right fit banging on about how everything has to be filled out, so I just grabbed a pen and wrote King’s college London and some random address. Next he has a go because I haven’t put the address of my Indonesian sponsor, so I tell him I don’t have one and he tells me to write the name of where I’m staying. Right now I’m getting so annoyed that this guy is being so short and dicky with me, he could’ve easily just told me nicely to put the address of where I’m staying, at the end of the day there’s no instructions on the form and I don’t know what they want me to put! So everything was filled out, then I had to pay and left. At this point I’m pretty much 100% certain I’m not going to get my 60 day extendable visa and instead only get a 30 day visa, not only does this happen quite commonly for no apparent reason, but the guy also had a go at me for having already been in Indo and extending my visa and he got all suspicious asking me questions and stuff. Overall the whole experience was bloody depressing, I’d come all this way to be sure of getting a visa, and the issuing guy I was given was clearly having a bad day, and that is more than enough reason for him to refuse me a visa. I’ll found out tomorrow whether or not I’m successful, but all I can do now is go back to the hostel and spend the afternoon napping. When I got up around 3 I went to get myself some food at McDonald’s to cheer me up a bit, first time in about 3 months. And as usual it never tastes as good as you expect and it’s no substitute to English food, it is still nice to get something western every once in a while. And on the way back it started raining, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that up to this point, but since I arrived it pretty much hasn’t stopped raining. So I came back here and just sat on the internet for the rest of the day, not only have I got stuff to catch up on but I’m downloading as much as I can to keep me occupied in future months without internet, always plan ahead. Apart from going out for dinner, my entire night was just spent sitting in my room on my laptop.

Day 283 – Thursday 1st November

After going to bed too late again last night, too many distractions, I didn’t get up until past 12 something I haven’t done in quite a while. Once up I got some food and got showered and things and then headed off to the embassy once again, oh yeah and it was still raining. Got there about 40 minutes before they opened after their lunch break, I’m just too keen to find out what the situation is going to be with my visa. Once they did eventually open again, there were 2 people in front of me, and if I didn’t feel confident about my visa, these 2 guys definitely made me feel a lot worse. The first guy was told that he’s now blacklisted from Indonesia, I couldn’t really understand why but he seemed a bit shocked with the whole situation (he’s from Pakistan, bloody terrorist) and then the second guy was given his money back and only given a 30 day visa, not looking good. And then I got called up and the woman gave me my passport with my 60 day visa in it and I felt such fucking relief it was absolutely beautiful! Coming to Malaysia has been completely worthwhile, even with all the rain and the bloody missed flights the visa is in the bag! Came back here in a great mood and spent the rest of the afternoon just rinsing the internet yet more, before eventually tearing myself away and chatting to the other 2 English guys in my room (Joe and Pete) about going out tonight. I got a quick dinner and a bottle of vodka and then the 3 of us sat around chatting a drinking at the hostel for a few hours before hitting the town. Our first stop was skybar, a place Pete’s friend had recommended to him, and it was a fucking awesome place, 40 floors up with incredible views of the Petronas towers (barely 5 minutes away) and a swimming pool right in the middle, loads of swanky seating on the windows and a cool dance floor. Somehow the place was free to get in, even though it really seemed only the high class people of Kuala Lumpur came here, but yeah it was an absolutely awesome place and we hung around there for an hour or so before moving on to see if we could find some more busy clubs. We’d read that bukit bintang was the centre for clubbing here, so we got a cab there, and checked out a few places, but they were all either empty or just bars with a small place to dance (seems to be the norm in Asia if China taught me anything). So we asked around for where there were some actual clubs and jumped in another taxi to what’s supposed to be the hottest club in town. Unfortunately it’s also the strictest club in town and they insisted on us having id, fuck knows why, haven’t had an id check in forever, and obviously didn’t have any on me. But the guy at the door told us of a free club down the road and we walked there, Pete fell over on the way, he was absolutely wasted all night it was ridiculous. Got there and it wasn’t free to get in so we just gave up and got a cab back to china town and Pete passed out in bed around 3 and then me and Joe got some late night McDonald’s before doing the same, all in all should’ve just stayed in skybar we didn’t realise how good we had it.

Posted by travellingjoe 01:14 Archived in Malaysia Comments (4)

Stuck in Kupang

Day 275 – Wednesday 24th October

Got up quite late today, not much else to do here really! Sat around with the Swedish guy (Lars) who’s a bit of a dick, turns out he was in a bicycle accident like 20 years ago and got paid off by the government despite being completely fine, and he’s been travelling on that monthly payment ever since. Not only does he think his country owes it to him, for some unknown reason, but he’s super cocky about it, he’s never paid taxes and he was in jail for a year anyway before the accident. So his government have just been supporting this jackass, when there are probably loads of actually disabled people with not enough support! The worst part is the fact that he’s such an asshole, and the whole experience hasn’t made him humble whatsoever. Anyway he’s a dick in pretty much every way so it was nice when he started falling asleep when me and that old German guy started talking and pretty much ignored him. After chatting to him for a while, I went off to get some lunch, then came back here to have a shower, it’s unbearably hot here at the moment! After that I went to the beach bar to sit on the internet for a while mainly just to pass the time. I’m still trying to sort flights out for me and Dad to get to Papua when he comes out, and it’s all a bit of a hassle as it can’t be done online and I don’t know when I’ll be leaving KL as visas take an unspecified amount of time to sort, plus sometimes they refuse the 60 day visa based on how they’re feeling that day, that could really fuck everything up for me! After pissing about going in circles in the web I came back here to have a nap, really nothing else you can do in this heat, God I can’t wait to leave Kupang, I hate all this sitting around in such a hot place not being able to do anything but wait for my flight on Monday. Couldn’t really sleep as it was too hot, so just sat in bed for a couple hours, then went out for some dinner, and managed to get a really good meal for pretty cheap, then I just came back here and sat around chatting to this new couple (she’s from the US and he’s from Argentina) and Lars kept trying to butt in but no one really seemed interested in his obnoxious views. Around 10 everyone went to bed, so I just sat up watching some stuff on my laptop for a while before hitting the hay.

Day 276 – Thursday 25th October

Bit of a more interesting day today. After getting up pretty late, I had a shower and some food, then sat chatting to that German guy, it’s good to talk about politics and shit with him, but whenever you get on to his travels he seems to mention the same old stories, probably rehearsed his speech millions of times over, but he always wants to get on to the topic. After a while I went down to the internet again, I booked my flight from Jakarta to KL, so I’ll get there Monday night around midnight, and hopefully be able to get some transport to the centre and stay in a hostel ready for an early wake up the next day to sort this Indo visa. Luckily Dad has managed to book most of his flights online, and the last one I can book here either today or tomorrow, so don’t need to worry about him, just need to sort out my own transport now. Pissed about on the web a bit more, then came back here and bumped into that couple from last night who invited me back to that beach bar to have a couple beers, but having just come from there I decided to try and have a nap instead. After about 20 minutes the German guy came in and turned on the lights and stuff, so I decided just to go to the bar and meet up with those 2, luckily Lars fucked off earlier today. There was also an English girl, Julia, can’t remember the names of the other 2, and the 4 of us just sat around chatting having a few drinks. It turns out they all met in East Timor and Lars was there too, so they had a lot of annoying stories to tell about him, always fun to bitch about such an annoying character. They also felt like I was some charity case as my budget is well below 10 quid a day at the moment and they’re all splashing the cash, so they kept buying me beers. I did try and refuse but I didn’t have a say in the matter, and it was nice to chat to some young Westerners for what seems like the first time in ages, plus Julia’s from London, always nice to hear someone from home. We all sat around there until past 8 just having a good time and then went and had some dinner in the night market, had some really good grilled fish again and a great shake, and more good chats. Then we all came back to the bar and stayed there till around 1 drinking the local spirit, first time I’ve had a good night with westerners since leaving Laurie and James, bloody refreshing. As much as I like hanging with locals there really is a limit on what you can talk about due to the language barrier. All in all a pretty exciting day by Kupang’s standards.

Day 277 – Friday 26th October

Still here in wonderful Kupang! Got up and found that everyone from last night had already left, which was a bit of a shame, but the German guy was still here, so I sat chatting to him for a while over our morning tea and biscuits. Then I went to a travel agent to get these flights finally sorted, and me and dad now both have a ticket to Papua which is good, he’s actually sorted all the way from England now, and I just need to get myself from KL to Sulawesi where I can get my onward flight. It’s all getting bloody exciting, Papua is pretty much the most far off place you can go to out here, and it should be a fucking nuts island, plus the diving is supposed to be the best in the world! Then I went and spent some time on the internet, checking up about my own flights, which I can’t book unless I’m in Indo and I don’t want to take any risks with dates as I might have some issues with the visa, so nothing really to do except lye in the hammock listening to the waves for a while. Still have no idea how I’m going to keep sane here for 3 more days, there’s literally nothing to do, I went to get myself a haircut just to have something to do! I just sat in the barber’s chair and said nothing, and let him do his work and he cut it just how I wanted and it cost me like 60p. When I got back from there it was still only 4 in the afternoon, so I just sat and watched a film to pass the time, by the end of it, it was pretty much dinner time and I decided to go on a long walk around to find somewhere new to eat. But after almost an hour walk, and barely any restaurants, I ended up back at the night market, and wouldn’t you know it I bumped into that enthralling Swedish guy from when I went to the Komodo islands. He seemed so bloody happy to see me (if only he knew how I did not feel the same whatsoever and would’ve avoided him had I seen him first) so I sat and chatted to him for a while and he bought me up to speed on where he’d been in Flores. And the bastard had been all the way East to Lembata, something I really wanted to do, but decided against it as I didn’t want to risk boat schedules and potentially miss my visa deadline for East Timor, how I regret that so much now having to spend a whole bloody week here! The Lembata region is famous for whaling in canoes, by hand, with spears, it’s supposed to be a real spectacle to see, and the short whale season is all but over so I’ve missed my chance. The day the Swedish guy got there they’d just got a whale shark and a sperm whale in the same fucking week! He wasn’t lucky enough to be there on the right day, but he still managed to see the village and the people, and all the whale meat hanging up all over the place. Long story short, I was fucking pissed not to have gone and he really reminded me of it, all the time wasted in Ende and here in Kupang, argh!! But everything happens for a reason and what not! After a while chatting to him and going on a wild goose chase to find a pen so he could have my email (can’t believe he wants to keep in touch!) I managed to pull myself away saying I was going to bed. He’s not a bad guy or anything, just a bit weird how he was so happy to see me and really wanted to chat and stuff and I just wanted to leave, always an uncomfortable situation. Anyway, got back here sat chatting to the German for a bit and then went to bed.

Day 278 – Saturday 27th October

Another boring ass day, potentially more so than usual. Got up, had a shower, and the German said his goodbyes while I was in there saying some cheesy line about how we might meet up again in some far off place or something. Then I went and got some food at the usual place, and came back here and quite literally sat around staring into space, I would have watched paint dry had there been a wall for it! After managing to waste just about enough time trying to go on any website I could think of on my phone, it was still barely past 1. I decided to just sit and watch a really long film to pass some more time, Pulp Fiction being 2 and a half hours and still a good film seemed like the best option. After that I was all drowsy from lying in my bed doing nothing, so I sat outside again staring into space eating some biscuits just to pass the time. After a while the owner asked me to switch rooms as there’s a big group of Italians arriving later and they’re going to need all the space, so I’ve been moved out back, which is fine with me as I know have my own room and I’m not in the dorms. Sat in there for a while reading up a bit more about Papua and looking into where me and Dad should go after, and there’s so many good options, it should be an awesome few weeks. Eventually I’d managed to waste enough time and it was time to eat, so I went round the corner to the usual place, got some nice cheap food and then got back here at 8. Found out that in the back all the staff have a tiny TV they sit around, and I managed to get them to put the football on, so the rest of my night was spent first watching the Norwich game and then the Arsenal game. I can’t say I was happy with the result or that fucking idiot M’bia, but it wasted almost 4 hours so that was good, and it’s always good to watch football and hear English commentary. After all that excitement, I went to bed. So happy to say that tomorrow is my last full day here, and I can finally leave this place on Monday, also really excited to get to the civilization of Kuala Lumpur, probably have some McDonald’s and maybe go to a cinema, should be good.

Posted by travellingjoe 04:44 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

On to West Timor

Day 270 – Friday 19th October

When I got up, I still wasn’t certain about whether to go back to Ende and be sure to get a boat either tomorrow or Monday, or just go on to Larantuka and hope that there will be a boat sooner or later. Eventually, after some breakfast I made up my mind that it’s not worth taking any risks with the random ferry schedules here and going back to Ende was my safest bet, even if I’m not particularly fond of the place. So I settled my bill with the nice family, who ended up charging me for those huge dinners, which I wasn’t too fussed about as it was really good food, then I sat outside their house and waited for a mode of transport driving past in the direction of Ende. After about 15 minutes a car came past and I jumped in and got back on the 2 hour trail to Ende, where I got dropped off at that same nightmare of a hotel as before. And this time I even got a worse room, one without electricity and therefore no fan and the water was also not working, I still had to pay the same price though! I didn’t mind too much, as I’ll probably only be here the one night, so I had a shower and got some food from the restaurant across the street where they still remembered my name having eaten there pretty much every meal before, and then sat down to write my blog having been a bit behind due to the lack of internet in Moni. Once the blog was all polished off I went to go meet up with Tores in the internet café where he works and spent a good 2 hours catching up on stuff and most importantly finding out some information to finally get the mobile internet working on my phone. Unfortunately Tores was there and kept distracting me (by trying to have a conversation) so I couldn’t really do everything I needed on the web, and eventually I just gave up and left saying I’d meet him later. When I got back I set up my phone and would you believe it, after 9 months away I finally have a working phone with internet, as much as I tried to avoid it I think now is the right time to have it sorted, being in a country that has a lot of areas with absolutely no internet. Unfortunately I got a bit hasty and burnt through all my credit in minutes, so I had to go to a shop and I bought myself a special internet package which should last me a month hopefully, and also topped up again with some normal credit. Around 7 I met up with that Muslim girl from before and we went for dinner and she tried to teach me some more Indonesian and told me about the ferry and where to go in Kupang and stuff, unfortunately she had to go home as it was too late for her (as a woman) to be out with a man I guess. After that Tores came round and we went on a drive to find some sopi (the local alcohol) and then went to his brother’s place and spent the next few hours with a few people who all got very drunk, and Tores got all deep saying I was his brother etc. all a good laugh! I eventually made it back to the hotel around half 11 where I had to repeatedly bang on the door as they’d closed up for the night, but eventually got let in and then had a long catch up with Greg on the phone, having not spoken in ages now. And then it was time for bed, but without a fan and having no drinking water I did not sleep very well at all!

Day 271 – Saturday 20th October

After barely sleeping at all last night, and being too thirsty and hot to even move, I eventually made it out of bed around 9 where I first had a freezing cold shower and went straight across the road to get me something to drink. I then had some breakfast and came back to the hotel where I could sit in the relatively cool (still boiling hot) courtyard and stay out of the blazing heat for a bit. As per usual I got myself started on a book all about hooligans which was pretty good, and then at 2 I made my move and went to the ferry office to get some concrete answers about whether or not the boat is today or on Monday. Unfortunately, all he could tell me was that there may be a boat on Monday as well but that’s a different company so I’ll have to go down to the port to find out for sure. So I hailed myself a moto taxi and told him to take me there, after telling him I need to go to Kupang and wanted to check out the times he assured me that there was a boat on Monday leaving at 7, so rather than pay him for nothing I asked him to take me to buy some flip flops as my feet have been burning like crazy of late. We found some flip flops for around 50p and then I came back to the hotel and got my laptop and went to see Tores. Funnily enough there was a group of 4 western guys there as well, who were having trouble trying to get some flights and they needed to use my phone to try and sort it, and quickly burnt through all my credit. So I had to top up once again, 3 times in 2 days is a bit ridiculous, and the woman at the shop is all confused about why I keep coming back. Anyway, I looked in to how I’m going to get to Papua after I do my east Timor visa run, and it looks like I’m going to have to fly which is a bit annoying, I thought a 4 day boat could be a bit of a laugh! Long story short, I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to make it, but at least now I know from those western guys that I can’t book tickets online and it will have to be done in person sooner or later. At 5 I eventually gave up looking for information as there seems to be such limited content about Indo in general, let alone far off islands such as Papua! I then came back and finished off that book, which unlike pretty much all free books on the kindle, didn’t have a stupid happily ever after ending and the bad guy won and it was such a change of pace from pretty much every other book I’ve read of late. Around 7 that girl came round with her friend, having not organised anything I was a bit confused, but she just wanted to know if I wanted her to come with me on Monday morning to help get the ferry ticket. She must think I’m a complete moron as I’ve asked her to confirm the Monday ferry so many times, but it’s purely due to the fact that I can’t be taking any risks at the moment. Either way I told her not to bother as already one of us has to get up at 6 in the morning, there’s no point making it 2, and then she buggered off with her mate. I had some dinner at 8, and then went back to see Tores as we both wanted to watch the football today, unfortunately Ende being a bit of a dead end place we couldn’t find anywhere and so we tried to watch it love on the internet on the piss poor internet, which didn’t really work out. We did manage to watch the 2nd half of the Chelsea game intermittently as the screen kept freezing and what not, but somehow for the United game we managed to get a perfect link which was in HD and all and it didn’t freeze whatsoever, bloody brilliant! I was all the more pleased as I’d missed a ferry for this game and didn’t want to miss it, and it was a good game as well, always good to see Rooney and Van Persie get a couple goals. I also managed to speak to both Mum and Pops on the phone during the game, so all in all it was a very successful few hours. I made it back to the hotel past midnight, but luckily tonight they remembered that I was out late last night and didn’t bother locking up so I didn’t have to stand in the street banging on the door and shouting for the guy to come let me in.

Day 272 – Sunday 21st October

God I had a proper boring Sunday today where I did the square root of fuck all. Having now been in Ende so long, and given the fact that there’s nothing to do anyway, and Tores was having a church day, I had to have one of these days sooner or later. I had breakfast at that usual restaurant, then came back and read a book, then had some lunch back there again where I did stick around a bit to watch the moto GP on their TV, then came back and kept reading. Then I had a shower, not to keep banging on about it but today was even hotter than usual, so that was very necessary. Then I got going on another book, and didn’t move pretty much until dinner time, where I had to eat somewhere else as my place always closes so early. I had some nice chicken noodles and spoke to the owner a bit who insisted on me hanging around and having some free coffee with him and tried to get me to play chess, but I had more important things on my plate, finishing this epic book I was reading. Eventually finished that had another shower, packed up my bag and went to bed ready for a 5:40 wake up tomorrow.

Day 273 – Monday 22nd October

Surprisingly I actually managed to get a few hours’ sleep last night, and didn’t feel too horrific when that alarm went off, and after finishing off my packing and paying for the room I jumped on a bike and went to the port. When I got there I bought my ticket and some snacks and water for the boat and I was raring to go by 6:30. Unfortunately the boat wasn’t so ready and it seems there’s some unwritten rule that the boat never leaves until 9 and the 7 o’clock thing is just some big joke. So I was one of the first on the boat, and everyone else turned up over the next couple of hours, at least it meant I could get myself some good seats. I decided to sit right in the back in the corner so as to evade the constant questions about where I’m from and if I’m travelling alone and blah blah. It’s not that I don’t like chatting to locals, but sometimes it gets too much, and the idea of a 20 hour boat surrounded by people standing over me asking me inane questions was not something that I wanted. Obviously the entire boat was staring at me, and quite a few people did come over and chat but I think I chose my seat wisely. Anyway just before 9 we set off, and it was nice to see Ende from the sea as it looks like a bloody nice place with all the mountains behind, shame it isn’t like that when you’re actually in it. I quickly rented myself a small mattress before they all ran out and decided to just put my head down, if anything else I would at least avoid the Spanish inquisition for a bit. I managed to sleep for a good 4 hours, until 1 which I was quite surprised about given the condition of the boat and the shitty mattress. When I got up I sat and listened to some music for a while, as everyone stared at me, I think it’s even more uncomfortable when you can’t hear anything and all you see is eyes on you, but I’m used to it by now, it’s not as bad as China at least. After having some lunch, actually got a free meal provided with the ticket, wish I’d known having stocked up on loads of rice and things before I got on, I got started on another book. This book has to be the best one I’ve read in a while, a proper suspense crime thriller about a serial killer and the chase to catch him, really good. And it managed to keep me occupied until 10, save a few conversations and food and toilet breaks. But yeah I really couldn’t put it down and it passed the time like nothing else. Once I was finished with it I put my head down for a sleep, then got woken up by the tannoy only a couple of hours later saying we’d arrived. This was not good, it was around 2 in the morning and the port is a good 10-15km away from town, and I’d expected to arrive around 5 or 6 when it would be light and there would be local transport. But as it was all there was was fucking mafia grabbing me from every direction offering me ludicrous prices to get a lift to town, so I just pulled myself away and sat in a dark corner waiting for the all to fuck off, and potentially waiting until day break. But one guy, who wasn’t a complete asshole, saw me and sat down to chat to me and he offered to take me into town for a normal price and even told me about a few hotels he knew, and after trying to convey I just wanted to stay in the cheapest hotel he eventually understood and we got on our way. We arrived at the hotel around half 3 in the morning and rung on the doorbell over and over before the owner came out and let me in to a room, and I put my head down ready for an early start tomorrow to go and sort out this bloody east Timor visa.

Day 274 – Tuesday 23rd October

When the alarm went at half 8 I was in no state to get up, so I just switched it off and then fortunately the owner came in to wake me up around 9 as someone else was moving in to the dorm room. I say fortunately as I do really need to get this visa sorted, so I got up and got straight on the road to the visa place. All I had was the road name of where it was and after asking all the bemos going past if they went that way, one guy did and I hopped in and arrived on that road. The bad news was that this road was about 100 miles long and every time I asked where the consulate was they all pointed saying ‘very far’ but I kept on walking and after a good 30-45 minutes in the usual blazing heat I eventually made it. I gave the woman my photocopy and filled out all the forms and she said it would take 3 days but they were closed on Friday so wouldn’t be ready until Monday, fucking brilliant! She then asked if I was in a rush and I said yes assuming she could help me out, but instead just said I’m sorry thanks for your understanding. At least I don’t have to pay until I get to the border I guess, on the way back I got bemos all the way rather than bother with the bloody long walk. First things first I had a shower, still not having washed off all the grime of that boat trip, and put on some clean clothes. After that I went to sit outside and got chatting with another Swedish guy staying here who’d just got back from east Timor, and he said that not only is it way way more expensive than indo but you can’t even get yourself the usual 2 month visa there and instead have to pay double price for the 1 month visa and have to pay a ridiculous amount to get a bus there and back. This is massive news, as I knew it would be expensive, but a 1 month visa is complete useless for me as I will be in Papua when it runs out and I’ll be back to square one with no fucking clue, plus I’ll have to spend a good 200-250 dollars in the process to sort out this useless visa in east Timor. This is the problem with the serious lack of information online, as had I known this before I would’ve taken a 20 hour bus from Ende in the other direction and worked my way back to Bali and got a flight out to Kuala Lumpur where I could sort myself a 2 month visa. As it is, I now have to spend a good 100 quid just to get a flight to KL from here, visas! How much fucking fun they are! Anyway, after that revelation I spent the next few hours on the web trying to sort out flights and stuff and got one booked through a local travel agent from here to Jakarta, and then I’ll book a flight from Jakarta to KL, on top of that I need to sort out all mine and Dad’s flights to Papua as you can only buy flight in Indonesia and looks like I’m on my way out the country! And all this needs to be done in my piss poor Indonesian! Ah well, all I could do was sit back take a breath, have a drink and go to bed for a nap. When I got up at 7 I went out to find some nice local food, and stumbled upon this night street stall market full of people selling fresh grilled fish for less than 2 quid, sometimes life is just great. So I sat down, picked myself a big red snapper and watched as he grilled it on his barbeque with a delicious smoothie in hand, that perked me up a lot. The fish was fucking delicious as well, and I had a good chat with a couple of Indonesian guys who said my Indonesian was very good, which is nice to hear, then I came back to the room and spent the next few hours just chatting with my roommate. Of all the travellers I’ve met along the way, this guy is fucking special, he’s 70 years old and left Germany around 50 years ago, and has never lived there since, and in-between has visited over 120 countries, lived in South Korea for 23 years, bought houses all over the world and still keeps on going. He’s off to east Timor then Australia and Fiji and the other islands around there. His stories were fucking brilliant…’back in 1963 I was in Iran travelling overland from Europe to Asia…In 1975 I was here when I saw this happen…’ So many crazy stories to tell and a proper interesting and really intelligent guy. We stayed up until about 12 as he couldn’t stop talking and I couldn’t stop listening.

Posted by travellingjoe 00:06 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Kelimutu

Day 265 – Sunday 14th October

Got up after a bloody terrible sleep due to these silly hot rooms, and the fact that you have to sleep with the light on in order for the fan to work. First things first I handed over all my washing to reception, then had some breakfast. I decided to text that Tores guy from last night to see what he was up to and he suggested the 2 of us go hang out at his sister’s place as it’s a Sunday and he’d be round to pick me up. After waiting around for a bit and trying to talk to an Indonesian guy (still can’t hold a conversation due to my very basic knowledge of the language) Tores turned up and I hopped on the back of his bike and we went to his sister’s. Her house was really nice and had great views of the sea and the valley, and most importantly it isn’t right in the centre of Ende so it wasn’t boiling hot. The husband offered me a cold beer as well which went down a treat. We all just sat around chatting for a while, me, Tores and his brother in law, before watching the moto GP. After a while the family all wanted to go to church so Tores gave me a lift back around 4, not without stopping for petrol and playing the ‘I forgot my wallet, can you pay’ card. I wasn’t too bothered as I got a free beer, and I didn’t mind paying 50p for some petrol. The best news was that the family were having some barbequed fish later and they invited me round for dinner. When I got back I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and waiting for Tores’ call to come get me for dinner. The call, sadly, never came and at 7 I gave up waiting and just had some dinner myself, I also texted those 2 girls from last night to see what they were up to. After dinner the 2 of them came round and we went on a walk around Ende chatting about where I’d been and stuff, they also gave me a Indo-English dictionary which should come in handy. Tores had said he wanted to meet up with us, without even mentioning what happened about dinner, despite him keep texting and me telling him where we were he never bothered showing up. I don’t know if he was drunk or something but he was acting pretty weird, and even texted me at 11 to see if I wanted to hang out, crazy boy.

Day 266 – Monday 15th October

Got up pretty early again today due to the fucking relentless 40 degree heat and my shitty room. After having some food and writing the blog I went over to the internet café to upload it and catch up with Tores about last night, as he works there. After getting there completely drenched in sweat I did all I had to do on the web and then had a quick chat with him. He said he’d meet up later and really wanted to meet these girls, after telling him that they’re both a bit young and Muslim and not spectacular looking, I still couldn’t convince him and he was desperate to meet up. I wasn’t desperate to hang out with them as it was too hot and we didn’t have much to talk about due to the language barrier, so I decided not to bother texting them and instead had a cold shower and spent the afternoon reading a book (as usual). Around 3 I went in search of a new sim card and some advice from a seller, as I just can’t get the internet to work on either of my phones, unfortunately the woman was completely useless and didn’t know what the problem was, but sim cards are pretty much free as they come with the same amount of credit that you pay to get one so I wasn’t too bothered. I do need to try and get this internet sorted at some point though. I sat down and had an ice tea to cheer me up and then went back to my depressing room. I collected all my washing and then got started on another book which I just couldn’t put down, and before I knew it it was 8 and time for some food. I found a really nice place to eat on the side of the road and came back to my room in order to finish that book, rather than try and catch Tores after he’d finished work. Tomorrow I’m going to Moni, and then on further East in the next few days so I did feel bad for not texting him, but what can you do.

Day 267 – Tuesday 16th October

I put an alarm for 7 today, but there was no way I could be bothered getting up at that time after yet another crappy night sleep, so I just put my head back down and eventually got up at half 9. As Moni is just a small village with no cash machines, my first mission for the day was to withdraw some money here in Ende. I found a cash machine pretty quickly, but I broke my flip flops on the way in, and the machine didn’t even accept visas! Great start, but I found out there was another one down the road so I walked for around 10 minutes on the blazing road completely fucking up my feet, and found yet again that they didn’t accept visas. This was turning out to be a bit of a problem as I only had enough money for one more day including transport and I didn’t know what the fuck to do. Either way these things usually have a way of sorting themselves out so I just decided to get in a bemo (public taxi) to the bus station and wing it. On the way out of town, the bemo went past a bank and I quickly tapped on the window to stop and jumped out, and wouldn’t you know it this one accepted visas, as I said these things always seem to work out. I withdrew some money then hopped in another bemo to the bus station, unfortunately the driver couldn’t be fucked taking me to Wolowano bus station and instead just dropped me in Wolowano, and even though everyone in the bemo had a go at him he still couldn’t be fucked. So I had to jump in yet another bemo before I eventually made it to the bus station, with a pair of pretty painful feet. After getting in yet another bemo, this time for the trip to Moni which took about 2 hours, I finally made it to my destination. I asked around a bit and found out there was only one hotel in my budget, and it turned out to be this really friendly Indonesian family who just have a couple of spare rooms in their house. Ok, a bit of background on Moni, there’s a mountain just down the road called Kelimutu which is regarded as a very spiritually mountain as it has 3 craters at the top with 3 different coloured lakes (presumably due to the sulphur from the volcano) which apparently relate to different ages and types of souls being carried in to the craters. Not only is this very important to the Indonesians, but it’s also one of the few must go places in Flores, and therefore for the first time in a week I caught a glimpse of a few white people on my way to get some lunch. I also got stopped by a local who said he liked my earrings and fancied a chat, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and he proceeded to tell me about his local restaurant which serves up some very special local Moni food, but its 3 quid a meal and I normally never pay more than 1. But he seemed like a nice guy and he showed me his book of recommendations from past customers, which was unbelievable, the things people said really meant I had to try this place. He also gave me some tea and offered to lend me his bike to go to Kelimutu for a very cheap price, so I said I’d be back later for dinner. I then spent the afternoon just sitting with my little family all of them just staring at me and the kids quite clearly taking this piss out of me as they kept laughing every time they said something to me, and the Mum kept slapping them. It was all very funny for me, if not a bit uncomfortable as no one could speak Indonesian let alone English, not surprising when there are 700 different languages in Indo. Eventually it came the time that I went to have my dinner, and fuck me was it a good meal, a 4 course epic feast of some absolutely delicious food. There was fish, some awesome soup, this crazy banana flower dish and a rice dish. I did not regret in the least splashing out for this, plus his special tea of lemon grass, orange and lime was mind blowing. The 2 of us sat and chatted for a bit after as well, and he is a really cool guy, and he said I can come pick the bike up at 6 tomorrow, as sunrise is the best time to get to the top of Kelimutu. When I got back to my room, I sat up for a bit watching some stuff and then went to bed pretty early for my 5:45 wake up tomorrow. As per usual, whenever I have to wake up ridiculously early I can never get to sleep, and I only managed about 2 hours sleep!

Day 268 – Wednesday 17th October

Woke up feeling fucking terrible, but knew that all I had to do was go up Kelimutu then come back down and go to bed, so I wasn’t too fussed. I went round the corner to go wake up my mate and get the bike keys, but he took a good 20 minutes getting out of bed, at least his wife made me a coffee, but I had missed sunrise which was a bit annoying. Once he did eventually make it out of bed, he also insisted on drawing me a ridiculously detailed map to get to Kelimutu, despite it being just one straight road, he also had a go at his wife for making me coffee as I’d mentioned yesterday I only drank tea. So not only did I have to wait for him to draw this bloody map, but after finishing my coffee I then had to have my tea as well. Either way, he eventually finished and I hopped on the bike and got going on the long windy road up the mountain, and then a short walk to the edge of the crater. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen so many amazing things or I’m just cynical, but the lakes didn’t blow my mind as much as everyone else has been telling me it would. Long story short, there’s a pretty dull looking black lake, a turquoise one, and then another one which is just slightly different colour of turquoise. It was pretty peaceful up there though, and the only other people there were this French family who were pretty much speechless so it wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning. I got going around half 8 I’m guessing and was able to cost all the way down to Moni, which was nice as I didn’t want to pay for petrol and there was literally none left. I stopped a few times on the way to take pictures of the endless rice paddies in the valley, but all in all I made it back pretty early and after having a tea and some breakfast at my place I was in bed by 10. I stayed in bed until around 3 sleeping most of the time, but getting woken up every now and again by the pounding rain, it looks like the rainy season is coming and I’m not best pleased about it! When I did make it out of bed, I had a shower and then spent the rest of the afternoon (yes you guessed it) reading yet another book, this one was bloody good as well, and barely looked up from the page until 7 when they offered me some dinner. The meal was fucking giant, which means that it probably won’t be free, but I didn’t mind it’s nice to try and hat with the family and the food was bloody good. The only bad thing is since I’ve got here the Granddad has been following me around everywhere and just sits staring at me all day whatever I’m doing, not only is it uncomfortable, but I think he’s got TB or something as he coughs all fucking day and it sounds absolutely horrendous, poor bastard. After my huge dinner, I got back to the book, and the family sat down to watch Taxi, a French film I used to watch loads and pretty much know off by heart, so the fact that it was in Indo didn’t bother me too much. They all thought I could understand the whole thing perfectly as I kept laughing at the right time and stuff, they were all very confused, and I couldn’t really explain to them what was going on.

Day 269 – Thursday 18th October

Had a really good night sleep last night, finally, and got up to a great breakfast and pretty quickly got my head straight back in to my book. After finishing that one, one of the better ones I’ve read of late, I got started on a pretty trashy novel which wasn’t great, but it was short and sweet. I had some lunch in between the two around half 11, barely an hour after breakfast, and it was just as good as dinner last night. After finishing that little novel, I went to go see that guy who leant me his bike to sort of catch up, as he seems like a pretty lonely guy who really likes to speak English as he’s pretty good at it. We sat and chatted for a while, playing around with his kids and him showing me that his restaurant had made it on to trip advisor and begging me to write a review, but his phone wouldn’t even let me sign in to my email so I said I’d do it another time. Talking of which, I haven’t had internet since leaving Ende, and I do kind of need it at the moment as I don’t know when the ferries leave for West Timor, and it’s kind of a big deal as I could end up overstaying my visa as the boats are fortnightly. After leaving my little friend and him begging me to come back later for some drinks or food, I went back to my homestay and got started on another book. I also gave Tores a call to get him to find out about the boats for me, because I’d rather just go back to Ende and know I’m getting a boat rather than go all the way to Larantuka (Far East of Flores) and find I just missed a boat. He told me there’s a boat on Saturday night, which is definitely a bit sooner than I wanted to go, but I’m getting a bit worried about the whole situation, so I will just go for that one. Unfortunately I texted that girl from Ende and she told me that the boat leaves on Monday morning, so I think I’ll just go down to the ferry office tomorrow and sort things out myself, either way there’s a boat leaving pretty soon, so I have to go back to Ende tomorrow I think. Anyway, I read my book for the rest of the evening, had another great supper, and saw on the news that England drew 1-1 to Poland away, could be worse I guess. Taxi 2 was also on tonight, which managed to pull my eyes away from my book every now and again, but I did eventually manage to finish it and went to bed around 11 again.

Posted by travellingjoe 23:46 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Boring, lazy bastard

Day 262 – Thursday 11th October

Woke up pretty early today, but I wasn’t too bothered as it meant I would be able to catch some free breakfast, then I saw what breakfast consisted of and I wasn’t so happy. 2 pieces of bread and some tea, fucking brilliant! After that feast I went back up to the room, and finished off writing the blog, and then looked in the book for some inspiration on what to do here. The main attraction of Bajawa seems to be these ‘traditional villages’ dotted around the place, and apart from that there’s not much else to see. I’m sure these villages are interesting, but considering the fact they’ve been officially open to tourists makes me a bit sceptical as to the traditional part. All I can picture is a couple of buses of people turning up with cameras and then all the locals running over to sell some tacky local handicraft or something, not for me. Even though it’s low season and there won’t be buses of people, I’m sure I’ll see lots of traditional villages in my future travels through Indo. So I decided to just go on a walk around Bajawa to see what was happening there, and I found a market where I bought some bananas and the woman selling them made me try some crazy fruit which I’ve never seen before and was actually really nice. After the market I walked round a bit more, and didn’t really find much as Bajawa is pretty small, so I headed back to my hotel to eat my bananas. I decided to spend the day reading, as I haven’t read a book in ages and I seemingly have fuck all else today so I picked a random novel from my kindle which turned out to be a bit of an erotic novel, always a first for everything. The actual story was complete shit, it’s funny what random stuff you turn up with when you download the free books off the store. After finishing that I got myself some food, and then got cracking on another book about British soldiers in the war in Ireland which was much more interesting. Eventually it got to around 8 o’clock and I needed to get some dinner, and I found this little place cooking fried rice in a wok in the street, Chinese style, and it was so tasty and cheap of course. Then I got back to my room and read a bit more before going to sleep around 11.

Day 263 – Friday 12th October

Today was another day of doing absolutely fuck all except sitting on my balcony and looking at all the mountains around and reading. So I got up and spent the first few hours of my day finishing off that book about the IRA and the war, then it was lunch time and I walked around searching for a nice looking restaurant and eventually stumbled upon one. After that I came back to the safety of my room once again. The people here are obviously not used to seeing a westerner, so walking down the street becomes a bit annoying quite quickly, there’s the endless shouts of ‘hello mister’ from everyone and then some try and speak a bit of English and the rest just start shouting in Indonesian. Normally this sort of stuff doesn’t bother me but the problem is its everyone here, and they all block the pavement and cross the streets to surround me. It would all be very interesting but I can’t understand what they’re saying as their speaking the local language, so for them I’m sure it’s very fun to stare at a white guy, but for me it’s just a bit uncomfortable. Anyway, got back to the room and got started on another book, this one was complete trash, all about some bollocks voodoo or some shit in Hawaii and about volcanoes. Long story short it was terrible, but I finished it quickly anyhow. Then I went to talk to the hotel worker about paying for my bill and getting a bus to Ende tomorrow. My Indo is actually starting to get pretty decent and I was able to convey all my points to her pretty fluently, then I could understand most of what he said, so I paid for my room and found out the bus is at 9 tomorrow and it comes to the hotel. After that I went to the internet café to upload the blog and catch up on the world, then I had some dinner and came back here to watch a movie before bed.

Day 264 – Saturday 13th October

Woke up this morning to the woman banging on my door, so I leapt out of bed and asked what was wrong, after yesterday she obviously assumed I could speak perfect Indonesian so she started babbling on and I didn’t have a clue what she was saying all I could understand was 7 in the morning. So I asked her if the bus was coming at 7 and she said yes, and the time then was quarter past 6, so I thanked her for getting me up even if I really wasn’t that happy to be up, and I started packing my bag. Then she knocks on the door again 10 minutes later and it turns out the bus has arrived, so I rush downstairs and throw my bag on, no time for breakfast and we get going. Luckily the first stop on the drive was picking up all the people from the surrounding ‘traditional’ villages so I actually managed to see all the crazy straw houses and shrines without paying a bollocks entrance fee or a guide. After picking up loads of people from all over the place, and not to mention their endless bags of food and their love chickens strewn all over the bus, we eventually got going on the bumpy road to Ende. Once again the drive proved to be very nice as the countryside was breath-taking, but due to the endless bumpiness and it being very windy I couldn’t get to sleep. We eventually made it to Ende after about 5 hours, and rather than take me in to the centre of town like everyone else the driver insisted on dropping me on the outskirts ‘bus terminal’ he said, even though it was a petrol station. He was obviously just matey with the local moto taxis who I had to pay to take me into town, it didn’t bother me though as these guys always know somewhere cheap and only charge like 10p for their services. So he took me to the cheapest hotel I’ve stayed in yet, and it isn’t great, let’s just leave it at that. But I was tired and I didn’t really care too much where I slept, so I just put my head down. After sleeping for a few hours in the blistering middle of the day heat with a barely functional fan, I got up and had a shower then went on a hunt to find an internet café. Luckily these 2 local girls who spoke English decided to show me the way and even left me their numbers when they left me there. I thought Bajawa was bad, but walking through Ende literally everyone stops to shout ‘hello mister’ and nothing else they just keep shouting it and following me and giggling, and I hate to say it but it really is getting on my nerves. Anyway I sat on the internet for a while and once I was done the guy working there sat down and had a chat with me about football amongst other things and he also gave me his number, so at least now I have a few locals to show me around. After all that excitement I got myself some dinner and then sat in the room watching a couple of things on the laptop before trying to sleep. Not only is the fan terrible, but in order for it to work the light has to be turned on in the room, so either I’m boiling hot and in the dark or I’m a nice temperature but in the light, catch 22 at its best!

Posted by travellingjoe 20:50 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

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