A Travellerspoint blog

On the Bukit Peninsula

Day 321 – Sunday 9th December

Had a relatively good lie in today despite Laurie’s incessant need to wake up early, bloody proactive people! He’s still taking a break from surfing so we spent the morning hanging out chatting and playing chess. After a while we headed down to Jimbaran, about 5km from here, as Laurie needed to go to a pharmacy and it meant we could go to the place which does amazing nasi campur (literally; rice with everything) that I had the other day. After that great meal we drove around a bit asking for a bar which will be showing the City, United game later tonight, and we did find a really nice bar with a couple of typical ex pat Aussie owners. With that sorted, we went to the pharmacy and then drove back in a rush in order to avoid the rain that looked certain to come. We made it back safe and sound and spent the rest of the afternoon playing chess, something which I seem to be getting worse at every day, and had a visit from this French surfer Charles who always seems to drop by and ruin the mood as he’s a bit of a self-involved prick. We also had another visit from a Spanish surfer called Hugo who used to stay in this place and is thinking of moving back in to the neighbourhood. Something we’re in desperate need of, this place is completely deserted and it would be nice to have some new company or better yet some women! After writing the blog and a quick stop at the supermarket, which has free wifi, we headed off to the bar to watch the united game. God what a great game it was, 2 brilliant Rooney goals and an epic free kick from the main man RVP right at the death to finish them off. The bar was also a really good place to watch it, with a couple of really friendly waitresses and a pool table for half time. But by the end of the match it was already half 11 and we had to go to the other side of the island to catch a live music night and one of the surfer bars. Made it there around 12 and the place was closing and pretty much everyone had left which was a bit of a bummer, still Hugo and Charles and a few other people were around so we sat around chatting for a while. The bar also had a really big swimming pool out the back which had my name all over it, but by 2 there really was no one left and we had to drive home, and this is where the fun starts. After about 5 minutes of driving I go into a turn and right before it comes up, I get a fucking puncture in my tire and I can’t slow down, and as soon as I try to turn in order to avoid ploughing into a building right in front the bike comes out from under me and I slide right across the road, fucking brilliant! Luckily I’d had a couple of beers and the adrenaline kicked in so it wasn’t too painful and I was able to drive back on Laurie’s bike as he tried to negotiate mine with that flat tyre. Got back and had a shower to wash off the seemingly endless and fucking painful cuts all over and went to bed, certain it’s going to hurt a lot more in the morning!

Day 322 – Monday 10th December

Woke up this morning with blood stains all over the sheet and in a fuck lot of pain, can barely move either of my legs, and walking on them is well out of the question, on top of that my right arm is completely fucked and I can’t even lift a pencil with it. More than the pain I’m just bloody annoyed, had I crashed due to being drunk or making a mistake or something I’d be able to accept it, but the bike getting a bloody flat tyre right before going in to a turn is just down right bad luck and fucking annoying! Pretty much as soon as we got up, Laurie headed off to do post some postcards and do a couple other errands, as well as getting the front tyre on my bike sorted. Unfortunately we had no water though and for some reason he took over 4 hours to make it back, seemingly had to write some truly incredible postcards! But he did eventually make it back with food and water, bloody legend! Don’t know what the hell I would’ve done had I been staying alone, probably wouldn’t have even been able to make it back last night. We had our food and just sat around relaxing on the balcony playing a bit more chess, before Charles made his usual appearance and made the whole mood really awkward. Still don’t know why the guy keeps popping round, it’s fairly obvious we don’t want to talk to him, but I think he just loves the sound of his own voice and talking to yourself is the first sign of madness so he just needs some sort of audience to babble away to. Unfortunately today the whole island was out of power and we didn’t have any water so not only could I not have a shower but we couldn’t even flush the toilet, and as Laurie has a bad stomach at the moment the result was not pretty! Spent the rest of the afternoon just resting, watched a film, listened to some music and generally just did fuck all, Laurie went to pick up some dinner before going off to spend a few hours on skype. While he was away, I just lay in bed watching the crazy storm hitting our front garden, so much rain and endless lightning which completely lit up the whole place, really spectacular. Then I went to bed nice and early, starting to feel like a proper weak and useless cripple, I’m hoping these injuries don’t last too long as there really is nothing to do around here without a bike and soon Laurie will be surfing again and I’ll just be left around here doing nothing.

Day 323 – Tuesday 11th December

Got woken up really early this morning as Laurie’s stupid phone kept beeping as it had no battery, last thing I needed! After lazing in bed for a bit I got up to have a shower and properly wash out all the cuts, my legs are feeling worse today if anything, hoping that’s a good sign as they’re fixing themselves. At least Laurie is in an unusually lay mood and can keep me company around here. After having some breakfast from our place we got cracking on one of the most epic games we’ve had of chess so far, which went on forever and eventually ended in a draw. Did a lot more sitting around procrastinating the rest of the morning until an even bigger rain storm than last night hit and forced us inside, as despite us being undercover on our balcony, it still found a way of getting us soaked and flooding the place. Once the rain eventually stopped, we headed to Padang Padang to watch the sunset from the cliff there, and boy did I feel nervous being on the back of a bike on these windy roads! The weather was still a bit shit meaning that there wasn’t really much of a sunset and the whole place was just really muddy. After that we picked up some food and juice to have back at our place and we spent the rest of the evening watching movies.

Day 324 – Wednesday 12th December

Laurie was back on the board today as all his reef cuts from last week had cleared up, and he went off to meet up with Niko at the crack of dawn. I just sat around for the rest of the morning, still not healed enough to make it back on the bike. Those 2 came back just after 12 and we sat together having lunch, really good to see Niko as I’ve only seen him once since coming to Bali as he’s not staying in the same area as us. He didn’t stay too long though as he had to get back to the surfing, I’ll hopefully see him again tomorrow as he’s back off to Finland in the evening. After he left, Hugo came round again to visit and pulled Laurie off to surf just after 3. This left me more time to just sit around doing nothing, luckily I found a book in the kitchen and got cracking on that and watched a bit more TV before Laurie eventually got back around 7 and we went out for some dinner. Decided to mix it up a bit tonight and go to a Western restaurant where we got spaghetti carbonara and a club sandwich with chips, a very nice change to rice with chicken! After that we came back here and I read over some old diary entries from when we were back in Lombok, I say a couple but it was more like 100 as Laurie bloody loved it and kept getting me to read more from my time away, he doesn’t have the luxury of reading the blog like you lucky people! After stopping off to buy a couple beers we went back to that surfer bar for some Wednesday night live jazz, and due to all that reading we turned up late once again and missed the music as well as most of the people. Still we had the same sort of deal as last time and just hung out with Hugo and Charles who stuck around for a while. Charles had found out that he got a job as a pilot in Jakarta today meaning he can fly around Indo for free surfing all over the shop, ‘his dream job’ which meant that he was paying for drinks tonight and once we got kicked out of the bar we sat outside a supermarket drinking and chatting until the early hours.

Day 325 – Thursday 13th December

We got up just after 10 this morning and about 2 minutes after that Hugo came knocking on the door to have breakfast with us at our place. For the first time since getting here they had the restaurant out front open, which has absolutely amazing views over all of the Bali Bukit. Had some good food and good chats with Hugo before he headed off to surf with Laurie scheduled to go meet up with him in a bit, probably the last time I’ll see Hugo as he’s also off tonight. By the time we’d pissed around and read a load more diary entries, it was too late for Laurie to go surfing here and make time to see Niko after. So we hopped on his bike and headed north to Sanur to meet up with Niko one last time. When we met him he was hanging with another Finnish guy from his place who last year finished a 6 year round the world trip on a bicycle! You’d have thought he was bored to death of telling the story by now, but he wasn’t he showed us all his great pictures and told us all about it, it was all fucking unbelievable and easily the best travelling story I’ve heard so far, not surprising therefore that he’s actually in the process of writing a book about all of it so keep your eyes peeled for that it should be an epic. After hearing all about that we said our goodbyes to Niko and went off to surf at a place not too far from him. Luckily for Laurie the waves were absolutely incredible when we got there, probably some of the biggest I’ve seen and lots of barrels and other surfing terms I can’t remember. The weather wasn’t so great though so I couldn’t hang out on the beach, and instead found this cool little tree house to hang out in and read my book as he did his thing. Once he eventually made it out of the sea just as it got dark, I was presented with one of the weirdest things I’ve ever had to do. Laurie had been stung to shit by jellyfish all over and kept asking me to piss on him, not as fun as it sounds and actually quite a hard thing to do. Anyway I eventually mustered up the strength to do it, can’t imagine how horrible a feeling it was for him, but it managed to stop all the stinging. After that little episode we had to go in to Kuta as Laurie’s bike owner needed to sort out some out of date registration papers. Got there, met the guy and had some food in a nice little restaurant before heading back off just after 9, not before stopping off and having a quick drink in a bar where Laurie was in love with one of the waitresses. Unfortunately for him she already had a boyfriend! Finally made it back home quite late and went to bed not long after.

Posted by travellingjoe 01:50 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Back to Bali

Day 316 – Tuesday 4th December

Had a really nice double bed with super comfortable covers and AC, one would expect a great night sleep, unfortunately we had to get up at 7 so it all went to waste! At least the hotel had a really good selection of things for dinner, and we both stocked up on food before packing up all our stuff and heading out to the street and picking up a bemo to the airport. Did all the check in bollocks and paid our airport tax, then had a good hour and a half just waiting around in the waiting room watching trashy Indonesian soap operas. Eventually the flight turned up having come from somewhere in East Papua and just stopping off on the way to Makassar, that’s probably why for the first time I wasn’t sat in the emergency seats. I’m sure I’ve brought it up before, but every plane I’ve had in Indo I’ve been put in the emergency seats, I’m guessing they don’t really trust the locals to keep their cool or something, bit of a shame to throw away that record! Either way I spent the entire flight just passed out on the tray table. Got to Makassar and had a 4ish hour stopover, so we had some KFC before being turned away from check in for being too early. Which was a bit frustrating as the departure hall has lots more things to keep us occupied, I had to write the blog though, so I just sat on my bag and knocked it all out. Once we were finally allowed to check in, we went upstairs and hung out in Starbuck’s for the remainder of the wait, where they had wifi, what a luxury! So I uploaded the blog and all the diving pictures, which I hope you guys all enjoyed. After an epic storm and a short delay we finally made it on to the plane and in to the emergency seats, that’s 7 out of 8 for me! The plane was another hour and a half, and after leaving our little island yesterday at midday we finally made it to Bali around 7 this evening. Fortunately the rain hadn’t followed us from Makassar, so we just jumped in a cab and went to Gang Poppies, a famous street in Bali flooded with souvenirs and hotels, being back in Bali is so bizarre having been in such wilderness for so long, streets and streets of English writing and endless American and English restaurants, quite exciting to be back in civilization! We found a really nice place to stay for Dad’s last night as soon as we got out the cab. After showering and catching up with BBC world we headed out for some good old western food, and soon we saw hard rock café and knew that was the place to be! The food was absolutely amazing, had a bloody rare steak as well as really tasty starters, all in all a bloody epic meal, wouldn’t expect anything less from somewhere which cost the equivalent of about a week’s budget for me (for everything!). Really sad to have to say goodbye to Dad tomorrow, and not just because I’ll no longer be getting fed ridiculously well, but we’ve had such a good time not just the diving but the whole experience, the homestay was one of the nicest places I’ve been with such a nice setting. After we left the Andamans back in April we both pretty much agreed that we wouldn’t find anywhere as close to paradise as there, but we found it there on that tiny island in the middle of nowhere! Dad seems to pick the best moments to come out and visit! After dinner we both crashed on the beds well and truly full, and after a bit of TV fell asleep.

Day 317 – Wednesday 5th December

Had to get up even earlier today, can’t wait for all these bleeding flights are out the way and I can just have a proper lie in. After having some breakfast and packing his bag Dad was ready to go and I pulled myself out of bed and we headed off in a cab to the airport. I had to let him go at the security entrance, so we said our goodbyes there and I headed off back in to Kuta as he was on a long journey back to freezing England, couldn’t imagine how I’d react to weather that cold. When I got to Kuta yesterday, I was all excited to be back in civilization and gorge on Western food and speak some English, but driving back in to it in the light of day my view has completely changed. I fucking hate this place, don’t know how I forgot that, but even the 50 metre walk from the main road to the hotel is enough for me to want to get out of here, not only is it trashy, busy and a shit load of hassle but it’s full of bloody Australians as well. So I completely changed my original plan of staying here a few days, instead I had a shower and some breakfast and headed out to the streets to find somewhere to rent a bike for a month. I decided to head back to the hostel I stayed at when I was last here 3 months ago (side note, now makes Indo the country I’ve stayed the longest in) as they were really friendly there. Luckily he had one manual left and it was in pretty good shape given the usual standard you get, and after haggling him down (around £35 for a month) and getting him to pay a mechanics to change the oil I drove back to the hotel. Back when I was in Lombok all those months ago, I was staying with James and Laurie and Niko for a few weeks, James went back to Thailand but Niko and Laurie are both still around in Bali, and my plan is to stay with Laurie for a while. So I packed up all my stuff and hit the road down to the southern peninsula of Bali, Uluwatu, where Laurie has told me about a nice homestay we can go and despite him expecting me tomorrow I thought I might as well go, just to get out of Kuta. That’s a lot easier said than done as this place is a mess of tiny lanes and one way streets, so it took me a bloody age to get out but I eventually saw signs to Uluwatu and made it there in just over an hour and found the homestay thanks to Laurie’s directions. There they asked pretty much straight away if I was Laurie’s mate, and they showed me to our room which is bloody nice, plus this place is at the top of a hill and has great views of the sea all around. First things first I dumped my bag and went to bed for a much needed nap, and after about 20 minutes I was interrupted by Laurie crashing in to the room. So bloody good to see him again, I’ve never been able to go back on myself given the way I’ve travelled and therefore haven’t met up with anyone again, really nice to see him and catch up on what’s been going on over the last couple of months. There’s also a really nice Austrian couple staying next door, so it was cool to hang with them and we all spent a few hours just sitting about shooting the shit. Until predictably they wanted to go surfing, one bad thing about being here is that there’s literally nothing else to do apart from that and that’s not something I do so I might get quite bored if we hang out here too long. After having to walk down 500 (we counted them) steps from the top of the cliff to the beach we found that the surf was shit and so only Laurie went in just to check it out as me Franz and Evelyn (the Austrian couple) hung out on the beach. After a while Laurie gave up and we sat on the beach for a bit longer before making the gruelling trip back up and getting on our way. Me and Laurie then drove to the Western point of the island and watched the sunset as the other 2 went to sort out dinner. We chilled there for a bit chatting to some guys and having some beer before making our way back and having dinner altogether back at the hotel. Hung out there for a while just chatting before going to a bar to see some live music, and turning up too late to see it and pretty quickly heading back as they want to get up at 6 tomorrow to go surfing (fucking lunatics!). As I turned up late today Laurie couldn’t check out of his current place in time so for tonight at least I’ve got the room to myself and I had a nice early night.

Day 318 – Thursday 6th December

Got woken up this morning by Niko knocking on the door having got back from surfing early and coming over to say hello. Really good to see him again, and we both had a lot to catch up on as we haven’t been texting as much as me and Laurie. After sitting around chatting for a while and waiting for the rain to ease up so we could get some food, Laurie and Franz got back from surfing. Then it really started to rain, almost more than back in KL, not something I want to carry on while I’m here! The 5 of us just ordered some food from the hotel rather than heading out in it and spent the afternoon hanging around here. The rain did eventually ease up and Niko headed off to surf and left the rest of us here just as the storm came back and started pissing down more than before. Franz has to go to Kuta today to drop off his motorbike as the 2 of them are leaving tomorrow morning, plus I want to get my bike looked at as I’ve already noticed quite a few crucial problems. So once the rain did ease up around 4 we all went to Kuta, and pretty much as soon as we got there I lost Laurie and Franz and on top of that the mechanics was closed o the bike owner told me to come back tomorrow and he’ll take care of it all. What a waste coming all that way, then I spent the next hour or so just wandering around aimlessly in the searing heat looking for the other 2 and obviously failing miserably. Eventually I just gave up and drove back home, not before getting severely lost once again on my way out of Kuta and going over 10km in the wrong direction and having to come back through all the traffic to eventually make it back on the right road and back home. Laurie and Franz hadn’t made it back yet, so I hung out with Evelyn waiting for them, when they did eventually make it back they had a load of beer and 2 bottles of rum, and then quickly went back out again to pick up pizzas, so a leaving party is on the cards tonight. Once we started eating the 2 of them told us of their own trials and tribulations in Kuta which mine can’t even compare to, not only did they get lost on the way out too but they got stopped by a policeman and bribed, fuck the police! Once we got all our stories out the way, the 4 of us spent the rest of the night drinking and having really good conversations, shame those 2 have to leave tomorrow as they’re really nice, plus Evelyn is also a non-surfer. Still we had a couple of good nights, and we didn’t get to sleep until around 4 today!

Day 319 – Friday 7th December

Got woken up at 8 this morning after a very short sleep as the couple were on their way and we had to say our goodbyes. For some unknown reason Laurie didn’t want to go back to sleep, instead opting for the 2 of us to stay up watching TV and later go to Kuta to have breakfast and fix my bike. So we just sat around in bed trying to stay awake watching a few hours of stuff before hitting the road to Kuta, and today in order to avoid traffic we decided to take a different route which ended up backfiring horribly! As if Kuta isn’t hard enough when you’ve got signs to follow, we decided to freestyle it and ended up driving round in circles for ages before eventually making it. I dropped off my bike at the guy and we had about an hour to kill so we decided to just walk around for a bit as we both had a few things to buy and we had to get food. Unfortunately the Kuta vibe hit us hard and neither of us could be fucked buying anything, let alone concentrate properly given the whole stressful situation of the place. I also had no flip flops and the ground was boiling and all we really wanted to do was find a nice restaurant and sit down! After looking around for ages for somewhere half decent looking and affordable we finally struck gold and found a delicious Indonesian place which was bloody cheap given the usual Kuta prices. After that meal we got straight back on the bike and headed home back to our nice and relaxed homestay, not before a couple of stops for a chess board (Laurie keeps banging on about wanting to play) and some sleeping pills, in order to have a nap before the big beach party later tonight. So we made it back at 4 both completely exhausted, took our pills and went to bed, unfortunately we didn’t wake up until 11 and by that point it was too late to go out and we were both pretty tired so we went back to sleep not waking up until 8 the next morning, woops!

Day 320 – Saturday 8th December

After having been to Kuta the last 3 days in a row, all we wanted to do today was just sit around in bed relaxing, plus Laurie has a shit ton of cuts from the reef and wants them to clear up before he goes surfing again. So we did just that and alternated between watching TV on my laptop and playing some epic games of chess. Haven’t played that game in ages and both of us are about the same standard, shit, so the games are really even and really tense, we must’ve spent over 5 hours playing throughout the day, and the other 5 hours watching TV. Apart from having an excursion to the supermarket for snacks and going out to dinner, that’s how the whole day was spent, sure it sounds bloody exciting to you guys!

Posted by travellingjoe 04:34 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

More Diving in Raja Ampat

Day 308 – Monday 26th November

Got up bright an early in Sorong this morning, we’ve still got a couple things to sort out before we head off back to our island in the middle of nowhere. First things first we looked around for a place to buy some plane tickets, now that we’ve decided to spend our whole 2 weeks in Raja Ampat all we have to do is buy a couple of tickets back to Bali next week when Dad has a flight to catch back home. We did eventually find a travel agent, but due to the fact that it was still only half 8 they weren’t open yet, so we sat down in a local restaurant and had a cup of coffee to pass the time. When we did go back one of the women who work there told us that the boss was ill and they wouldn’t be open today, so she chucked us in a bemo and told the driver where he could take us to find another one. After exercising my Indonesian skills with the nice travel agent woman we sorted our flights for next Tuesday, leaving Sorong in the morning and stopping of at Makassar before getting an afternoon plane to Bali and arriving at 5pm. Luckily the travel agent was right next to all the ATMs which we rinsed yesterday, and now there was a new day we could top up on a bit more, and with over 20 million in cash (sounds like a ridiculous amount) we got an ice cream and headed back to the hotel. After checking out we took a bemo to the port and arrived about an hour before the 2pm departure, so we got the best seats in the house and sat around waiting. Once we eventually made it to Waisai, we met up with a French guy who was going to the same place as us, and we all waited for the homestay to come pick us up. After waiting about an hour, they eventually came, but then they decided to go to the market and stock up supplies for another hour before we eventually got going. Plus the seas were really rough so it took us about twice as long to get back home, all in all a completely wasted day on bloody transport, so frustrating when you’ve got this paradise waiting for you and we had to spend 2 days fucking around in Sorong just to get money. All in all it was worth it though and it’s so good to be back, and after the usual delicious dinner and a bit of TV watching and paying off Raymond for the stay so far, we went to bed.

Day 307 – Tuesday 27th November

We decided not to dive this morning in order to recover from our little trip over the last couple days, so I got a nice lie in, finally. After lunch and a bit of sitting around in the hammock reading, we got picked up for the afternoon dive at 2, the French guy from yesterday decided to come with us and go snorkelling so we had to go to a relatively shallow dive site with little current, which was much more relaxing than the usual experience of getting chucked along the reef at break neck speed. On top of that, at this dive site I saw a wobegong, which in simple terms is a type of shark which can walk along the sand on its fins and is only found out here and nowhere else in the world. So it was a pretty special moment, unfortunately he was being a lazy little shark and refused to come out of his hiding hole which he was sharing with a group of about 10 lobsters. And despite Raymond poking it with his stick (not recommended protocol) the lazy guy still wouldn’t come out to give us a show. After that cool experience, we came back to base and cracked on with our books. After a usual pretty dramatic sunset, we had dinner and chatted to the French guy a bit before watching The Usual Suspects and cracking in to the large box of chocolate bars we got back in Sorong. Thankfully the French guy is leaving tomorrow and we’ll have the place to ourselves again, although one other person doesn’t sound like much, it’s the difference between having an entire beach on an otherwise deserted island all to yourself and having to share it with an intruder.

Day 310 – Wednesday 28th November

Got up nice and early as usual today, and after a couple of banana pancakes, the boat came to pick us up at 10 and we went to the dive site. After completely kitting up with everything on, I found that Raymond had forgotten to put my mask on the boat (partly my fault really should’ve checked) so we were forced to wait for one of his brothers to come on his boat and drop it off. Luckily all clouds have a silver lining and during this wait we were treated to a group of mantas jumping all over the place. I had no idea they even did this, but they swim right up to the surface and jump straight out then just land right back on their bellies in a loud crack, absolutely epic experience and they were doing it right next to the boat, show offs. After the mask eventually turned up we all jumped straight in and got going with the dive, usual story of silly strong currents and an abundance of good coral and fish. After some lunch I finally finished my fucking book, it was an epically long one on the Battle of Britain, it was really interesting and I’ve never read a history book before, plus I didn’t really know anything about the battle, but it’s just taken so long to finish and really is nice now to have it out the way! Anyway, we got going on our second dive, the underwater housing for my camera has been playing up recently and fogging up and stuff so I decided just to leave it behind for this dive, plus the current is normally way too strong to stop and take a good picture. And what do you know, it was probably our most spectacular dive so far and there was absolutely no current, fucking typical! Can’t complain too much, it’s still good to see all this shit through my own eyes, but it’s always nice to have pictures. Long story short it was probably our best dive so far, unbelievable how these places manage to get better and better! Came back home and spent the rest of the afternoon reading before having dinner and watching a movie. I decided to show Dad that Requiem for a Dream film (sure I mentioned it before) anyway it’s super fucked up and everyone should watch it, as I was the first time when I saw it he was pretty shook up as well. After that we went to bed.

Day 311 – Thursday 29th November

Sorry to be boring, but all the days are pretty much identical at the moment, and I can’t be bothered/remember to describe everything of interest that happens on the dives, so nothing much really changes. Anyway, got up as per usual and got going on our first dive of the day to yet another bloody impressive site, saw 3 turtles as well as a big school of humpback parrot fish (very rare, and I’ve only ever seen them once before). Got back here nice and early as the dive site wasn’t too far, so I had a bit of time before lunch to finish off my book, this one was a novel about some famous English painter who was a bit insane, Gauguin, pretty good little novel. Had some lunch, and once Raymond eventually turned up for dive 2, the weather towards the East (where most of the best sites are) was fucking awful so we went West and tried out a new area, the dive was OK but it was the same old story of a ridiculously strong current. If you’re going with the current it’s not too bad as it involves no effort, but if someone stops to check out something (which Raymond does all the time, and he has a reef hook so it’s no extra effort) then you all have to stop meaning swimming as hard as you can against the current. On the other hand, if you have to swim in to the current for whatever reason then you’re just out of breath the entire dive pretty much. I knew Raja Ampat was infamous for currents, but didn’t realise it would be this bad; to put it in perspective you’re probably floating by faster than an Olympic rowing boat (only example I can think of). Once we got back from that dive, I had nothing to read so I just sat around trying to stay awake until dinner, usual food tonight, but unusually a group of 3 Germans (most likely gay) turned up to join us. They’re pretty bad at English, unusual for Germans, and are here to dive, which is bloody annoying for us as one of the best parts of the diving here has been that we only ever go down as the 3 of us which makes the whole experience pretty lax and means we can go when we’re ready and not have to wake up at the crack of dawn. They said they’re going to take a couple of days off to chill out before starting to dive which is good news, although it does mean that for the rest of our time here there will be other guests stealing our private beach! After a movie and some more chocolate we hit the hay!

Day 312 - Friday 30th November

This morning we decided to go back to manta point as the last time we were there the visibility wasn’t great and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again in sunlight. After a quick stop in the local village for some fuel, we headed off, and after a bit more manta jumping at the surface we went down to the little rock they all use as a cleaning station. There weren’t as many as last time, but they were potentially bigger, plus the visibility was amazing and made for some really good pictures, except one thing my fucking camera housing decided to fog up on the lens and therefore all the pictures came out blurry, just to put this in perspective, in about 6 years of owning this piece of kit that hasn’t happened once! And if there’s ever a time when you don’t want your camera to fuck up it’s when you’re sitting there watching mantas in PERFECT visibility!! Safe to stay I was fucking pissed, silver lining was obviously that I got to see them and I shouldn’t feel too hard done by. We turned up a bit late for lunch so the Germans had already eaten and we had the table plus a lot of food all to ourselves, unfortunately these new arrivals have the uncanny national sport of stealing the best spots on the beach engrained into them and therefore there’s a severe hammock shortage. So I was forced to sit in bed and watch TV whilst waiting for us to go on the second dive. Raymond didn’t bother turning up until 5 today (3 hours late) and with absolutely no explanation, typical Raymond! We specifically went to a site with no current as it was getting late and were tired, and even if it means sacrificing seeing some of the best coral it is nice to have a chilled out dive. Even if it wasn’t the best dive here, it’s still a lot better than anything you’re going to see in the world, we’ve just been so spoilt here don’t know if I’ll ever be able to dive again! Came back and sat around having coffees and watching the sunset before dinner with the bumboys and then a movie and bed.

Day 313 – Saturday 1st December
Got up today and opened up the first day on my travel size advent calendar (thanks Mum!) still don’t really feel in the Christmas spirit out here on a constantly sunny 30+ degree beach with turquoise waters in the background. After that we got going on our first dive of the day, and what is to be our second last dive as Raymond can’t be fucked taking us diving on Sunday (bloody Christians). So we have to make up our mind on where we want our last 2 dives to be, our first choice was to go to Mike’s point, in my eyes the second best dive site we’ve been to so far. The coral and absolutely ridiculous amount of fish as well as the fact it’s a rock in the middle of the sea with loads of overhangs and crevices makes it a fucking diver’s dream. Unfortunately it’s infamous for strong currents and you have to go at the right time, and after turning up and the waters looking like a white water rapid, we figured it wasn’t the right time. So we went on to another site on that side of the bay (towards Waisai Island) where we had the same problem of dangerously strong currents, but 3rd time lucky we found a place to go. Unfortunately this was one of the worst dives we’ve done so far, and yes I have to put it in perspective as the coral is still better than any I’ve seen in the world, but compared to Raja Ampat it was a bit below par. The saving grace was seeing a sea snake, which are pretty rare to find, and something I’d never managed to get a picture of before now. After a long drive back home we had our lunch and I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in bed watching TV waiting for Raymond, who turned up 2 hours late today with yet no more explanation and asked for more money! As we’d already prepared the whole payment of what we owe him over the last week we just gave him that lump of 11 million and without so much as a Thank you we got going on the dive. For our last dive we went to the place I previously mentioned as my favourite site, and this time my camera was working and the conditions were perfect and it really was a great way to end our time in the water. On top of that a huge fucking manta decided to swim literally 50cm from us right at the end which was pretty spectacular. Sad to be done diving here, but there’s no way I’ll forget it, and absolutely no way I’ll ever see anything like it, it’s really reignited my interest in it and I gladly work as a divemaster out here (something I might look in to in the next couple of months). Came back to base and sat around watching TV before dinner, and then watched ‘Senna’ which was a really good film, such a tragic story as he seemed like such a cool character compared to the twats in formula 1 nowadays.

Day 314 – Sunday 2nd December

Today is our last full day here, which is bloody annoying, but still we’ve been here for 2 weeks and this day was always coming. After getting up a bit later than usual I spent the morning sitting in bed watching TV, not sure what’s wrong with me but I’ve sort of had a cold for the last couple of weeks and no matter how much sleep I have I’ve been waking up feeling super tired, diving all the time definitely doesn’t help so I’ll have to see how I feel once I get back to the mainland. Anyway, had some lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing some snorkelling on the beach in front of us, and then built myself a sand throne on the beach to watch the sunset. Sadly the sea washed it away before the sunset and I was forced to watch it in a hammock, it’s a hard bloody life. The sunsets here have been so good, another thing I’m going to miss like crazy, then it was dinner, another thing that will be sorely missed, not only has there been a lot of food but it’s been so god dam good! During dinner a group of 5 Indonesians turned up meaning that we’re leaving just in time and they can ruin the experience for the Germans.

Day 315 – Monday 3rd December

Got up pretty early this morning due to there being so many people around walking and talking all over the place, bastards! Spent the morning just lazing around in bed as all the hammocks and chairs were occupied. After packing up all my shit, we had some lunch and got chucked on the boat back to Waisai, not before being blanked by the whole family when we said goodbye. Not only has Raymond been a bit of a money hungry cunt but the whole family have just been a bit distant the whole time, especially weird since we’ve been living here for 2 weeks and people normally only come for a couple of days! On top of that the place is bloody expensive given normal Indonesian prices and they should be a bit nicer, especially considering it markets itself as a bloody homestay, meaning it’s supposed to feel like you’re being welcomed to stay with a family, I guess they didn’t get the message. Anyway that whole episode made it that much easier to leave, and after the quick boat ride to Waisai we got on our ferry with over an hour to wait before it left at 2. The ferry was pretty uneventful bar one epic thing, I saw a fucking whale! About half way through me and the guy sitting next to me were looking out to sea and we both saw a huge tail pop up so we both pointed and everyone ran over to see and then 2 whales came to the surface blowing water out of their blowholes or whatever they’re called. Fucking awesome as I’ve never seen one before! Eventually we got in to Sorong and went to our hotel, and after dropping off our stuff went out to have a cup of tea and some snacks before having a really long hot shower, a luxury which never disappoints. After watching some BBC world, something else I haven’t experienced in forever, we went to have some dinner at the same fancy restaurant that we ate at last time we were here with that Indian couple, only difference is they’ve got a Christmas tree up now, weird. Once we were finished we came back and watched a bit more TV before hitting the hay, no longer accompanied by the sound of the sea hitting the stilts below our bungalow.

Going to be uploading some pictures of the diving, so be sure to have a look!

Posted by travellingjoe 22:27 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Loooong update

Day 288 – Tuesday 6th November

Got woken up by the cleaner lady today, as usual she was bitching about me not paying for the room before the 12 cut off, despite the fact that I’ve been here a week now and it’s clear I’m not moving anytime soon. First things first I had to get some cash out, I could only get 10 or 20 quid, so I got 20 meaning I can splash out today and tomorrow morning as the currency won’t be worth anything in Indo. When I got back to the room I checked out cinema times for James Bond, and decided to just stop wasting time and leave, despite the next performance being in about 2 hours, as it was sunny for once. So I got going and stopped off for some lunch, when it started fucking raining! And this was by far the worst storm we’ve had here so far, endless thunder, lightning, and a silly amount of rain. So I took a rain check and hung out in the restaurant for a bit before giving up and going back to the hotel. One it eventually stopped raining I headed back out to the cinema and luckily made it just in time for the next performance at 5. Got myself some salted popcorn and sat down in the cinema and watched the film, which was actually bloody good, it was cool to see him in places like Shanghai and Macau and recognize where he is. Plus the popcorn was so bloody good, been craving that for ages. By the time I got out of the cinema it was dark which was cool as I saw the Petronas towers and KL tower all lit up on the way home. When I got back I sat chatting to this new English couple who wanted a low down on KL, and obviously I’m the worst person for that as I haven’t done anything. Either way all they wanted to do was go out and get pissed, so I just left them to it and got some dinner from this really tasty Indian restaurant down the road, then came back and spent the night relaxing in bed ready for my trip tomorrow. Watched a really fucked up film called Requiem for a Dream, I definitely recommend anyone to watch it, but it really is a bit of a freaky film, it would definitely put anyone off heroin after watching it! Think trainspotting but with a lot more bad shit happening.

Day 289 – Wednesday 7th November

Got up this morning with lots of time to spare as I don’t want to miss another plane. Got myself packed up and went and got some breakfast, before walking to the skytrain station, and went to KL sentral where I got a bus to the airport. Got to the airport in good time, checked in then went and sat waiting around in the gate. This is the first time I’m leaving a country and completely happy to do so, don’t know if a 5 day visa run counts as seeing a country but that’s how I feel, the weather was definitely the main reason for my dislike of KL. Found out Obama won the election as well, which was good to hear, then I got on my plane at 3 and made it to Jakarta in a couple of hours. So nice to be back here being able to use my phone again and paying in Roopiah, although it seems the rain has followed me and there’s a giant storm in Jakarta, fucking great! Let’s just hope Sulawesi and Papua are dry. Anyway, I had around a 5 hour stopover in Jakarta, so I got myself some food then checked in and sat in the waiting room watching some TV on my laptop. Didn’t get on the flight until past 10 as it was about an hour delay, as has been the case with every flight in Indo. I made it into Makassar (capital of South Sulawesi) at 1 in the morning, and after I got out of arrivals I couldn’t get back in to the terminal so I was forced to just set up camp on the street out in front where I managed to get about 2 hours sleep.

Day 290 – Thursday 8th November

Got up around half 5, having had a terrible little nap, pretty unsurprising considering the conditions! Either way I had to wait until 6 anyway to get a bus out of here, so better spent sleeping then sitting outside a dark creepy airport. I got on the free shuttle bus which drives about 5 minutes and just drops you off at the main road outside the airport complex, here I just followed the other people getting off and jumped on one of the public minibuses to Makassar. After about an hour on that with people getting on and off constantly and me being the only one left, the driver eventually asked me where I wanted to go and I said near the beach, assuming he meant where in Makassar, but it turns out we had gone the opposite direction to Makassar and I was now 20km away from the airport and 50km away from Makassar. So I got out and got on a minibus going the other direction and after changing again I eventually made it to the centre of Makassar, more than 3 hours after I left the airport! At least it only cost me 1 pound in transport costs to make that mistake. Once I got off, I got a bicycle rickshaw to china town where he told me I’d found the cheapest hotels, and after walking around for about an hour in the boiling heat, the cheapest I could find was a dorm room for 5 quid a night, more than I’ve ever paid in Indo since I left Bali! Either way I didn’t have a choice and had to stay in this shitty dorm room on the 4th floor with no fan, but at least there were no other people staying there, so it was pretty much my own boiler room. After a shower I went straight to sleep for about 5 hours. When I got up I was completely soaked in sweat, can’t believe they haven’t bothered fixing the bloody fan in this room! Went to get myself some dinner, and then came back to the room and spent the rest of the night watching ‘the damned united’ which was a bloody good film, nice to see Brian Clough portrayed as such a hero, even if he was a bit of a cocky prat.

Day 291 – Friday 9th November

Got up nice and early today to claim my free breakfast, considering how badly I’m getting ripped off in this room I couldn’t miss it. It wasn’t actually half bad considering the usual standards of free breakfast (a couple of slices of bread) I actually got 2 omelette sandwiches and a few cups of tea. After sitting with the owner watching cheaper by the dozen in the living room, I went back up to bed. Due to the unbearable heat it really is the only thing you can do during the middle of the day. When I got up in the afternoon, I decided to go on a little walk around, and most importantly check out Fort Rotterdam, the main tourist site here, I’m guessing it was built during the Dutch occupation of Indo. Unfortunately I had no way of finding out what the place was really about, and nor did I actually walk around it properly, as the second I walked in I was harassed by about 10 different people trying to chat to me. Turns out it’s the afternoon hang out for uni students trying to brush up on their English as it’s the only place in town where there are any tourists. So I obliged and sat down with this group of about 10 and their teacher, who was the only one who really talked to me, as he got a bit too interested. Eventually I told him to shut up and chatted to the group for a bit, but he kept butting in and trying to organize shit for us to do together, like going to visit some island just South of here, and saying we should meet at the crack of dawn to spend the day together tomorrow. I hear this a lot so it doesn’t bother me too much and I just say maybe, but then he mentioned the fact that he had no money (sure sign he expects the white guy to pay for everything) so I just walked away and told him I was busy tomorrow. It was a shame as the students were quite nice, but I hung out there for over an hour, and I really couldn’t be arsed with that guy anymore. On the way out of the fort I got stopped about 50 times for pretty much everyone there who wanted a picture, it was all getting bloody annoying but then this group of about 5 guys just dragged me away (not in a creepy way) and sat and chatted to me like normal people. Turns out they all study maritime at the Fort so they’re all around my age and their English is bloody good due to the fact that they hang around that place all day. We sat around chatting for a while before getting some dinner and then heading down to the main beach where there was a big performance going on. It was a really fun few hours, and the guys are proper funny, rarely do I meet people my age, let alone locals who can speak English perfectly. They’ve also invited me to stay at their halls for the next 2 nights, which is perfect as it will be a lot more fun and obviously cheaper than my current place. We parted ways around 9 and I came back to the room and watched a film and some over shit (downloading 100s of hours of stuff in KL so I’m now never short of entertainment). Unfortunately I just couldn’t sleep tonight, the room is 35 degrees at night (yes it has a thermometer and no fan!) so it’s fucking impossible to fall asleep.

Day 292 – Saturday 10thNovember

Due to the fact that I didn’t fall asleep until past 4 I woke up after 12 which meant I couldn’t check out, the woman here is the fucking devil. That means that I can’t stay with those guys tonight as it seems like a waste of money just to pay for this room and stay with them just to put them out. After getting some food I met up with the guys again, and there were in the middle of an English class which I sat in on. The teacher’s English was actually pretty good, but the grammar he was trying to teach was complete bullshit. I’m not saying I’m a complete expert on the ‘past future tense’ but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist! He kept asking me if what he was writing was correct so I just told him I didn’t know if ‘I will be being a nurse when I will pass the exam’ was correct or not as it had been so long since I studied English grammar. Considering how good the guys are at English anyway, it’s not worth my while offending their teacher as they’re learning English just fine. Once the class was over, there was a huge performance in front of the Fort, I think it must be the anniversary of Makassar’s independence day or something, as there was a lot of anti-Japanese and Dutch propaganda and obviously lots of singing and dancing. I was actually sat next to the mayor, which felt like quite a privilege, until later I found out he was a notorious corrupt cunt. Either way the whole performance was really good and impressive and a good way to spend a couple of hours. Once it was all done I decided to just go back and check out of the hotel and just pay up and stay with those guys as I have nothing to gain from spending another night there. So I packed up all my stuff and told the woman I was leaving and she got all suspicious, something the English teacher told me would happen as he regularly lets tourists from this hotel stay with him, so I told her I had to catch a flight at 2am and was going to spend the night in the airport. After asking me where I was going, and what flight operator and seemingly checking out if my story was true she told me it was ok, but I’d have to pay for tonight. Why bother getting all suspicious if you’re still going to charge me, bitch! After arguing a lot I told her I’d pay for half the day and that was more than she deserved considering how shit the room was, and that I didn’t have breakfast today, and she also ripped me off for doing my washing. She then asked for 3 quarters, so I just took out the exact money of 2 and a half nights and left it on her desk and walked out. Ozil, the guy who first approached me yesterday and the one in the group with the best English, came to pick me up and we went to his halls, where we spent the evening all playing PlayStation, something I haven’t done once since I left home, forgot how bloody fun it was. After they prepared me some dinner and brought me tea on demand we went out around half 10 to do some karaoke. Although it sounds gay, it’s very common out here in Asia and something I’ve avoided with a barge pole up until now, but these guy really want me to come and it’s the least I can do for what they’re doing for me, and let’s face it it could be a good laugh. Unfortunately we turned up at the most popular joint in town and had to wait well over an hour before getting in at 12. The next 2 hours were bloody hilarious, a couple of them were actually pretty good, and a couple were god awful, but it was all so fun. And I got really into it, had such a fun time, I know it sounds gay but it’s definitely a lot more fun than it sounds. You have your own little room with a big TV and a shit ton of songs to choose from, plus its private so you can’t really embarrass yourself as everyone else is just as bad. They did all keep choosing pretty gay songs though, a lot of Westlife and Adele! We didn’t come out until 2 and went back to the halls where me and one of the guys (don’t remember anyone’s name) stayed up for a while longer playing more games before Ozil gave me his bed for the night.

Day 293 – Sunday 11th November

Got up at 1 today, had such a good night’s sleep for the first time in Makassar, as did everyone else as this is their only day off a week. When I got up I had my cup of tea already made for me, and after a shower I sat and played more PlayStation. Not only do I love having a bit of time to game, but they all insist on playing me so I can’t really get off even if I wanted to. After a few games we all decided to go out and check out some other site in Makassar, after some mcdonalds. Due to the fact that my next few weeks will be spent in and around Papua (the most far off place in the world) I thought I should take my last opportunity for some western food. After that we drove around for a while looking for a 5 a side football pitch to play later (‘foosball’ is the national sport here) but as it was a Sunday all the places were quite busy, but we did eventually find somewhere. When we got back on the bikes to go to the port or another fort, not really sure where we were supposed to go, it started raining so we just went back. We hung around for a couple of hours before going to play some football for an hour. And fuck me I almost died playing, it’s probably the first time I’ve played in a few years, and not only that but I haven’t really been doing a lot of exercise in between so I almost had a bloody heart attack! It was all really fun though, but still just a bit too taxing for me, and we lost 12-10 which was a shame. After that we went back and all had much needed showers before having a simple dinner, uni boys all around the world can’t cook seemingly! I can’t complain, free food always tastes good, and these guys have made me feel so welcome, I’d gladly push my flight back a couple of days to chill out with them for a bit longer. After dinner we all sat around chatting playing a bit more, a really nice chilled out night. Forgot to mention that their halls are in a really nice place to relax, overlooking a river on a quiet back road of an otherwise busy city. We all stayed up until around 1 and went to bed ready for a 6am wake up tomorrow.

Day 294 – Monday 12th November

Got woken up by the guys, having pretty much not slept at all last night and after having the customary tea prepared and packing my bag, and having one last chat with everyone we had to go to the airport. UnfortunatelyOzil couldn’t come with us as he had an early class, so I went on the back with another guy and 2 others came for the convoy on another bike. About half way through the drive our bike broke down, and thank god those other 2 wanted to come as we just stole their bike and left them on the side of the road with this broken bike. Once we got to the airport I said goodbye and checked in and waited for my plane (which was delayed again). Not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but now every single flight I’ve taken including the return to Malaysia I’ve been sat in the emergency seats, I’m not sure what it is maybe Asians are superstitious about all that, but for me they’re the best seats on the plane. The flight took around 2 hours and we didn’t land until 1, and with the only boat out of Sorong at 2 I was fairly sure I would miss it. But when I sat down in the arrivals hall one of the security guards approached me and I explained I needed to get a boat to Raja Ampat, and he took the sticker which corresponds to my bag, then came back with it before any bags had even made it to the carrousel, then he took me to a moto taxi and sorted out a fair price and I was on my way with plenty of time. I still don’t have a clue about where I’m going, or where this boat is even going! Raja Ampat is the name for a group of islands, and despite trying to find out online before coming I couldn’t really figure which island I needed to be on, on the boat I found out this was going to Waiego, which I think is the biggest island in the group. Anyway, got off the boat after a couple of hours, and fuck does this place feel off the map, the island is proper jungle and after chatting to a taxi driver he told me there’s only one village here and the cheapest hotel is over 15 quid, more than I’ve ever paid! So he took me to the one he knew as the cheapest and I haggled down the price to around 10 quid a day, then took a shower before having a little walk around to get my bearings. Seemingly this is the wrong island, firstly there’s no beach, there are no tourists and I haven’t seen any dive centres. Not really sure what the hell to do as this is a tiny village and I can’t seem to find anywhere with internet, plus the web on my phone isn’t working (just a bit too far away from civilisation). Either way I’m booked in here until Saturday when dad makes it, and hopefully between now and then I can try ad work some stuff out, but tonight it’s too late to do anything but get some dinner and sit in the room watching a couple of movies, including ‘The Machinist’ a great film with Christian Bale, before going to bed.

Day 295 Tuesday 13th November

Had an epic 14 hour sleep last night, had no idea how tired I was! At least it wasted some time, this place is fucking boring not only is it cloudy but there’s no beach to hang out on and my hotel is completely deserted, plus not one person speaks English here and in my Indonesian all I can do is answer the same fucking tirade of simple questions about who I’m with and where I’m going and shit. After eventually making it to the restaurant having to stop off and shake pretty much everyone’s hand, I’d be surprised if a westerner has ever been here, people only come to these islands for diving, which is something you can’t even do here! Anyway I found somewhere good to eat, and a man came up to me who spoke really good English and pretty much gave me the complete low down on where I can go and where I should be. Long story short there’s a choice of about 3 islands to go to, all of which are closer to the dive sites than here, but a boat to get there costs between 60 and 100 quid, unless you have a lot of people with you (you have to charter a boat as there are no inter island ferries). He also showed me a couple of videos of the diving around here, as his friend does some freelance diving and has done a few videos for TV, and fuck me does it all look bloody impressive, just wish I could be in the right place to at least snorkel or something. Having spent the last 3 weeks wasting time in Kupang and then KL and a few days in Makassar, I always thought as soon as I got here I’d be chilling on white sand beaches, snorkelling crystal clear waters, but no I have to wait another 5 days before Dad gets here and then we’ll get a boat to the right island. On top of that I don’t have a fucking clue what island to go to, it’s ironic that being this close makes it way harder to sort anything, had I just organized everything on the internet before I left the mainland the whole situation would be sorted. Instead I’m stuck here with no numbers for hotels or dive centres on other islands, and absolutely no information, and one internet café which charges a fortune and isn’t bloody working! After chatting to that guy for a couple of hours I just hung out in the room for a bit, fuck all else to do, before going out for some dinner in the evening and spending the rest of the night watching TV.

Day 296 – Wednesday 14th November

Got up bloody late again today and it was completely pissing down, so I couldn’t go anywhere. Rainy season was supposed to finish here a month ago, I hope all this is just a fluke and isn’t going to hang around. Once it eventually stopped raining I went out to get some lunch and check on the internet, still down! After just sort of walking around in circles just trying to waste some time I came back here and spent the rest of the afternoon just sitting around. Eventually it was time for dinner and I went to the same place as last night which did some really good chicken, and while I was there I got approached by a couple of police who started shouting at me. I just played the dumb card saying I couldn’t understand, but the gist of what they were saying is that I needed to be registered or some shit, in order to be in the national park of Raja Ampat you have to buy some £65 entrance fee in Sorong, but knowing this money would go nowhere but the government’s pocket I never bothered trying to pay it. After a bit more shouting I just decided to walk away and luckily they didn’t follow me, but it obviously won’t be hard to find me if they want as I’m the only white face around! When I got back from dinner, I watched The Godfather a film I’ve never seen before, and one which is supposedly the best film ever. And it was pretty good, still can’t believe I’ve never seen it before now, also a good 3 hours wasted! Eventually went to sleep pretty late tonight, ready hopefully for a nice day tomorrow of working internet and good weather.

Day 297 – Thursday 15th November

Got up nice and late as usual, and not too long after got a call from Dad saying he’s made it to Bali, meaning only a couple more days and he’ll be here! After that I wrote a bit more of the blog, just trying to keep it all up to date so that as and when I do have internet it can just be thrown up straight away. Talking of which, the internet wasn’t working again today, plus the phone lines were down all afternoon. Hopefully dad can do some research with the internet in Bali, as I have come up with completely fuck all! After spending the afternoon just milling about having some food and watching some more shit, I went out for dinner in the evening, and saw my first white guy since being here! The guy just happened to be sitting in the restaurant I went to and has been here only one day and has managed to sort everything and is off tomorrow. The bastard only managed to find a tourist information centre (I didn’t even think to ask if there was one in this tiny village, thought I’d seen everything) and there they called up loads of hotels for him, sorted out a boat for him and basically spent 2 hours on a phone doing everything for him, plus they speak good English. Sounds like a paradise, which unfortunately is technically closed all week due to some Indonesian holiday or another. The guy just happened to get lucky and bumped into the girls who work there, so tomorrow it’s now my mission to find this bloody centre and find the girls working there, no more off days for them lazy bastards. After chatting to him for a while about his job in Borneo where he’s a conservationist, I came back to the room and stared at a screen some more. Watched ‘The Descendants’ tonight, that film with George Clooney which got all the good reviews, actually pretty decent as it turns out. Stayed up for a while longer before hitting the hay ready for a potentially proactive day tomorrow.

Day 298 – Friday 16th November

Got woken up by the bloody family downstairs playing some crappy Indonesian music this morning at full volume. After finishing my left over biscuits from last night for breakfast I went out in search of this infamous tourist office to finally get some answers. I went right to where the Irish guy told me to go, but couldn’t find it so I asked a few people including shop owners and one of the hotels and still they couldn’t tell me where it was. I was starting to think this place must be a myth, anyway I walked around in circles for a while just hoping to stumble upon it (despite the fact that it was closed) and had absolutely no luck! So I decided to keep walking and just headed down the coast for a while to keep myself busy. The jungle here is fucking awesome, and you can hear some of the craziest bird sounds, this is one of the few places in the world where you can actually catch a glimpse of a bird of paradise. Unfortunately I didn’t see one, and just sat on the beach for a while watching the waves go by, I also tried to get some internet connection on my phone, but still no luck! When I came back I sat and watched ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ which was a fucking epic movie, really messed up, but really well done, enough said. By then it was dinner time, and I went to my usual hang out, and had some chicken and rice as usual. After that came back to my room, where I must have spent about 90% of my time in the last week or so, and watched ‘Limitless’ actually a lot better than I was expecting from the adverts, and then went to bed ready for a new arrival tomorrow! Just hoping Dad has some info and we can sort out what to do, and either way at least I’ll have some company.

Day 299 – Saturday 17th November

Couldn’t sleep that well last night, probably due to my excitement, so once I got up I had a lot of time to go find this bloody tourist office before Dad arrived on the boat at 4. So far I know he’s made it to Sorong and is just waiting for the boat, which is very good news, unfortunately for him it will be around an 8 hour wait between when his flight landed and the boat leaves. After walking around a bit more in the same place as yesterday, I finally found someone who could tell me where the office was, so there it was all hidden away in the randomnest place in the back corner of a hotel complex, and it was closed! I decided to just wait outside for a while hoping for the women to turn up and open it up for me, but that never came. So I just went back to the room, had a nap, then waited around a bit more and eventually it got to 4 o’clock and it was time to get Dad. After getting one of the guys from this hotel to let me use his motorbike, I headed off down to the port and collected Dad. So funny to see him again after over 6 months since we were last in India, all pale and English looking. We went back to the hotel and he had himself a shower, having not slept or washed since leaving Bali yesterday at midday. Then we went for a little walk around to show him the surroundings, had a quick catch up on life, and one last check on the tourist office where we were told it would be open again on Monday morning at 9, which means we will have to wait around here for a couple more days. Basically not only do we have nowhere to stay on the next island, but we don’t even have a boat to take us there, all we really need is some numbers for hotels that aren’t full and a number for a guy which can take us there, all of which can be done from this tourist office. After that we had an early dinner, and then came back to the hotel where he pretty much went to sleep straight away around 7 or 8ish, so I was left to do the usual of watching a film. Tonight was ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ pretty shit film to be honest, really not as tense as they are trying to make it, and just not that interesting.

Day 300 – Sunday 18th November

Now Dad’s here I’ve got to change my schedule back again, and therefore I was woken up at 10, which was late for him! First things first was to feed the beast as he’d been awake since the crack of dawn and obviously didn’t know where to go or how to order once he got there. So we filled up on some chicken and rice and sat around in the restaurant for a little bit waiting for it to eventually stop raining. After that it cleared up a bit and we rented a motorbike and went on a little drive around the island. Unfortunately, it being such a deserted island full of jungle we were stopped a few times by the roads just running out. We eventually found a long road heading along the coast towards the dive centres on this island, and after a long drive happened upon one which is scheduled to open any day soon. This island is a bit far from the dive sites, and despite this resort being really nice and the staff assuring us it was open we are both set on going to Mansuar island (just South of here) so all we wanted was a bit of info of dive places there, but being typically Indonesian and refusing to help unless it would make them money they said they didn’t have any numbers. So we drove around a bit more before heading back as the petrol started to run out and it started raining a bit. We both then had a quick nap and read for a bit before heading off to have some dinner of delicious barbequed red snapper. After that meal we came back to the room to wind down for the night and hit the hay nice and early ready to wake up early to hit the tourist office when it opens at 9 tomorrow.

Day 301 – Monday 19th November

Got up at 9 this morning and headed straight for the office, where they sorted out everything for us. After looking through a few brochures, and phoning up a few places, we settled on their cheapest place; a nice looking homestay on Mansuar. The place said they could pick us up later today as well, so everything worked out perfectly and I left them my number and waited for the call from the guys coming to pick us up. First we had some food at the same place as yesterday and came back to the hotel where we got packing. Midway through I got the call from the tourist office saying there was a representative from the place who wanted to chat, after rushing down there we found out that she meant the guy was there and ready to go. After convincing the office staff to give us a lift back to the hotel, we finished off packing and settled the bill (where the nice lady gave me a good discount) and went to the boat. The drive took about half an hour, and we made it here around half 12, what a rushed morning, but so bloody worth it this place is pure fucking paradise. We first got dropped off on the West facing white sand beach on its own island pretty much (completely cut off by jungle from everywhere else) and got taken to lunch. Here I bumped into that Irish guy from Thursday who said the place was great, and the owner was a top bloke who could take us diving whenever we wanted and it would be just us, no bullshit crowds from dive centres. After a delicious lunch of fish and vegetables, we spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling out on the hammocks and doing a bit of snorkelling off the beach. After an incredible sunset (reason why I mentioned the West facing island) we had some dinner of more of the same great food and chilled out a bit before hitting the hay ready for some diving tomorrow.

Day 302 – Tuesday 20th November

After a horribly early wake up, I was brought my breakfast of banana fritters, and we headed off for some diving just after 9, after stopping off for some fuel and tanks. The first dive was at manta point, and yes the name gives it away, it was a manta ray cleaning station, they just keep coming past one after the other as you sit and watch these fucking beautiful creatures. Not only are they my favourite thing to see, but I didn’t even see my first one till after 100 dives and that just flew right by, here there were 7 coming past at once swimming all around you, absolutely incredible, despite my gawking I did manage to get a few pictures which was good. But what a way to start the week here! After an hour just sitting staring at these things as if I was watching some 3d TV, we came back here and had some lunch. The food here is absolutely amazing, and it’s all included so I can just gorge on the endless supply of fish, rice, noodles and vegetables, absolutely awesome. Nick (the Irish guy) decided to come with us on the second dive where we got to witness the true reason why Raja Ampat has been put on the map as the number one dive place in the world. The dive was just like sitting on the set of finding nemo for an hour, endless fields of perfect coral (something that you never see nowadays) as well as a ridiculous amount of fish, it’s just incredible how much life is here. Me (with 100+ dives) and Dad (almost 400 dives) both agreed that it was the most coral we’d ever seen and probably the best dive ever, only contending with the dive of the morning probably. Long story short, we’re going to have a bloody good time here! Came back here and spent the afternoon chilling out on the hammocks watching the white sand and clear sea go by, before having another dinner of great food and going to sleep.

Day 303 – Wednesday 21st November

Today we only did one dive as the boss (Raymond) has buggered off with the guests to collect payment, as he only accepts cash and there isn’t an ATM until Sorong. So we got woken up nice and early again having the whole place to ourselves, and went on our dive. Don’t know what more I can say than that this place is just bloody amazing, another dive of an abundance of coral and fish, as well as a few sharks along the way and a turtle. Yeah, it’s all just blowing my mind, every dive is better than the last, and the last is better than any other dive in the world, can’t get much better than that! And then you come back from the dive to your hut on a desert island with a postcard beach, and the best food I’ve had in Indo so far, I can get used to this place! After lunch I had a nap and then we both spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the hammocks reading. Dad’s shifted some epically long book on me about the history of the battle of Britain; it is very interesting just bloody long, so I’ve got my work cut out over the next few days. Had some dinner of more of the same great food, and then we sat on the hammocks to watch a film. Can’t think of a better place than hanging over the sea with a breeze to watch the King’s speech, plus it’s a really good film that I haven’t seen before. After that we went to bed

Day 304 – Thursday 22nd November

Didn’t sleep great last night, and when dad woke me up at 9 to go diving I just told him to piss off and he went alone as I spent the morning in bed. Once he got back, raving about the dive he’d just done, we sat down for some lunch and after a quick lie down we headed off to dive around 2. As Raymond is gone his brothers are now the ones to take us diving, and they don’t speak a word of English so I couldn’t understand what the name of the dive site was, but whatever it was it was another good dive. The dives so far have involved really strong currents (the reason why there’s so much life here as the currents carry all the nutrients for the coral and fish) so I decided not to bring my camera as it just gets in the way as you fly by. And typically this dive involved no current and the visibility was perfect for pictures! Ah well it’s still good to just see it. After we got back, I just spent the rest of the afternoon cracking on with that book, right up until dinner, where we chatted about China for a while; a subject I fucking love to talk about as no one really knows anyone who’s gone and therefore doesn’t know much about it. Plus I fucking loved the place and it’s nice to just bang on about it for a while. We did the same thing as last night and set up for a film, tonight at the cinema was The Social Network, a film we’ve both seen before and really like, then we hit the hay.

Day 305 – Friday 23rd November

Another early start today, after a quick breakfast of hard banana fritters (they must’ve run out of good bananas) we got on the boat. Raymond was back today and he took us to a really nice dive site this morning, where along with everything else we saw a nice turtle. Once again I forgot my bloody camera, from now on I’m just going to take it on every dive, keep missing some really cool stuff as I assume that the current will be too strong. After that dive he told us he’d be going to Waisai today and that we should come with him to try and get some money out as he’s cash poor at the moment (as are we) meaning we can’t pay for petrol for the boat! After some lunch, we setted off to Waisai, not very nice to be back on the big island again, despite it being a pretty small village, it all feels too much and it’s bloody hot as well. On top of that the bloody atm wasn’t working, and once they managed to get it fixed Dad’s card got blocked after 1.5 million when we wanted around 20. All in all a complete waste of effort and it means we’re going to have to go all the way back to Sorong (the mainland) in a couple of days to withdraw enough cash to pay for all of this. After sitting around on the boat for a bit, the guests who we’d come to pick up eventually arrived and we got going back to the homestay. The 2 guests are an Indian couple, one from England and the girl from the US, who both now live in new York. They’re both pretty nice and it’s good to get some fresh blood around here as me and Dad have been completely alone for a few days. By the time we made it back to base it was pretty much already dinner time, so we all had a nice meal, and then sat and chatted for a while about where they’d been in Indo so far and what not. Then we left them to their own devices and we sat and watched Reservoir Dogs, another film which I really should’ve seen by now but haven’t, to be brutally honest it wasn’t as good as I was expecting, but all the characters were bloody awesome.

Day 306 – Saturday 24th November

Had to get up even bloody earlier today as the best dive site here, Max’s point, has a really tempremental current, and this morning it was supposed to be fine. Unfortunatley the new guy (can’t remember his name) was a bit too fat for all the wetsuits, so Raymond was forced on a long mission to a few dive centres to find one that fit. Could’ve just stayed in bed another hour, fat bastard! Once he was all sorted we eventually got going, and the dive was probably the best so far, don’t want to hang up on it because it’s seemingly all I’ve been writing about of late, but the visibility was awesome, the coral was crazy, and there were so many fucking fish! Luckily I remembered my camera as well and managed to get a few really good pictures. After that we all came back to base for lunch and after a quick rain check of about an hour or so, we headed back out again. The second dive was just as good as the first and there was absolutely no current which meant sitting there to take some nice pictures was a piece of cake, I’ll try and upload a few for you guys to see. When we made it back we were told that there was a group of 25 Indonesians turning up later, considering that we’ve been completely alone up until now that was a bit of a shock to the system, plus there’s only about 4 huts so they’ll all be sleeping on the floor I imagine, and most probably making a lot of fucking noise. They all turned up just before sundown, hanging all over the boat, some on the roof, some off the sides, as the boat is most probably only made for about 10. When they all flooded off there was a lot of the whole ‘hello mister’ bollocks, so I just sat in the room reading until dinner was served. We were forced to eat early today, I’m guessing in order to get out the way of our new noisy neighbours, but after eating the 4 of us just went back to our rooms and spent the rest of the night watching TV.

Day 307 – Sunday 25th November

Today the couple are heading back to Sorong, a pretty whistlestop tour of Indo meant they could only really fit in one full day here, poor bastards as this place is heaven on earth. We decided that we’d go with them in order to save costs on the boat and have some companionship for the cash run we needed to make. As it was a Sunday as well as a public holiday, Raymond was under the assumption that the 2pm ferry would be leaving much earlier than usual as it would fill up quick. This meant having to get up at half 7 and leave on the boat an hour later. Once we got to Waisai it was pretty clear that Raymond had been misinformed, or more likely needed to get some supplies from Waisai in the morning and wanted to take advantage of us as we had to pay to go, and the whole early boat thing was just some bullshit cover up. We were told that the boat wouldn’t leave until 2, what a fucking surprise! So after buying our tickets we had to sit and wait on the boat for the next 5 hours, fucking Raymond! Once we eventually got going, we were joined by a crazy drunk sitting next to us who kept playing Bryan Adams (of all things) on his phone and kept offering me some of his Fanta, vodka mix. He also sat there giving me his whole depressing life story about how he has no friends and no family and all he does is work, and he’d love for me to stay with him in Sorong to keep him company, no easy way to say no in those circumstances as he might have a nervous breakdown. Instead he got too drunk and just threw up all over the floor before passing out, that shut him up! We finally made it in to port at 4 and we all went to this hotel that the couple had stayed in before and recommended, not a bad place with hot water and AC, 2 things I haven’t seen once in my whole time in Indo. Once we’d dropped off our bags me and Dad had a mission to go on to find some ATMs which took foreign cards and rinse them of all their money. After walking around the city for well over an hour, and cleaning out 4 separate ATMs we were still a little short, but we can make that back up in the morning. So we went in the super market and stopped up on treats for our cast off island and went back to the hotel to have dinner with those 2. They’re off to Sulawesi tomorrow, so this is the last we’ll see of them, it’s a shame as they were really friendly and laid back and would’ve been good to maybe spend a couple more days with them, but it doesn’t matter too much. After a very good dinner in a fancy restaurant, we all hit the hay!

Sorry everybody for this being so late but this is the first time I’ve been on the internet since leaving KL, hope no one thought I, or the blog, was dead, and from now on I should be able to keep it more on track. Much Love!

Posted by travellingjoe 17:57 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

Boring old KL

Day 284 – Friday 2nd November

We all woke up with really bad hangovers today, and so we barely made it out of bed all day. Both Pete and Joe pretty much slept all day so I didn’t really have anyone to chat with, plus it was raining (as usual) so I just watched a movie and sat in bed. Me and Joe eventually ventured out and got some dinner in the evening, but Pete literally didn’t do anything all day, bar opening his eyes every now and again. I did manage to stay up really late again, just wasting more time watching stuff on the internet and downloading things can’t seem to pull myself away!

Day 285 – Saturday 3rd November

Joe and Pete decided to get up early to go visit some caves on the outskirts of town, considering it was a Saturday I had no inkling to go to a tourist site next to such a big city with so many people. Plus there was a good chance it would rain, so I just slept in very late until they got back pretty much. Despite them both being completely soaked (what a surprise) they said the caves were pretty cool, but still doesn’t sound like I missed much. Did the usual for the afternoon of just keeping my laptop on for hours downloading a much shit as I can. Not only does it mean that I’m wasting time on my laptop now, but I now have lots of stuff stored up so I can waste time later on when I no longer have internet. Considering the fact I can survive fine without it, it’s definitely a bad thing to be downloading so much, I’ve noticed me being a lot more lazy for a start and I don’t want that carrying on back in Indo. The 3 of us went out for a good dinner of barbequed meat at this nice Chinese place, then came back here to watch the match. Despite being in an international city we couldn’t find a bar to watch it in, so we were forced to just stream it on my laptop, which worked out alright, but the connection kept cutting out at the most crucial points. I missed all the goals and the red card, but didn’t miss the other 80 minutes of a bloody boring match which promised to be so much more. Either way it’s nice to see us win 2 weeks in a row against big teams, and nice to see such an easy game against arsenal even if it was a bit boring. After that everyone went to bed, and I stayed up and watched a film, I keep saying this but tomorrow I will go and do something as long as its not raining!

Day 286 – Sunday 4th November

Woke up around 11 when Pete and Joe were heading off in order to say goodbye. The 2 of them are going to some jungle area which is supposed to be nice, but considering this ridiculous weather that’s the last place I’d want to be. Everyone talks about monsoon being an hour or so of hard rain a day then the rest of the time it’s sunny, I don’t debate this, but in Malaysia it’s completely different. I haven’t seen the sun since the day I arrived; it rains for at least 3 or 4 hours a day, sometimes more. And when it rains it pours, fucking pours! You get soaked instantly, the thunder is terrifyingly loud and there’s always a lot of lightning. Today it rained even more than usual, and once I’d got up I went to get some food from Mcdonald’s as they do a good deal between 12 and 3 every day. And while I was eating it started raining, so I came back here and decided to sit on my laptop and wait for the rain to ease up, which it never did. So I quite literally spent all day in bed watching TV shows. In the evening a few new people arrived which I got chatting too, which was nice, but nothing too spectacular. God I’m such a loser, I really should’ve just booked my flight the day I got my visa, all I’ve done here is downloaded about 100GB of movies and sat in my bed all day!

Day 287 – Monday 5th November

Guy Fawkes’s day today, although there were no fireworks here unfortunately. Today was exactly the same as usual, it rained all day so I couldn’t do anything and either way I was too lazy to bother. I did spend the day reading a book instead of staring at my computer screen which made a nice change, as I was starting to get headaches from doing nothing else all week. I did book my flight out of here finally, and I’ll be off to Sulawesi on Wednesday I can’t fucking wait to leave this place. I had dinner at the same old place and chatted to the same people in the evening, but everyone went to bed early as usual and I just sat there watching another movie. My room is now completely empty except for me and this Japanese guy above me who’s been here just as long as me and spends his days doing exactly the same thing. Long story short I have fuck all to report for you guys, still haven’t made it to the cinema and apart from that there’s nothing I’m really craving to see, sorry for this dull update!

Posted by travellingjoe 04:41 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

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