Monday, 16 April 2012

Pangandaran and Jogjakarta

Pangandaran is a pretty cool place. I only spent one full day there so can't really give too much of a judgement call on it but from what I saw it was a nice quite little beach town which was great for surfing and kicking back with some acoustic tunes on the beach at night. And that's exactly what I did. I got up and rented a surf board from one of the random beach hut places. At first I started with an 8 foot amateur board to try to perfect my technique. Within a few minutes I was standing up pretty much every time so I decided to switch up for a 6 footer. As before I was mainly sticking to the white waves while I got used to the stance I needed to be in. Then there was a bit of a lull in the waves so I paddled out a bit into the deeper water. all of a sudden a big(ish) wave started to form so I said to myself, I'm either riding this bitch or getting battered by it! So I quickly pivoted round to face the beach and started paddling. By this point i'd learnt that long powerful strokes were far more effective than frantically clawing at the water so I managed to get up enough speed to catch the wave just as it was forming up. All of a sudden I felt a massive push on the surf board as I caught the wave and it felt amazing. Then, as I was being shoved along by this wave I quickly jumped up and onto the board and rode it for a good couple of seconds before the wave started to slow down for the reform. It felt amazing. It was the first time I could say that I properly caught a wave and successfully rode it :-). So I decided to retire as raining champion of surfing, end on a high and went back to the beach hut to bask in my glory.

That night I met up with the dutch girls who had decided to move to a cheaper hotel as they had a mouse in their room which kept them up all night at the place I was staying at! I was more than happy with the place though, especially as it had 3 computers and free use of internet. The three of us went for some local food then headed to the beach to catch some local music. I got up and sang a few numbers with the band then headed back at a reasonable hour.

The following morning I caught the mini bus from the hotel and decided to be unsociable and listen to tunes whilst soaking in the pretty views out the window. Just as I was thinking to myself "I've been travelling for 7 months now and haven't been in a vehicle that's broken down yet" we got a flat tire! It was amazing how quickly they changed it, it was like a formula one crew in action! No shit, from the time they'd got everyone off the bus to the time they got everyone back on again it took them less than 10 minutes. Really impressive.

Arrived at the train station where we were to take a train the rest of the way to Joga (Jogjakarta) and managed to grab a window seat so I could get some kip. One of the ticket guys was curious about what I was watching on my ipod so the two of us sat there and watched Avatar together (thanks Adz!) which was kind of surreal! When I arrived in Joga a friendly chap, who I was obviously skeptical about, offered to show me how to get the transfer train to the main city, which he said was free. As the conductor who I'd sat with said it was legit I went along with him. Somehow I was completely separated from the other tourists on the same bus but it turns out that's cus they all fucked up! They got off at the same place as me but didn't get the free train back to the city and instead either walked for an hour or paid for taxis. tee hee. I went to a hostel that the last place had recommended armed with their price guide leaflet only to be told that they were 'last years prices' and they'd gone up by about 30%. I wasn't having that so I shopped around a bit and found a place that was reasonably priced. I got chatting to the tour guide there who suggested that I chill in Jog for 2 days then grab a tour back to kuta via bromo as Joga was cool, but 2 days would probably be long enough to see all the tourist sights. And he was spot on to be fair. This guy was cool as, he spoke perfect english and knew everything there was to know about English football. And not just the usual crap, he knew some of the Reading players from when we were in the premiership and when we were discussing the English national team he was talking about up and coming players from the under 21's. So in addition to buying a tour that went via bromo to bali I also bought a morning tour to Borobudor. He gave me the option to see a mayan temple too but he said that as I'd already seen Angkor Wat there was no need to go. So he wasn't even pushing the up sell which I was impressed with. I grabbed some sleep for a couple of hours then jumped into one of those bicycle taxi things to the grand palace to see this traditional hindu puppet show. It was wank. It actually gave me a headache, in one of the scenes they wanted to depict the fact that they were building a damn so one of the orchestra was smashing this metal can constantly. I left after about 20 minutes and took another bicycle taxi thing to a bar I'd been recommended by the tour guy. Now before I went to the puppet show I'd splashed out a bit on some fancy shortbread biscuits to eat while I watched the puppet show. So when it came to negotiating for the price to take me back to the city it went something like:

Pete: How much to the bintang bar?
Taxi: 4 dollars
Pete: Come on, it was 2 dollars on the way here!
Taxi: Yes, but it's up hill
Pete: Yeah, but you should be really fit, your job is cycling!
Taxi: Ok 3 dollars
Pete: 2 dollars and a cookie
Taxi: No, 3 dollars
Pete: Ok, 2 dollars and 3 cookies, my final offer. (by this time I was sick of them as I'd eaten most of the packet!)
Taxi: ok

So he took me off to a bar but the band wasn't playing yet so I went to the bar opposite. Just as I was checking the drinks menu to see if it was within my price the bar lady came over to entice me to come in. She was like an Asian rhiana; smoking hot! So it didn't take her much convincing! I ended up spending the night there as there was a really cool rock a billy band there and as it was one of the band members birthday there family was there. As I'd been chatting up the bar girl (Muta) she invited me over to join with the family and watch the band and they gave me loads of free drinks from the jug of Irak coctail they had. Pretty eventful night that one ;-)

The next morning I had to be up at silly buggers o'clock to go to see Borobudor. Fortunately there was a really cool english guy there as I really couldn't be dealing with speaking in broken english with the hangover I had. He was a ledge, he's spent the last 4 years travelling, 2 on a working visa in Australia and 2 on a working visa in New Zealand. So he had some really funny stories and it was nice to be able to not think about what I was saying in case the other person didn't understand. After the tour I exchanged details with the English guy and we agreed to meet at the live music place I'd been at the previous night. Unfortunately I was to discover something that i'd been told a few times previously, that asian girls are very jealous and protective as when I got to the bar and was chatting to a couple of dutch girls Muta kept coming over and putting her arm around me and that just to show that I was her property.... even though I clearly wasn't! Then she got really drunk and told me she was in love with me, so I did the honorable thing..... and ran away! I went to another bar which had some pretty decent rock music before going back to the hostel to watch the manu Europa game in which they got royally out played by some spanish team. The game finished at 4 am and I had to be up at 7am for the tour.

The next morning I got up to get the mini bus tour that was to take me to Bromo. And I was shattered!

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