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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Indonesia : Java and a bit of Bali.

We are finally in Indonesia, our last stop in South-Est Asia. Made of 18000 tropical islands with inspiring names such as Java, Sumatra or Bali, the country also includes big chunks of Borneo, Timor and Papua. Looking at it in a world map, sandwiched between the Asian and Australian continents, I always thought of it as a relatively small country. In reality, from one extremity to the other, there is a distance equivalent to the average width of the Atlantic Ocean.

Another curious thing is that it is the country with more Muslims in the World : around 85% of the 230 millions inhabitants follow this faith. To make sure that no believer risks oversleeping and missing the first prayer at dawn, muezzins start shouting their calls to prayer from well before daylight. The rhythm is slightly different from the one heard in Morocco but, curiously, reminds me a lot of Andalusian 'cante hondo'. It is actually quite charming, although I must recognize that most of the muezzins do not have Cat Steven's sense of tune and sometimes the loud speakers deform the voice and you wake up in the middle of the night hearing shadowy sounds that make you wonder whether your hotel is haunted.

As mentioned in our previous post, at 2 AM the day of our depart from Singapore we discovered that our host in Jakarta had a last minute impediment and could not host us anymore. We were lucky though, because as soon as we saw the e-mail, we wrote to the other two people who had accepted our couch-surfing requests in this town and one of them answered us shortly after inviting us once again to come to their place.

Vari and Rangga, our new hosts, are a really nice couple and definitely the best thing that happened to us in the capital. We shared some nice discussions and we went together to watch Tekken in a movie theatre located in a neighbouring mall. It seems that malls are the first choice for entertainment for locals and we understand why : the city is really not that pretty, we spent six hours in the public transport network just to be able to buy a train ticket (in spite that there was a single transfer and it was not even rush-hour) and after three hours raining there was more water running down the streets than in the Mississippi river. After our short stay in this town, that we finally left mostly unvisited, we understand why it is not part of any tourist itinerary.

Yogyakarta, in central Java, improved our perception of the island. The bicycles that the hotel landed us were the perfect mean of transport to move around, since the town is as flat as the banana pancakes they served us at breakfast. But the best is outside town : Borobudur and Prambanan, respectively a Buddhist and a Hindu temples that were built long before the spread of Muslim faith in the area. In my opinion, they are not only the most impressive ancient temples in Indonesia, but in all the countries of South-Est Asia that we have included in our itinerary.

The trip by train to Yogya was long but rather comfortable. What we have lost in comfort during the two days of journey to Bali, we gained in “authenticity”. Specially on the second day, when we travelled in a bus packed with smoking locals, hawkers hopping on and off and that broke down after a few hours on the road (Thanks God the driver managed to revive the beast and we reached Bali with just a few hours delay). As part of the journey, we stopped overnight near Mount Bromo and we woke up at 3 AM to walk the distance up to the Volcano's crater. From this vantage point, you can peep down the fuming crater and enjoy a beautiful sunrise. Groups of noisy Indonesian students add liveliness to the otherwise mystic atmosphere. Travelling in this country we experienced the life of the “rich and famous” : since 1 million of rupiah are 90 euros, each monetary transaction involves a lot of zeroes. Then, we got stopped continuously by young girls or boys, even by families on holiday, who wanted to take a picture with us, the “Foreigners”, to take back home as a souvenir.

We spent our first stay in Bali was a short stopover while waiting our flight to Flores island, in Sanur. As everywhere else in the south of the island, it is a tourist ghetto where Australians, Dutch or Japanese spend their holidays among nice hotels and fancy restaurants that serve dishes at a price well above the country living standard. An option that we do not necessarily despise, but that is not what we look for in this trip. After some investigation, we nevertheless managed to discover a street with a few fare restaurants with local patrons and prices. Using some kind of Indonesish, we got some chicken and tofu bathed in extra-super-hot curry that very proudly ate with the fire-fighting help of rice. To top that, we found a temple that doubles as the village square, where they had installed a giant screen airing the World Cup games. Indonesians love watching soccer (Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and Torres are non-national heroes here) and they like even more to bet on the result of each match with their neighbours.

But we will leave the proper discovery of Bali for after our return from Flores. For the moment, we will be spending a week there, diving in the Komodo National Park and having a look at the dragons that inhabit the land.



  1. vari said...

    wwoohooo...finally the story of indonesia!!
    hmm I look so fat in this pic :p

  2. Karim said...

    Wait there is another article to came ... :)

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