JAVA island p.I

Bandung


Hello Indonesia!

So it happened, we landed in Jakarta, getting there from Singapore. Unexpectedly, I may say, cause we made the decision of going to Indonesia finally just because some extraordinary circumstances that emerged on the horizon. What circumstances am I talking about? Our plan was to attempt to travel on a bike, backpacking and hitching a boat... to volunteer in eco-projects, workaways and for traveling experience itself. Primarily. How it was going to happen we didn't have figured out back then, but that was what we were looking for before even going anywhere. So, we've got biking and backpacking, taking part in different projects and more than we could have even think of, checked-off the list. Then came the time we got homesick a bit, thinking of maybe starting working our way back home soonish, when... we got this reply from CREWBAY... Every now and then we were looking the offers up, mailing people, giving a try. And eventually the right one came across, the German lady invited us to share a cruise, two-phased one, one her huge catamaran just for food sharing in return. Wow! Normally it's very hard to snag such a deal, and they call from 25-50 USD per day or a lot of experience. J. obviously has been doing it for ages and knows the thing pretty well (although not on the sea that much), and I, from the other hand, have no clue about long cruising and not much more about sailing in general, broadly speaking. We did some together, when I learned bits and pieces, but I wouldn't call it 'an experience'. ;) The only real requirement was to get to the place of departure and off the one of arrival, on our own cost. Well, hell yeah! We bought our tickets to Bali right away, where our journey on the boat is going to start from, hopefully.

More about the whole thing – soon :)

Anyway! We had the whole plan for Indonesia discussed and worked out with Asia, who we visited in Kuala Lumpur. Very helpful indeed, she told us the must-see highlights of Java in two alternative routes. We picked the “volcanoes trail” instead of the beaches. We've never even seen one, so sounded exciting enough!

Straight after landing in Java we headed down to Bandung, where with some help of one local guy (Tetuko) who we spoke to in the bus, we got to the city centre and, after hectic mingling around, finally found a place to stay.

with our right hand - Tetuko, who helped us to get to the centre
(being ashamed of the shitty public transport his homecity has ;))

Bandung, and Indonesia as a whole (looked over the window), appeared to us as a reflection of “gentler” India... We got this uncomfortable feeling about that, not expecting to get into this typical maze and bustle everywhere you go. We didn't recover after India yet, apparently.;) We got through the first awkward sensations and got used to it again. Another surprise – omnipresent and thoroughly practiced Islam, mosques at every corner and, very unfortunate for us, Ramadan time (actually still on since we got to Malaysia). The latter one was linked to confined food availability, at last if refered to the open restaurants and hot food stalls. But well, we had to get through it and we did, as usual. In Bandung itself there was nothing interesting enough we wanted to struggle with (in terms of the frenetic traffic and amount of people on the streets), so we rented scooters out and drove out of the city. We took a way on Ciwidey town and visited the Kawah Putih crater. Milky water and snow-alike silt on its banks left us dumbfounded! Very unusual. Sulfur's smell hovering around, blahh. On the way back we went through tea plantations and felt the touch of India, once again. Very sentimental and pleasant this time ;)



Kawah Putih crater with its blue water...


...and snow-ish sand 
Garfield's helmet :)




tea plantations
a village among plantations,
in the middle of nowhere



We also grabbed a box of strawberries, that are grown there in abundance, among the hills and in an awkward way - in odd vertical tube-pots. Freshly picked - yummy and so cheap! (~70 pennies/3zł for ~1kg box) 

freshly (and ardently) picked strawberries


Yogyakarta



After Bandung came the time for Yogyakarta. First impression – much better than Bandung, less crowded (but still) and pretty modern, seemingly at least.
In Yogya we went for Wayang Kulit – the shadow puppet performance, traditional show of handmade puppet-templates (flat, intricately prepared and cut off figures in typical for Indonesian mythology shapes). Intriguing and fascinating show, which took about 2 hours altogether with the accompaniment of the whole group of musicians playing different and unknown (at least to us) instrument, like for instance – 'the gamelan' traditional instrument.


A few shots from this particular show:



"the puppets" hand crafted in the museum 
a final 'product', beautiful result! 
The puppet show: Wayang Kulit
(the backstage or...the front one? ;))
performance of shadows (on the other side of the curtain)

Whilst in Yogya, amongst more interesting things, we also popped out to the Borobudur - Buddhist temple on the top of the hill, situated remotely in the jungle. After seeing so many things akin in India (let's take Elora Caves with their memorable Buddhist figures carved out in the rock, inwards), not much stuff can outdo our hitherto experiences. Nevertheless, it was still different and worth scoping out. Built on the square outline with 7 storeys, resembling a pyramid a bit, made out of big, cut stones and elaborate figures depicting one of the king's journey through Dharma – path of living, towards Buddha, enlightenment.















some guy built this ship taking as a pattern carvings
from the temple, being curious if it could sail across the ocean...
It did. :)
More shots from driving around Yogya:





A cemetery in the middle of the jungle, outstanding, I'd say ;) 
the first beach we got to in Java
(turned out to be..not that spectacular sadly)
Latitude: 8 degrees under the equator,
on the southern hemisphere! Far far away ;)
Some dutch owner just left it stranded,
an outstanding piece of architecture in the very Muslim country 
my beloved bananas!
(nothing like the ones we used to back in Europe)






USEFUL INFO: There's no on-arrival visa fee for Polish ppl, although it says 35 USD on the offical website (unless you wanna stay more than 1 month, for reasons different than tourism)





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