Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Kuta, Bali


On the ferry to Bali. Interesting thing about the ferry is that, the locals will fight for the open area in the middle of the ferry so tht they can sleep on the floor for the whole duration of the trip. Had i known, i would've fought for it too. Right pic: Alm trying out the local ice cream

Bali turned out to be just a transit island for us. We stayed one nite in Kuta, walked a little in morning while waiting for the plane to Jakarta. And as my camera had run out of battery, i dont hv tht any pic of Bali, and thus, i cant remember what to make out of it, except that it was soooo freakinggg expensive, and the island is crawled with opportunists ready to separate you from the money in your wallet.

We left for Jakarta that very afternoon, and found Jakarta to be a nicer place with lots of food vendors at every corner of the street. Nice. Went to a shopping mall (a mall??? so much for avoiding a cosmopolitan city, huh?) and bought 2 sports bags and a pair sandals. I cant help it, it's a sports warehouse, all sports' items at incredible prices tht u just wont find in Malaysia.



Aiks, I've reviewed Indon, but still havent completed China from 3 yrs ago. Oh well, at least i still hv the hardcopy of it... think i might not post it up here at all.... too lazy + too little time

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lombok lagi...

Ok, so first stop was Bangsal, a hilly area right next to an electrical tower. So it's a no-no for me. I want beach-front vacation home!!! . So we moved on to the next location, Are Guling, Mrd said that it belongs to his cousin, or something. The guy recently decided to sell it so tht he can buy some land to plant his paddy, okay.


The land is in the 2 left pictures. While waiting for the owner to come home, we hanged out with the kids and apa lagi, bergambar laaaaa, chitz, gambar aku tak ready


Took one look at it, and i was in love....... sure, it wasnt exactly on the beach, it was a bit further in, thus, thus safer and the soil is not sand, but from there, it is sooo close to the beach u can practically smell it.


That's the beach, my failed attempt at getting a panoramic view of the beach, but u get the idea...

The kid in the left pic is a born photographer, he can really take nice pics with my camera. Right pic: Bebudak ni mmg pantang nampak foreigners je, terus kejar, after the surfer dude left, they came back to us. Chitz, tak loyal betol... hehehe


What's more, the place is a surf spot, heck even Footprint: Indonesia Handbook says that it is rated as one of the best surf spots in the world outside Hawaii. And with the International Airport being under construction, bet the price is just gonna go up and up as time passes by. But the price.... aramak, IDR17M per 100 square meter (that is after a long nego, ok?) is a little too steep. I mean, if he was selling only 500 square meter, that'd be just nice for me, but he wanted to sell all in one go, and by all, i mean 5000 square meter, where am i gonna find the money???!! But i wasn't gonna let it go, so we made a verbal deal and paid a veryyyyy small deposit, and said that we'd try to find other buyers to share that piece of land with us. So there, if anybody is interested, just email me at sumpit at gmai dot com, then maybe we can go and chk out the place together. I will need to go there again, to settle the agreement and wht not. But like seriously, i'm letting go half of it, no wait, I need to be realistic, ok, 3500 of it...


This is the house where a serious negotiation over several cups of thick Lombok coffee took place.

After we sort of reached a temporary agreement, Mrd invited us to lunch at his place, said that his wife already got everything prepared. Excited, I said yes, ignoring the fact that it was getting late and we needed to get back to Bali. Bali Mali, there was no way i'm passing such an invite. So we went for an ikan bakar lunch at his house, syoknyeee!!!


That's me having chat with Mrd's relative/neighbors before leaving for the jetty.
And right after we got on the Toyota Kijang, Mrd gave me string of pinkish pearl necklace, said that it's a gift from his wife. She was too shy to give it to me directly. Aaaaawwwww, i was touched .


* Oh, besides songket, did i say Lombok is also famous for its pearls?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lombok III

anyways, in the morning, we went to chk out the Sunday market. Same as most pasar tani here, except tht they sell lots of batik, and cheap sea creatures. One interesting thing in Lombok, though, is that their local public transport are horse carts, and on each cart, they got this sticker indicating the registration no., no. of passengers etc etc. So u got all the makcik-makcik and cewek-cewek carrying baskets full of fish and veges taking a ride on the carts like it is the most natural thing on earth. Cute.


Left pic: the horsecarts. Middle pic: that's me pretending to buy some fish. Btw, unlike Bali, 9o% of the population in Lombok are Muslim, so yeah, that is really a pakcik with a ketayap on a motorbike on my right. Right pic: the grilled fish was just too tempting to ignore, just had to buy some.


Anyways, after checking out from Novotel and while walking towards Kute, we stopped a motorcyclist and asked for the ride. Thought of getting him to give us a ride one person at a time, but he was like, totally ok with both of us + our bags at a go, and so there we were, 2 adults n 2 large backpacks on a Honda cup. Must've been quite a sight, i imagine.

In Kute, the motorcyclist introduced us to Mas Mrd who became our supir for the day. For IDR120K, he'd take us to Sasak village to chk out their songket industry, and later take us to Mataram, the city of Lombok.


Left pic: part of the Sasak village. That's me menenun la konon2nya. Every female is this village is taught to menenun from the age of around 10. It is customary that they know how to do it in order to help support the family and continue the tradition and skills of their ppl. If they're cant menenun, they're not ready to be wed. I forced Alm to try it out, but the lady was against it, said that it can make him impotent... yikes, wouldnt want tht to happen to him.


On the way to Mataram, we chatted with Mrd, Alm somehow asked abt the price of land. Intrigued by the prospect of owning a vacation home. I asked if it is possible for me buy some. And tht was how it got started, Mrd started telling us about the countless orang putih who own land all over Lombok, and how a relative of his only recently decided to sell one too. Hmmmmm... interesting. Intrigued, we changed our plans, instead of going to Bali early tomorrow morning, we took up Mrd's offer for a land survey and planned on meeting him again the following day. Had we known this was gonna happened, we wouldn've just stayed in Kute and saved the IDR120K we paid to get Mrd to send us to Mataram.

Oh well.... later that evening, i went and had my hair cut at a nice posh salon for just, get this... approx RM10 and later walked around Mataram. Small city, tp takde la kampong sgt.... just nice, not too big not too small... my kinda city.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lombok II

So we walked aimlessly around Kute looking for a place to stay. Then a bemo stopped, asked if we needed a ride. It was IDR1K per person, so we were like, hey, sure, why not. He asked us whr we wanted to go, we didnt know wht to say. He asked, "Naportel?". We were like, "Ok", so he drove on.... and on and on....

And there it was.... and it was no nonsense starless motel of that sort. It was Novotel, SHIT!!!! A 4-star holiday resort!! This is gonna cost a bomb! But we were dead tired, thus, the time had come for my beloved, albeit, worn out 4-yr-old credit card of mine to the rescue. We bargained (bargain kat hotel tu, mhuhahahaha), and methink, we got a pretty good deal (considering that it was a super early 8am check-in) out of it.


Yes, that's my undies and wht not on the table in the left pic, intentionally left them there to dry. Wash them all the time, hey, I travel light, remember? The place's got a primitive bowling alley for the guests. Wayyy too easy for me . Those kids on the right will follow u everywhr u go, they will try to sell u those little bracelet thingy... kesian, life must be hard for them, eh.



If there's anything special about the sand in Kute, it must the fact that they's like these super tiny rounded pebbles, cute cute cute!!!


Spent the first half of the day, qada' tidor. The other half, rented a bike, pusing² Kute and beautiful Mawun, and later climbed up the hill near Novotel to get a SUPER amazing view of Kute at sunset. Too bad, I didnt bring my camera. Rugi rugi rugi!!


That's Kute beach down there.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lombok



From Cemara Lawang back to Probolinggo : IDR25K each
Bus from Probolinggo to Ketapang (this the the port where u can get a ferry that'll take u to Bali) : IDR24K each
The darn bus stopped at the bus station that was 3km away from Ketapang, so we took a trishaw to the jetty : IDR3K each (pity the pakcik for having to carry us + heavy bags at such a cheap fare, too bad we couldnt afford to pay more, we were blardy poor )
Ferry from Ketapang to Gilimanuk (jetty on Bali) - IDR5,500 each

As we were running out of time (and money), we decided to skip Menjangan and go straight to Lombok. Stayed a nite in Gilimanuk (found the place almost barren (at nite, that is). Advice: avoid it at all costs)

The next day, took a bus to Denpasar : IDR25K each (mahal nak mampossss, sah² dah kena katok)
Van from Denpasar to Padang Bai (jetty on Bali) : IDR35K each
Ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar (the jetty on Lombok Island): IDR28K each (be warned, it takes 4-5 hours. If they offer you the room, jst pass it, the room's hot, and u might get bitten by mosquitoes, it's much nicer and cooler to sleep outside)
Lembar - Kute : IDR75 each (expensive? yessss, but this is wht u hv to pay when u travel at midnite. Bodosss? yes, we sort of were... but hey, time was an essence)

So yeah, we arrived in Kute at 3am++. No hotel/homestay/inn was opened, were told that they all had to close by 2am, and our silly driver didnt that there was a 3/4/5-star hotel, affectionately called Naportel in Kute (that should still be opened 24/7, right?) So we were dropped at this tiny grocery shop, as tht was the only place where a living sleeping human being was found at this hour in this little town.

The man was a sleeping guard on duty (duty?). He accepted us with open arms, and let us sleep on his wooden pangkin/bed, while he resumed his duty and sat termenung on the bench in front of us.


Katil dah kena kebas by us, "me" was more like it. So he just sat there and waited for the break of dawn.

5++am, azan berkumandang. We went to the nearby masjid. By the time i got out of the toilet, they were already at 1st rakaat. Dah lupa camne nak buat masbuk, I waited until the end, then konon-konon hurriedly prayed on my own (macam siout jer). Observed an interesting practice here, after the wirid and all, the men will line up, and the women would kinda like, bersalam, but with the telekung on, of course.

After subuh, we chatted with this guy and this kind makcik who shared her sejadah with me. She recommended that we stay in Naportel. We were like, whatever, anything, as long as it is cheap.

So yeah, end of 3rd day (sorta). The following day will be in the next entry.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bromo

Ok, flew in from Surabaya.
Cab from the airport to Bungurasih bus terminal (shared with these 2 girls who thought tht i was born in 1984 (mhuhahahahahaha!!!) : IDR12.5K each - bear in mind this was at around 7-8pm at nite)
Executive bus from Bungurasih - Probolinggo (wht makes it executive? the air-con, maybe?): IDR20K each
Van from Probolinggo - Cemara Lawang : IDR37.5K each (again, we shared with the Jin and Mun - expensive? yeah, but this was almost at midnite)

* I'd say, transportations cost the us the most.

Jin and Mun - at the their most unflattering moment, sorrry . We were up and ready to climb the Mount, they just got up from sleep. Forced them to pose with me, thinking tht i might not see them again. Little did i know, it was them that we had to wait before the van would depart for Probolinggo. Had I known, i would've woken up just as late.


Last nite was an extremely cold one. Being cheapskates, we chose the room without the heater and warm water at Cemara Indah (IDR100k). So yeah, we didnt take a shower on arrival and departure- well, basically, we didnt take a shower at all the whole time we were there.

But anyways, in the morning, feeling adventurous, i persuaded Alm to walk all the way to Mount Bromo. I mean, how hard can it be, right? An Indonesian girl that i met in Cemara told me that she did the walk, so i figured, i just completed a 10k race, this was gonna just a piece of cake.

Piece of cake my ass! Not only we wasted 25k on jacket rental that we eventually took off. The weather was blistering hot and the distance we walked was hellish. Basically, it was 3km of flat land and an uphill climb of wht felt like 30km! (which was probably just 300m). Then, there were another few hundred steps to go before finally reaching the top of the caldera.

The contour of the land was so weird and unique that i thought that it was simply spectacular. I mean, like come on, where in Malaysia can u find volcanoes, not that i want any. But having seen this only for the first time, i'd say, it really was something. Plus, from the top, u could actually see smoke coming out and smell the sulfur (yuck!)


First , you will need to enter the Taman Nasional Bromo Tengger Semeru. Then, you will need to walk a little. The pic at right is where the Laut Pasir begins. See the smoke? That's whr we were headed. This was kacang... for the first 5 minutes!


This is where the trouble began. U couldnt see it, but I was panting worse than i was in KLIM. Sakit!!!



Left pic, that's Laut Pasir for you. We walked and climbed from the other end, and that took us to the middle pic. Then, it was (was it??) 281 steps up the stairs, and finally the edge of the caldera. I'm freely using the term caldera here, without really knowing what it means... hehehehehe. If the usage is wrong, REREAD this disclaimer.


The timing was wrong, the best time to get the clearest picture is in the morning. This is the best i could get at noon.


Anyways, after about half an hour at the top, we decided that we must be crazy to walk back to the hotel, so we rented the horses (IDR40k each). So that was pretty much it. And just so you know, my horse was crazy and yet, they let me ride it on my own, f*&^%$g crazy horse that was! Scary.


See, unlike alm's horse, no rope was attached to my horse. Guess, i'ma born horse-rider, eh?




This is the village up there, same je mcm Cameron, so I was told (have never been to Cameron highlands yet).


Next up, Menjangan Island!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

KLIM 2008

I did the 10km walk run again!! and won a medal!!!! wooohooo Never mind that my position slipped from 432 to 450++, what matters is that i completed it!

Hehehehe, tu je nak cite.
And this year, I managed to gather more ppl to join me.
Azree (who would've thought eh?), Alem, Ninda and Wan went together. With no proper training, all of us managed to successfully completed it. Bravo to us all!!!!