Java & Bali

 

 

I’m in Lisbon already, where I’ll catch my flight very early tomorrow morning. This trip is going to be different. For the first time since I started travelling alone in 2001, I will be focusing my attention on video and leave photography at home. I want to try something new and I know it’s not possible to do both things well at the same time, not with the very limited time I’ll have. So yes, I’ll give it a shot and when I come back I’ll have a better idea if it was worth it or not…but I have to try it out :). This time the flight is via Fankfurt, with stops in Singapore and Jakarta on my way to Yogyakarta, where my adventure in Indonesia will start. I’ll probably update this diary in Singapore, since I’ll have to wait there for 5 hours and I’ll need something to do. See you tomorrow.

 


 

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I ended up not updating this page until I arrived to Yogyakarta due to wifi problems. In Singapore, it’s necessary to request a password on their information desks to have access to free internet. I did just that and it worked just fine on my cell phone but then I would need another password for the tablet and I didn’t feel like getting another one. In Jakarta the internet was just terrible so I ended up giving up. The last flight of the day was beautiful. An amazing landscape of vulcanos in between the clouds, all of that with sunset light. And now I’m off to bed because I’m extremely tired. The image kinda sucks but that’s the result of shooting through a plane window.

 


 

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Today was reserved to visit some of the most relevant monuments around Yogyakarta, or Jodja as the locals call it. It’s not exactly my thing but it ended up being quite interesting. Prambanan temple is a bit like a mini Angkor Wat (the famous temple in Cambodia). It’s the same architecture. But when I say mini, it doesn’t mean it’s small…it’s actually a big complex. Is just that Angkor is really huge. Borobudur (pictured above) was also on the list. It’s the biggest budhist temple in the world and that fact alone makes it an important place to visit. Funny enough, it’s the biggest one but it doesn’t have a statue of Budha. I was expecting a lot of people everywhere but it’s not too bad. The weather has been nice, hot but not too hot. The traffic is crazy, with dozens of motorbikes crossing in front of the cars from every possible direction…and that explains why I’m not driving in Indonesia. Just your average day in many of the bigger asian cities :). Tomorrow I say goodbye to Yogyakarta and I’ll be on my way to the highlight of Java island, for me at least…Mount Bromo. That’s the reason why I came to this island. Lets hope for the good weather to continue. Oh…and I finally got my Telkomsel SIM card so I’ll be posting more pictures the coming days. Thanks to my guide and new friend (who I keep forgetting her name) for helping me getting it. See you tomorrow!

 


 

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There are some things that can ruin your trip. A bad hotel, some lost luggage, among other things. Yet, nothing compares to being sick. It never happened to me in the past but it seems that even in this case, there’s always a first time. On the second day of my trip I was affected by some bad ass food poisoning that kept me KO for the past few days. On the first day I was throwing up constantely, 13 times in total. The next couple of days I was still down and today it seems to be the first day of the rest of my life :). So this is why I didn’t update this page the last few days. I just wanted to spend all my non travelling time laying down in bed…but hopefully the problem is history now. Regarding the trip itself, it’s very hard to form an opinion about a destination when all you want is to go home and rest. My impressions about Indonesia will be more about what’s yet to come rather than about the places I already visited. Let’s see how the trip keeps developing :) See you soon!

 


 

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So it seems that the news about me getting well came a bit too soon. Yesterday I had a pretty miserable day and today it was so/so. But enough with my complains. Lets talk about the trip and Bali in particular, the island where I’m staying right now. The constrast between Denpasar and Kuta beach specifically and the rest of the island is amazing. Kuta has all the resorts, the brand stores, the fast food, the cahotic traffic, the night life. This is where 90% of the turists stay and many of them don’t care about the other side of the island. That other side seems to come with a 50 years delay, where almost all of the people live off the agriculture, being rice or other vegetables and fruits. All work is done manually, or at most with the help of animals (didn’t see a single agro machine). Turists here are much much less, just the ones who adventure themselves out of the “bubble” called Kuta. Different from Java, which is mostly muslim, Bali is 93% Hindu so it’s a very spritual island, with temples everywhere…and that’s literally because each house has its temple for the family. It’s very common to see preparations for weddings, funerals and cremations. Tomorrow is my last day here and considering what has been happenning to me, it’s the first time in my life I don’t mind to go home. Really! See you tomorrow.

 


 

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Now that I’ve been back to Portugal for a few days and I’m fully recovered from the food poisoning I got in Indonesia, it’s time to look back and talk about the good and the not so good things I got to experience on this trip. This will, without a doubt, be influenced by my sickness for about half of the trip. So what’s my opinion about the country? Did I like it? It’s hard to tell, really, after what I’ve been through. Would it be possible to enjoy the most spectacular place in the world while being sick? I don’t think so…and that’s the problem. I did visit some beautiful places, both in Java and Bali islands. The people I had the chance to meet were very nice, everything went smoothly, without problems or delays. Regarding food, and not talking about what happened to me, I’ve always had a difficult relationship with asian food…and every time I go to those coordinates, I end up eating fast food. And what happens when fast food is not around? Yep, that’s the problem. Their food is based on vegetables, which I almost don’t eat, and very spicy sauces, which I really don’t like either. I guess I won’t be back to that region in the near future :). The trip had some nice highlights though. I really enjoyed the visit to Mount Bromo (although I was expecting more of a wow factor) and really loved to Ubud region, in Bali, as well, with its beautiful rice fields that provide a unique landscape. The place I liked the least is exactly the place that makes most people to travel to Bali…and that is Denpasar and Kuta Beach. Like I said on one of my previous posts, it’s just a place like so many others in the world, with all the stores, the mess, the chaotic traffic, the nightlife. And unlike many other places of this kind, I don’t even think the beaches are really worth it. Another thing to note in Bali is that even if the landscapes are really nice, they are pretty much the same on most of the island. Lots of rice fields and lots of hindu temples. It becomes quite repetitive and boring after a while.

Just like I wrote on my introduction to this trip, I decided to leave my photo equipment at home and went for a video work. This was also very much affected by the food poisoning I got and I ended up shooting a lot less video than I had planned and was even forced to cancel visits to some places I wanted to go to. All this being said, I’m starting to edit the final work and I’ll try to do my best with what I have. It will probably take a few weeks since my experience with video is very little and I take a long time to do simples things. And regarding the experience of shooting video, I have to confess that I didn’t really enjoy it. But that’s what I wanted to know. If video could be an alternative to me. Now I know it can’t. I’m a photographer and nothing else. I may keep recording a few clips here and there…but not to replace photography.

And now it’s time to wait for the next trip, actually two of them in sequence. Starting November 25th, here in the same place as usual :). Thank you for joining me on another trip, even if I din’t have the chance to update this page as frequently as I would like to.

 

 

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