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Showing posts from July, 2011

Back on the road

Today I believe is the first day of Ramadan. All the prayer halls started broadcasting in unison over the loudspeakers at 4:45 this morning. I woke up to the sound with a bit of a cold sweat from something I ate yesterday, and sat on the toilet watching tiny ants march along the crack of the wall.

Yesterday I rented a bike and rode south out of town into the rice paddies. I found a few beautiful quiet spots, but mostly it was hard to avoid the roads and motorcycle exhaust. It was good to have a bike in town at least to get away from the becak drivers, who are everywhere and make it impossible to enjoy a quiet moment in town.

I was originally thinking of seeing the Dieng Plateau for a day, but I decided I really need a break from tourist destinations, so I'm going to take a bus north to Semarang after I finish this post. I found a couchsurfer who said she'll put me up tonight, and may even be able to give me a ride to Jepara tomorrow since she commutes there for work. This w…

Jogjakarta

I stayed in Jakarta another day to take it easy and buy a ticket to Jogjakarta, and so I could catch up with the local frisbee players who get together for pickup on thursday nights. After a delicious breakfast and free wifi at mcdonalds, I walked to Gambir station, nearby my hostel, and bought a ticket to Jogjakarta, eksekutif class. I had some nasi campur at a restaurant in the station, ate a pepper and nearly exploded, and then walked over to Monas, the national monument. Lonely Planet said people call it some president's last erection. It was pretty quiet.

I took the bus up to Kota, the old part of town, and walked around for a bit. Lonely Planet recommended that I walk along the canal, which smelled terrible. I was hoping to be able to walk to the harbor and see some boats, but couldn't manage to find a road that led to the water, and just walked down the side of the street while big Chinese-made diesel trucks barreled past. Eventually I gave up and hopped in a bajaj bac…

Jakarta

Today was a crazy trip. My first hostel was nice enough but really remote and nobody else was staying there, so this morning, after a delicious breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, I decided to relocate to Jalan Jaksa, backpacker hostel central near the center of town. I decided to take the bus since I have plenty of time and figured it would be a good way to see the city, so I found Jalan Jaksa on google maps and got some directions for taking the TransJakarta bus from the helpful front desk attendant at my hostel.

To get to the bus stop, I first took a local minibus. Musical trios would hop on the bus with ukeleles and sing and play while the bus hobbled through traffic. Their music was pretty awesome but I didn't know how much tip was appropriate so I didn't give anything.

The TransJakarta was pretty impressive. Traffic here is even more pointless than in Beijing and there don't seem to be any emission standards, but these buses run on natural gas and run in their own lanes m…

Departure

I am in the airport in Beijing. I'm supposed to be in Jakarta already but all flights were delayed out of Beijing yesterday, they said because of the severe weather, but it was only a light drizzle. I wonder if it had anything to do with the high speed rail accident and the train being hit by lightning. Anyway, with the one-day delay, Beijing has managed to give me a beautiful send off with the best weather in weeks. And I had a really good nap yesterday.

I've booked a hostel in south Jakarta that a frisbee player recommended called Kamar-Kamar. It's a little pricey for a backpacker hostel but it sounds like most of the cheap hostels in the Jalan Jaksa area have seen better days so I figure I'll start off in some place a little nicer. Directions by public transport seem a little daunting. I am supposed to take damri bus to blok m and then take ojek to the hostel. I will soon figure out what these words mean.

I downloaded 35 free Indonesian lessons to my iPod. They…

My Most Prized Posession

I bought an iPod Touch. This will serve as my main computing and communications tool for my trip. Here is me and Jeff in Sanlitun ignoring the passing girls as we ogle my new device.

Prologue

In two weeks I will be flying to Indonesia to look for a boat.



I got the whole idea for this trip while I was searching for budget travel tips, and came across a post from Matador Network titled "How to Travel the World by Crewing on Yachts."  Oddly enough, a week later, I met a frisbee player who had just come to Beijing from Mexico, where he had spent a year or so sailing his own boat along the coast. (Christian's blog is here.) During introductions, when I asked what he did, his reply was something the effect of, "I do whatever I feel like doing."  Having spent much of my time over the last four years pretty much cooped up in offices in Beijing, I thought that sounded quite nice.