It turned out that our flight back from Solo to KL was delayed for 1 hour. Since there was nothing that I could do about it, I just sat tight and finished updating my travel notes at the departure hall. Around us were similarly incensed passengers who tried to deal with the delay as best as they could. When they did start boarding the plane at 7:30pm instead of the scheduled 6:30pm, there was a rush when everybody tried to get out of the departure hall to get to the plane. I guessed that everyone was as anxious as we were to be anywhere else other than the departure hall. It was a good thing that our flight that evening was not at full capacity since we got seats fairly easily and settled down for takeoff.
The flight back was fairly uneventful but we were all looking at our watches to see if we could make it back on time for the last bus from LCCT to KL Sentral. It would just be too expensive to pay for a cab to get back to my apartment in Sunway by myself if I missed the last bus. We touched down in LCCT with just enough time for us to clear immigration, get our bags and for some of us to quickly purchase some last minute items from the duty free shop. A short incident involving misplaced items in our bags which had me sprinting through LCCT like a crazy guy later, we were finally on our way to LCCT which we reached just minutes after midnight. I missed the last commuter train and still had to get a cab back to Sunway but at least it was much cheaper even with the midnight surcharge compared to what I had to play had I took one from LCCT. I finally got home at around 12:30 and didn’t get to bed till nearly 2am even though I had to wake up early to go to work on the following day but it was all worth it for the experience.
(Yes ... that's proof that I was on the trip since people remarked that I don't have pictures of myself on the blog)
So that’s all to be documented about in Java Island adventure. After 21 separate blog entries spanning 2 months worth of published entries, I am finally done with my travel write up. True to the blogs name, I’ve definitely ranted and raved in my write ups but it simply wouldn’t be something that I produce if it did span pages and pages of text that people reading it have to scroll down. I guess that I’m not a firm believer of the adage that a “picture is worth a thousand words” apparent from the lack of pictures in my travel entries. Still, I hope that those of you who stuck with the travel blog entries as the slowly trickle done had an enjoyable time sharing my journey.
In hindsight, the Indonesia trip was a blast. Not only that I got to share it with people who share similar interest as myself but I also get to go to a place that have both intellectual and emotional resonance to me. We found out that we do travel well together once we get into each other’s rhythm of doing things. There were no Amazing Race style blowups in the group although just for fun we reenacted some of our favorite arguments much to the chagrin on the sole non-fan of the series in our traveling troupe. Other than my short stint as a painkiller popping junkie to alleviate a toothache problem, we traveled generally in good heath even after eating items on the menu that we were not familiar with and we deemed having the most strange name before ordering.
Top 5 highlights for me on the trip would definitely be :
- Standing on the top of Borobudur Temple complex looking around at one of the
world wonders in South East Asia
- Walking around the crate lake at Kawah Putih with it’s otherworldly vista
that was worth trying to get used to the sulfur smell coming from it.
- Spending the day with Patrick (our guide in Solo) exploring Candi Sethu and
Sukuh from the point of view of a local.
- Spending a night at a Café Via Via listening to free live jazz performance
and soaking up the local vibe in Jogja.
- Eating the most strangest sounding name foods on the menu – gudeq, liwet,
srabi, bakso and especially the sate kambing we had the on the last day – I
already miss them.
Indonesia was definitely quite easy to travel in once you get pass the number of touts in the attractions and how much in Rupiah you have to pay for things. It doesn’t help to begrudge the extra 10K rupiah tip that you’re giving out since considering it’s only around RM3 after conversion. Traveling in Indonesia can get a bit overwhelming but with a little patience, flexibility and planning, everything will come out alright in the end. Backpacking in Java doesn’t sound as bad as it sounds. A lot of places in Jogja and Solo do cater for backpackers with limited budget and there are ways to make your money stretch with cheaper options for both accommodation and travel. Jakarta and Bandung was definitely a bit more expensive but should not be missed if it’s your first time in Java.
I can now check off Indonesia from my list of ASEAN countries to visit in the next few years. I would definitely come back to the country since Java was just a small sampling of what the country has to offer to visitors. I’m looking forward for the opportuinity to visit Sumatera, the Riau island and Bali when I get the chance to. In the meanwhile, I’m already looking ahead for my next ASEAN country destination which if all goes well, I will visit in November of this year. As usually, I’ll put up entries about my preparations and the trip itself as the date comes closer.
(Next destination in November 2008)