A Travellerspoint blog

Indonesia

The Moluccas and back to Bali

Tidore and Ternate

sunny
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23 January 2019

Our last days on the cruise were more on islands than in the water.

Bastiong Village

Our final village stop was Bastiong Village on Halmahera. Very out of the way, small Christian village where we were greeted by, it seemed, the whole village.

Some were up for another jungle walk and others (like Jim and myself), wandered through the small village taking in it's everyday life. As we regrouped at the waterfront - the party began. A group of men and women graced us with local music, song and of course, dance - the Indonesian version of the Electric Slide. Music brought out the old and young alike and along with refreshments (fresh coconut water, fried plantains and "crazy hot" sambal )..... it was a lovely afternoon.

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24 January 2019

Tidore

Our boat traveled during the night and we woke to the sounds and sights of civilization and the view of the islands of Tidore and Ternate. Today our destination was the smaller of the two, Tidore.

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Our day was broken up into two tours with lunch in the middle. Tidore is a city and an island and also a sultanate. The Sultan was not in town but we had the chance to visit his palace. It seemed the occupants of the palace (family members) were very excited to meet us.. Cell phones were out and there was photo taking on both sides. BUT before we visited royalty we visited a blacksmith shop - one of the few left on the island.

The Sultan of Tidore's Palace

The Sultan of Tidore's Palace

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With the rhythm of pounding hammers - we watched the process. From the constant air rush of the bellows which stoked the fire that heated the the metal, to the group of men pounding the heated metal with sledge hammers. They were so in sync. I have no idea how they didn't hit each other. And then there was the master ...fine tuning the handcrafted machetes...truly a lost art in most of the world.

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Due to the former Dutch influence and dominance in this area, there were a number of forts - which made for a nice stop and good views of the island. I think it may be a "tourist stop", though we were the only westerners I saw the whole day - anywhere in the city.

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Our last full day on the cruise concluded with our Farewell Party. Not much "dressing up" to do on the ship but we did our best and the crew also brought out their best...Dinner was incredible and then we were entertained with the beautiful melodic voices of our Indonesia hosts. We (guests) joined in as best we could. We danced and sang and danced some more...fun, fun, fun!!!

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25-26 January 2019

Our last day on our wonderful cruise.. tIme to pack and then into Ternate for a short morning tour to a couple Dutch forts and then back for lunch ....and it was over. Well, not quite.

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Yes, we left the ship but Jim and I opted to stay in Ternate for two nights. Little did we know that eight other guests were also staying at the same place - Villa Masarai - a small villa up in the hills overlooking the sea and volcanoes.

It did seems as if we didn't want the trip to end.

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Stephanie, Joe, Rob and Gabriella left the next day, which left us, Anna, Jeffrey, Andy and Caitriona. They would be there an additional night and then back on to the Ompak Putih for another 12 days..oh yes....we were very jealous.

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Our trip back to Bali was uneventful as was the following week. Seems like the inner island heat was taking a toll on me and besides feeding Madu a few times we enjoyed the A/C of our small villa.

Next stop: New Zealand!!!

Since Jim killed (unintentionally) our underwater camera - big thanks to Nita for sharing her photos!! Click the link below:

https://qq0u.app.link/e/FcrsAuCJAV

Posted by pjburke 13:07 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Further on through Raja Ampat

..... into the Moluccas

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15 -21 January 2019

The next 12 days would be one adventure after another. We visited small villages, small cities, walked the jungle and snorkeled (almost everyday) the reefs of Raja Ampat and the Moluccas.

We settled into the rhythm of the sea - usually doing our longer crossings at night, which meant falling asleep to the gentle rocking of the ship – sometimes the rocking was not so gentle.

Breakfast was between 7 and 730am each day - always with fresh fruit, juice, yogurt, cereals, toast and some type of special dish – my favorite being the warm, purple sticky rice. Sometimes there was bacon, sausages, smoked salmon, cheeses, rice porridge and the occasional mie goreng (noodles) and always eggs, banana pancakes and french toast available – made to order.

After breakfast, It was usually time to suit up and off for a snorkel. Our snorkeling adventures were what dreams are made. FISH.....and more fish, at times it felt like we were just another fish in a huge aquarium. For those that didn't feel like a snorkel, there was usually a beautiful island where one could enjoy the quiet shade of the palms. Anna, usually took her “pencils” and drew while Margaret liked to wander the shoreline for shells. Each to their own...was always the mantra!!

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The only activity that was interrupted by weather was our attempt to see the Red Bird of Paradise. This was supposed to happen on the island of Waigeo on Day 2 BUT we woke to teeming rain. From previous experience, Anastasia let us know the possibility of seeing the birds in this weather was nil though we would try again the next day. Our schedule was altered and we did get a nice snorkel in. The second attempt was scheduled BUT again, Mother Nature was having a bit of a hissy fit...As a group, we agreed that we would forgo the lengthy return and look forward to other exciting adventures.

As the trip continued, each day was....same, same but different. The breakfasts, lunches and dinners were a one masterpiece after another. On the Ombak Putih, the kitchen is on the ship's main level. We all had the opportunity to poke our heads in, say “Hi” and also try to sneak a peak at each upcoming meal's delicacies.

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The Islands of Raja Ampat lay ahead of us as did islands we had never heard of: Wofoh, Waigeo (home of the pearl farm), Wagay, Piaynemo, Widi (some of the best snorkeling), Doworalamo (home of the Sama Bajo sea gypsies), Bacan Island (jungle trekking to the waterfall), Halmahera Island and the Bastion Village and then on to the volcanic islands of Makian, Tidore and Ternate (which was our last stop).

In this instance, I think that photos will tell the whole story. Below is Part 1!!!!!!

Enjoy!!!

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Deer Island

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Sea Gypsy Island

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Posted by pjburke 19:25 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

On To Raja Ampat

sunny

13 January 2019

Time to clean up the apartment, get packed and head to the airport. Mr Blue (our driver) picked us up at 1pm for the ride to Denpasar. An hour and a half with Mr Blue is too short. We had a chance to catch up and he had a chance to try out all his new bad jokes on us.

Regarding our apartment – I didn't really explain why we stayed where we did in Ubud. Originally, we had booked a cottage at one of the guesthouses closer to the city center.. One day on FB(Facebook), I noticed a posting from a woman we met in Karimunjawa last year -a lovely Australian woman who is a travel writer. We were there on holiday and she was there for work but staying in the same guesthouse. We got a chance to chat, share meals and I'm sure a beer or two. - but I digress. She is currently back in Australia taking care of her Mom and needed someone to take care of her cat, with the offer of free accommodations in exchange. We texted back and forth and decided it would work for both of us. Her great little apartment over Made's Warung was perfect for five days. No need to cook and we got to spend time with her tiny, honey colored cat – Madu (which in Indonesian means honey). It seems we might have been in need of kitty fix. Madu hung around quite a bit and took to sleeping at the bottom of the bed at night. Staying at Sally's gave us the true feeling of “living” in Bali...which for us – is dangerous... as we have talked for years about moving there. But...right now...it's not to be, so this was a great alternative.

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But it was time for us to leave ….????

We're off to the eastern end of Indonesia for a 12 day cruise on a traditional Indonesian sailing pinisi – the Ombak Putih. The ship holds 24 passengers and a staff of about 15 – we had no idea how many passengers there would be, though we knew there is a group coming from Australia with “ASA – Australians Studying Abroad”– similar to our Roads Scholar program.

Flight there was an adventure unto itself. The flight for Sorong, West Papua leaves at 5pm via Makassar, Sulawesi. The problem was that there is an 8 ½ hour layover in Makassar. With a little research, we found an IBIS hotel right at the airport and for $30 it was money well spent.

Waiting in Denpasar was also bit of an adventure. A strong storm blew in (we found out later, associated with this storm, there was a tornado in West Java that destroyed 300 homes). We got the weak end it, which was still pretty intimidating. Waiting at the gate, I started hearing water running. Looking behind us, we noticed a deluge coming from a light fixture and a hatch in the ceiling. Must not be new to them as they got the yellow “wet floor” signs set up and proceeded to mop up...all in a days work.

We arrived in Makassar at 8pm, got settled in the hotel with a 2am wake up call and headed back for our 0330 flight to Sorong. The airport was pretty busy for such an early hour and after discussion later in our trip, we concluded maybe it has to do with the hot weather and condition of the tarmac on the runway later in the day. Just a thought!!

Arriving into the small Sorong Airport, we grabbed a taxi for the quick 2km ride to our hotel (favehotel). After a slight date faux pas (on my part) which got settled, we got settled in our lovely little room. Really nothing to do in Sorong. If there is a next time, we would probably stay in Makassar for a few days. Our big adventure for the day was turning left out of our hotel and finding a grocery. I was on the hunt for a very light rain poncho...found...13950 Rp = about 1 USD. Fortunately, the hotel had a couple of US TV channels (though I think the shows were a few years old).

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Can anyone tell me what the last photo indicates????

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14 January 2019

Up early, breakfast. Our transport to the ship arrived at 0900. We were greeted by the smiling face of Nita, one of our tour guides on the trip. She filled us in on the days events. After dropping us off in the capable hands of the crew at the harbor, she was off to pick up the last of the guests. We were transported by zodiac out to the boat. Passing boat after boat in the harbour, the Ombak Putik appeared at the outer edge of the moorings – a sight to behold.

Most of the guests had arrived earlier from either Makassar or Jakarta. We were soon to get acquainted with our shipmates for the next twelve days. Besides us, the two lone Americans, there were two Canadians (Toronto), two from the Netherlands and the remaining fifteen were Australasian (some with the ASA trip and others on their own).

First things....find our cabin....#9 – mid ship but right at the bottom of the stairs. There are only twelve cabins – I don't think there can be a bad one.

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We met our other tour guide...the lovely Anastasia. Both Nita and Anas are Indonesian – Anas from Ambon and Nita...from (as she would say) all over!!

First things first – safety briefing and then lunch. It appears that customs here in Sorong works at it's own pace. The crew were anticipating a quick departure...which didn't happen. While we waited for customs clearance. Option #2 – a quick dingy trip to the island of Doom. Anas had arranged pedi rickshaws for us all and it was a quick trip around the small island. I'm not sure how many Westerners come to this island but we were greeted with smiles and waves.

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Returning to the boat, we found that we were clear to leave....anchor up and “Adventure is out there!!!”

Enjoying a little libation and the sunset, it set in that we were really here...

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Before dinner, we would get the first of our talks from Jeffrey Mellefont. Honorary Research Associate, Australian National Maritime Museum. Over the next twelve days, Jeffrey will educate us on the maritime history of Indonesia, it's culture and also the journey of Alfred Russel Wallace (who traveled in these same waters and was discovering the theory of evolution at the same time as Darwin.)

Dinner was a feast, as we would find each day to be. A collection of Indonesian dishes that satisfied both the carnivores and vegetarians alike.

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Food always brings people together and over these luscious flavors we started to get know those on the ship who were also up for this adventure.

Posted by pjburke 22:15 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Adventures in Bali - continued

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9, 10, 11 January 2019

Wednesday

Our last days in Bali on this end of the trip were relatively quiet. I finished up the blog posting from our wonderful cooking class and then Jim and I headed out for a really nice dinner at Hujan Locale. Dining in Ubud ranges from the simple to the sublime. I hesitate to use the word “nice” to describe this lovely city center eatery, as all the cafes and warungs we've dined in have been “nice” in their own way. Hujan is a bit more elegant, but in a casual sort of way.

The building itself is located off Ubud's main thoroughfare Jalan Raya Ubud on Jalan Sri Wedari. The decor is tastefully simple, accented by bustling staff dressed in sharply pressed black and white. In the off season, I don't think that a reservation is needed but I think it is appreciated. We did make a reservation. Even though we were a bit early, we were promptly seated on the second floor, next to an open window, off to the side with a view of serene temple grounds just adjacent. First impressions gave us great hope for a lovely evening – our culinary adventure in Ubud.

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Hujan has a special drink menu and we both started with drinks that were tropical with fresh mint and ginger (a Mule and a Mojito). It was hard to pick from the appetizer menu but we decided on “Sate buntel” minced lamb wrapped in caul and served with a goat bone tengkleng". Subtle spices in the lamb mixed well with the tengkleng, which was a type of soup.

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On to our mains...we chose North Sumatran Octopus Rendang with star anise, fennel and chopped turmeric leaf and the Bebek Gorang – which is a Balinese style crispy duck leg. Both portions were not huge but definitely filling. (Note: Not knowing the portion sizes we asked our waiter and she told us that two mains would be enough....why??? because there is always dessert!!)

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….and then dessert!! We shared the Salted Caramel Ice Cream with toasted marshmallow popcorn (which was heavenly, by the way) and Mango Mousse Cheesecake with Mango and Strawberry Sorbet.

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From the lovely surroundings, the friendly and professional staff and incredible range of flavors, this will be a dinner that we will remember for quite a while.

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Thursday

It's a "to do" day!! Starting to think about the next leg of our trip. Time to do a little laundry and confirm reservations. It occurred to us that Madu (our feline ward) would need food before we left. With info from her Mom in Australia we headed to the Vets. Yes, this is starting to feel like home.

On the way back, we stopped for a light lunch at Yellow Flower Cafe – one of our favorites. It's located along a pathway (gang) in the hill above the bustling main street. As we enjoyed our spring rolls and Bintang (beer), we noticed a woman sitting by herself. “Do you live here?”, we asked. “No, just traveling but I just took a yoga class close by.” We were shortly joined by one of the yoga instructors, who does live here. Our question to her was simple. "If one lives here – what does one “do”? She smiled and replied...”Anything you like. Some people write, others are artists, volunteers, yoga and some....JUST BE!”

These two simple words ....JUST BE... seem to take on a new meaning every day.

Our dinner that night was back to an oldy but goody. Bubu's Warung was close to the first villa we stayed here in Ubud a few years ago. As life goes on and things change, so had Bubu's. It's been remodeled and although the food was still good, it lacked a bit of the comfortable Balinese charm we so enjoyed.

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We settled in after dinner to “just be” and read a little. Thank goodness for Kindles, as the power went out in our area and with the moonless night, it was dark....very dark and as the blackness enveloped us, we had time to breath and listen to the sounds of the jungle outside our windows. Truly just being!!

Friday – our last day in Bali..well at least for a couple of weeks!!!

Did you ever had one of “those” days?? When you think that things are going along swimmingly and then...What the!!!!....Yes, theses days do happen even when you are traveling. But...truth be told, I'm being a bit of a drama queen. It wasn't really that bad. I had just spent two hours working on a blog entry (the one above I just recreated). I was excited because I would have been on schedule...up to date....only to inadvertently delete the whole thing. Aghhh.

I know!!!! You ask, “why don't you write on a word document, save and copy???” Because I'm cheap. The Word program subscription on this netbook expired and I didn't want to buy another one.

When you have lemons, the saying goes...make lemonade!!! This situation inspired me to do just that and to look for a program (free, of course) that will work for me. And for those looking for this this type of program – it's called Apache Open Office. It works really well and also has a spreadsheet (Excel type) program. Onward!!

Our farewell dinner in Bali would be a local dish.....Spicy Smoked Balinese Duck served right downstairs at Made's Warung. When we arrived, the table was set for a feast...table cloth, veggies, rice and then in came the duck ..in all it's glory....head and all. It was quite delicious and more food than the two of us could eat but the only part of the duck remaining was the bones!!

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Posted by pjburke 19:42 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Indonesian Cooking

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08 January 2019

Starting a day with the beautiful fresh, tropical fruit of Bali is a definite treat. Exactly what we did today.

Never a dull day when the Burkes are traveling... a little change in plans. Last night Jim and I talked....after our trip to Raja Ampat we are returning to Bali and we were supposed to go north for more beach time BUT we love it here in Ubud so much and after Raja Ampat it will be difficult to compare SO....we've cancelled those reservations and will be coming back here. We contacted Sally to see if she would still need help with Madu but it looks like there is a possibility that a friend will be here...Plan B - we rented a small villa (with a pool) that is about a five minute walk from our current location. We can still feed (and maybe cuddle just a little bit) Madu, if needed. And...we splurged - $50 per night with breakfast included!!

With those plans taken care of, we got ready to be picked up for our cooking class. Thank you Wiwik for making those reservations for us.

We were picked up by Wayan (the owner of the cooking school) at about 230pm and started the drive outside town. We really know nothing more than...it's a cooking class.

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Arriving at Wayan's home compound in the small village of Laplapan (just outside Ubud), we were met by another couple - Ruth and Ollie ..from Ireland. Back into the van and off to the rice fields. Wayan explained the growing and harvesting process of rice. From where we stood, there were still open rice terraces but construction is infringing on much of the rice fields in Bali. Still Wayan's family had their swatch of land used for their family's rice consumption. Thought it may be small, many families do still have their own land.

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Now back to the family compound and we are greeted with a welcome drink - cool tea with ginger and lemongrass???? - tasty on a hot day.

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Wayan explained the family compound, who lived there and why. Toward the back of the compound the ground fell away and we were taken down a flight of stairs to the "cooking school" and greeted by Wayan's niece - in -law Made (Ma-day). Big smile and a bit sassy - we knew this would be a good afternoon.

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We started by making a traditional offerings. We've taken cooking classes in Indonesia before and though we've been on the receiving end of the offerings - we've never made one. These were made the traditional way, securing the corners of the base with small bamboo sticks - no staplers in this class.

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Now..it was food time. Made explained all the food we would be cooking with, the different spices, different methods we would be using - this would be an adventure.

Taking the longest to cook and having three different steps - the Balinese way to cook rice would be our first lesson. Wash the rice, cook in a woven, conical basket with a terracotta cover for about 30 mins, then take off the heat, put in bowl with a little hot water (just to cover), let sit for 15 minutes and then back into the cooker for another 30 minutes ....and the Balinese eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's not Uncle Ben's!!!!

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Then on to our other dishes. We made curry chicken, chicken sate, steamed fish in banana leaves, fried tempeh with sweet soy sauce ,Balinese vegetable salad, chicken soup and for dessert (my favorite ..Kue Dadar Guling...saying rolled pancake just doesn't do it justice). We also made a spice mixture and two different sauces...from scratch. "Scratch" meaning pounding the peppers to make sambal, mincing garlic, chilies and shallots until they were a paste. We worked as couples, cooking, stirring, pounding - following the instructions of our fearless leader....

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..... when all was done...and the sun was setting over the brilliant green forest - we ate our delicious creations. Enjoying our dinner, we got to know a little about each other - where we were from, what we did and of course, where we had and they had traveled and where we would be going next. And of course, it is a small world...Ruth's name???? Ruth Burke!!! I guess it was meant to be ????

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Ruthie....thanks for pics!!!

Posted by pjburke 19:31 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Chillin' in Bali

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07 January 2019

This is our second of 28 days in Indonesia. We had to do a little planning around our cruise (more about that later in the week), since we are only allowed to be in country for 30 days with a Visitor's Visa. We'll be here in Ubud (actually Penestanan - right outside Ubud city center) until this Saturday (12 January ) when we take off for Raja Ampat for a couple of weeks. But we'll be back.

Today was all about getting settled. After a yummy breakfast at Made's. The fruit here is awesome!!!!

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Telecom store was first on our list - we've opted for local SIM cards instead of the expensive Verizon International plan and fortunately on our Australian trip last spring we found out that my Samsung 8+ phone is unlocked. Our Taiwan SIM was $10USD for three days coverage and our stop at the kiosk at Bintang Market got us a 7.5G/4G coverage card ..cost: $9USD. It's good for 30 days and we can upload extra data if needed.

While I got the phone set up, Jim shopped. A few essentials: beer, tonic, limes and our favorite peanuts with hot peppers. Food is so inexpensive here (and convenient with Made's downstairs) that I don't think we'll be doing any cooking.

After cell phone and shopping, on to the important stuff - spa treatments. YES!!! Our favorite place in Ubud is Putra Bali and a quick phone call setup a 2pm appointment with a 145pm pick up time (yes, they will transport as long as you are getting more than a massage).
Jim's choice : 90 minute massage, mani and pedi (No, I'm not kidding) and for me: 90 minute massage and facial - just what we need after all this traveling...and all for about $100 including tip.????

We arrived at the spa and were greeted by familiar smiling faces. The owner approached us and said "I remember you - thank you for coming back." After a refreshing glass of lime water and cool towels we were lead to the same room. OK.... It was a beautiful large room with two tables. We'd be getting our massages together and then off on our own for the rest of our treatments.

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The 90 minute massages were wonderful. So soothing and relaxing. My facial was nice but Jim won the prize with pretty hands and feet. ????

We stopped for a beer and apps at a small cafe on the way back to our apartment. Life is good!!

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Quiet evening at home (Sally's apartment). It's taken us no time to feel comfortable in her lovely home. Sally is a writer for an Australian travel blog and her home is microcosm of travel. If feels like we're living in a travel adventure - like heaven to us.????

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Tomorrow?? Another favorite of ours - a cooking class!!! People ask us how we find out about things to do. Talk to the locals. On our way to Ubud from the airport we asked Wiwik if she knew of a good cooking class ??. Of course, she did. What day?? She took care of the rest. Guesthouse owners can also be really helpful. Don't be afraid to ask, if they don't know someone, they will know someone who knows someone... Guaranteed!!

Posted by pjburke 23:05 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

On the road to.......BALI !!!

Our first 24 hours......

82 °F
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06 January 2019

Our time in Taipei has come to an end but I think we'll be back. Taipei may end up being one of our "stop and get over jet lag spots like SIngapore and Bangkok". It's an easy city to get around and of course it has Dumplings....lolol.

Up early and we were off to the train station. The trains to the airport start running at 0600 and with a 10am flight to Bali, we wanted to be there three hours early. We actually didn't need that much time but IMHO it's better to be early than racing for the plane.

No Eva or Aly to check us out at 0530 but we left our key cards on the desk and we were off. The station is an easy ten minute walk from the Amanda Inn and we ended up waiting with a small group...the doors were still locked. 0555 and a station worker unlocked the door and we made our way to the lower level and on to the train. Being the first stop, we were able to get seats for the 39 minute Express train (which doesn't mean NO stops only fewer stops). The aisles and seats filled up as we got closer to the airport.

Terminal 2 was our stop and it was up through the gates, grab a luggage cart (which BTW are free everywhere but the US) and on to the luggage cart accommodating escalators and up three levels to the departure terminal. EVA kiosks were right as we got off and we were directed down the corridor. Since we had checked in online, we proceeded to the Bag Drop and were greeted by a nice young man who brought us down to an open desk, checked in our bags and gave our cute little Hello Kitty boarding passes. Easy peasy!!!

Now, on to the document check point, TSA (or whatever they call it here) and Immigration - the lines there took us back to LAX. At the scan station and with my knee as I went through the scanner (no full body scanners here) it beeped like crazy. I pointed to my knee and the man bowed, grinned and let me pass....all righty then!!

Taipei Terminal 2 is the new terminal as of 2000, open to avoid congestion. Big but not huge - it took little time to find our gate. And... with a few Taiwanese $$ left to spend, Jim settled in and I took a stroll towards Duty Free.

Walking past the next gate, I found a little girls dream gate -it was decked out with Hello Kitty - apparently the mascot for EVA Airlines. Very Pink!!

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On to Duty Free - $10USD for Absolute - good deal. After I had paid, the clerk asked me to wait and went into the back and came out with a small bag - a free gift - Taro Cakes. It seems they were being made fresh right there.

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Back at the gate, I shared one of my two taro cakes with Jim - they were quite good. I'm not sure how to explain the taste. Baked, they look like a purple turnip but have a subtle sweet taste.

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By 10am, we were on the plane and taking off. I do like a prompt airline. The flight was what any good flight should be - uneventful!! No premium economy this time but the seats were relatively comfortable and six hours later we arrived on time.

Immigration in Bali was just the opposite of Taiwan - lines were long but they moved along at a steady clip, bags came out quickly and out we went to meet our wonderful driver Mr Blue.

I'll try to make this story short. We met Blue on our very first trip to Bali. If you've been following along from the beginning of my blog - you'll know that I spent a night in the hospital in Denpasar due to an infected cyst on my back in 2012. We'd gotten Blue's name from an American couple we met while traveling in Myanmar, who live/lived in Ubud. Well, I needed a ride to the hospital. Blue wasn't available but he sent his nephew and that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Blue has been our airport and tour driver ever since and this is our fourth time in Bali. He has the best smile and a kind heart and today he was there with his daughter - the next generation Bali Blue Driver - Wiwik. Today, Blue had another passenger and our driver would be Wikiw - a beautiful young woman with her father's smile and a great sense of humor. She had us laughing the whole 90 minute ride up to Ubud.

Before heading to our accommodations - we needed money...where??? ATM of course!! But first, why are we staying where we are staying.

Again, another long story. Initially we were staying at a guesthouse closer to the city center BUT we were in touch with a woman we met last year in Karimunjawa. Sally needed to go back to Australia to care for her Mom and needed someone to stay at her apartment and take care of her cat. Sounded like an ideal job for us. I got in touch and it was a go. But before getting settled at Sally's, we needed to get Rupiah - Indonesian currency. Jim had tried the ATM at the airport but no luck so we stopped at the ATMs at Bintang Market. There are three - again no luck. Wiwik drove us into town (about a mile), one more ATM - no luck but there was a money changer and since he had US dollars, he was able to get Indonesian cash. NOTE....always, always carry some US dollars with you. We learned later that evening, when we were finally able to get ahold of B of A, and even though we had given them a Travel Notice, they still put a restriction on our card when Jim attempted to use it at the airport. Taiwan was ok but Bali wasn't...?????

Finally, we arrived at Sally's and were met by her friend who walked us around, filled us in on the idiosyncrasies and introduced us to Madu (the cat) our ward for the week. Cute apartment but we were tired. After dinner (Jim enjoyed his favorite Nasi Campur) at the Warung downstairs, it was an early night....BUT ...we were back in Bali ????.

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Posted by pjburke 22:08 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

....Until we meet again!!!!

But - never "good-bye"

sunny 95 °F

14 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all my favorite Moms...

Quiet Sunday here, so we decided to check out a new beach. Josephine told us that there is a resort on the east side that for a small fee (100K - $7) you can hang out at their nice little beach, get a lounge chair (under a palapa), towel, soft drink and also use snorkel gear and/or a kayak if you wish...sounds like a deal. It's a little to far to walk so we rented one moto. After finishing yesterdays blog ...we took off. Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort was pretty easy to find. There was actually security (2 young men) at the front gate. We just told them that we wanted to go to the beach and they let us pass. We were waved into the main reception area of a beautiful dark wooden structure and were warmly greeted. When we told their manager where we were staying, he knew that Joyce sent us.

We enjoyed the small beach and tranquil waters for the rest of the afternoon. The lunch menu was simple but tasty and reasonably priced. We had the whole beach to ourselves until about 3pm when another couple wandered down.

Breve Azurine Resort

Breve Azurine Resort

Looking south from Breve Azurine

Looking south from Breve Azurine

Beautiful turquoise waters off the east coast of Karimunjawa

Beautiful turquoise waters off the east coast of Karimunjawa

View from the end of the dock

View from the end of the dock

Seaside warnings

Seaside warnings

Lovely place to spend the afternoon

Lovely place to spend the afternoon


A lovely afternoon spent swimming, reading and just talking...about?? "Where will we be off to on our next adventure??"....of course!!!

May 15 2017

Quiet morning....but we did notice on Friday and Saturday,a large number of Indonesian travelers.

Brenda made her way back from Jepara, arriving at 11am on what proved to be a very rocky ferry ride. While waiting for her to get off the boat, we observed more than one person getting off who looked like they had had better days. Brenda told us later that it got so rough that they were handing out sickness bags to everyone as a precaution.

Also, arriving with Brenda were our bags from the Quest Hotel. With the help of Sudar's brother, they had made their way from Semarang.
We sat for a bit and got the highlights of her trip (with Linda and Wayne) to Borbodur and Jogya. It was time to head towards the coffee shop where the 1pm English classes were to be held.

The first day and first groups of the Hello Karimunjawa classes where a little of everything...and everyone. There was a small group of adults, a few local teachers and a small group of children. Since these lessons are being aimed at working adults, children were not expected. BUT...what can you do?? Being the teacher's teacher, Brenda didn't hesitate. The next thing I knew, she had jumped in with both feet and there I was right along with her. For the next hour and a half, it was numbers, basic English words, colors and A, B, C's. The group of nine little girls were like little sponges...they soaked it all in.

Hello Karimunjawa

Hello Karimunjawa

Children participating in English Class

Children participating in English Class

Enjoying English Class

Enjoying English Class

Village children enjoying their lesson

Village children enjoying their lesson

With the interest shown from the children, Josephine and Joyce are going to work with local teachers and try and keep this also in their program.
I'd forgotten how tiring teaching can be, especially in the tropical heat and humidity of Karimunjawa. A quick late afternoon nap came as no surprise.

Since Brenda had not eaten at Eat and Meet....and we had also met one of the owners (Butz) at the English Classes (Eat and Meet is one of the sponsors) we headed back there for dinner. While eating dinner, we saw Sudar who told us that Joyce and Josephine were at the coffee shop. The evening classes were scheduled for 730pm and 830pm so Brenda and I wandered over to see how things were progressing. It was encouraging to see two good sized groups. One was a chatty group of high school girls and the other, a slightly more serious group of adult learners but in total about 30 people. For the first day of class, a good turn out.`

May 16 2017

Today will be our last full day in Indonesia. It's about this time in a trip that I start to get antsy. It's not only our last day in Indonesia but the last day of our six week trip. We're pretty much packed and we've made sure that we've paid our bill at Panorama. Joyce did ask, if she could get lobster, would we be interested in grilled lobster tonight. We were both totally in, but Brenda's belly is not so great so she opted out.

Packing has been a bit of a project though. Our flight out tomorrow is on a small twelve seat turbo prop with a free baggage limit of 10K (22.2lbs). I think we'll be ok...not sure about Brenda....

The "Hello Karimunjawa" class started again today at 1pm, with Brenda opting out I made my way down the quiet lane to the temporary classroom area. There was a small group of adults BUT the group of children had grown to about 20. I asked if it was ok if I taught today's lesson and started where we had left off yesterday. Continuing with letters, numbers and colors, I moved on to body parts and a rousing rendition of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes....evoking laughs and giggles from all the children and a couple of observing adults.

Dinner tonight was very special - fresh spiny lobster in an incredibly delicious chili sauce, enjoyed by a small group: myself, Jims (which is what Jim has now become known as- combination of James + Jim), Brenda, Josephine, Joyce, Sudar and Auguste.

After giving Joyce and Sudar good hearted grief from our first day regarding their map, Jim was presented with a first press edition of their new and improved map.

With my heart feeling very full, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made this trip the absolute joy that it was. It all started with a return visit to Focal Local in Bangkok, continued to Sri Lanka and the special people we met and sites that we experienced, kept going as our adventure took us into the jungles of Kalimantan for our, long awaited Orangutan tour and culminated in the little island of Karimunjawa where I learned to ride a moto, took some time to relax, met some wonderful new friends and hopefully helped a few in the process.

I have a very hard time saying good-bye. There are "always" tears...so I'll just say ......"until we meet again" with every hope that we will meet again in the not too distant future.

Posted by pjburke 06:05 Archived in Indonesia Tagged hello karimunjawa Comments (1)

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