Monday, February 15, 2010


I've had the worst week! We had to hastily move to Malang to search for a house, so I shoved everything into bags (and it turns out I've acquired more junk so it didn't fit properly), then we naiked the night train from Yogya and it took two taxis and a team of porters to get all of our stuff on the train! The ride was pleasant enough, although they left the lights on and a repeat of some terrible Indonesian pop music so it was not that easy to sleep...

When we arrived at the train station in Malang Pak habib was there to take us wherever we wished to go. He offered us two rooms at his place, and as I'm a "broke-ass" at the moment we jumped at the offer. We got to his house and the rooms were one step above prison cells. They were small and cramped, no fans, and the mattress on my bed was too small so there were pillows shoved in the extra space at the top end of the bed. Everything was damp and smelled musty. We had a short rest and then walked up the street in search of houses and nourishment.

We stopped at the first decent looking warung at the top of the road. There we had some mie goreng and got to enjoy the company of an overly-helpful Indonesian man by the name of Akbar. He insisted on accompanying us to look for houses. So, after our meal we set off for the neighborhood just down the street. Upon first walking into the neighborhood I fell in love! There were fantastic old statues and fountains that brought up memories of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and extravagant old houses that seemed as if they had been empty for years. It was quiet and the streets were wide and clean-- a rarity in Indonesia.

There was only one kontrakan there and we put in an offer immediately, but as Tom and I are not married, we were not wanted as tenants. This was very discouraging, but on the way out I took a chance and asked a young man if there were any other kontrakan there. Later that afternoon he SMSed us about a 4bedroom furnished house in the same neighborhood. It was his house! We stopped by later that evening to have a look. It was big and beautiful and perfect, but the asking price was out of our range, so we had to decline.

About 2 weeks before we left for Malang I had emailed a lady about a furnished house here. We contacted her again and met to look at the house. The neighborhood isn't great but the house is better than I could have imagined and it is furnished, with an oven! We agreed on a price and are bidding our time until we move in on Wed.

In the mean time I have been in Malang, alone. Tom had to go back to Yogya to retrieve the last of his things from the house there. Lisa was still in Bali and only just arrived today and the other two girls were...???

I've gotten lost more times than I can count. I got kehujanan. I fell on the sidewalk in front of a car full of people. I had to ride with a guy in an anguaktan while he tried to look down my shirt and make a date with me even though I told him I had a boyfriend in Spain. It took me forever to order a peperoni pizza, all because of a stupid semantics problem. I was denied an ice cream cone, and instead forced to have my ice cream in a cup because "belum menjadi es, ya." I had to pay a minimum 20,000 for a taxi when there was no minimum sign, and I hate having to take taxis in the first place. I was not allowed to eat my ice cream in the super market, even though they sell the ice cream at the super market. Every time I go into a store I have to hand over all of my belongings only to have to stand in a mile long line to collect them when I want to leave. It was Valentine's Day and not only was I alone in the relationship sense, but I was ALL ALONE in a new city while everyone was lovey dovey and happy. The hotel I'm staying at is currently undergoing construction. I had to pay for a room with AC, and then the AC didn't even work properly. And on top of all of this I miss James. AND I have to go to an opening ceremony tomorrow which I know nothing about. Not the time, the location, the dress code, the agenda... nothing. I hear I may be forced to wear a jilbab though, something I am not pleased to hear. And I'm pretty sure Pak Habib's wife hates me...

Basically, I hope things get better over the next few weeks or I fear I may have a break down!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Return from Ko Tarutao

I just made it back into Krabi from Ko Tarutao, a national marine park in the south of Thailand. The island was great! It was beautiful and mostly quite, except for several large groups of school children. The sand was the finest powdery whiteness I have ever seen and the water was nice and cool. The sea would have been perfect if it weren't for the stingy microorganisms. Pesky things!

Tom and I went for a cycle and a walk through the forest to a small waterfall with an inviting pool at the bottom. I had to do a little convincing to myself, but I eventually abandoned all reason and jumped in. I was worth it! The water was cool and clear and despite what the brochure at the visitor's center said it was very refreshing (the brochure had said it was a "defreshing pool").
There were fish and Tom is afraid of water anyway, but he jumped in after I bribed him with two large beers.

We walked back, claimed our bikes and cycled on the Ao San. This was a long and gorgeous beach with no people on it. We walked along until we found a shady spot to nap. Tom stole my napping rock, so I was forced to try to sleep on a rock in the water that was covered with barnacles and other sea creatures. It didn't work out so well so I woke Tom up and we headed back.

The last night we were on Tarutao we camped out on the beach. The was very breezy and would have been great, but I was a little uncomfortable sleeping on the ground with my backpack as a pillow so I didn't get much sleep. We went snorkeling one of the days, but I didn't see much of anything. The water was too cloudy and I was a little creeped out. I was hoping to see a whale or some turtles :-(

I managed to read two books and picked up another about the history of the banana. I'm really looking forward to reading it!

We head to Phucket tomorrow to do some last minute shopping before heading back to Indo. Tonight I will feast on the delicious curry in Krabi!