The backpacker route along south east asia is quite the bio warfare zone and i managed to pick up a bit of a the flu, but thankfully i knew it wasn’t swine flu, so about a week in Jakarta recovering and waiting for a friend wasn’t too bad as its quite a friendly place and the rooms are quite nice and affordable when compared to Bali, some highlights where the free tour around the national mosque with its wonderful late 60’s architecture and capacity for 80,000 is very tranquil and seeing both the fortress that is the USA embassy and the suburban mansions that is the Iraqi.
Thankfully i both my illness leaving and my friend arriving considered nicely so it was off too Yogja and wonderfully quaint city where the main neo-Gypsy center is just behind the station and many quaint buildings and streets abound, after a few days in i get itchy feet and decide too head out on my own again so its off to Surabaya too see an old friend and do a bit of couch surfing, it was a welcome change from all the bullays and i got the chance to meet an old friend from bali days as well as see the sumpornan museum.
After that i headed for mount Bromo to find that the little village was so high up that i had to ware my sarong too keep warm, the next day i did my first arranged tour since diving in mosque, going for the motorcycle option turned out to be a bit trying when barreling though fog across the sand sea before dawn and up the black void that was the mountain before dawn, though being greeted with the tourist Mecca that was the top was enough culture shock for the ride to be completely forgotten. for the rest of the day i was very glad to be on the motorbike at least i got some solace in the sand sea and could take my time, i became so relaxed that i walked two hours down the mountain of the village before I consented to be bundled in the bemo, that at times had 30 people inside plus many school children and goods on and off the roof as we passed the local villages and markets.
Arriving in Probolinggo after entertaing some “official tourist information” i find a bus driver going too Banyuwangi, in a few hours, so some coffee and chatting with the locals whom all seem very confused that i am not married yet, its off on the now late bus too Banyuwangi and in the front seat as well and it is truly amazing what kind of power a 15 meter bus can have on those narrow java roads… Befriending the bus driver really paid off when he not only recommend me the nicest and cheapest place i had stated so far. It was up early to catch the ferry to bali, that turned out to be surprisingly cheap for only 5, 700 and modern.