Waterfall Walk and Long Drive Today

Trip Start Feb 26, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2013

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Where I stayed
Fendi's Guest House

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today has been an especially long day for me.  I woke up around 4 am, went back to sleep and woke up again at 5:45.  I decided to stay up and started getting ready for breakfast until I realized that it was really 4:45 am instead.  I just stayed up, editing some photos, got my stuff together for a walk to the waterfalls that we missed yesterday because it was dark.  Then I headed off to breakfast.  I know I saw the sign for our hotel this morning, but I don't remember it.  I took a few photos of the dining room because it was rather special.  The hotel seems to have gone with a Mediterranean look - with the drapes, the opera music (along with some other non-opera music).  They were not crowded:  only us in the dining room for breakfast, but 80 young women in pajamas on the grounds - I am not sure where they had their breakfast.

We drove down in the bus to our starting point at the gate to the park with the waterfalls.  It was beautiful in the park, with huge trees - some pines even - lots of ferns, dripping water from last night's rain.  Josephine, Massimo and Graham went on ahead and I stayed back with Mrs. Evy and Malcolm.  This gave me the opportunity to keep Malcolm company at the end, but also to negotiate the slippery path and steps without falling (I hoped) and to take all the photos I could want.  So I got extra photos even though I was still experiencing trouble with the Nikon.  I hope a cleaning with fix the problem.  There were lots of stone steps - slippery when wet - and some cobble stones - slippery when wet - and some dirt sections of path - also slippery when wet.  But I survived and got to the waterfall in one piece - so did Malcolm.  After the waterfall, I walked back up a set of stairs only to find out that the exit path was back down those steps and over the green bridge.  I thought - oh, OK, it is just around the corner, but the exit was actually much farther away over more slippery spots.  I got to the last section of stairs - I think they must have seemed drier because I thought that I was home free.  Then I almost slipped on one of the last steps.

We didn't have too much sightseeing to do today - it was mostly driving.  We did stop for a few photo ops - one rice paddy, another lake and rice paddy, one python stop but that didn't work out because the python lady wasn't there to let us in.  Hmmm, we had coffee stop and a lunch stop.  We stopped at a shoe-making shop - a local industry - but the manager wasn't there so we left.  We drove through an area of teak plantations and stopped to look at some furniture made from teak stumps - quite substantial and fun-looking.  I can't remember anywhere else that we stopped but for awhile it seemed as if we were jumping and and out of the van quite often.

We passed a durian growning area and Malang where we finished the day is the green apple center of Java.  It is the only place that can grow apples.  We did see tons of agriculture today though - from the vegetable fields of the mountains where we started to the rice and sugar cane growing areas of where we finished up.  I do love farmland.  Also, we saw Java's largest river and a river that went through the mountains just before we got to the Malang area.  Otherwise, I noticed that there were more buildings made out of brick around here - or at least, the brick is allowed to remain visible on the surface of the buildings.  I feel as if I have left out a lot about the crops.  I think I already mentioned that East Java grows about 70% rice on its available land and the rest is sugar cane.  Javanese food, according to Mrs Evy, is noted for its sweetness.

Since most of what we did today was drive, I should mention that we drove mostly on mountain roads - up and down - around a lot of curves.  The traffic was similar to other days - lots of motorbikes - always lots of motorbikes.  We are now in a large niverity ucity - Malang - of about 2 million and I can hear the buzz of motorbikes outside while I am blogging.  In contrast to Ethiopia or some of the other countries I have been in, there are very few animals on the roads.  I don't even see any road kill.  I think they are afraid - I hope they are because they certainly have reason to be so. 

Even though we went through a fair bit of farmland, still there were villages and houses and buildings along the way.  I noticed some rice warehouses - large buildings with no windows - at least on the side I could see - that I hadn't seen before.  The inhabited areas were pretty much like others I have seen here - a jumble of poor houses with some fancy ones in between - lots and lots of shops and signs advertising their wares or services.  Josephine has been reading the shop signs and increasing her Indonesian vocabulary.  She knows a lot of words already and her pronunciation... sounds perfect - at least to me.

I am not sure how our driver, Mr. Karjuli, manages to stay awake and alert, but his passengers were definitely flagging.  There were many queries of how much longer,...are we there yet....
We would get one city closer, then there would be another, then another, it seemed.  Finally we reached Malang itself and it seemed to take ages to get through it.  It was not rush hour and there were mobs of motorbikes riding along both sides of the cars in either lane.  We drove and drove, reached a more modern section with a huge new shopping center and then we turned into the driveway of our guesthouse - Fendi's.

I got key, went to my room, washed my socks, hung my wet washed underwear that hadn't dried by this morning, and then went to the lobby to try the wi-fi.  It worked there but not in my room.  Oh, maybe I should try the right password - except in the room, the connection is only fair.  I was on the net until our 7 pm meeting with Mrs Evy as she went over tomorrow's itinerary.  We went over the times and made some changes.  Then we got to the breakfast orders.  People got upset because they couldn't get the kinds of breakfast they wanted.  It seems the guest house mainly has Indonesian food and very limited Western breakfast items:  no eggs, no fruit, and I am not sure what else, but I probably won't get milk for my coffee.  Oh, well.  I decided to go for nasi goreng and coffee with milk and we'll see.  Others will get breakfast elsewhere or wait until our coffee stop at 10 am.  Still others may get by with toast and whatever they can get to put on it.

After all this,  Malcolm figured he might as well eat dinner because he wasn't going to get any breakfast.  Mrs. Evy took Malcolm, Graham and me to a restaurant down the street that had western food and pizza.  The pizza selection on the menu was unlike anything I had ever seen before - I think there was a chicken and egg pizza on the list, as well as a steak and egg pizza.  I ended up with a 3-in-1 fried food starter:  french fries, onion rings and calamari - it was pretty good.  They use rice flour for the batter.  Mrs. Evy was talked into eating something by Malcolm so we got to enjoy her company before she went off to do her preparation and copying.

This brings me to now - blogging - which will end this entry.

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