Into the crater i go
Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
272Trip End Ongoing
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Soooo I'm just going to ignore my last post because it jumps ahead of when I left you in kuta and really it was just a venting of mt. st. Rosenthal after a long day of being run around by the travel dicks. I left kuta finally after 2 days and the only thing I can say that I'm going to miss is this place that I discovered which made this awesome guacamole for super cheap....if I could pack that shit around Indonesia half of my problems would be solved I feel. I want to found a peace initiative based on good guacamole and other awesome and yet under-utilized dips. I think that the world could come together in a more peaceful fashion after a good feed...I mean no wonder the Muslims are pissed, have you tasted their food? I would be pissed too. Air drop those fuckers some guacamole and maybe some tortellini and the mid east peace process would get rolling.
I have found that the distances covered here are not of any particular epic size but the roads are so narrow and twisting that it takes quite a while to get where you are going. I decided to go to ubud which is supposed to be a pretty chilled out artist town and it was only 30km away but due to road issues it still took 2 ½ hours to get there. Not really that big of a hassle considering I once took at 30 hour bus to Kuala lumpur but it still aggravated me a little bit.
I got a pretty nice room in ubud that was inside a family compound.....that seems to be the style over there on Bali, a group of very small houses with a wall around it and a central courtyard with a little temple and a group eating area....of course the houses are all those of relatives so it's one big happy family. Well someone in this particular family got the bright idea to build a hotel in their compound.....it actually was a pretty nice place. Ubud was as advertised and was quiet and very artsy. A lot of artist galleries and organic vegetarian restaurants that offer yoga in the morning and who don't serve soft drinks (fuckers). There was also an over abundance of stray dogs which made quite the racket at night and made me long for a can of pepper spray. If the hippies take over I think this is the town that they will use as a model to reformulate our society into something a little less sinister and depressing.
I walked around here and there, checked out the shops and the art and found some stuff I liked and some stuff I didn't. it is the tail end of rainy season here and since it's the tail end I thought it was going to be a passing affair but instead I have gotten to intimately know the size and scale of the tropical thunderstorms here. It's not too bad I suppose but does get a little aggravating when you want to get dinner but you see Noah floating down the fucking road in a boat and decide it may be better to stay in your room and start wrapping your electronics in cellophane.
The main road in ubud is called "monkey forest road" which is just awesome. This road has many art galleries and restaurants and of course leads to the monkey forest sanctuary. I spent a few hours in this little free for all and came away with a new respect for evolution and thanking god that everything in my pockets were still in their proper place. Those little fuckers team up on you and next thing you know you have a furry little hand in your pocket trying to steal your money....reminded me of ninny in a way but that is neither here nor there. The sanctuary is actually part temple and part rain forest with a lot of the sculptures over grown with moss and ferns. Let me tell you something, that forest is the serious shit. I'm talking old school primeval jungle which is both beautiful and a little frightening. To think that we used to live in these forests, fighting for survival just blows my little monkey mind. To drive home this point, 4 illegal loggers were killed and eaten by a tiger on Sumatra last week. When asked what they were going to do about it, the government said the tiger was in its habitat doing what tigers do and that the loggers should not have been there in the first place.........fucking amen.
I planned on spending 3 days in ubud but due to laziness and my fascination of watching a large colony of bats feed every night I stayed for 4....sue me. On the 3rd day is when I went and tried to get my ticket to java and discovered that ubud exists in a sort of black hole and you have very few choices of onward travel. After throwing my tantrum on my last post, I actually found that it was not that difficult to get to where I wanted to go, I just had to change buses a few times and tack on an hour onto an 11 hour trip. The drive to java was actually pretty nice because the scenery was really beautiful with these amazingly terraced rice fields rolling down almost right on top of black sand beaches. I like Bali's art and architecture....the way every house is adorned with these beautiful sculptures of demons and the such. Apparently when Indonesia went from Hindu to Muslim way back when, the last of the Hindu's...the affluent and rich, fled to Bali and that is where they have stayed.....90% of Bali is Hindu while 90% of the rest of indo is Muslim.
Bali and java are separated by about 4 miles of polluted water which is not very much when you stop and look at it but the islands are so different when it comes to culture and architecture etc you would think that you had gone to another country hundreds of miles away instead of just catching a ferry (and oh man was THAT fun). The way I would describe java so far is that it's a sort of mix of Malaysia and Cambodia. It's not as poor and dirty as Cambodia but it is definitely in the same race. It reminds me of Malaysia just due to the Muslim nature of it and all the mosques and head scarves etc etc. I had a guy tell me how glad he was Obama was elected (in very broken English of course) because now he will make the Israelis' stop killing the poor Palestinians. He then went on to try and discuss the plight of the Palestinians with me but I managed to extract myself from the conversation. I am a FIRM believer that the Palestinians bring 95% of their misery upon themselves and that Israel acts righteously much of the time when dealing with them.....go ahead and argue with me but I'm going to win this one. Anyway, I didn't want to get in this conversation in a Muslim country and being the lone Jew for about 1000 miles. Shit they won't even let you in this country with an Israeli passport so the less said about the god damn Palestinians the better.
On the good news front I have stopped sweating. No it's not a modern medical miracle but instead I have decided to gain altitude and am currently residing at about 10,000 feet above sea level. The fact that I'm cold right now and underneath 2 blankets while typing this is fucking awesome!! I am currently on a bit of a tour to see Mt. Bromo which is an active volcano inside of a long extinct caldera of an older volcano.....think of those creepy wooden Russian dolls that get smaller and smaller as you keep opening them up and you get the general idea here....small volcano inside of large volcano= awesome scenery. My hotel is literally on the fucking lip of the older volcano with its ass almost hanging off into the ether..... the atmosphere is other worldly and very alien. If this thing ever goes off full scale, everyone is dead and everything is gone but at the moment our little friend is only steaming so no worries. I'll be going up onto the lip of the damn thing in the morning so wish me luck