So that's why they call it a rain forest

Trip Start Oct 31, 2009
Trip End Feb 25, 2010

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Where I stayed
Bamboo Houses
Hotel Serena

Flag of Indonesia  , West Java,
Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our short term plans were changed the day after arriving in Bogor - for the first time on the trip we actually fell for a travel agent's charm and decided to take a short 2 day tour around the mountains of west Java. It being the rainy season There was just us, the guide and a driver.

Day 1 we set-off high into the mountains, making our way through small villages, scenic terraced rice fields to all sides. Our guide tells us about Indonesian life - including the government's attempts to control over population by encouraging contraception - giving us slightly too much detail of how he and his wife follow the government schemes!

The views are stunning. around lunchtime we reach our base for the night - some basic traditional bamboo houses. A combination of this being the wet season, and the high mountains brings rain, lots of rain. Still after lunch the rain easiest off enough to hike, with guide, through the forest to a nearby waterfall. The walk takes just over an hour - its a good walk, but steep going up and down, and is often slippy given the rain. At one point we need to wade through knee deep fast flowing water - the effort is worth it, a quiet glade with a dramatic tumbling tall water fall. The weather improves on the way back as the evening light  reflects of the padi fields. Water flows down Heath-Robinsonesque bamboo contraptions into simple hydro electric generators.

Day 2 - we head out of the hills East, visit a puppet factory -  wooden puppets used to tell the story of Rama and Shita (still very much part of Javanese culture even though they are Muslims now not Hindu). The puppets are stunning but the trip is largely an excuse to try and sell us some - we resist. Then on through tea plantations, almost like being back in Sri Lanka. Satay for lunch at a restaurant at the top of the high Pecak pass - surrounded by thick mix. Then onto our destination Bandung.

Bandung is a stopover for the night - a large city with no particular tourist sites. We book early train tickets for the next morning at the spotless gleaming train station (remarkably different to India, where the big city train stations look and smell like visions of hell). We then head to Bandung Super-Mall - a giant very sparkly, very modern shopping mall, complete with roof top amusement park. Thankfully despite the glitz the food court is basically traditional street food hawkers under a roof (though they do love KFC here and seem to have one on every street corner). We see the only English language film showing at the cinema - Legion - which is er terrible.
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