Yogya to Bali Day 2 and 3
Trip Start Mar 05, 2012
58Trip End Ongoing
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We arrived in a small village near Ijen crater in the middle of a coffee plantation. The homes in the village were all small, pink, semi-detached houses with perfect little gardens. At the entrance to this village was a huge coffee-bean processing factory. We walked through the facility and saw some beans drying, but it was late and no one was there to show us much else. It was evident that the 'village' had been built by the coffee company for the factory workers and their families. It reminded me of the giant communities they build in China for the factory workers and their families that resemble more of a small city.
The next morning we left at 4am to get to the jump-off point for Ijen crater. It was a relatively easy hike to the crater rim. Along the way we could see evidence of the miners who had left their sulfur deposits sitting at the side of the path.
The crater was an impressive site, once the morning fog cleared and the sun began to illuminate the lake in the middle. However, the miners were nowhere to be seen. I asked a guide who was with another group about this. He explained that some volcanologists had visited the lake a few months before to do some testing and claimed the area to be to hazardous for the men to work. He told me that there had been 150 men working at the mine and that they had been out of work for about 3 months. He suspected that they would be back to work soon. Also it turned out that the national park was actually closed and we were not supposed to be there, but the tour companies continue taking travelers there anyway.
From Ijen crater it was an easy ride to the ferry, where we could cross to Bali. Easy ride except for the one hour on a road meant for motorcycles and 4WD vehicles. By now my throat was swollen enough that I was having trouble swallowing and I was very weak. On the bright side it was only about a six hour journey to Denpasar.
At the ferry terminal we were told to wait for the final bus that would be taking us to Denpasar. It was due 20 minutes after we arrived. Two hours later we decided it would be best to abandon our tour group and proceed alone. We ran to the ferry terminal just in time to catch the next hourly ferry.
From the ferry port in Bali we grabbed a public bus to Denpasar. This was trying as there were many 'helpful' people around to show us to the bus and show us where there the door was, and then try to charge us double the fare. The trip was supposed to take about 2 hours. The bus driver seemed eager for any fare he could get and made numerous stops for passengers that usually were not there. In my condition, this was obviously a point of contention for me. However, they made a couple of other stops that I could not hold a grudge against. The Balinese people remain quite devoted to their spiritual belief systems. One common practice (I soon realized) was to bless your vehicle and make offerings to spirits to guarantee a safe trip. The driver and his assistant would pull over on the side of the road where a statue sat. The assistant would hop out, run up to the statue, leave an offering, say a quick prayer, and hop back in the bus. Additionally, we stopped once at a roadside vehicle blessing stop - a woman came and blessed the bus, throwing rice in front of the bus and sticking rice to the forehead and temples of the driver and his assistant. Back on the bus, the driver and the assistant light their cigarettes and we are off.
Six hours later we reached Denpasar. By now I had developed a fever, I could barely keep my head up, and I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I had not really had a solid meal for about 18 hours.We hopped in a taxi and headed for Kuta beach.
Once in Kuta, I went straight to the clinic:
"What's the problem?"
"My throat is swollen and I think I have a fever. I probably need some antibiotics. Can you have a look?"
"What antibiotics do you want?"
"..................Umm.......Aren't you supposed to tell me that?"
We went through the usual checkup procedure...
"You have tonsillitis."
(On a side note, I have now lost my camera. I did so in the Gili islands. Cody has pictures but I don't have access to his camera as easily as I did mine so anyone reading will have to be patient with the pics. Sorry. I was sick of the camera anyway and not really upset about that, but the memory card loss was painful...and I think getting a new camera in SE Asia may also be a tricky process. Anyway, pics to come.)
******Photos c/o Cody Rook******