Rice, Tea & Cheese & Chocolate Pancakes...

Trip Start Jul 05, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Muddy rice fields, tea plantations & waterfalls

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our ever-expanding little group of backpackers now includes an American couple, Owen and Jenai and a young german girl, Helena. The last few days have been a cramming session of Bahasa Indonesian, with our teacher Jamal (an adorably cute & hilariously funny 19 year old who loved us so much he has invited us tomorrow to visit his family and help plant some rice in his village's rice paddies). Jenai and I have mastered the basics of indonesian so much so that we managed to run 2 2-hour classes in half-English and half-Indonesian. Not bad for a couple of beginners!

The last few days have seen us socialising with the locals over a few glasses of spiced ginger tea whilst watching the football on a big screen in the town, visiting a floating village where we fed the fish and gawped at the views from the back of a banana boat and, of course, swallowing an incredible amount of delicious food (who knew cheese and chocolate pancakes could taste so good??!!)

Thursday was the most eventful day, incorporating a trek through the rice paddies - essentially a barefoot stagger up slippery mud paths and clambering up steep rocky steps and bamboo bridges until we finally reached a little hut at the top. We watched the workers making the regions' famous brown sugar, satisfying our sweet teeth by dripping the hot caramel onto fresh coconut slices. Afterwards, we gourged on a picnic of tempeh, tofu-cakes and sticky rice, before braving the downward climb.
An hour on our motorbikes (the 'chief' guide, Kumis, is my motorbike driver, who drives incredibly fast yet smoothly, entertaining me with a running commentary of indonesian culture as we whizz downhill with me balancing behind him) gets us to the local tea plantation and we wander through the trees before climbed another hill to a nearby waterfall (most of the on-site electricity is powered by the falls).
A long journey home followed, leaving a sore imprint of the motorbike seat in my thighs for a good hour afterwards. The pain, however, was worth it.

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