torsdag 30. april 2009

A bule in Jakarta

Jakarta was my only destination in Indonesia unfortunately. I really look forward to explore this big country in the future. But it is sooo big, so many islands, and soo many people.

I had some exciting days in Jakarta. I stayed some days in the house to a couchsurfer-family, Noery and Fajar and their two sons. Noery took me around for two days, TMII (little Indonesia) where you can see the whole Indonesia in one day almost), to the stone market and a nearby market (everyday market).

The next days I was around with a facebook friend, we were supposed to see some museums, but they closed early so we took a walk in the area. Outside the harbour museum we met Bapak (Mr) Catur who offered us a tour in the harbour museum (even if it was closed) and after that he took us for a round trip in the real Jakarta in the harbour. It is a place where not many tourist would go I think, and it was also the first time for my facebook friend. He even arranged for a boat trip in the harbour. 

Saturday I went to a couchsurfing gathering in the Ayuda Park. I think there is a full photo report from this in facebook. I have never got so many facebook friends in one day as I did after this. It was really fun – and it was my first CS-gathering. But not the last one.

And not to forget... I also got to see and experience the famous Jakarta traffic jam...

Jakarta couchsurfing gathering

My first couchsurfing gathering... I have never got so many facebook friends in one day before....

onsdag 29. april 2009

Pics from Jakarta

Kota Kinabalu again

Then I was back in Kota Kinabalu after a little change of plans. This time I stayed mostly at the Borneo Global Backpackers, a guest house built in an old warehouse and surrounded by warehouses. In spite of the surroundings I can recommend this place for all travellers. The staff is very helpful and nice, they arrange a lot of tours to fair prices and they know a lot more about what to see, how to get there and that sort of things than most others you will be in touch with. It is a very informal place, and you meet other travellers in an informal way. If you don't surf a couch in Kota Kinabalu, then go to Borneo Global Backpackers!

I followed two of their tours, one day at Mari Mari Cultural Village and one day a river cruise. You will see about this in the pics.

I just love Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Sarawak. I could stay there for a loooong time...

Collages Kota Kinabalu

Hinunangan and Tacloban

One day after schedule I arrived Hinunangan. But not without problems. At the bus station in Palompon no one could agree on what was the best way to get to Hinunangan, via Ormoc or via Tacloban. I was first advised to go to Ormoc and found my place in a mini bus. But then someone told me it was better to go to Tacloban so I swapped to another mini bus. This was cancelled though, because of to few passengers, but then the bus to Ormoc had already gone, so I had to take the next one. In Ormoc I found a bus going to Hinunangan, an open bus. That means it had a roof but no windows. This is quite common in Philippines and in this way there is no need for air condition. 

This bus route showed to be a 5 hours trip, and I found out later that if I had gone to Tacloban I would have been in Hinunangan several hours earlier. To look at the bright sides, since the bus went almost through half of Leyte, I really got a good sight seeing. And a lot of fresh air, well mixed with road dust. So after 5 hours I finally reached Hinunangan, in the desperate need for a shower and with a new haircut (something like Kramer in Seinfeld).

Hinunangan was a very relaxing place, in the resort we were only 3 persons, me and two sisters from Tacloban, Luz and Lorna. Also here I will let the pics speak for themselves.

The next day I was to reach a plane from Tacloban to Manila, and I thought I had good time for it. The bus drive from Hinunangan to Tacloban should be about 2 hours, but then is showed up that the buses directly to Tacloban just went in the morning, and I had to go via Sogod (look at a map), which meant a 5 hours bus drive at least. I had no time for that, so to try and reach it I took the only taxi available in Hinunangan which means a motorbike with a self made “roof” or shade. I had to travel about one and a half hour like this (and again a haircut like Kramer), then I tricycle for about 20 minutes, then an open bus to the outskirts of Tacloban. No taxis there either (there are some open taxi cabs in Tacloban, but not many so you will not find them when you need them unless you already are at the airport), so I had to take a jeepney into down town. Still no taxis to find, so it had to be a tricycle to the airport. 

Of course I did not reach the plane. I arrived 10 minutes before departure and could see the plane when I arrived, but check in was closed. Well, they did not charge me too much to change the ticket to the next day (though I was not entitled to any changes and they could have charged me for a new ticket). And I got to see some of Tacloban. Also a city I would like to visit another time. 

Pics from Hinunangan


I arrived in Palompon in Leyte at 3.30am so I went to the nearest hotel. My plan was to go on the next day to Hinunangan at the east side of Leyte where I already had booked a room at a beach resort. But I did not take into and account that Good Friday is a very special and celebrated holiday in the Philippines, so there were absolutely no bus service that day.

Palompon is a small town, I don't know how many inhabitants, but you can say that it is a town with one main street which goes along the seaside and the harbour. I don't know if it was special for Good Friday, but it was a very quiet and relaxed town. Of course a lot of the shops were closed that day, so it would probably be more lively another day, but I got the impression that it would not be much different another day.

Though it was an unintended stop over, I am very happy I got that day there. I got to know Virpe and her family there. Her father is a motorbike driver, and motorbikes are the only taxis there, and he took me around there, and Virpe was my guide. I was invited to visit their house, and their relatives which almost all live next door to them. Some relatives also lived near the beach, and there I was invited to lunch, which included “tuba”, a home made coconut wine. They also took me to a cock fight in the local cock fight arena. 

Virpe and her family is a poor family, her father earns about 2-6$ a day, and has to pay off his motorbike with about 35$ a month. So Virpe had to stop her studies at college some months ago because they were not able to pay the tuition fees. But hopefully she can get started again, she is a bright girl and had high grades so she really should get the chance.

One thing is for sure... I will never forget this day in Palompon, and the people I met there will always have a place in my heart. It is not easy to explain such experiences, and especially when it is not in my native language, but I hope some of the pics can express some of my experiences.