Monday, April 24, 2006

Whatever! Wherever? Indonesia

Not had much of an opportunity to catch up with the blog, since we hit Indonesia. We landed in Bali late at night, grabbed a room for the night and crashed at the nearest bar. We spent the next day in Bali getting ourselves together to head over to Lombok. On the way we heard mention of the Gili Islands, just off Lombok, which we'd not considered in our travels before.

A night in Mataram, the main town of Lombok, and we decided that the Gili Islands were for us. We didn't know how long we would want to stay there, so we booked an open ticket to Komodo. (On a 4 day boat trip taking in various uninhabited tropical islands on the way.) So we were soon bound for Gili Tranwagan (bad spelling again, sorry), only a short boat ride from the Lombok coast.

This is the largest of the 3 islands, but still only a mile across, with a 700 inhabitance, plus 1000 cats! As usual we grabbed the nearest, best guest-house on offer. Dumped our bags and went exploring. The small bars and places to stay stretch north and south from where the ferry lands. All are the usual tropical island fair of small bars, places to watch movies, dive centres and a variety of resturants mixed in among the various standard places to rest your head.

We soon came upon the Cava Cafe, not far from where the boats land. The rest has now gone down in island history! The past few days have involved drinking Bintang (local beer), a tattoo, much merriment with the local people (who now all seem to now our names), a wrong path taken, a big hole in the ground, minor scrapes, and a visit back to Lombok just to check no bones broken! Nothing bad, but a hell of a story to tell. The whole event may have cost us more than we would have hoped by having to visit the hospital, but no damage done, apart from to the bank balance. (And we can claim on the insurance when we get back, so not so bad really.)

Anyway, we have met some very good people here, and made some good friends. We are here until Saturday, when we go back to Lombok to start our Komodo trip. Then back to Bali as we want to get some pressies in and clothes for ourselves. They are so so so cheap in Bali. Clothes we could never afford in the UK. Clothes I wouldn't even consider wasting money on, are very cheap in Bali. We both need new clothes. What we are traveling in have seen better days, and we didn't leave much in the UK.

Well that's it for now. Typing makes me so tired, I think I need to have a lay down on the beach for a bit.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Picture of Sam and I with Dad's LNG tanker in the background. Posted by Picasa

Picture of me next to a mooring bouy, or some such thing. (Note, Dad used us as an excuse to take pictures of old rusty stuff.) Posted by Picasa

Picture of Sam, Mum and I stood next to various bits'n'bobs. (Fuel pump, winch, bouys and some rusty thing made in Leeds.)  Posted by Picasa

Picture of Sam and I feeding the fish. Posted by Picasa

Picture of us feeding the fish. Posted by Picasa

Picture of Sam and Mum, Box Jellyfish spotting. Posted by Picasa

Picture of me with Mum and Dad. (Mindil Beach) Posted by Picasa

Picture of Sam and her Easter Bilby.  Posted by Picasa

Bali Bound

Easter Sunday. We set off to Bali tonight. We've not done much this past week, apart from going into town to get Sam her Blundstones, that she's been after for ages.

Dad's been off ill for the past few days. It's not like him to be ill at all, but he was up and about by yesterday. We all went out, down to Doctors Gully to feed the fish. We arrived too early, so went to the museum which Sam and I had been meaning to do for ages. It's a good museum, they have, a variety of exhibitions. Stuff from the typical Aboriginal stuff you'd imagine, through natural history to the Cyclone Tracy displays. We got to see Sweetheart also, the imfamous giant salt water croc they caught.

After the museum we went back to feed the fish. They have built steps and a slope down into the sea. At a set time every evening hundreds of big fish swarm around the area waiting to be fed. They provide you with bread to feed them by hand. As the water rises up around your feet the fish will happily swim around you. It was great fun being so close to them, literally able to reach out and touch them.

After fish feeding we went to the Sailing Club for dinner. It was threatening rain so we stayed under cover, rather than brave sitting near the shore. It threw it down, the last death throws of the rainy season. Just before we are about to leave!

Today, we went to Mindil Beach. I'd got the dates wrong on a fair I thought was happening there. Oh well! We paddled around for a bit and then went to the Rapid Creek Sunday Market, had a wander, had a coffee, and then came back to pack and get ready to fly out. Sam and I had our last swim in the pool.

Sam also got to eat her Easter Bilby, that has been in the fridge for over a week. Please see pictures!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Butterflies In The Stomach And Itchy Feet

Less than a week to go before we leave Oz, and just over a month before we return to Blighty. These are tangible, measurable things. No longer is it months before we do this, or ages before we go there. We are about to embark on the last leg of the journey, and it feels odd.

We are both really looking forward to Indonesia, it's really the icying on the cake, a perfect end to the whole thing. So it's with some sadness and great joy that we enter into the final phase. I suppose that the month in Indonesia will seem like an age, and not flash by in an instant, as there is a fear it may. Apart from the dragons and volcanos, we plan to get in that elusive beach time we've wanted since we began this journey. Lounging around on a beach and splashing around in the azure ocean, causes days to wash into one another, and seem to go on forever.

Just remembered that we need to book a guest house, as we land in the early hours. Must do that next! Sam's in full swing, she's beebn and got her hair done and bought all those bits and bobs that you always forget until just before you need them. We've lightened our load, by spending a huge box of stuff we'd collected back to England. We'll probably get home before it does, as we sent it by sea.

The future is wide-open to us. When we get back to the UK, we can do whatever we want. Clean slate and all that. It's exciting and daunting at the same time.

Off to go jump in the pool. May as well get use of it while I still can.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Picture of me with my friends! (Sam says they are anyway.) Posted by Picasa

Picture of some of the Devil's Marbles. Posted by Picasa

Picture of us both, sunset at the Devil's Marbles. Posted by Picasa

Picture of me and my blue tongued mate. (Sorry no tongues!) Posted by Picasa

Picture of Daly Waters. Posted by Picasa

Picture of the boat hitting the rapids in the Katherine Gorge. Posted by Picasa

Picture of me in another of the smaller waterfalls. Posted by Picasa

Picture of one of the waterfalls we went swimming in. Posted by Picasa

Road Trippin' (Back To Darwin)

The next morning after a heavy night on the tiles with Beejay and the gang, we packed up for our trip back to Darwin. We'd booked a 3 and a half day road trip, which took in many of the sights between Alice and Darwin. Including Litchfield National Park, the Devil's Marbles and Daly Waters (the oldest pub in Oz).

Our guide was Scott, another full-on Aussie bloke. We came to the decision that all tour guides are full-on Aussie blokes, even the female our guides. Anyway, eventually us and 19 others from all over the world (mainly Europe), set off on the Stuart Highway north. On the way we stopped at many weird and wonderful roadhouses. This was going to be a proper road trip, to remember.

The first night was spent near to the Devil's Marbles, where we'd watched the sunset. On the way, we'd had our mind changed about Aboriginal art, after seeing reasonably priced and well done works, at the Red Sand Gallery. We also visited Wycliffe Well, the UFO centre of activity in Australia. One thing to note, all the roadhouses are usually painted with murals, or have some kind of bizarre attraction. They are certainly entertaining places in and of themselves, far more fun than any motorway service station in the UK.

Second day saw us visting more roadhouses, one in which I got up-close-and-personal with a Blue Tongued Lizard. It was mid-sfternoon when we stopped for the day, at Daly Waters. This is noted for being one (if not the) oldest standing pub in Australia. It certainly is probably one of the most remote and the most famous pub in Australia. That was where we were to spend the night. So we found the bar (not too hard), and settled ourselves in for a night of drinking and chatting with locals and other people passing through.

Next morning we had a quick stop at an old aircraft hanger, randomly, and then onto Katherine Gorge. A natural wonder of the world. As Sam kept saying, it's unusual because it turns at right angles all the way along. We paid to do a fast boat trip through the gorge, bouncing through rapids, and sweeping passed 100m+ sheer cliff faces. It was well worth it. We blasted up to Adelaide River for the last nights camping, as we would be going to Litchfield National Park early the next morning.

So once again another pre-dawn wake-up call, and we headed into Litchfield to check-out a series of waterfalls. Many of the waterfalls were such that we could swim in them, which we did. Four waterfalls later and we made our way out of the park, via the huge termite mounds. Darwin was only a few kilometers away, so by late afternoon we found ourselves in familiar surroundings.

Dropped off at the otherside of the park on Yanula Drive near to the house, our 10 day adventure was over. It was Saturday the 1st of April, we'd seen as much of the Northern Territory as we could. Only 2 weeks left in Australia, before heading to Indonesia and home.

Picture of the Thorny Devil. Posted by Picasa

Picture of Sam climbing up Kings Canyon. Posted by Picasa

Picture of part of the Olgas. Posted by Picasa

Picture of us (and thousands of others) at Ayers Rock (Uluru). Posted by Picasa

Picture of sunset at the 'rock'. Posted by Picasa

Picture of sunrise at the 'rock'. Posted by Picasa

Picture of our group at Uluru. Posted by Picasa

Picture of us with our camel Blackie. Posted by Picasa

Picture of Sam with baby camel. Posted by Picasa