Posts Tagged With: lost

A Whistle Stop Tour of KL.

Back in the day, when I was out here all alone, these 5 weeks with Ashley became a difficult thing to organise over Skype. After a bit of sketchy planning in Myanmar I came up with a plan. Ashley’s birthday/Christmas present could be diving! We had 5 days ‘spare’ in which I could fit what became known to Ashley as the “Mystery Destination”. For a while, the Mystery Destination was also a mystery to me. Do we go to the Philippines? But we’ve never been so would 5 days be enough? Do we go to Indonesia? But I hated it; do I really want to go back there? Or do we go to Malaysia? The place I was originally planning to dive myself – the Semporna Archipelago – has sea turtles. Sea turtles!! I opted for Malaysia. To Ashley it was still Mystery Destination.

When it came to booking flights, it was always going to be a two flight trip from Tokyo if we were to go to Semporna, so I booked us on a night flight from Tokyo and an evening flight to Tawau, the airport for Semporna, leaving us with a day in Kuala Lumpur in between!

It took us some hot and sweaty trips back and forth from the left luggage area to the check in area before we found the security scanner and the lady with the bag stickers that meant we were allowed to leave our bags having been scanned for guns and the like. Phew. It also took us some hot and sweaty trips back and forth from ATM to ATM before they decided that yes, I do in fact have sufficient funds and yes, they can in fact serve me today. Double phew.

Finally on the bus into the city, I glanced up at the clock. 8.30? Of course! Kuala Lumpur is an hour behind Tokyo! The near hour spent shuffling from ATM to left luggage had been a freebie! Hooray! The bus journey was an hour long.

It must have been quite a tiring bus journey because Ashley fell asleep. I managed to stay awake. The prospect of navigating my way around the place again but without a map helped. We arrived at KL Sentral and I had a vague, vivid yet hazy memory of my mum back in August picking me up from KL Sentral and telling me and my sister we only needed to take one stop on the LRT train. The next stop up was Pasar Seni. Pasar means market, we wanted to head for the Central Market, I guessed and luckily it was right. It felt weird to be back there. We stopped off for a little drink in the Central Market food court, it being nearly 10 and us not having had the chance to get breakfast. I told Ashley there was a place I wanted to take him to eat so we didn’t eat there, but instead made our way down Petaling Street and found the food court where my mum and me ate on the last night in KL. It was just as I remembered!

After our curry laksa to welcome us to Malaysia, we headed back on the LRT to the Petronas Towers, wandered around the Suria mall a bit, took some Petronas Towers photos and whizzed back down to the market so that we were closer to KL Sentral to get our bus back to the airport. Still having some time to spare, we ate again (it was past 12, this could be classed as lunch) and decided to have a little look around the market. We were soon distracted by what was my first Malaysian experience last time – a fishy foot spa. It was the same place and possibly the same woman working there. This time I was a little braver and didn’t waste half of my time with my feet out of the water. I think it must have long lasting effects though – the fish nibbled me a little but not half as much as they flocked to Ashley. FRESH MEAT!

It was a quick little jaunt but pretty fun! And much more rewarding than I think 12 hours in the airport would have been. As a matter of fact there was only one hour in the airport, and off we set to Semporna.

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Categories: Malaysia, South East Asia | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crappy birthday to me.

It’s been a pretty rubbish birthday so far…allow me to explain…

Here’s yesterday and why I’m now in a hostel…..

Woke up, headed out to Borobudur which is a temple 2 hour bus ride away. host said her friends cs people were going – but then they didn’t have a mobile number so I went alone – again, her sister drove me to the bus station….
good day there, met Yvonne from york again who had met another guy (Matthew) and I went around the temple again with them. my host had been talking about this Ramayana ballet thing, which there was a big arrow on my map to. so between us, we decide maybe we’ll meet again there later!

we get the bus back, I get off near the centre coz I hadn’t eaten anything all day (she didn’t give me breakfast and her sis drove me straight to the bus station, so no food all day!). so I stopped for a meal….I’d just finished and I get a text “do you still wanna come? it’s a 40 min motorbike ride from my house” I’m thinking I’m closer than her house, so I text back saying I’ll walk from here…she texts back saying get the transjogja bus to “museum blah blah blah” so I go to the station, show the text to the girl, she tells me which bus…I wait, get on bus, check the bus map and think ok, so I turn round then get off…so I do that (not checking the name of the bus stop – I saw the Ramayana ballet place and thought “this must be it”…I wait for about half an hour then she starts texting me like “where are you?” “are you far?” “I can’t see you” etc….im texting back like “im here, right by the bus stop, outside the entrance to the place.”…..then I spot Matthew sat having finished his meal! so I head over towards him…and then get a text saying “I’m going home, ive been waiting like 25 minutes. im tired now.” so I text back saying “well, im here. I’ve found my friend from today so do you mind if i still go with him?”

we head over to get me a ticket, and just as I get my ticket, I get this message: “the curfew is 00:00 and make sure you come back before it. and I am absolutely disappointed, I had been waiting for you for 25 min and I broke my promise to the polish guys to see the show at prambannan. if you told me in advance that you are not interested of watching it, I can go by myself.”
what the hell?!?!?! you can’t let someone into your home and then turn schizo on them for a mistake!!!

it turns out that there were 2 Ramayana ballets last night – I’d gone to the wrong one (but the one that was signed very clearly on the map!!!). So I stayed and watched, it finished at half nine and I decide to head back. I asked a little rickshaw man how much to go the station near her house (i didn’t have her address on me, just the name of the station near her house and directions how to get to her house from there)…he didn’t seem to know where it was. so Matthew said he’d walk me home.

we got so lost! asked loads of people…from what I could remember of the street name, they didn’t seem to think it meant anything!! we came the street name, they didn’t seem to think it meant anything!! we came so close and then it was like 11.30 and she wasnt texting me back with her address so we had to get a rickshaw to the taxi terminal and then a taxi to Matthew’s hostel and I had to spend the night there.  huuuuh. so yeah, that’s how I turned 22! fun times.

then today, i make my way back to her house this morning, i arrive she’s SUPER nice to me, says we are going to a cs meet up for the Indonesian independence day (today-my bday!) at 1, but I’d already arranged to talk with my boyfriend at 1 today so i told her this, she was SUPER nice, said she’d take me to a really good cafe with wi-fi and let me borrow her laptop etc, which she did. then we meet her friends at the cafe, they eat, i go upstairs to Skype, feel like she’s telling them about last night…i come down to eat, they are ready to leave, she seems annoyed that she’s having to wait for me to eat…we head to this meet up thing, she ignores me, talking to all her friends individually, they keep looking over at me, its obvious shes telling them about last night. i felt so angry!! you can’t treat people like that!!
then Isaline who I’d met the first night we went out came over and was really nice and I broke down coz my host had been so mean and I wanted to leave. she offered to take me to my hosts house on her scooter to get my stuff and then to town to get a hotel but my host insisted on coming….we left her house, Isaline took me into town and helped me find a hotel and we’re going to go out to a really good restaurant (she’s studying here atm and knows these things!) and have a proper birthday……she couldn’t have been more helpful. but my host was like schizophrenic or something!!! so now I have a nice hotel, with a proper shower and western toilet and I can relax and not be anybody’s pet! it was like I was her cs accessory – when I arrived this morning and said I wanted to use the internet at 1, she said, “well you must be tired, rest in your room til then.” and in her house I felt like I had no option but to rest in my room!! not that i wanted to socialise with her at this point but its the principal….phew. what a day….

Everyone has been lovely except the girl i was staying with!! the most important one to be nice!! hey ho, it’s over now, tomorrow is my new birthday! 🙂

*NOTE*- I am aware of the bad grammar in this post. Frustration doesn’t allow for grammar!

Categories: Indonesia, South East Asia | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“You make like husband and wife in the bedroom?”

Everyday is a holiday in Bali. National Stare At The White Person Day. Everyday. You’d think with they amount of tourists (for reasons beyond my comprehension) that they’d have got over it by now. But apparently not.

My lasting impression of Bali is a dirty, overrated place full of stray dogs and heaps of plastic rubbish. If I was you, I wouldn’t bother.

The family I stayed with were lovely and couldn’t have been more helpful but I just didn’t get Bali. Here’s a little insight into my rather interesting itinerary…

Day One. Bali.

I had arranged a Couchsurfing place to stay in Bali. It was the first time I had tried it and if you’re not aware of it, it’s basically free hosting and staying all around the woirld maybe trading language lessons or cooking a meal. I was eager to try it and thought that a place like Bali, where I know very little about would be a great first place to try it.

I arrive at the airport, having been in text contact with who I thought was Ratna, the 19 year old daughter of the family. I knew that Papajero (the dad of the family) would be picking me up, but because I thought I’d been texting Ratna’s mobile, I thought she would be there too.During the huge visa queue, I get a text “I’m in a blue tshirt outside”. So when I eventually make it out of arrivals, I find myself confronted with many people (a lot with blue tshirts) all waving their signs with names of their victim to Bali. I don’t see my sign, instead Papajero has to ask me if I’m Lindsay, but we get there in the end.

Imagine the scene; arrive in a new country, not being able to speak the language, and then your only way out of the airport being a lone man with a long beard and an old 4 by 4. I was extra alert, any scary sign I’d be jumping out of that car. So when the conversation turned to boyfriends and the question “Do you make like husband and wife in the bedroom?” came up, I was ready to leap onto the nearest motorbike, of which I had plenty of choice.

“Err? Baa…nah, ye…but…meh…that’s a bit personal isn’t it?” was all I could manage on the spot.

“I only ask because in Bali, it is very bad. I meet my wife, we married after only one week.”

And so it went on for 2 and a half hours. Very scared, we eventually arrived at the house. I was started to doubt the family’s existence a little until his son, Udi came running to open the gate. Still not sure what to make of it, I eventually managed to fall asleep.

Day Two. Bali.

I am awoken very early to the sound of Green Day, “I hope you had the time of yoour life”. Yeah right. I attempt to have a shower, it’s quite weak. I go for breakfast and Papajero asks me if I want to go to Candidasa with him. Having no idea what else I can do, where Candidasa is or what there is to do there, I agree. We pick up two Italians from a hotel 5 minutes down the road and set off. It turns out Papajero has never been to Candidasa before and that it’s on the other side of the island. I sit in the hot car on my leather seat for about 8 hours. We had a little lunch break inbetween. By lunch I mean Nasi Campur, which is rice with whatever is lying around. That day little ants were lying around.

By now the dogs, plastic, fires by the road side and overtaking and hooting of every other veichle on the road was becoming quite draining. I was ready to come home. I chose to work damn hard for a year and save every bit of spare cash to have fun and enjoy myself not be stuck in the middle of nowhere, alone with a squat toilet and a pants shower!! The second night was very hard. I was literally planning the quickest way out. I already had a ticket from Bandung to Kuala Lumpur on the 25th of August. To get home from KL would be very easy, and relatively cheap cpared to if I carried on and flew home from somewhere else. This was a very tempting prospect. I could fly home on the 25th, be home for my boyfriends birthday and then come back out again in December – skipping the squat toilets!

It took a lot of self convincing over the time in Bali to stay. I knew, and still know, that if I go home early, I will have left my job for nothing, worked solid for nothing and endured 6 hours sat next to a Somalian pirate for nothing. It would be difficult but I knew I had to stay.

Day Three. Bali.

After the delights of the weak shower, I had to surcome to the mandi. A mandi is a deep bowl in Indonesian bathrooms that is filled with cold water to be scooped out and poured over the body. In the mornings in the mountains in Bali it gets cold, so this takes some courage. It’s not a pleasant experience, but being here in Yogyakarta where it’s a lot warmer, it’s actually quite refreshing.

On the morning of my second full day in Bali, I went to school with Coming. Coming is five and adorable. In fact her whole class were adorable.

I’d asked Papajero if I could maybe drop her off at school with him one day just to see what it was like andI was allowed to stay. For the two hours that they go to school. Towards the end, the teacher asked me if I knew any English songs or games, so I taught them the Hokey Cokey and we played Duck, Duck, Goose. I enjoyed my morning at the school, this was the kind of experience I was after. Things were looking up. Then it came time to leave.

“Oh, you must, email…” I followed the teacher into her office. She pulled out a book full of names, countries and emails. Apparently this happens a lot. I sign the book for her to then pull out another book, with the word “Donation” written on the front. Now, I don’t mind the fact that I had to donate to see the school and participate in the class. What I do mind is the fact that it’s at the end, after I’ve seen the school and participated in the class that the book comes out.

Later that day, Udi took me to the Water Temple on his uncle’s motorbike. I’d never been on a motorbike before and he told me not to hold onto the back because it makes him wobble. So I had to just sit. It was surprisingly easier than I thought! After the water temple, we headed across to the internet cafe.

“Are you going to go on the internet?” I asked Udi, just being nice.

“Yes” he replied.

In we went, and an hour later I head over to the man to pay. My hour had cost 4,500rupiah (it sounds a lot but it’s only 32p!) and I paid with a 10,000 note. The man gave me 3,000 change. I stopped for a moment and wondered whether it was worth questioning. Already hating Bali, I turned around, “Erm, 4,500? I gave you 10,000?”

“Yeah, but you pay for him too.”

I turned to Udi, “Did you use the internet? I though you were just watching that boy. I’m paying for you?”

“Oh yeah, sorry, I forget to tell you.”

“Oh right.”

The hatred for Bali was not due to disappear anytime soon. If you are white, you are rich beyond your wildest dreams don’t you know?

In the afternoon, Papajero invited me to a cock fight. It wasn’t my cup of tea but neither was sitting lonely on a porch in the middle of nowhere, so I agreed to go. Coming came too, and apart from her, I was the only female, and the only white person. Instantly asking for lots of stares. It was a pretty gruesome sight. Not the stares, the cock fight. They put the chickens in bags to make them angry. Then attach a little knife to their ankles and pluck feathers from their heads until they are very angry and then they let them loose on each other. The fight continues until one chicken dies or both are too close to death to fight. Although having said that, I only witnessed one draw.

When we arrived home, my luck had changed. A new family were stood on the restaurant platform looking quite lost. They were from France, and they were my saviours! Not only had they come at the perfect time when I really needed to vent how annoying it is to be thought of as a millionaire everywhere you go (which technically, in Indonesia, I am), but they were French! So I could vent my frustrations with no worries that the family would understand any of what was being said.

It was such a relief.

Day Four. Bali.

Now I had people to do stuff with, things became a lot easier. I had to wake up very early (5am!!) to get my ticket to Yogyakarta…Papajero had to collect a live pig for the ceremony the next day en route…I couldn’t watch the pig being put into a sack and dumped in the car live. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Neither was the chick with it’s legs tied together shoved in the glovebox. We then picked up a grandma. Then another live pig. Then another grandma. THEN we went to get my ticket, finally!  

In the afternoon, me and the parents of the French family went for a walk by the lake with Udi and later on we went to the GitGit waterfall. The waterfall was nice but the main attraction was the endless stalls of the same sarongs, batik and wooden carvings. I didn’t realise just how much you could barter down the goods until I watched the French family do it. I learnt to walk away and pretend you don’t want to pay that much and they instantly lower the price. It feels mean but the prices start ridiculously high so it’s ok. On the way back, we picked up a durian which we ate for dessert later that evening. It smells absolutely vile but tastes like creamy mango. Not bad, but nothing spectacular.

Day Five. Bali.

Day five was a biggie. It was the ceremony that I’d heard so much about. The pig, the fruit, the rice baskets, the gamelan…all was prepared and driven to the family temple. It was a very interesting experience! The gamelan went on and on. Then the dancing begun. Young girls came out one by one and picked their ‘victim’. I don’t know who was more of the victim though – the girl or the picked dancer. The first man to be picked was a leary paedo-esque man and it felt quite uncomfortable to watch.

“I don’t think I can watch this if it’s going to go on for as long as the gamelan goes on” I thought. Then she picked me. Neil’s dad from The Inbetweeners came to mind. (*If anyone sees the film, let me know how it is!!*)

It was actually quite fun and the parents of the French family had a go as well. They were pretty good!!

We were then offered lunch in a bag and I sat next to my new found friend, {insert name here}. I never did find out her name. But she was very old, and short and cute. And she lived in the little house next to the temple. She wouldn’t let go of my hand, it was quite touching. Bali grew on me a little that day.

Day Six. Bali.

On my last day in Bali, we headed to the hot springs pool near Lovina beach. Papajero assured us that we would have time to hit the hot springs, beach and eat all before my bus. And we did!

And now I’m here, in Yogyakarta. So far so good. I spent the first day getting lost and making friends with Yvonne who studies in York and is also travelling solo, so we had lunch together. In the evening, I was invited to a Couchsurfing meet up by my host here. There is a HUGE Couchsurfing community in Yogyakarta. HUGE! Everybody knows everybody.

The next day (yesterday) I took the obligatory trip to Borobudur, which is a very impressive Buddist temple. I went alone but met a couple from Luxembourg on the bus who I felt like I followed around like a lost puppy until we found the temple! After one tour of the temple, I saw Yvonne arrive with someone she had met on the bus, who turned out to be quite the saviour!

My host had been texting me all day with details of the Ramayana ballet. Turns out there’s two Ramayana ballets here! And I got off the bus at the wrong one. Luckily, Matthew (who Yvonne had met on the bus) was there, so I went in with him and not my host (who had gone to the other Ramayana ballet – it’s all very confusing!). Turns out the Transjogja stops at 9. Which isn’t helpful when the performance finishes at 9.30. Matthew offered to walk me home, as the rickshaw driver didn’t seem to know where the bus stop near her house was. If I could have got to there, I could have worked my way back to her house. But no-one apparently knows where they live around here!! Thankfully, Matthew let me sleep at his hostel for the night as the curfew at my hosts house was 12am. This morning has been a restful few hours reading after breakfast on a bench and internet in KFC. Fun times!

Categories: Indonesia, South East Asia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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