You know that place in movies where a car of friends breaks down and half of them are saying things like "Guy's we can't stay here." "It's weird we need to get out ASAP." And a couple others are saying, "Oh come on it's fine!" "Yeah nothing is going to happen, stop being babies!" and then they are all murdered in horrible ways, except for one that ends up laying on the side of the road all bloody from her daring escape, that's the place we ended up. We were all joking about the movie thing but I think deep down we really were a bit nervous! No transport out, no internet, probably no cell service and a volcano still decently active! I'd also come up with the scenario that in the night we"d be captured and sacrificed to some dinosaur like creature that stops the volcano from erupting and destroying the town, but that seems a bit more far-fetched!
Mia wanted to do a volcano trek so off to Toya Bungkah we went. We knew it was off-season but that hasn't stopped us from running into loads of travelers everywhere we go. So it was a bit shocking to discover that we were pretty much the only 4 foreigners in this little town that was probably a great place many, many years ago! Upon arriving we headed out for lunch and then decided to walk down to the lake. It wasn't long before a little girl was hot on our heels trying to sell us snacks and she wouldn't take no for an answer. At one point I even had to suppress an overwhelming urge to push her into the murky water. Other people half-assed trying sell us pictures or bracelets, they sort-of resembled zombies saying braaaceleeeets, paiiintiiings, maaaaaaaaaa as they slowly approached us.
Other than volcano trekking and fly swatting there appears to be absolutely nothing to do there. So we ended up partaking in what seems to be a local pastime, people watching from the porch of our bungalow. Mia's trek began at 4am and after she'd returned and rested for a couple hours we headed for Lovina to catch another ride to the port and onto a ferry bound for Java.
We stayed for one night in the city next to the port... I have no idea what it was called but we discovered an amazing pancake/cheese/crepe thing and have since been trying to locate more! In the morning we headed to the bus station and caught the "express" bus to Solo. We were told that if we left right away @ about 10:30am we'd arrive in Solo by 7,9 or 8... yes 7,9 or 8 that night AND it didn't stop it went STRAIGHT there. Well, we must have all had some kind of blackout because we forgot how good the people here are at telling you straight up what was about to happen!
The bus stopped several times to pick people up. It was pouring for most of the trip inside and outside of the bus. The AC was up full blast and by the end of our not 10 but 16 hour damp journey we all had the beginnings of a cold! LOVELY! It would have been great had they just said, yeah it's going to take 16 hours because we would have been prepared!
When we arrived in Solo we were ushered to a bemo that probably shouldn't have been allowed to carry fruit let alone people. Ally's door wouldn't shut, the guy couldn't get his open, then it wouldn't start and then it smoked and then we stopped to check the tires before he stopped outside a dark alley and pointed to it saying we had arrived at the homestay. It turned out that the alley did indeed lead to the homestay and after standing outside ringing the bell a weary little guy opened the door and took us to a couple rooms!
So far Java is proving to be far superior to Bali. People allow you to go about your business without hassling you. We found a place with internet for next to nothing, laundry service WITH a dryer and cheap food and drinks! Now if we could just find some fruit we'd all be beyond happy!
Soon we'll be heading up to Yogyakarta where we'll hopefully hit up some lovely temples before moving up to Jakarta and onto Singapore.