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Indonesia

Goodbye Indonesia

The top ten things we've learnt whilst in Indonesia:

1. Boardshorts will not protect you from jellyfish stings in sensitive areas!

2. A stick is all you need to protect yourself from a Komodo Dragon attack (as if, park rangers!)!

3. Rats on boats like oreo goodies and will chew through anything to get them!

4. Don't forget the tax on leaving the country!

5. If you want to boil alive, book a cabin!

6. Cats are persistent when there is seafood on your plate (aka Bat Cat!).

7. Don't forget to plan your transfer to remote islands before you arrive into Bali - whoops!

8. We are millionaires in Indonesia!

9. Ear candling feels good, despite the obvious dangers!

10. Silence is bliss!

Posted by Tam-Jo 17:50 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Gone fishing.....

Or to the spa!

sunny 30 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.

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The whole idea behind spending a few days at the beach in Sengigi, Lombok, was that it looked to be a reasonably big town, perhaps with some kind of nightlife....... we were clearly hoping for too much! But as it turns out, this wasn't such a bad thing as we were all feeling pretty tired after our boat trip. So Day 1....... we discovered just how small and empty Sengigi was. The day was rescued by the local spa, whose 20% off offer enticed us in! Tam and I finally had the dirt from India scrubbed rather rigorously off our faces (needless to say, we were a little concerned about our tans also being scrubbed off!) and Adam tried out the ear candling - a bit of rolled up paper dipped in wax and shoved unceremoniously into your ear and then lit! We reconvened after this at a local bar where we stumbled across some of our fellow tour boat members. After a drink with them we decided that the lack of anything else to do in Sengigi meant that we should revisit the spa for more pampering! The rest of the evening was spent having a few more drinks with our boat friends and then a meal at a local pizzeria where I got bitten alive, but thought it a fair price to pay to be able to watch some rugby on the restaurants TV!!

For the following two days Tam had a well derserved rest with Mr Turtle at our very plush hotel (don't panic people, we haven't suddenly got rich - we're staying in the attached "hostel".... two cheap rooms with a living room and DVD player - SCORE!!). As I'm sure you've all noticed, she was very productive during this time and uploaded a lot of blogs (sorry that we're lagging on the uploads by the way!) and LOADS of photos to facebook. Good work Tam!

I was less productive...... The second day in Sengigi Adam and I went out on a fishing trip. I'm not sure about Adam, but I was expecting to catch a lot of very pretty and colourful fish (which I was rather hoping I would sneakily be able to throw back into the sea before our captain saw!!). Alas it was not meant to be. Our captain caught half a bucket full of fish, including two large ones which we merrily eat for lunch on Gili Air pre-snorkelling (which was disappointing - oh how I miss Gili Meno!). Between me and Adam one fish was caught - a red snapper. Who actually caught this fish is currently in dispute though. How can catching a fish be in dispute? Well, it was my rod and I reeled it in, but for the five seconds that Adam was holding my rod whilst I faffed about with clothing, he swears he hooked the fish..... hhhmmmmmmm..... I think he was just bitter about being the only person in the boat who hadn't caught anything.... :-)

The following day, the three of us spent the morning by the pool, and then Adam and I returned to the spa for some more, very painful, pampering. Adam has some awesome bruises on his legs currently!!! After dinner at the hotel restaurant we all watched a film and then headed to bed.

Today we have travelled to Kuala Lumpur. Not too eventful a journey. Whilst trying to organise the transfer to the airport in Bali, which involved a car, a boat and then another car, Adam and I discovered that I am not good at letting other people haggle for me! But a cheap transfer later we were at the airport in Bali. Although starving hungry, we were cutting it fine for check in so we decided to prioritise that. But after check in we were informed that we were no longer allowed to leave the airport! Lame! For once, thank God for airport taxes and our lack of organisation! We had no money left so they had to let us out to get cash for the exit charge (yes, you have to pay to leave the country!). But the moment we were through the security doors and back out into the humidity we ran for the nearest McDonalds! I love it when we beat the system ;-) Then back in, through security again, and onto the plane. Several hours later, we arrived in KL and our ride to our very, very central hostel meant a beautiful drive through the glittering lights of the city. We like it here already!

Jo xxx

Posted by Tam-Jo 15:34 Archived in Indonesia Tagged and kuala lombok lumpur Comments (1)

Hunting Komodo by Camera

Our epic 5 day voyage at sea

sunny 31 °C
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.

We have spent the most amazing five days living on a boat, sailing from Lombok to Flores, stopping off at places along the way to snorkle, hike and of course, try to spot the famous Komodo Dragon!

This is the link to the tour we did in case in anyone fancies following in our footsteps: http://www.peramatour.com/48-Sea%20Adventure-Hunting-Komodo-by-Camera-0102-4N-5D.html

DAY 1

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All aboard the minibus in Lombok to drive to the port where we'll board our home for the next five days. First stop...a shopping mall in Mataram. Jo and I were super excited to find that there was a SUPERMARKET in this mall!! We have not seen one of these in a while and needless to say, we stocked up on essentials while we had the chance. Toiletry overload!! There was even time for a quick iced Milo (delicious by the way!) at McDonalds before getting back on the minibus to head to our next stop of Mas Bagik. In this small village we saw a pottery demonstration and also had to dodge a seriously deranged turkey that was on the loose!! It was also in this village that the rain started. Not just rain...heavy chunky rain!! And it continued all the way to our next port of call, the Perama Docking port, where thankfully it stopped! We learnt a bit about how the boats for the Perama tour company are built, enjoyed a cup of tea and a banana fritter and then boarded our home for the next five days...boat 117! Whilst enjoying a tasty buffet lunch on board, we sail to Perama Resort; a small island where we snorkeled and sunbathed. There was also a chance to help with some coral replanation but the three of us were so engrossed by the snorkeling that we missed it. Oops!! The evening was spent enjoying a delicious fish barbeque (the tuna was particularly good), a few beers and a dance lesson by our crew. The steps were hard to follow but we all mastered the "shake your ass" move no problem! Great fun! Our first night on board was a bad night's sleep for the three of us...one little cabin with one little fan with three people was like a sauna. So, we decided to sleep on deck for the rest of our tour!

DAY 2

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Early breakfast (as we will come to learn 6:30am is breakfast time every day) followed by a hike up a pretty steep hill on the island of Satonda. Despite being very early in the morning, it was hot! So the walk up the steep hill was a little challenging but completely worth it. The views were beautiful. On the right, the sea and other islands in the distance, on the left, the saltwater lake in the middle of Satonda. Of course we were straight into the lake after the hike to cool down. And apart from the presence of some slimy green stuff where we got in, it was most pleasant! Jo and Adam headed into the sea for a snorkle after this. I happily sat in a cabana on the beach chatting to some fellow tour members...there were a load of nasty looking stones to walk over to get into the sea so I gave it a miss...my feet are still ruined from the rocks on Meno! Most of the rest of the day was spent sailing east so we sunned ourselves on the boat whilst enjoying a few Bintangs!

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We had one more stop that day...a little rocky beach. It was here that Patch practiced his dance moves from last night (video coming soon)! He sure has got some moves!! A chilled out evening on board the boat followed where a few of us learnt a new drinking game "Scottle of Botch" (get it?) from fellow tour member Stephen. And so we spent our first night sleeping on deck. It was so much better than the cabin...breezy, spacious and we could watch the sunrise in the morning (albeit half asleep)!

DAY 3

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Komodo Island day! After a briefing from our chief guide Gerry, we were all very nervous about our expedition on Komodo Island. These reptiles can weigh over 90kg and run at 20km/hour. And all we have to protect us on our hike through their territory are a few rangers with sticks. Not rifles or even knives...sticks! We were in hope that the komodos would still be sleepy at that time in the morning and that they had eaten well last night! The hike lasted about an hour and a half. Within the first twenty minutes we saw two komodo dragons. They were massive! I think we were all quite shocked at how close we got to them (see the pictures above). Incredible! We saw a load more komodo dragons at the end of our hike near the rangers' huts and the canteen where we stopped for a cold drink. Also on our walk we saw nests of the Komodo Dragon, deer, some pretty birds and a unicorn (in reality just a deer with just one horn but we think it was lucky to see nonetheless)!

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Next stop for the day was Pink Beach which was so so beautiful. The sand was so white and so soft. And the snorkeling was amazing! Bright coral, loads of fish and someone even saw a turtle (not us unfortunately)! After a bit of jumping off the boat into the sea (Adam was extra brave and went from a pretty high up platform) we had another tasty lunch and then set sail to the port town of Labuan Bajo.

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After walking the length of Labuan Bajo (which did not take long as it's very small) we ascertained that there wasn't all that much to do there. So we went to an Italian restaurant and enjoyed some pizza before going back to the boat to relax before the party onboard the boat in the evening. It was a farewell party for those leaving the tour in Labuan Bajo and a welcome party for those joining from Labuan Bajo. Patch had an early night this particular evening so unfortunately we cannot blame him for our antics! We played some "Scottle of Botch", watched the crew perform a frankly amazing dance routine, consumed some locally brewed spirit (still not sure what this was) and danced a lot!!

DAY 4

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More komodos! Our early morning hike on day four of our tour was on Rinca Island. Rinca Island itself is just stunning. It looks like it could be the setting of some Jurassic Park type film! We saw a lot more wildlife today than on Komodo Island; a water buffalo, deer, wild pigs, monkeys and more komodos!

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It was soooo unbelievably hot though...we were all grateful that the snorkeling spot from Rinca Island was only a fifteen minute boat trip! Unfortunately, the sea there was riddled with jellyfish so most of us just sat in the water long enough to cool down before making a getaway! Adam tried to brave it and ended up being stung in the most sensitive of areas; face and groin! Ouch!

The rest of the day was spent on the boat sailing west. That evening on board we witnessed some amazing lightening storms in the distance whilst enjoying some Aspalls cider which Adam had very kindly bought over from the UK for us! I haven't drunk cider in years but this was super tasty and I'll certainly be trying it again when I get back home in 2013! Thanks Adam :-)

DAY 5

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We awoke this morning moored up near Moyo Island. After breakfast we hiked half an hour inland to a waterfall. It was so pretty! Adam was the super brave one and swung out on the rope swing into the lagoon below...I merely jumped off the edge...Jo couldn't quite be persuaded to do either! Sitting in the lagoon was very refreshing and we even managed to swim under the waterfall into the little cavern underneath. A lovely morning!! The last stop on our tour was Keramat Island; a teeny tiny island with just one house on it. Apparently the couple there had been living in this secluded paradise for over 30 years! We spent some time snorkeling here and making friends with the local cat before heading back to our boat.

Then the long sail back to Lombok. We managed to keep ourselves entertained by reading, dozing and playing cards. We'd all had so much sun exposure by then that no-one really fancied sitting on deck sunbathing!

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On arriving at our port in Lombok we had a three hour minibus ride back to Senggigi. On the way we saw some awesome lorries...pimped out with a ridiculous number of neon lights! During this journey we also had to work out which hotel we'd booked to stay in in Senggigi! Luckily Adam managed to get some internet on his phone for this. We are definitely getting less and less organised as time goes on...we like to think this is us becoming more laid back as a result of our travels!

When we got to our hotel we were greeted by friendly staff and a turtle in the pond who continually tried to make his escape whilst we had a couple of drinks and some potato wedges! Despite his efforts, Mr. Turtle did not make it out of the pond...perhaps Patch will give him a helping hand tomorrow ;-)

Tam xx

Posted by Tam-Jo 06:14 Archived in Indonesia Tagged perama Comments (1)

A small slice of paradise!

sunny 32 °C
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So after our epic day or so's travelling we all made it to Gili Meno safe and sound, if a bit knackered. Waking up this morning was quite the experience, seeing as we arrived in total darkness last night... we truly are in paradise, or if not pretty damn close - white coral beaches, palm trees and did I mention its abolutely boiling, you get the idea. Last night was spent in a small bamboo A frame and soon after breakfast (a mixed bag of tropical fruit platters and bannana and choclote pancakes) we were shown the bamboo house we will be spending the next few days in. AMAZING! A two storey bamboo house fully equipped with balcony and hammock. You can see and hear the sea from all the rooms and most importantly from the hammock/balcony.

After a swift moving of bags to the new pad we all quickly ventured down to the beach and in to one of the very nice Kabannas, as Jo calls them, (a bamboo beach gazebo type thing). After about thirty minutes we all decided it was toooo hot (this was going to become a common theme, nothing to worry about as far as I am concerned, minus a 'bit' of sunburn) so ventured in for a swim.... seriously I've had colder baths (those of you that know me will know that I occasionally have a tendency to exaggerate, I can assure you that this is not the case here). After some lunch of fried squid and salad, which Jo and Tam seemed very pleased about after so much curry in India, we had a walk around the island; about an hour walk.... we are pretty much the only people here.

On to the evening....Tuna Burger..... yes please!!!! We were not the only people who thought this was a good choice and met the acquaintance of a very small black cat....aka....Bat Cat! (he has MASSIVE ears!). Cue the poker and Bombay Sapphire on the balcony, good times!

Day two in paradise followed a smiliar theme of beach, sun, more fried squid rings and salad; which I caved in on this time to avoid any possible food envy! A good choice. Me and Jo went snorkling after lunch and saw a sea snake and two turtles just out on the reef in front of where we were staying. The snorkelling here was better than we both expected and to see all that straight off was awesome... we are slowly developing 'sign language' for when we spot anything of interest or potential danger. The sign for a jelly fish is a clenched fist with the other hand wiggling below it. Defintely need to have these things sorted as I will discover in a few days (I'm writing this a few days on) after been stung on the bollock and top lip.... nice!.... More poker and Bombay Sapphire and some whisky for me (it really doesnt take much to be a milionaire out here, a picture says a thousand words, see above!).

A quick trip to the neighbouring island, Gili Trawangan, was in order today for a bit of an explore but also to use its cash point. Jo and Tam picked well, Gili T as it is known, is a lot busier and generally a different scene to Meno, i.e. a lot of people getting smashed and listening to trance music etc... it was a nice trip out for the day though and satisfying to know we are all much happier where we are :-) Also don't want to say it seeing as I seem to have mentioned food a lot but 'monster ribs' was on a menu, 2 whole racks and the most ridiculous portion of calamari......it ws a nice change to only have to order one meal instead of my minimum of 2 mains and a desert where we were staying, great food but just not enough... I think the staff are beginning to find it a bit funny.

Over the next couple of days everyone has become a bit more accustomed to doing nothing and relaxing, so we did exactly that. More shennanigans with Bat Cat...my word he is persistent, although I can relate to his fear of not knowing where his next meal is coming from; I have been know to get the food fear even when going out of the house for a bit...

It is rainy season here, not that it has rained yet, but times time and the thunder started directly over head with lightening hitting the sea a bit too close for comfort... cancel the swimming this afternoon! Balcony and more poker, but it never really rained and the storm passed before it really started. A good excuse to stay on the balcony though.

On another quick walk around the island me and Tam both managed to mangle our feet. Tam's feet got hit by some coral boulders in the surf and mine was, I have to say, not quite as unexpected... there was a small log which had been burnt at one end perfectly placed to be kicked so I couldn't resist, momentarily forgetting that I was wearing flip flops... huge splinter right underneath my big toe nail!!! Jo and Tam will verify this. After a quick beer and a bit of work with the pen knife it was removed. No more kicking things for me!

More snorkelling for the 3 of us, which was as epic as before but minus the turtles. Fingers crossed we see some more and maybe some dolphins for Jo on the Komodo tour. More sunbathing then over to Lombok and the Perama tour for the Komodos, and over to Tam.

Adam : )

Posted by Tam-Jo 06:07 Archived in Indonesia Tagged gili meno Comments (1)

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