In October 1997 Hamish and I visited Indonesia, Java and Bali to be precise.
Having started in Jakarta we made our way to the Indian Ocean via train, bus and private hire. The leg from Lembang to Pangandaran was pretty uncomfortable at over nine hours, the basic Javan roads going up and down hills and mountains rather than through them.
We even suffered a blow out en-route, with the wheel changed by our driver by torch light as we were eaten alive by bugs and mosquitoes. On close inspection we could see that both the spare and the wheel replaced had tyres that were as bald as a coot, a state we also found existed on the other three!
Luckily we could see the lights of our destination at this point and we virtually free-wheeled down the hillside into the coastal town.
We awoke next day to find that Pangandaran was a gorgeous place, remarkably with barely any tourists. The sea was tranquil, colourful fishing boats bobbing up and down as they secured their catches of the day.
I was also happy to find out that England had secured their place at the 1998 World Cup with a draw in Italy overnight. I actually stayed up until the small hours to watch on the hotel satellite TV, only for a power cut to scupper those plans ten minutes before kick-off.
We went on a lovely jungle walk, despite the fact that the wild porcupines refused to budge from inside their dark cave, the raging waterfall was reduced to a trickle due to the lack of rain and the wonderful purple orchid that bloomed for two weeks of the year being about a week past its best.
Notwithstanding that we were rewarded with some breathtaking cliff top views and plenty of interesting plant, bird and insect life, as well as some stunning sunsets.
Sadly Pangandaran was badly hit in the Asian tsunami, but has happily bounced back to its best once more.