Our journey from Jakarta to Bali took us to the city of Yogyakarta. Getting there was extremely uncomfortable and nearly ended in disaster for me!
We took the boat from Kalipucang near Pangandaran, a journey of three hours along the Citanduy River to Cilacap and then a further three hour bus ride into Yogyakarta. It seemed a great idea, especially after the pretty horrid journey we had getting to Pangandaran only a couple of days before.
However, our boat turned out to be a motorised barge. It was far too hot to sit below deck due to the lack of aircon and the fact that you could not open the windows without getting wet. We therefore sat on the crowded deck. The ‘seat’ was the edge of the wooden vessel and in no time at all my backside was totally numb and my legs suffering from cramp.
On top of this the diesel engine belched out fumes that due to wind direction blew straight into our faces. That was a long three hours I can tell you despite the interesting scenery and river life that we witnessed.
When we arrived there was a scrum of locals racing to get off first whilst the bemused and stiffened travellers looked on. It was soon time to hoist up the rucksack and head ashore to the waiting buses, tuk tuks and cyclos. This is when I had one of those hair raising moments that still brings a shudder when I think about it.
There was a bamboo ramp that you had to jump on by perching on the side of the boat and levering yourself across the open water – a distance of about a metre. Easy enough even for a clumsy oaf like me. What I had forgotten to factor in though was the weight of the ruck sack that I unadvisedly wore on my back.
I leapt for the ramp with plenty of upward momentum to ensure I got over the water hazard. Unfortunately instead of keeping a forward trajectory across the bouncy bridge, my motion was dragged back by the shifting bulk in my rucksack and for an awful few seconds I felt myself toppling backwards from whence I had come, at best straight into the water and at worst accompanied by a knockout blow from the structure of the boat.
As I tottered, wildly waving my arms to try and regain my balance, visions of my impending doom flashed before me.
Much to my relief, I at last regained control and lurched forward onto one knee with a small splinter being the only collateral damage endured. Phew!!
Hamish was oblivious to all this drama as he had alighted perfectly ahead of me and was now inundated with transport offers. He of course found it hilarious when I explained on the bus journey why I was white as a sheet! I was to get my revenge though…….
Yogyakarta turned out to be a very interesting if crowded and polluted city. The highlight was undoubtedly the visit to the Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat complex (Sultan’s Palace).
We visited the next morning by walking from our hotel. I had somehow managed to smash a hole in the ceiling during the night trying to kill an annoying mosquito! Luckily the chambermaids didn’t notice.
After exploring the palace and surrounding area we decided to invest in the luxury of a cyclo for the twenty minute journey to our hotel. Infuriatingly our driver got totally lost and forty minutes later we were nowhere near home. The poor guy was also getting very tired as he hauled two ‘heavy’ Westerners up hills.
He stopped for a rest, sweat dripping from his brow. I took the opportunity to leap out of the carriage to show him the map once more. The issue was he had descended from his saddle too and in an instant Hamish was lying on his back with the wheels of the upturned cyclo spinning furiously!
After the driver and I had heaved the vehicle upright once more, I then proceeded to ‘wet myself laughing’. It took Hamish some time to find the funny side and our driver just looked like he wished he had never met us!
In the end it took over seventy minutes to reach our hotel. Mr Tan was happy to receive triple pay to make up for his efforts, but I had the feeling that he would be needing a long rest before his next punter.
What is it with Hamish & I with cyclos? You can read another episode in Vietnam here. I am wondering where and when the third instalment will be!