Boracay Island

Here I am on island bliss.

image

White Beach to be precise, on Boracay Island in The Visayas area, just off Panay. It was another clockwork aeroplane job to get here, with an amusing 10 Kg baggage allowance, so I had to fly with half my stuff in my hand baggage which ended up weighing about 12 Kg. I flew to Caticlan which is a small town on Panay, from the airport you can walk 5 minutes to the port to catch a “bangka”, a boat with bamboo outriggers on which wearing lifejackets is compulsory (!) which takes you over to Boracay.

image

The beach is beautiful, no doubt about that, it’s quite long at about 4 Km total length. There are 3 disused boat stations along the beach, station 1 being towards the north end, 2 in the middle and 3 further south. They serve no purpose today apart from as a means of identifying where a place is, they sit on a sand path just above the beach which has literally hundreds of restaurants, guesthouses and resorts along it. So a place will be described as being “200 metres north of station 2” or whatever. Slightly further inland, a parallel road runs the length of the island called Main Road which is not without irony, as it’s the only road on the island as such.

I’m staying right at station 3, in a suite which is costing 35 quid a night which is a bargain for Boracay during Holy Week. It’s run by a Swiss guy who told me the rate would be going up to nearer 45 quid tonight as the holiday sets in, but in fact he’s still only charging me the lower price. South of station 3 is the more mellow and laid back area of the beach, where all the cool kids hang out, like me, obviously. It’s lovely with many cheaper restaurants and reggae bars on the beach and stuff. I’ve just come back from one where we were treated to a nice sunset.

image

image

Further north, things get much busier, the strip is back-to-back with expensive seafood buffet restaurants like this one. Later they will set up the tables in here, and the gazebo will be guarded by a man with a gun, just the same as my hotel in Manila was. It’s an odd feeling, and not one I relish really.

image

Lovely though it all is, it’s not really my kind of place – most of the tourists you come across are just beach bums, the expats are even worse. A German bar just up the beach from here is very cool, but all 3 days I’ve been here, the same fat German guys sit there from around noon until closing time, with their shirts off, and seriously even in Livingston these guys would look big. Not pleasant.

I’ve been dancing around the internet half of the day, trying to work around the Holy Week annoyance. Again I have succeeded, bagging a cheap flight back to Manila tomorrow, followed by another cheap one to Puerta Princessa on Palawan in the west the day after. From El Nido I’m taking a 5 day/4 night bamboo boat through the Bacuit Archipelago with around 23 other random travellers. You sleep on beaches on remote inaccessible islands and live on seaweed and fish that you’ve caught that day and stuff. Should be interesting!

Manila

Well, I’ve been doing a good job that it does pay to plan ahead, at least a little bit…

Firstly, I flew from Brunei to KL in complete ignorance that it’s the Formula 1 race weekend there. Astonishingly, even though I landed not long after qualifying had finished and the airport is close to the circuit with the bus passing right by it, I was totally unaware of this until I had already checked into a hotel in Chinatown and somebody just mentioned it in passing in the hallway! Even when I went out for dinner, there was no noticeable impact on the local area that the race was on. It’s just as well I didn’t know to be honest, otherwise I’d have been having a personal crisis, worrying whether or not I would find a room.

A fairly long and boring flight brought me to Manila the next day, landing fairly late at 10.30pm. There are two airports in Manila, the main one is fairly close to the city and the cheapy one is 2 hours away, where I thought I was landing. As it was late and also a dodgy part of the city I’d never been to before, I decided to book ahead a room near the airport. It was only after I landed, that I found out that we came into the other airport and I stayed in town instead, losing the dosh on the other hotel. Planning blunder #2….

The prize jewel though is blunder #3, when I went for breakfast this morning, I saw several notes in restaurant windows stating that they will be closed from Weds to Sun for “Holy Week”. A few beads of sweat and some research later revealed that it’s Easter this coming weekend – I’d no idea, it really is amazing how such time-related events pass you by when travelling. The Philippines has one of its major public holidays in the days in the run up to Easter…. not ideal… After another meltdown whilst frantically scanning the internet and making a few calls, I think I’ve recovered the situation, as always seems to be the case when these things happen. I’ve got a flight for a pretty good fare tomorrow to Boceray, one of the major island beach hangouts, and have hopefully got a reservation in a pretty decent beach cabin for a not too ridiculous price for the next 4 days. Fingers crossed!

I’m not enamoured by Manila, it has to be said, what little I’ve seen of it. I’m staying downtown in Manate, one of the cheaper areas to stay wth lots of bars and stuff. I didn’t go out last night but will have a wee cruise later to see what I can find…

These are “jeepneys”, a major form of local transportation

image

Some of the bars have strict and very specific entry restrictions

image

No matter how drunk I get, I shouldn’t miss my flight tomorrow at 11.30, as my alarm clock is across the street from my hotel window, two cockerels living in these cages on the pavement

image

Posted from Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Brunei

What can I find to say about Brunei? Hmmmm, this may be a short entry… I got a boat from KK to Pulau Labau, an island just off Brunei, a duty free area of Malaysia. I had to wait there for a couple of hours, just enough time for a bite to eat and a very cheap beer. Another boat brings you to the port about 25 Km outside the Brunei capital, Bandar Seri Bagawan, where myself and 4 other travellers crammed into a normal-sized car to get a ride into the capital. He dropped us for a quick walk up to a waterfall en route, and didn’t even drive off with our luggage!

I checked into a wonderful hotel, sharing the cost of the room with a Danish guy from my cab, which was good as this place has a relatively high price tag for this part of Asia, with the room being about 40 quid. Off we went for a wander to see the, errrrr, sights. There’s a mosque

image

and a water village, supposedly the largest in the world

image

image

 

There’s not much left of this place. You can just make out the squat toilet, still in situ on the raised section of the plinth

image

And, that’s about it…. Nonetheless, despite the lack of things to do, I enjoyed spending a night here, it’s different and worthy of a swift visit I think. Having lunch by my rather nice hotel pool whilst waiting to head off to the airport and KL

Mount Kinabalu

After a strange night in the village of Kundasang, where I seemed to be the only westerner, I got a first look at the mountain from my hotel window. Looks simple enough? The little shining objects near the top of the vegetation line are the huts at Laban Rata where I will spend the first night, at 3,273 metres above sea level. For those who need context, Ben Nevis is 1,343 metres tall.

image

I got a lift to the park entrance 6 km away and began the process of registration. Some people criticise the slight mayhem that goes on here, and I can see why. You go to one place to register for the hut, another to get your climbing permit, another to get your guide, another to pick up your packed lunch, another to buy water and snacks, and yet one more to stow your unneeded luggage. If you just ignore the bigger groups of people doing all this though, and get on with your own business, it’s really quite straightforward.

My guide, who speaks little English, took me by car to the Timpohon Gate where you begin the ascent at 1,866 metres. The first leg is 6 km, a fairly gruelling constant ascent on a good track with regular shelters with drinking water and real toilets! Signs at 500 metre intervals inform you of your progress, this one at almost twice the height of Ben Nevis and still another 2.5 Km to go today…

There are many porters also ascending. The first one here carries a full gas cylinder, and they’re fast!

image

My guide looked me up and down at the start and told me this first leg would take 5 hours, and as is normal in Borneo, the clients go in front and the guide follows behind. I made it in 3 hours, I didn’t see much of the guide as he couldn’t keep up. Once again I am feeling smug, but probably justly this time 🙂 The staff at the lodge were also amazed to see me already. I was the first of the day apart from a couple of Swedes who set off at first light with the intention of making the summit in one day, but they failed and are spending the night here too instead.

image

This sign is made from a rotor blade of one of the helicopters used to transport the building materials of the hut up to the mountain.

image

I enquired about a place on the via ferratta tomorrow but it’s fully booked. Blast.

The dorm in the hut is lovely and dinner, which comes at 4.30pm and I await now smells good too. Breakfast will be at 2.30am. Help!

Dinner has been and gone, very nice it was too. From the terrace we were treated to a lovely show as the sun set on a load of swirling rain clouds below us

image

So, time has passed and I didn’t get much sleep due to some inconsiderate bastards in my dorm. My guide told me we could set off at 3am instead of 2.30 as I’d been so fast the day before, which suited me fine, I can tell you. Around 50 or 60 sorry looking folk piled out the door and onto the mountain as I was coming down for my breakfast. There was only me and 3 others, also granted some sort of special dispensation to lie in (maybe their guide couldn’t be arsed?) and I duly set off at 3 with my guide, who I lost within the first two minutes I think.

It is, of course, pitch black and you wear head torches to see your way up this second section, which is much steeper and more technical than the first, even though it’s only 2.7 Km in length. You need your hands free a lot to haul yourself up steep rock faces and so on. It wasn’t long before I started overtaking other climbers, then more, then more, then all of them. Yup, despite setting off 4th from last, I reached the summit first, once again I am feeling totally smug – I thought I was old and past it but it seems there’s something left in me yet! This is the marker as I arrived up there at 4.30am

image

Now the problem here is that the temperature is around zero and it’s very windy, and I have to wait until 6.15am for the sun to rise. Being first up somewhat backfired… Rise it did and it performed all the usual funky stuff

image

If it looks as though I’m totally knackered and freezing here, it’s because I am

image

All that remains is to come down, you go back to the rest house at Laban Rata for a second breakfast, naturally I was there first again. On the way in you can catch a glance of where I’ve just come from

image

Then my guide sets us off early to return to base (guess who made it there first) which was a good thing actually as I managed to pal up with three Malay guys from KK and share a taxi back there with them which has given me plenty of time to go for an excellent and much needed massage, my legs turned to jelly around the 2 Km marker on the way back down and they are hurting bad..

One more night here and then yet another fairly early start to catch an 8am ferry to Brunei tomorrow

Mulu

It’s been a few days – but I’ve been deep in the jungle, far from electricity and even farther from the internet. From Miri I flew to the semi-international airport at Mulu, with one of the most elaborate baggage reclaim systems I’ve seen

image

Mulu is a national park in the jungle, not really accessible by road even though it’s only a 30 minute flight from Miri on a clockwork aeroplane. It’s a limestone karst region, with some caves to lose yourself in and plenty of strenuous jungle hikes to do. My little group of four Germans and myself spent the first night in a lodge near the park headquarters, and on day one visited the nearby Deer and Lang’s caves. I’ve umpteen shots inside the caves of the various formations, none of them any good of course, but Deer cave is famous for the 2 million or so bats that live inside (there are no deer) and also for being, arguably, the largest cave system in the world.

If you’re lucky and the weather is good enough, as we were, the bats head out at dusk to hunt. The black swirl that looks a bit like the loch ness monster is one batch of bats emerging, there must’ve been 30 or 40 batches of them like this that came out
image

Next morning a boat takes us to Wind and Clearwater Caves, navigating through the shallowest of waters, in places you could actually see the boat going uphill slightly in the rapids

image

This is Sonja and Anja in Wind Cave

image

After this, Sonja departed back to HQ as she only stayed a night, Anja and her boyfriend were supposed to be coming on with us to trek up to Camp 5 deep in the jungle to ascend the Pinnacles, but her boyfriend was on his death bed so they stayed back at HQ instead. And then there were two…..

From the caves the boat took us further up river, then began an 8.8 Km trek through thick jungle, Kristina negotiates a rickety bridge

image

Our guide, Wan, follows, usually lurking in the distance somewhere, with a porter behind carrying our dinner (but no beer!!!)

image

There are leeches here, none of us got any on the way in, but on the way back I had about 6, deftly dealt with by Wan using a combination of insect repellent, salt and a burning cigarette. The trail brings us to camp 5

image

A lovely spot in the middle of nowhere, the river providing the perfect opportunity to rinse off the day’s ludicrous quantity of sweat as the next day’s group preparing to ascend the Pinnacles demonstrate

image

Sleeping arrangements are basic, to say the least

image

The next morning, a 5.45 am breakfast sets us up ready to head off at 6.30am for the Pinnacles, a grueling, steep ascent through dense jungle, starting from camp 5 at 50 metres elevation up to the top of Gunung Api at 1760 metres. This is the before shot – within about 10 minutes of this being taken, we were both drenched in sweat for the rest of the entire day

image

Near the summit, things start to get a bit more technical

image

image

Then before you know it, you’re there. The Pinnacles are up to 45 metres high, the whole mountain is actually made up of these, but most of them are covered with trees and vegetation

image

image

image

Wan and Kristina at the view point, pondering on the impending descent – twice as hard as the ascent

image

We all made it back down safely though, these two weary looking souls return, two hours after me (I actually have a smug look on my face as I type)

image

Another night at camp 5 gives us a chance to recuperate for a bit before the small matter of the 8.8 Km trek back through the jungle to the boat, which actually takes us directly to the airport. I think I can say it’s a first for me to arrive at an airport by boat!

Kristina was going in the other direction to me and went to Miri, whereas I reunited with Anja and the now recovered  Robert and flew to Kota Kinabalu where I spent a couple of nights. It’s a reasonably big city and not particularly interesting, but it was nice just to relax and get some laundry done, as everything that I took into the jungle was stinking beyond belief. The door lock on my hostel amused me

image

Yup, that really is locked only with a baseball bat.

Today I have transferred by bus to Kundasang, a tiny village in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu. I am at some 1588 metres elevation now and the temperature is a cool 28C or so, with my hotel hilariously having a thick duvet on the bed. Tomorrow I begin the trek to the summit of Kinabalu, the highest mountain in SE Asia at 4095 metres. Tomorrow night will be spent in the Laban Rata hut at 3272 metres, which is very high for me to be sleeping at. Even on Mont Blanc we only slept at about 2800 metres, I think. So that will be a challenging night to catch your breath I should think, not least because a failure in the generator up there means that there is no heating or hot water at the moment. Maybe I should carry this duvet up with me! The following morning we start at 2.30am to hopefully reach the summit in time for sunrise. On the way down, I may try for a place on the via ferrata which is the highest in the world. No doubt more on all this if/when I get safely back to Kota Kinabalu on Thursday.

Onward plans to work around the political troubles to the east have been made. Friday morning I will take a boat to Brunei, spend one night there and then fly to KL the next day, then to Manila in the Philippines the day after that.

Kuching to Miri

I had a decent overnight coach journey through to Kuching. This coach was pure luxury, having a toilet and everything, which is unusual down here. The directions on the door were amusing, asking you to stand closer because “Big John” is not as long you think he is….

image

The only criticism I had for the journey, and it’s a common complaint, is that they run the aircon so hard that it’s absolutely freezing. Why oh why do they do this? The locals are all used to this, and come aboard with fleeces and blankets and everything in an attempt to keep warm.

Kuching is a very pleasant city, there’s not much to wax lyrical about apart from having some very nice food there. It has a collection of cat statues dotted around the city, including this very revered big one

image

Couldn’t be more naff really, could it? But two coach loads of locals stopped to have their photo taken with it whilst I was there. Of course, I had to do my usual modelling thing with many of them too

image

The next day I ended up flying to Miri, I had planned to bus it but the flight was so cheap it wasn’t worth spending another 16 hours on a bus with Big John. Miri is also nice, not as competitive on the food front as Kuching, but there are plenty of places to hangout, including this Irish bar celebrating Paddy’s Day on the 16th March. I hadn’t the heart to tell them it’s actually on the 17th

image

I had dinner in a seafood restaurant last night, next to these guys, one of whom was determined not to get his feet wet

image

Outside a proud man catches a rat, not sure if the photo is clear but it’s alive and kicking in that cage

image

Today I made an aborted attempt to get to the caves at Niah. It’s a slight pain, you catch a bus to a highway service station, and from there you have to negotiate with private car drivers who are hanging around looking for business, to drive the remaining 15Km to the national park. I was the only tourist out there and not having much luck haggling the price, so what with even more hassle to try and get back I imagined I would have, decided to abandon that. Besides, I’m flying up to Mulu tomorrow for a 4 day excursion into the caves and hiking the Pinnacles up there. It’s a fairly pricey trip, but I’ve not spent much on activities so far (apart from the drinking of beer)

I learned yesterday of the trouble that has flared up east of here, from the random strangers that I accepted a lift into town from the airport with, as you do… It’s something about some Filippinos that have invaded a town here last month, and now the governments have declared the whole eastern section of Borneo and the south of the Philippines as no-go areas, scuppering my plans to go to Semporna and then by boat to the Philippines. I can still go to Mount Kinabalu, which I will do after Mulu, but then I think I’m forced to fly back to KL and then on to Manila from there. Muchly annoying…

Pontianak

I flew onto Borneo yesterday, arriving at the town of Pontianak in Kilmantan district relatively hassle free. It’s a pretty boring town to be honest, I’ve only seen two Westerners so far, one bored looking business traveller I think, in a posh hotel bar and another bloke walking down the street with a “I really don’t know where I am..” expression etched across his face. The main attribute of note that the town has is that it’s bang on the equator, OK so it’s tourist tacky I suppose but I had to get the shot. My right leg is in the southern hemisphere whilst my left is in the northern.

image

The monument to mark it, behind me, has been there since 1928. It is, perhaps, surprisingly difficult to get easy access to a place to do this really. Much of the equator is in water, it misses the mainland of Asia altogether, passing just below Singapore, and is far north of Australia. It passes through South America, through Ecuador of course and then remote areas of Brazil. It passes through central Africa, from memory through countries like Congo, Uganda and Senegal, none of which you’re likely to end up in too often. Then it passes through some Indonesian islands, through the middle of Sumatra but not near major cities, then Borneo of course and a few other minor ones.

I tried to get a reading of exactly zero on the GPS but after ages of wandering around, looking like a tourist trying to get a reading of zero on his GPS, I had to settle for one of 0.00001 N and another of -0.00001 S. You can average them out, I suppose…

image

image

The number that matters is the first half of “Location”, the second half being the longitude.

It’s a short ferry ride and a long, sweaty walk from town to get to the marker. It’s not even that it’s overly hot, not more than mid 30’s I should think, but the sun is so close to being directly above you that it prevents the normal technique of shade by walking close to buildings or trees, as unless you can get right under something then they don’t help. You can see the very short shadow that this pole on the left casts, we’re fairly close to the equinox near the end of this month which means the sun would be exactly overhead at noon, and means that Europe will soon be getting its “summer”.

image

In fact, I took this photo at 1pm instead of noon as I muddled up the complicated timezones that this area has, and this photo looks West so most of this short shadow is caused by the setting sun anyway. On the road I passed a variety of shops, these three within 10 feet of each other. I’m not sure what they’re selling, but I decided against parting with GBP1.70 to lug around 3 kilos of the stuff to find out.

image

image

image

I also had to stop several times to have my photo taken with locals, shop keepers and garage mechanics were literally downing tools to come out and have group photos with me in the middle. I suppose they see so few Westerners, and even fewer people of my kind of height.

One other weird feature of this town is an obsession with sweet treats, bakeries and cake shops are in abundance like this one.

image

Even the coffee shop I am in has given me a free doughnut with my coffee. Most unusual to find this kind of stuff in Asia.

There seems an extraordinarily wide selection of coaches around that make the 11 hour journey each night across the land border into Malaysian Borneo and then onto Kuching, tonight I will aboard one of those and saying bye bye to Indonesia and Bintang beer for the last time on this trip.

Gili Air

Having got a few opinions from people, I decided to move from Trawangan to Gili Air instead of Meno. Air is closest to the Lombok mainland, and the middle of the three islands in terms of size. It was VERY quiet compared to Trawangan, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for a night.

I had probably the best snorkelling session I’ve ever had. I don’t know much about fish, beyond the fact that cod is usually more expensive than haddock, but there were heaps and heaps of fish to look at, all sorts of brightly coloured ones too. I hooked up with a giant turtle, more commonly seen off Trawangan I gather, and swam with him for a good 15 minutes at least. They really are such elegant creatures to watch swim, and I think he enjoyed the company actually, I suppose he must get bored of these stupid little fish as well.

A local boat builder starts a new project. My splendid bungalow was in the jungle just behind this.

image

Continuing what appears to be turning into an obsession with bathroom pictures, this one had a true outside shower. One time when I was showering, it was chucking it down so hard with rain that I really didn’t need to actually turn the shower on.

image

I’ve left the island today, passing the taxi rank at the port

image

to get to the fast boat back to Bali

image

Back in Kuta for tonight, out of necessity really to make the connections, and fly to Pontianak on Indonesian Borneo tomorrow morning, via Jakarta.

Gili Trawangan

The speed boat couriered us in relative safety across the 30 Km or so stretch of water from Bali to the islands off the west coast of Lombok next door. The seas had died down considerably from the 6 metre waves of a few days ago, the same day my lunch blew away. It was still rough enough mind you and it always amuses me on this kind of trip to see the cool sun worshippers going up on deck to catch a few rays soon after the boat leaves port, then later when the waves start crashing over the deck, to watch them coming back down below one by one in various degrees of soakedness.

It’s a pretty island

image

and just further down the beach from where this was taken I had lunch in a cabana and couldn’t resist one cute cat photo. These guys are eagerly awaiting the spoils of my curry, there’s three more of them on the other side of my legs too

image

Even though Trawangan is the biggest of the three islands, it’s still tiny and there’s not a single motor vehicle of any kind. Bicycles are the order of the day for most people, tourists and locals alike, or for the big stuff, goods vehicles like this one.

image

I’ve seen a few instances of the closest thing to road rage I’ve seen down this way yet, when two of these meet head-to-head on a narrow lane. There always seems to be quite a lot of dialogue and arm-waving going on before someone concedes and backs their horse up.

I wouldn’t normally advocate a particular place to stay, but the place I found here is so good that I will. Called “Wood Stock”, it’s a home stay down a back lane a way north of the village. Lovely and quiet apart from the usual   surrounding farmyard noises and the inevitable droning of the mosque (how the hell does anyone put up with that, day and night?). The people couldn’t be more friendly and the cabins are beautiful, named after rock legends, I’m in “The Who” with my outdoor shower made from bamboo.

image

They’re proud of the fact they run the place solely on solar power for hot water and electricity, drinking water is available via home made reverse osmosis, and they have the best coffee with the excellent included breakfast, which is brought to your patio whenever you choose to awaken.

The wet season weather here has so far been well behaved, with sunny days and the rain coming very heavily after dark. Last night I was treated to a spectacular sight whilst sitting in a cabana on a beach having dinner. The rain was absolutely lashing down around me, with a huge electrical storm going on. There was no moonlight, and Lombok, just across the water from the beach, was in total darkness apart from a few lights in Sengiggi down on the coast. But the flashes of sheet lightening behind it would silhouette the mountainous peaks just for an instant in the pouring rain, just like something from a horror film really. I’ve never quite seen anything like that before.

Later I got chatting to one of the guys playing in a band in another bar. They were playing excellent covers of Johnny Cash and Dire Straits and that kind of thing. As with almost everyone here, his English was excellent and I was asking him when and where did they get interested in Western music and whether it was just for tourists or not. He said he grew up in Sumatra and from a young age they were taught this kind of stuff in music lessons in school, starting off with “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and that kind of thing and moving onto cover music as they got older.

Having just said the weather was fine, since about 1pm today it’s been lashing down to one heavy degree or another and has finally stopped as I write this at 11pm. Even though it’s a sand island, it’s so heavy that many of the streets are ankle deep in water that you have to wade through to move around, it grinds on you after a while.

If the weather holds in the morning I plan to take my British Airways gold card backpack to Gili Meno, the smallest of the three islands, to spend one night there before heading back to Bali to sort out some sort of flight to Borneo

image

Ubud, Bali

It’s true what they say about Kuta being on a different planet from any other part of Bali. This was my first escape from the zoo down there, to Ubud, not far away in distance, maybe 20 Km or so, but a world away in terms of culture and finesse. All you arty types hangout up here, in the foothills of the mountains that run east-west across the centre of most of the island, and noticeably cooler than Kuta, albeit still very humid. Art is all around you, even up in the hills out of town you come across many places like this – a garage doubling as a gallery. You can just wander in there and start buying stuff

image

Got myself a lovely villa in town. Breakfast is brought to me on my balcony whenever I choose to surface in the morning

image

Nights aren’t too shabby either

image

The town is very nice, lots of shops and restaurants and all that, and the only hassle you get, walking along the street, is from taxi drivers and offers of (non-special) massages. In the town itself is Monkey Forest, which is indeed full of monkeys, all up to no good. This one has a cigarette

image

These two are definitely enjoying themselves

image

And as for these two…..

image

I’ve been doing a fair bit of trekking, you don’t have to go far before you are right out in amongst the paddy fields, along with the ducks in some cases

image

and you’ll just come across a restaurant like this one, in amongst the paddies, a beautiful quiet spot to sit with your feet dipped into the pond which is full of huge fish which nibble away at the dead skin on your feet

image

Just down the road from here I had a reminder of the poverty that still reigns here. Rather than get a tipper truck, these two people have just shovelled all of that gravel out the back of that truck. They both women, I think

image

Today I took the piece-of-shit motorbike I hired up for a long drive up into the mountains, past some crater lakes in volcanoes, the road actually goes up and over the crest and down into the crater itself, ending up at Munduk which is riddled with waterfalls like this one

image

Tomorrow morning I’m off by speedboat to the Gili Islands just off Lombok. Supposedly the sea has died down enough for these things to run, they have 8 x 300 horsepower outboards stuck on the back and does about 50 knots or something, let’s hope I don’t do a Donald Campbell in it!