Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Update from Eric #3

As some of you may or may not know a good friend of Ashley and I is out exploring the world until Sept or so. As I receive emails from him I will post them on here because they are very interesting. Enjoy.
Hello from Indonesia!

Selamat siang-

We’ll, Indonesia was a blast and if there is one word I would use to describe it, it would be “lush”. They say it is the “last great adventure on Earth” and I can certainly understand why. Here one can go in search of the orangutan, rhino or komodo dragon OR take in some amazing snorkeling and diving amongst it’s 17,000 islands OR visit places where they still hunt with bow and arrow and in some cases just stopped ‘taking heads’ a few decades ago OR ride some of the best waves on the planet. Adventure is here!

My first days here did not begin so well. Upon arriving in Bali I was questioned by the immigration officer as to why my ‘Arrival Card’ did not list my hotel. While not technically required, I understood and proceeded to open up my guide book so I could give him a name of a hotel in order to satisfy the ‘requirement’. Unsatisfied with this approach, the officer’s true intentions came about when he said with a smile “gimme $20 bucks”. I did, got my bags and then later got my $ back. Then I was kicked out of a cab after (rightfully) accusing a driver of going down wrong streets in order to jack up the meter and then was accused of not paying for a night at my first hotel when trying to check out (they later apologized). Good grief! I felt as though a black cloud loomed over my head. Obviously these things happen all the time when traveling, but when they all happen in a short amount of time it can be a real turnoff.

I didn’t get to see 17,000 islands, nor did I get to the remote region’s of Papua (although I’d love to), but I did have quite an adventure moving around this archipelago. I hit a few towns on the island of Bali, took in some R&R on the Gili Islands, checked out some ancient monuments on the island of Java and viewed the orangutans in their natural habitat at Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan. That was definitely the highlight.

I also acquired a taste for Gamelan, which is a style of music typically from Bali and Java. A gamelan is like an orchestra made up of instruments such as metallones, xylophones, gongs and drums. Its sound is described as hypnotic and dreamy. Check it out, it’s good stuff.

I’m actually in Bangkok and I’ll be here for a few more days as I arrange my visa for Myanmar. A famous writer wrote ‘Myanmar is quite unlike any land you know about’. While I don’t think it makes the itinerary for many traveling around Asia (I’ve only met a handful of folks who’ve been there), it does get rave reviews, so I’m pretty excited to see what it’s all about.

Also, while all good things must come to an end, I’m deciding to extend my ‘end’ to my trip by a month or so. After Myanmar I’ll be making a quick run of Laos and Cambodia.

Pics are out on FB. Enjoy!

Hope all is well with everybody back home. I hear it’s a scorcher. Stay cool!