where do i begin? with the rats or the bed bugs?
so from ubud we made our way to gilimanuk … we just needed to get close to the harbor to take a ferry over to java. we also chose gilimanuk because it’s close to the west bali national park, but after speaking with a german and a swiss guy staying at our hotel we decided not to go to the park because it’s apparently a little underwhelming. also because people try to get you to hire a guide to tour the park, which is unnecessary. so instead we decided to just hang out at the hotel for the evening, do some karaoke, dance, and get attacked by bed bugs! fortunately, the only rat i actually saw at this hotel was the one in the karaoke/dance room … yes, scurrying across the floor. i guess the fortunate thing about that was the fact that i had a couple of beers before seeing the rat so i actually stayed and sang along to justin bieber instead of boycotting karaoke all together!. oh … i also saw a rat at the hotel in ubud. that room came with a faint smell of urine and a bathroom that you would never want to enter without wearing flip flops. i imagine that there are tons of rats in the places we’ve been staying over the past week. i am at least thankful that i did not have the experience that the german and swiss guy had in their room. the swiss guy was just minding his own business, sitting on his bed reading the lonely planet guide when he heard something in his bed. he’s looking around and not seeing anything when all of the sudden he feels something run underneath his butt. yes, because the rat was living in his mattress you see. apparently they were all over the top floor (luckily we were on the bottom floor). our room did have a few holes in the ceiling that were clearly created by the gnawing of little rats … so we shoved paper and fake flowers into the holes to block them up. if you know me at all then you can imagine how this affected me. so the next day we took the ferry over to east java. not the most enjoyable ferry ride we’ve ever had. indonesian people are very fascinated by us … we get stared at like we are animals or exhibits. they talk about us in a language that we can’t understand and sometimes the men are vulgar and disgusting. needless to say … we have been feeling like outsiders and craving conversation with people who we can connect with. also, we got covered with soot from the smoke blowing out of the pipe on the ferry. i think people at a fruit stand later that day were actually making fun of christy’s shirt because of how dirty it was. but i can’t be sure about that.
on a positive note, a very friendly muslim family befriended us when we got off of the ferry. they were genuinely nice people. i think they could tell that we had no clue what we were doing so they offered to take us to the train station. of course all of this is happening with extremely broken communication. the guy wanted to talk to us so badly, but his english was very limited. we ended up going to an internet cafe with him so that we could talk using google translation. turns out that the train was leaving too late that night so we just decided to stay for the evening. we spent most of the day with that family. we stopped so that he and his wife could do their prayers. very fascinating routine to watch. we had a delicious, traditional indonesian lunch with them …. fish, rice, and bakso. they invited us to their home and we met more of their family members. such nice people! the kids were so excited about being in photos. i honestly can’t say enough good things about this family. sad thing is that when we first got in the car with them the man was trying to tell us not to be afraid of him because of his religion. he was afraid we would only associate him with terrorists. he drove us around all day and then made sure we got checked into the hotel ok.
today we took a train to surabaya. again … not the most enjoyable experience. of course the guy tried to rip us off at the train station. we didn’t allow that to happen. then we proceeded to go on our 6-7 hour journey on a very dirty and hot train … all the while people staring at us like we were from another planet. interesting things that happen on an indonesian train ride … they walk up and down the aisle trying to sell anything and everything … food, drinks, razors, tissues … also, birds in very small cages. yes, they sell birds. we contemplated getting one. people drop envelopes in your lap in hopes of a monetary donation. they also play music and sing. it’s quite an interesting experience! christy went to get some fresh air in between two of the trains and met a guy who had asian palm civets in a potato sack. yes, those are the luwak coffee animals. if you didn’t google kopi luwak then you probably don’t know what i’m talking about.
village in gilimanuk
this is awa .. she is the daughter of the family who helped us … sleepy girl
the train to surabaya
christy and i decided we needed a little rejuvenating so we checked into a 5 star hotel in surabaya today. i just happened to see this hotel in the german guys lonely planet guide yesterday. we weren’t sure about how much money we were willing to spend, but once we stepped foot in the hotel and they handed us cold, fruity drinks we really didn’t see that there was another choice! christy actually grabbed me and said “i can’t go back out there (the streets of indonesia) right now.” i agreed. after showering and ordering cheeseburgers and apple pie from room service we are feeling much more like ourselves.
we may stay here for a couple of nights and then head to mount bromo!