The trip by train from Jakarta was amazing. We left early in the morning, took the cheapest seats by the window. Renato was falling asleep, but I couldn’t stop staring out the window. The incredibly intense green of the grass and rice fields mixed with dark red of dirt and brown color of palm trees. The people were working on the fields, children playing in the puddles, the cars were stuck in huge traffic jams. The land was flat and then right away mountainous. After only half an hour of the trip I knew that Indonesia will be my favourite country in Asia so far. That diversification of the landscape, culture and colors will stay in my memory for long.
We had a couchsurfing host waiting for us in Bandung. We left the station, caught a taxi and went to his apartment. When we arrived, the taxi driver suddenly requested much more money than what we agreed, but his poor knowledge of English made any negotiations impossible. Some neighbours came by, discussing something and looking at us strangely. Bandung is not a very touristy spot on Java. And although it seems to me a smaller, less important town, there are more than 7 million people living there.
Fortunately, Van, our host arrived and saved us from further discussions. It turned out he was a very calm and shy boy, who, although was extremely polite, made us feel a bit uncomfortable as he would give us everything he had and really sacrifice all his free time for us. He lived in a tiny apartment with his sister. They had very little furniture, few pots and plates, little bathroom. The whole apartment was very austere, without any decorations.
After a short rest we went out. Van had a car, so we went to the center, we got stuck in a traffic for over one hour. It was raining, quite cold and grey. Bandung didn’t impress us. One representative street with some exclusive hotel, the main square with a huge flagpole and a mosque. That’s pretty much it.
We stopped to eat in a pseudo restaurant by the road. Van ordered us a traditional soup with pasta. I ate the pasta, drunk the water, but the chicken feet and meat balls stayed in the pot.
At night Van took us with his friend to hot springs. I really regret we got there when it was already totally dark and foggy, as the pools were located on a huge tea plantation. There were a couple of pools with water of different temperatures. I am glad that I walked around first, as I noticed that all women are bathing in normal clothes, totally covered, with tshirts and jeans even. What an embarrassment would it be if I jumped in there in my skimpy bikini…. Fortunately I took an extra shirt that I put on top of my swimsuit, but still when I was leaving the water I was pulling it down to cover my ass.
The next day we went by car to see the volcano, Kawah Putih.
Although theoretically we were only 30 kilometers away, we knew that it will take us a while to get there. Traffic is everywhere, not only in the center of big cities. There are around 130 million people living in Jawa, and the island is three times smaller than Poland. The roads are… well, you can imagine.
Finally we got to a small village with tourist stands. We parked the car, as from there we would have to take a bus that would take us by the volcano. The weather was bad and when we finally got out of the bus, dark clouds were hanging exactly above us. We went down the crater. There was a wide lake with celadon water and lots of smoke. The fog, clouds and smoke were mixing, so the visibility was really low. We took some photos quickly before it started to rain.
The way back was terrible again. A couple of hours blocked in traffic jam. I don’t know how can you live like that.
The next day we got a train to discover other volcanoes of Indonesia.