Maldives cont.

Part IV – Dreams and Realizations

19/2 – 20/2 (Sunday – Monday)

This was supposed to be our last day according to the original tour package. It was the 4th day already! But it’s madness to leave this beautiful island so early. I paid for another 2 nights at the same hotel to match the available flight schedule…and now we have 3 days in total including today. Yay! We decided to went for a full day excursion at the 5 star luxury hotel – Adaaran Prestige in Vadoo Island. There are many resort excursions to choose from. It means that you are paying to use the private beach, facilities such as changing room, toilet, and sometimes the pool. Not all 5 star hotels provide this package though. It’s so cool because I know I won’t be able to afford that in the near future lol the boat waited for us at the jetty and it took us 20mins or so to reach Vadoo Island. The reception is so awesome with the staff ready to greet you at the entrance. There’s a small garden at the front before you can see the main building where the restaurant is at. The actual guests of the hotel watching us like these people ain’t gonna get in here for free lool it’s funny but I don’t think anyone cared since the place is amazing and everyone can’t wait to look around the compound like we can afford it 😅

You will get a sturdy wristband so that the staff can differentiate you from the actual guests and easy to group up when it’s time to leave. Drinking that fresh orange juice in a tall glass beside the private beach, you’re sure revved up for a luxury escapade in Maldives 😍
They briefed us the do’s and don’ts and we are free to explore and stay until sunset! I forgot to mention all this is for 100USD. So far the most I’ve paid in one single day so I’m gonna make sure it’s worth it. But the wait until lunchtime is sooo long….the original plan was to get in the waters after lunch (we kinda avoided sun unlike everyone else hahaha) because we haven’t really ate and felt hungry to actually play at the beach. It was really inviting though, the wildlife that you can spot just by looking at the beach. You don’t even have to look for them. There are an abundace of ‘friendly’ marine life such as baby sharks, stingrays, and eels.

16684048_10208489229135596_4841113597431190028_n

It was amazing needless to say. And the over-water villas are situated next to the snorkelling area. You basically can jump right into it from your backdoor. I don’t have photos here as I left my camera’s battery back in our hotel -__-
The lunch area is separate from the guests but is very good with nice choices and tastes great. The ice cream served at the end, heck, I wish I wasn’t as full as I was. We met a staff who can speak our language and told us he has worked in our country for years that’s how he picked it up. He spoke really good northern accent by the way 😂 It made me realise that there were a lot of them back home and not just the usual Bangladeshi (since they look a bit similar). I feel a lil shocked for the fact that we Malaysians just barely reaching Maldives in like these past 3 years but they have been coming to us since more than 10 years ago. Lol. Air Asia’s tagline ‘Now Everybody can Fly’ is indeed true. I won’t even dreamed of stepping foot at the Maldives. Not in a million years! I feel privileged and thankful that I’m actually here.

We got back from Adaaran Prestige with a bunch of fun photos and videos in the clear waters. Even if it rains that evening, we continued playing around and wished our backyard remotely looked like this. The day ended with a shark feeding demo although it’s more like Tuna feeding because there weren’t that many sharks at the time. While the Tunas and Jackfish took the center stage while we hoomans were watching in awe from the small bridge above. We were even visited by a large pelican (I think it’s called??) that appeared ever so gracefully, near the people who wanted a picture of it. It was another amazing moment seeing all these wildlife around the resort. In the sunset light it served as the perfect backdrop. Dream honeymoon resort for sure 😉

The next day was really, really lazy. Waking up for breakfast seemed too much of a hassle. You know, one of those days when you’ve started to get accustomed to the vacation life. You don’t really wanna go anywhere exploring new things (Maafushi is just 1km+ long anyway) and take things super slowly. But tomorrow is our last day and we still haven’t finished exploring the whole island. So we decided to find Maafushi Prison and treating it as some kind of an investigation lol it was actually less than 4 mins walk towards the end of the island. It was freaky to drive past it last night when we rode a motorcycle with our guide.

_DSC9534

I have never lived this near to any kind of prison in my life, like a lot of people. This particular prison is very interesting indeed – it houses the former president of Maldives M Nasheed. He was kinda ousted by his own cabinet that he finally had to declare hiw own resignation. His past lawyers included Amal Clooney. And the whole thing about his term and how he lose it is tells you a lot about this little country of atolls. Hint: it isn’t the first time things like this happen. Again I’m gonna repeat their political climate is an interesting thing to know especially once you were here and you get to talk to the locals. Their issues are pressing and very much stirred up. I think I downplayed everything because I have that assumption of paradise and escapism about Maldives (like everyone else on this planet! It’s well known as the ultimate honeymoon destination for all we know) I changed my mind. Climate change, economy, corruption in government, separation to form an independent nations, I don’t even know. Before I googled I wasn’t ready for all these information lol But I like researching and reading a general outlook of countries that I am going to. The thing that you can easily observe about this island country is how booming and crowded Male is. I wouldn’t say I was repulsed by it (like some of travel bloggers I’ve read simply hated it) I was maybe taken aback. It’s not like Singapore, an island nation that’s situated close to the mainland. This is Maldives, in the middle of the Indian Ocean! It’s quite a sight to take in.

The Maldives just recently refurbished their tourism to allow locals to operate their own guesthouses (that’s why there are so many sprang up) and it literally opened the door to a whole lot of travel opportunities to the average and below budget travellers. For the past decades or so it was just luxury hotels. Can you imagine the world cathing up on budget friendly Maldives in the future?? The island will be overloaded I think! There were even more artifical islands being made…it’s overwhelming when you think of it. Wait until you walk by foot in Male city the capital of Maldives, which I did on my last day.

Advertisements

Maldives – cont.

Part III – I Fell in Love

18/2 – Saturday

The next morning we were happy to have our breakfast on the sand and salty wind blowing away. It was sunny and already buzzing with people. Couples and families with small kids strolling the jetty towards the east of the island where it’s busier with shops and the most famous beach here – Bikini Beach. It’s one of the public beach in Maldives where you can wear your bikinis and not get chased by the law enforcers. I heard you could also fined as it is an offence in Maldives. Anywhere else in private beaches you can, of course, wear and do anything you want. I think it’s sensible enough. So we were planning to take a dip at Bikini Beach later in the evening after our trip today to a local island named Guraidhoo, located 15 minutes fast boat ride from Maafushi. We were greeted by local boys playing football by the jetty. Like Maafushi, Guraidhoo also don’t have any paved tar roads, just sand.

_dsc9296

Our guide told us little by little about the island as we went walking from sleepy streets to another. When we were near the jetty a local man who was carrying a load of construction debris, suddenly called up to us and pointed to the waters. We were crazed and delighted by two stingrays passing below the boats!

_dsc9301

I have never even seen stingrays so close to civilization lol I had touched a stingray during feeding time at a fish farm in Langkawi Island. But never in the wild like that. Hell man I’m so in love with Maldives by now. There were only 3-4 hotels in the whole island, which is larger than Maafushi itself (but Maafushi has the most number of guest houses in Maldives). The local women sat chatting quietly but greeted us when we passed by. People just chilling in their basket chairs…tending little pots of edible veggies…just keeping to their daily lives. The houses were colorful and clean.

We walked to one end of the island and from there we could see another island close by. But you couldn’t pass through through the shallow waters because it’s a luxury private island with water villas and a private lagoon of turqoise beaches. That would cost around 650USD per night. We were like nah man…we won’t be able to afford that in the next 10 years lol!
Guraidhoo is a step behind in development despite its size and you could see it the moment you stepped on the island. It was a shame but also a blessing. The air was so tranquil and quiet. It was so lovely to a city girl like me. I think it’d attract a certain kind of travellers…with a population of 700 people, less humans and frankly nothing to do 😀
We spent about 2 hours walking around and taking all kinds of pictures. When we get on the boat, the driver gave us a free thrill ride that almost made my heart leaped out on its own. I swear it was so fast and frequently cutting through the air like literally flying. I’ve had the worse back in Perhentian where the guys would drive the boat in between two pointy big rocks protruding from the water and I thought I was gonna die lol point is I had so many bad boat travels 😅😅
After lunch back in our hotel, we got ready for a full evening at the beach as planned. There were so many people by the time we were there. As usual what we did first was people watching 😂 while sipping coconut drinks and chatting. I love people watching. And we got in we were like spoiling the scene with our fully clothed bodies unlike the bikinis and shorts around us 😂 sorry guys but this beach is the prettiest here so we also came here to swim xD


The first time I saw the beach it was a jaw dropped moment. So glowing in light blue, like how I saw it on the internet. The pictures literally aren’t a lie! Sooo amazingly clear and perfectly tucked in the artificial rocky barriers they made around it (shaped like the letter Y) so you have an area to play around before it gets deeper. Plenty of metres I would say. Anyone have this as their backyard is so lucky. But, like anywhere else in Maldives, as you swim at the beach wild sea creatures also swim with you 😂😂 I saw baby stingrays and small fishes and more of it the farther you go from the beach. My friend who was freaked out didn’t continue to swim hahaha I love this fact so much about Maldives. I don’t think I’ve ever went to a beach so flat and wide like this with plenty of space to swim and has that many creatures. Sometimes I hated wearing goggles because I’d jumped when I saw things swimming in the shallow waters…if it’s in a deeper ocean it’d be okay for me lol
At night we went for dinner in one local eatery. My friend had a really weird tasting milk tea (where it says Ceylon Milk Tea) as the most experienced and adventurous food seeker that is myself I had to gave this verdict. The milk has a strong milky taste if that even make sense! And fish and chips, is actually Tuna and chips. Again. Maldives with its favorite fish!! Haha it wasn’t bad though, just different. I also had my friend’s pancakes, which were really dense.

_dsc9523

Everyone else couldn’t finish their food except meeee be adventurous next time guys! It was good times with mostly jokes, and, calculating the shared bills. We paid with both Maldivian Ruffiya and USD and hoped the shop doesn’t mind. They didn’t and we got changes in Ruffiya. Good thing because that’d surely ended up with random junk food to accompany chats on our bed before going to sleep lol we’re in the middle of our stay in Maldives and I started to feel heavy and sure that it’d be so long for the next Maldives visit. I was overwhelmed but I told myself to focus on days spent so lazily and not gave in to thoughts that brought me down. But dear time, please slow down.

Maldives – cont.

Part II – I was blown away.

17/2 (Friday)

Morning seeped in through the curtains that I held with my hands. The sea looks calm today, lapping in the sun high up. I guess I missed watching the sunrise…and I forgot that Maldives timezone is 3 hours early. So it was actually 10am already. Another day not at work yay!! My friends were still asleep to my surprise. After we all washed up for breakfast, we were greeted by the hotel staff at the dining area cum reception (it was small) They had some tables out on the sand where we sat last night trying to finish our fried rice. We had Roshi, a popular Maldivian breakfast in which they teamed up unleavened bread with a type of dry chutney, a common Indian condiments in my country, but here they served it dry. Coconut flakes, raw shallots thinly cut, and cooked Tuna. At first I was a lil disappointed as it’s looks too healthy LOL nothing runny (read: oily) or spicy. I quickly changed my mind tho. I find it packed with fresh flavors, it felt very Maldivian. You’d totally eat that by the beach and it’ll feel so right if you get me =D In no time I kept coming back for more of Roshi until I was full. My friends, as always, astounded by the amount of Roshi that I ate. As if they haven’t seen something like that happened lool At the end of our breakfast I was like yeah I’m gonna make it when I’m back!

capture

‘Roshi’ – my first step to eat healthier food

Our guide helped took few pictures of us before we hopped on the boat with an open deck. The ride took around 30mins as the boat treaded the strong waves (yes it was still windy as hell) and once it loses power. The boat swayed around for a while until they managed to repair it. I think the other tourists weren’t worried at all…we on the other hand still traumatised by last night’s trip…anyway the sea was unlike any other I’ve seen. The small atolls are numerous, you could see layers upon layers of brilliant shades of blue.

_dsc9039

It was too amazing not to take lots of pictures to bring home. Sometimes I wish I could have a private boat just to steer the driver to bring me to interesting photo locations and get really close to where I wanted to be. Then I was startled by the boat halting in the middle of the ocean. Is this….is this the snorkelling point?

_dsc9050

Gulp! Seeing the rough waves and the color of the waters you can guess its depth? Well when I was in Perhentian they did had snorkelling point far from the beach and it was really dark and deep but you could still swim to the beach. Here the reef is located somewhere in the open sea with shallow areas surfacing near it. You can’t walk on it tho 😂 it’s not a sandbank. So we watched the westerners jumped into the water one by one, amazed. Of course these people are almost always good swimmers. Idk it’s very uncommon to see western tourists who didn’t just get off the boat the first chance they got lol the guide told us to get into the water one at a time. It’s too obvious that we couldn’t be set to swim free unlike the others (we are losers) but heck I don’t want to risk being carried too far from the boat! We only get like half an hour going off around 10 feet away from the boat (the farthest that I got haha) felt disappointed but more like laughing to myself!! Need more water confidence practice in the pool I guess. So amazed by one Italian family on our boat that freely jumped in with their young kids unstrapped with any safety equipments. What the hell man? Later when we got to the sparkling turqoise waters where the dolphins were at, they again jumped while their kids reluctant to join, but they ended up jumped too. The guide gave in to them because actually they didn’t permit anyone to swim because of the rough sea. Everyone watched them following the dolphins with awe. I mean no one, on both boats laden with tourists were in the water. They were legit the craziest I’ve ever saw in any of my island trips. Must be awesome tho.

_dsc9064
Crazy how pretty the color of the sea and the dolphins were sooo cute

The third place that we went to was the best one. Sandbank in the middle of the ocean. It literally a piece of white sand stretched and formed a little bay where it’s shallow and makes for one sparkling bright blue since the sand is glistening beneath it. It was quite a view. I began to regret badly the fact that I didn’t bring sunnies and any head cover. Fuck the sun is glaring hot and there was just sand – you don’t have any shady areas. To get off the boat you will need to be fast because it rocked in the strong waves and faltering towards the deeper sea. You will have to walk with your valuable belongings kept dry. It was funny for one of my friend nearly missed her Iphone into the waves and had to be helped by the guides. It was another loser moment being ‘escorted’ to the beach in mere distance. We were lucky because there were not much tourists around, and spent around 3 hours(?) taking photos, swimming, and having lunch. The sandbank two sides facing away are interesting, one was rough and the other was so calm you can go far by foot.

_dsc9114_dsc9164

_dsc9215
I didn’t edit anything. It’s that beautiful!

Being baked for 3 hours was enough Vitamin D for me as I was burnt already. Treading the waves back to our boat, we started the long return journey. I dreaded being in a boat too long but in Ko Samui it was insanely longer I tell you 😂 It was around 5pm when we reached Maafushi. I was in constant planning of what to fill up our days and nights in Maldives (I was the leader of our trip). That night we ate spicy fish curry (soo tasty) and talked about our loser moments and making stupid jokes, literally busting the calm nature of the island. I feel embarrassed by how quiet the Maldivian people were, 5 of them could have the table next to you and you won’t hear a fucking thing. And in Maldives the Muslim majority people would have their shops closed every prayer times. No bars, no beach party, no nothing. At night it’s practically dead. People spent quality time talking through candlelight dinner by the beach or walking hand in hand through the paved sand. You can’t really do anything other than these. We were like what the hell a group of single girls doing in Maldives?? Even the music played at restaurants and food places at night were soft. It really brought a slow and romantic air throughout the barely 1 km length island. A little discussion on Maldives and its people followed with our guide…if you’ve ever googled something on Maldives other than its beaches, you’ll find lots of interesting facts. Hint: politics. It’s quite turbulent for such a far fetched islands. Read for yourself! Second day done!

Maldives in February

Part I – I was in Maldives.

_dsc9012

I was able to take a 6 day holidays since I haven’t been given any freaking holiday for the past 3 months
So thanks to my boss finally giving some thought to me who were in desperate need ( i literally was sick every week with fevers, cold and flu
that’s began to worsen with sore throat that very day. I was soo sleepless and dragging myself to work with this sick state that I hate )
I think it was the worse point I’ve ever had in 3 years of working in this shitty place.
So I finished packing my stuff that morning. Idk I havent been into it for all these months, I was just excited buying new clothes lol (as early as 3 months before lool)
My flight to KL will be at around 10am. I’ll be flying with my friend whom I havent meet for 2 years(?) and her friend whom I don’t know
I get to know her friend more later when we were waiting for the next flight to Maldives…talking for 4 hours…coffee…eat…talking again
It was such a detour from a normal day at work. I was frequently reminded of that thought. That comparison…oh my
It easily saved me from the entire 3 months of being stressed out.
So when all 5 of us has arrived I felt ready and I’m like yeah Im really going to Maldives cause to be honest my mind haven’t got into it
I need to hop on that plane fast lol
The flight took 4 hours and a half, and landed at Hulhumale Island (it’s an artificial island built to house the international airport alone)
At 9pm local time. You couldn’t even outlined the island onto where you landed. It was new for me as I’ve never landed on such a small island before in my life

Stepping out the plane only I felt the holiday vibes
I am really in Maldives!! I couldn’t wait for the morning to come and to see the turqoise waters around me as I’ve googled over the internet
All the ‘Summer Mixtapes’ on YouTube is playing in my mind
After taking some group selfies with the ‘Welcome to Maldives’ sign in the airport (it’s a Malaysian thing to do lol)
We quickly wait for our turn to get through the immigration and approaching the main exit towards the lobby where local people lined up holding signs for their respective guests
I spotted my name at the end of the line. Our guy led us out to the jetty in the night. The wind was blowing like crazy and we’re still chit chatting while making our way to the a small boat
We were still commenting on how sparkling the sea looked under the streetlights. The guys in the boat loaded the boat with our bags and offered his hand to me.
Ok so it’s time for the boat ride already?? Lol unbeknowsnt to us it was the most horrifying boat ride ever. I thought that one particular crazy excursion I did in Pulau Perhentian was the worse. but this topped it off!
My friend couldn’t help herself from vomiting and the rest of us holding our churning stomachs, sitting still on the seat in silence. I just looked to the waves shoving the boat around and trying to calculate my chance of survival. If I ever make it to our destination, Maafushi Island. Cold sweat running through all over me when finally we arrived in those horrifying 45 minutes on the rough sea. The local guys said they’ve been through worse when it rains/storming, I just nodded while in my head I couldn’t imagine living the island life. No matter how many boat rides you’ve taken you’d still at awe how these people who make a living out of sea travel and marine economy. Damn I have it better with my job lol. They all greeted us and we were like uh yeah we’ve arrived yeay *still regaining balance* with our heads swayed in the wind the hotel served us fried rice with fried egg on top.

We all looked in disbelief, the glass candle box illuminated our 5 revolted faces lol. I feel so rude but man after that boat ride I wasn’t ready for any type of food. After a while I did ate everything as I’m again holding my title as always finishing any dish ever served to me 😅 I slept that night in a really cold aircond room, flat.

Ko Samui in September

Idk if I’m ready to write about my latest trip
I’m still gushing about it in my livingroom now
It was sooo full of funny moments and weird awkward stares and new experiences
It wasn’t so much tho
If we have a full 6 days it’ll be soo much better in terms of places and things that we could do
because
even after reading and searching through the internet for the so-called travelogs by people who have went there,
NO ONE mentioned about the long transportation between one point to another.
this fucks every plan you might be having lol
ok so I will tell you how my vacation went

Day 1 (25/9) Sunday
We all had a really hectic weekend to close off before jetting away to Thailand
It is the longest holiday Ive ever asked for from my boss so far (about 3 years working) lol
so I have the best feeling but also very lukewarm since work thoughts always catching up at the back of our minds
And I made a joke when my boss asked me to always turned on whatsapp for updates
I’m like K
And so are all my friends 😂😂

We are all still very much invested in our respective work
Idk but Ive never went on holiday that I completely turned off from work lol

Anyway
First day, nothing, just us tryna reach the island and checked in the hotel so that we could get a shower and rest
You can’t even explain how boring it is the ride from the airport, to the island
air-land-water-land. Took about 3-3.5 hours. From the plane to trying to catch the bus (it was very well organized but still it can be hard due to one thing : bad english)
So a lot of funny miscommunications took place
Then when we get on the bus, a guy chatted with me and as usual I’m far than interested I mean I can’t sleep on the entire flight, sleepy and my eyes looks horrible and I feel less than attractive (that’s fucking why I avoid social interactions while on travels maybe I’d do differently if I’m confident or when the days my skin cooperates with me lol)
I found an excuse to not continue talking (it was just a few questions anyway lool)
still don’t have that on-vacation feeling, like your life is untied from anything that grounded you to wherever you’re currently based on,
it’ll affect how you go through the day.

When we reached the jetty it was already about 3 o clock in the evening, and it’s just hot and tiring but there is the big ferry waiting for us
It’s the first time ive ever board that kind of ferry (like the on in the game Euro Truck hahah)
It’s a big ass ferry. For a long ass journey. so it makes sense…
the outdoor seats isn’t comfortable to sleep but it’s nice with the sea breeze and the slow nature of it all…
Inside it’s loud with the sound of the Thai TV and people talking but it’s cool with aircon
an hour and a half feels like a day spent just sitting on the iron benches lol
we disembarked on Koh Samui’s Donsak jetty. There’s another 2-3 minutes walk through the bridge until you meet the drivers from Phantip Travel
waiting for you
since they can’t speak understandable English they spoke one words and we gotta catch em as they say it
then you just follow which vans that will go to your respective hotels

The van ride…it’s quite long to arrive to our place in Chaweng Beach. It’s further up the hill specifically
All the winding roads and the occasional traffic and the hike……it’ll take you 15-20mins from one beach to another major beach
This trip is meant as a getaway..not the gritty backpacking type (which I love) but I just came out of 6 months without a vacation so yeah I was literally begging for a nice comfy hotel up in the cliffs with smacking views…though I wasnt physically prepared for a vacation. Half of my mind can’t believe yesterday I’m scrambling through work and today I’m in Thailand
like how the fuck did I got here

The resort is really nice, has a 4 star feeling to it and everything is rustic and elegant
just a lil run down in some areas but the viewsssss
immediately can see myself one day living with this as my backyard lol

We ate stuff from my only friend that purchase the 15kg luggage – because she loves extra clothes and she brought us food yay
At around 8 pm we asked the front desk about taxi services and one guy pulled up in a white Nissan SUV (Nissan is massive in Koh Samui)
Taxis in Koh Samui are nice cars. I saw same situation in Surat Thani so idk if it’s a Thailand thing. Ive only been to Thailand twice.
Their police cars are sedans and I even caught one BMW. Damn
We googled for halal restaurants and found like three. Hmmm seems like the travelogs aren’t reliable. Maybe they went around looking on a motorbike? But if the ‘easy to find’ restaurants aren’t up on the internet we wouldn’t be able to find it.
We ate usual warung stuff like Tom Yam and Deep Fried Prawns etc it weren’t great tasting but nice enough
Not cheap…more on the pricey side. But hey it’s Koh Samui. Everything is above average prices here.
I went to the mart for a Fanta drink and find myself at a communication challenge with the cashier guy
My friend trying to ask the sim card price and he couldn’t understand the word ‘Money’
There was the price written on the cards though so check on it before you ask them in English cause it’ll save your time
It was funny trying to understand each other
And in Thailand you WILL get straws when buying drinks…I’ve observed this and it’s pretty funny cause you’ll end up with lots of unused straws when you’re about to throw the plastics away

My friends came from another convenience store cum mobile shop at the other side of the road with a story to tell.
The transactions went on with a sketchy looking guy…and a pistol on top of the table.
I laughed so bad to this because I can’t even imagine buying a freaking sim card from a guy with a pistol but really that was what happened…!
They have a shooting range in Koh Samui after all so maybe it’s legal idk but it’s funny as hell
The guy was nice and tried helping to write in Thai to help them get stuff from the other mart where the staff couldn’t understand English
Aaaanndd that was how the first day finished! Pretty much nothing right? Just that we get lots of ideas for our Thai English jokes and talk about how nice Thai people are

Last Rant. I promise.

Part IV : Yes I do miss it

The driver who will take us back to Surabaya asked us to quote him a fee, which normally would cost 500000rp/per van irrespective of the number of passengers.
I’m not good in this. I don’t know how much a task is worth, a labor of energy, and other corresponding aspects in using a service from other people (I’ll make a terribly softie boss lol) I ran around in sentences but yea maybe cut it by half pretty pleaseeee?? They LOLed but accepted it.
We get in the jeep, just the two of us, and it climbed up to a massive open ended flat piece of land on a high altitude. It looks like a savannah in the middle of the mountains. Since we arrive at around 4pm, there were literally no other tourists around. I had to gave excuses to everyone who tried to offer us horse rides, and souvenirs and whatnots. They were hogging the freaking jeep door…I said I won’t come out of the jeep cause I need to change to my sweater. That held them off for a while.
The rain just stopped, and rainbow appeared at the horizon. The whole place is just for us. The desolation is a beautiful feeling, it makes you want to bare it all and just move to your rythm. Then it dawns on me that we only have 1 hour of the sun to reach the top (the trail and the stairs). I still haven’t finish revelling to the fact that there are no one around. But we sped our pace, occasionally had to refuse rides offers…although my still sore legs are asking for a rest.
We only have little money, enough for the ride back down to Probolinggo. We were officially broke XD
So halfway up, it is getting dark, just enough for us to walk 2km back to where our jeep is. We got tons of photos and one with the horse riders. It was fun to haggle for prices mindessly XD

By 6pm we were in the van again. I started to feel the pain of not giving myself a proper rest, trying to catch both mountains at the very same day, plus all the dizzying rides….it really drains me. But I had laid eyes on so many beautiful sights, crossed paths with good people, and doing things I have never done. Mission accomplished.
The drive was an hour of trying to sleep off the pain all over my body. Luckily we always carry some meds with us.
We also get exchanged money with the drivers, like, on the spot. With a competitive exchange rates 😎 As I said, don’t worry. They’ll work something out.
Apparently there is a 24hr bus going to and from Probolinggo and Surabaya. Tix priced at 3000rp/person. It is a really comfortable standard bus, with a/c. Finally I get to really close my eyes.
In Surabaya at around 10pm, it was raining again, albeit heavier, and flooded some roads.
We grabbed a taxi heading to the pre booked hotel, only to be denied at the reception counter 😕
I wasn’t shocked, nor expected it, I think I just don’t have the energy to react anymore. I just went out the door and find something to eat with our little money that’s left. I exchanged the money previously just to cover the taxi ride and food. Not another accommodation…if they’d let me swipe a card then it should be ok…but since it’s raining heavily and to pay for the next taxi looking around just doesn’t sound good to me.
We just stopped talking for a while and let ourselves to be absorbed to the surroundings, being out stranded late at night. Our flight back is at 6.25am.
It’s pretty obvious that we’re gonna have to stay at the airport till check in time. We ate Ayam Bakar for dinner and paid 25000rp, and left with some money for one taxi ride.

Upon arrival at the airport, I dashed in to find the shower room and surau area to sleep at. To my frustration there were only toilets and I forgot that in Indonesia a lot of its surau and mosques have combined male-female area. God…I slumped into the seat and just can’t think of a good way to end this exhilarating trip. I just watched people come and go for a good 10mins or so just cooling myself down. OK then, just deal with it. We found an isolated baby’s changing room and stayed there for about 6 hours until dawn. Of course, some staff found us and told us to leave but nah the whole body pain and lethargy granted me a rather good sleep on the floor. I have better sleep on travels than at my own home.

At around 6am we were checking in to the departure lounge. Nothing’s better than filling the time you suddenly have by rewinding the last 3 days of your life not being at work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job (OMG) but the thought of just leaving everything behind has never stop bugging me.

I will deal with that thought later…right before I sleep, every night.

END

Still ranting…

Part III : I think I’m gonna miss this

My mood is getting lighter as we were getting back to the inn…until I reminded myself about the real situation…our train tickets to Probolinggo are due to depart at 9am.
There is no way on Earth we are getting back AND have the time to at least have a shower or eat something after the trek. If you ask me my body isn’t ready at all
the train ride will take 4hours.
In mere minutes I get to wash my face with my cleanser- I missed 2 days of cleansing it. you have no idea how bad it feels.
Just brushing my teeth and cleansing my face is the new minimum of staying clean on a trip like this
I’m nearly finished packing when the hotel staff calls me for breakfast, to which I refused because I simply don’t have the time.
She insists that it’s okay and we will be able to catch the train. It’s about 9am already…and it should depart from another train station that is situated around 20mins by car from the hotel. I feel pretty freaking hopeless and increasingly annoyed at how calm the staff are about it
The guys coincidentally heard us and asked me about it since they are also planning to go to the same destination
The staff will drive us to the nearest train station so they decided to join in
but the other guy is still having his breakfast and the both of us haven’t eat anything yet
The next moment we were all struggling to finish some food while standing around and the scene made the staff so amused
They were like dont worry the train can wait, we’re like noooooooooo asdfghjkl
I also can’t find where our room’s keys ugh
I only managed to push one spoonful of rice down my throat, one of the staff decided to pack the food for me…I was so thankful for her
We paid everything in a hurry and bid goodbye to these wonderful people
When we arrived at Karangasem train station it was 10mins past 9am.
I realized what we’re so afraid of really doesn’t happened.
You can board the train from a different station than the one stated on the ticket, and it never arrived on time too.
Pak Gandar, the owner, get the 2 guys their tickets instantly, like cutting qeues and stuff. He’s very reliable and resourceful 😀
I fumbled with the room keys in my hands and gave it to him and didn’t get to properly say thank you for everything…
We only waited for like 3mins inside and the train came. Perfect timing.

I used the 4hours of sitting in the train getting as much needed rest
The seat is surprisingly very comfortable and I get to drink my fave Jasmine tea in a bottle (if this is even a criteria to complete the situation haha)
Drifting in and out of sleep until i couldnt fight the urge to eat anymore
so we arrived at Probolinggo train station around the time stated on the ticket. That must be some kind of wizardry lol
When we got off we thought we should wait for the 2 guys. it’s better to travel with them than just the two of us because they’ll do all the hailing and talking and we’re just chillin’. lol
I could’ve find my own way through the extensive reading and researching I’ve done…but heck if someone is willing to take that place I’ll be gladly handing them the reins
There is a couple who is looking for the transport to the bus station too so they make 6 of us, and we get 5000rp/person. Nice.
It’s really hot by then…feeling sticky and dripping with sweat. Being dehydrated/in a dry environment would annoy me too but I just despise being drenched
My clothes are all inapproriate for how the day went…I used all lighter tops already. Well we thought we’d be in Cemoro Lawang by this day.
Halfway there we were stopped at the side of the road with locals who claimed he have good offers for Mt Bromo tour. I’ve read about these locals who wanna leech on your money. And to my relief our new friends refused quite harshly, that the guy quit trying us.
We were told to wait for the green vans that’ll not travel until it’s full. yep. It’s exactly like how I’ve read before on various travellers’ blogs/guides.
Luckily there are clean shower room, toilets and surau at the strip of shops where we sat. 2000rp per use.
I find myself painfully restraining from taking a shower, when the water is so cool and the bathroom looks so inviting lol
We are so pressed for time that we are constantly discussing what is the plan to get to Mt Bromo AND back to Surabaya at the very same day?
I don’t wanna entertain negative thoughts at this time. I reaaally wanna go no matter what.
We chat with the a local guy who runs a homestay at Cemoro Lawang and he said he can help us out in getting us a ride up to Mt Bromo, a van to get back to Surabaya, and cheaper entrance tickets to the National Park, provided we carry ourselves as locals from Jakarta. since we all looked similar anyway and with a fake imitation Indonesian accent…I think we can nail this. haha if we all look the same I’ll totally get the others in.

Idk how to explain but i have a different way of looking to the Indonesian people here at their native place than at my country.
I wish we’d all value our shared roots, being respectful of our differences and being the good neighbour.
I’ve met good people in all of my travels in Indonesia and they never fail to be so hospitable, helpful and extremely resourceful.
That’s why I have less worry travelling in this country cause even if things don’t go my way and plans all fucked up, we can always strike a deal with someone random and it’ll be in good faith. Money is traded in a way where in each direction someone will get the benefit. So, if it can solve your current hurdle why wont you do it right? I love how you can untangle yourself from a web of problems on a backpacking trip with the power of being open to trust complete strangers and find yourself somehow depending on each other. And we have the advantage of understanding and able to converse in their language.
In this new group, the couple whom the girl is pretty and I guessed she’s a Filipino, but this time I guessed it wrong. She’s also a Malaysian
We had a hyped conversation in the ride, like we’re catching up with old friends or something, but really the topics with Malaysian strangers you met on your travels would be – food, travel stories, food, and again food. because why not???!
She randomly gave us a packet of Old Town black coffee each. a perfect gift for me that i doubt she heard me say my thanks. Or did she? Oh well
The drive up to Cemoro Lawang took an hour or more, winding turns and hard climbs the damaged roads…i couldnt catch a nap.

It’s cold and wet with drizzling rain. It rains every day I was in Surabaya.

I had the same shirt I wore since morning of not showering, and feeling like man….even showering in the rain will do…but because of the cold it doesnt bug me anymore.
So we paid our guy 200000rp for entrance fee to National Park, which everyone else in the group was charged at 317000rp. Our secret k?
And handed 150000rp/person for the jeep ride to Mt Bromo. Usual price is 300000rp/person in a group of 2. We get everything halveddddd
Further up, the other tourists in the group left pair by pair, leaving us, the Malaysian girl and her partner, and the 2 singaporean guys who were with us since Banyuwangi.
They reached their respective accomodations, and I still havent decided by then what is a proper time to say thank you for their accidental company that is convenient for us and warmed us that we found good people to tag along.
I didn’t get to express my thanks again.

Rants cont. Trip to Ijen Crater-Mt Bromo

Part II : OK fuck it and keep going

24/3
We settled in anyway, the inn is empty as we were the only customers. I feel great because we don’t have to share bathroom
but after I woke up on and off sleep, a group of Indonesian guys checked in. But they don’t really stay outside so I still walk around freely
After a great breakfast we went out to the falls (Air Terjun Kembar) near the village and had a really coooool morning shower
I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever went to a waterfall and actually swim in it
amazing feeling. I can’t believe just last night everything was so fucked and being washed in those shallow cool mountainous waters I feel unlike myself
I can forget about everything for as long as I’m in the waters.
After that we went to the beach, wanted to stroll around but that’s not what happened later lol we finished eating our stomach out for the whole 2 hours and a half
It was so gratifying!!
The whole day was spent doing nothing basically..just talking with the owners and sleeping whenever my head hits the sack
Tonight we will go to Ijen so I’m kinda nervous..we were trying to get some sleep before the trip at 12am but the room is so hot and feel closed off
I can’t sleep…what worries me more is that I’m having a diarrhea, at this ideal time lol!! It’s unsettling to say the least. I’m fucking scared like my life depended on it.
Iheard guy’s voices outside..I knew there are more travellers arrived, so we will have a larger group to go together, lesser priced (350000rp/person)
An Italian couple and 2 Singaporean guy friends.
I take too many toilet trips until I’m relieved for a while…taking a tab of Lomotil. I pray and pray lol
I’m really scared
Trekking, and diarrhea. No. Can’t be happening together.
I guessed that the 2 guys are Singaporeans, idk but I know that accent is the chinese people that I knew, but it’s not Malaysian for some reason, I’m a good guesser
The trip started, the drive up the entrance..the roads were narrow and narrower, so cold and pitch dark…it’s kind of like from a scary found footage movie
I made a random joke if our jeep were to stall…and it did. Like 5 mins later. fuuuuuuuuuuu
Starting that everything that happened to me in this entire trip whether is favorable or not it’s all funny to me. Too funny to be true 🙄
We stood by while the guides gathered to check out what can be done to repair the jeep but it didn’t go well
I started to munch on my sugars, feeling cold but honestly I love the stillness of the forest, coupled with the clear starry sky, the moon shines like a blinding spotlight
You know how mysteriously bright the moon feels but in a muted kind of way, if you can touch it it’d feel like velvet
A different van has spaces enough for all 6 of us so they had us transported in this van, we are squeezed in really bad though
Locals would usually chat us up since we looked like we can perfectly understand them compared to the foreign looking tourists
Anyway we reached the entrypoint, it reminds me of the campers base in the Vertical Limit movie 8) I’m being dramatic here but really it felt professional enough
The diarrhea again. fuck. I praaaaaaaaay plz god plz help me
I don’t wanna struggle in pain while making my way up…
We stayed in our group, the Singaporean guys were really helpful in like always tryna make us stay in a group and not stray to different groups with their own guides
I can’t really believe that I trek the trail at the dark of night. I’ve never done itttt
We got separated shortly after starting the trek because obviously we are slower paced
the guide, Pak Sam stayed with us and a lone traveller from China
We found out that he used to be a Penambang too – the sulfur mine workers who arguably have the worst job in the world.
But people do what they had to for some money…and feeding their family. We are of course very familiar to this trait among Indonesian people because we had so many of them coming for a taste of a better life in our country
Although we’re not doing so well ourselves
After an hour (I think.. I lost track of time) my legs is still ok, I’m not straining anywhere along my body but we were left alone, Pak Sam stayed behind for the Chinese lady
We met lots of local trekkers taking a nap randomly beside the trail, or camping under a tree
After twists and turns you quickly lose everyone around you that just now buzzes with life, and suddenly just you and the pitch black darkness, feeling the most strained in your heart beating at an excess beats trying to preserve your life while the air becomes thinner and colder
But in a lot of my ‘endeavours’ doing things that I have never done, I underestimated myself. The diarrhea also is gone by now. hahaha see, it’s all in THE MIND.
I tell myself that I’ve lost one day wasted, and I paid for an extra night for this, to catch Blue Fire phenomenon.
To arrive at the only checkpoint before finishing the trail to the mouth of the crater, my legs are still ok. Although at each later steep turns I feel like crying why aren’t we arrive already
Again, when I say I feel like crying I never did cry. So yeah the top is breezy with sulfur and cold mountain air.
You trying to make sense of how majestic this place is, under the moonlight, the plateau give us a grand view of what lies below….it is otherworldly.
I truly feel like the scene in LOTR Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo unknowingly discovered the Nazgul’s lair. Seriously. It’s really pretty though…
We were reunited with our group again. and I honestly thought people watch the Blue Fire from here, but nah…we have to continue going down to the crater 700m below.
Into the mouths of hell, I thought in my head…
I freaked out inside when we make our way to the starting point of the journey down. When you see the rocky paths, fill with rubbles, and no clear trail.
This is getting real. oh mannn
I think I just throw myself into the moment and let’s go for itttt kind of way
We couldnt find our guide, and every travellers just went by in their own paces, so, the four of us find ourselves left trying to find the next correct path. The Singaporeans are really awesome that they stayed together
In there two is always better than one lol
I’m kinda dumbfounded when we didnt know where to go. I mean come on man this isnt your freaking backyard
Further down we met Pak Sam randomly sprouting from the stones or something cause he was there with the Chinese lady
Following him down we all sat at the ‘viewing point’ where it’s safe to watch the Blue Fire without having to wear the gas mask.
He told us about the phenomena in an educational way, I have fun in that little outdoor classroom
So we stayed until sunrise, just watching, struggling with the cold and taking lots of crappy photos with mobile phones wishing the next will turn out to be better
Anything to bring home from this nature’s wonder
The sounds…is like having your gas burner at home (the heavy cylinder like shaped tin containing gas that is portable) and have it burn at full, and watching it as a miniature human. haha
That silent gurgling sound
The sun light up the crater slowly that you see the expanse of it…how big it is if you have good vantage point to see the lake splayed beyond the sulphur mines.
I took photos but it does not produce images like how my eyes sees it. How the sulphuric yellow complements the shade of aquamarine lake, enclosed in the hard and careless rocky walls.

We see Penambangs doing their job like usual, carrying the heavy 90kg+ weight on their shoulders…it’s hard to watch
I gave them some extra money when buying their sulphur figurines. I hope he will have a good meal that day.
I started to travel out of the rocky gorge, took me like 35mins, losing my breath lots of times ughh it’s really straining. Imagine being those workers 😦
When we reached the top I think I breathed so loud some of the locals looked at me worried
The top is wide enough to camp and walkable. The view from anywhere on that plateau is amazing.
You can see as far as the sea and islands near, like Bali.

I wish I can stay longer but we are pressed for time.
We reunited with the Singaporean guys. Idk if they specifically waited but it was a thoughtful action cause we couldnt find Pak Sam until later
So we went down following them from behind tryna match their pace, which is sad because I can’t. haha
Lots of them looks fine going up and down Ijen and im frustrated with myself
Halfway down my toes are in pain, and my knees started to really feeling the weight of my body
I just bite on chocs to get some energy and drink some water
I tried to remember how I finished 15km trek at Merapoh, Pahang last October, and manage to tell myself to continue even in pain and obvious cuts at my heels
The pain is fueling me to never stop
Me and my friend arrived at the base and look for the 2 guys. After a while the Italian friends joined us at the jeep
We had to sit at the back of the jeep. This is another thing too funny to be true =.=’
My head kept on banging the ceiling throughout
We laughed it off
and I love moments that I laughed everything off, it’s what I do normally, I’m already an expert
But to genuinely laugh it off, is nice.

2016 : #1 Trip to Ijen Crater-Mt Bromo

Part I – My body isn’t ready

My crazy meter is going up
I feel so good like time has pass not in an orderly fashion like the way it has been this entire year (it’s just March)
This is the first trip I’ve done entirely without a travel package..it’s new to me..and it’s obvious, im unable to deny for ever
that i love this type of trip the most…it is refreshing. it’s like i need it to be whole. I need it to be in touch with myself..
and remind myself of the things that i love about me and the world around me…it make me loves everything haha if this even makes sense
Anyway im gonna tell the story of my 4 day trip here before i forgot
Learned and did a few new things

23/3
To start..on the first day, I don’t feel ready to embark on this trip because it’s not on a package I’m kinda nervous. We booked the ticket end of February, on a whim, because we needed to get out from work so bad.
Working for 3 straight months without holidays can turn me to someone so starkly boring
We chart a van to go to Banyuwangi, the province where Ijen Crater is located, 7-8 hours away
We get the info from the girl manning the information counter, so we figured it must be reliable right?
but fuck no.
This driver drive us around the same busy, complex web of inner city roads, with the way the Indonesian traffic is…my stomach feels funny.

But since I was so tired from all the travelling I slept on and off and woke up to the same city. Now I can even remember the streets and landmarks.
Then a few local men get into the van, I was frankly shocked by this but of course we didnt ask..we just make puzzled faces hoping he’d notice
which, is a sad move
When it was near dusk, he stopped us at a surau for Maghrib prayer. but after the prayer I feel more angry loool
It’s quite rare for me to really say that I’m angry in an angry way..know what i mean?
Usually I will just suck it up and stay unnoticed from outside.
But I just couldn’t contain my anger. I was tired, unable to sleep, needed a shower, hungry, and dizzy after long endless rides.
He had it coming
He’s like so shock lol what do you expect!!
So after that he kinda scared of my reaction
It’s raining heavily outside…I’m in flames lol when someone asked me something I just cant carry myself to be nice.
Damn…when I think about it now I feel it’s so worth it to get angry sometimes you know.
He took a detour to a kampung road, which is fucking bumpy and damage the tire or something so we had to pull over to a mechanic in the middle of the fucking night.
I’m still annoyed and just plainly can’t take anymore fucks so I’m just like yeah ok!!!!!
I’m angered also by my friend who can be so cool like no you can’t be nice to them now.
We continued, after stopping for a meal and toilet trips, I was asleep and hurt my body doing it cause the other guy passenger takes so much space that we were squeezed. We were the only two girls in it. Of course I’m worried in the first place
but I rethink and think, in the times I couldn’t sleep I devoted myself to think and use my ‘mind power’ to reduce my stomach ache and the urge to throw up due to the travelling
at one point, at 3am, we were exchanged to a different van, he said it will bring us to our destination.
Since I won’t care anymore I just nodded silently and continue our journey with the next guy. He’s a nice middle aged man who seemed really mindful of his passengers.
When it was my turn he tried to find it really hard because he didn’t know where it is, but he managed to bring us. We have to chip in 100000rp more.
I honestly don’t mind for all the trouble he had because of that..and we checked in at 5am T_T
Total time travelling via van : 17 hours. FUCK.
I was so angryyy because our whole plan is fucked. We wanna go straight up to Ijen on the day of arrival to Surabaya but we couldn’t since we arrive 5 hours late!!
All because of the driver wanna start driving to Banyuwangi no earlier than 7pm. And had no common sense of telling or discuss with us.
p/s: some guy piss in the van and store it in a plastic bag and left it around my friend’s bag. needless to say, my friend was so furious beyond words…….lessons……………………..

To Travel

I’ve read a lot of travel blogs specifically solo/budget travels. It’s clearly in my bucket list. And I think I’ve read too many tips and tricks to kick start the so called ‘Travel life’ which I can’t picture in the near future yet. I don’t even know if I can do it, I have reasons to doubt myself but those are stuff I can improve. Anyway point is Travel life is not starting soon. All I can give is responding to random friends and family’s requests to go somewhere with them. Currently I will be going to Kota Kinabalu this early April =) really looking forward to it.

While that is keeping me sane sailing this work/life ship my mind travels farther than my body will ever permits. I think. Mind and body have different compass altogether. It transcends whatever walls and limits I’ve built around me. I’ve no desire to stop it because I can’t. So because my body is still my own and dormant until I lay out my plans for it, here’s a small list of where I want to be, one fine day.

(In no particular order because I hate having to prioritise)

  1. The Faroe Islands
  2. South Africa – Cape Town
  3. Morocco
  4. Canary Islands
  5. Republic of Armenia