Once Around The Sun

38300 km

BANDUNG

If you're traveling from Jakarta to explore any part of Java, I would very much recommend the trains. Executive ticket prices are still very affordable, ride is comfortable and the views are spectacular. For extra charge you can secure a ticket at an agent or you can just go to the station and use one of the kiosks, however it is advised to make your booking few days in advance, specially if you're planning to travel the most popular destinations. We were lucky and are traveling to a destination not too busy, well not right now.

The rainy season is finishing some time in April, so it is still low season. Leaving the train in Bandung reveals us as the only foreigners on the train. Taxi drivers eager to start the tourist season right away swirl around us with exaggerated deal offers that could only be a good for them, but would leave a London Black Cab looking cheap. I suppose Taxi drivers are the same everywhere and these guys make parking attendants and estate agents look really good! We refuse, leave them behind without work and profit and set out to look for accommodation on foot. Eventually I've found a 'Boutique Hotel' with hostel pricing so I checked us in and went to collect Majka from a nearby restaurant, where she was enjoying her ice tea. I have also found a boy sitting on the road side, who's decided that he will be following me everywhere. And so I got my own stalker who for the next day and a half turned up randomly anywhere we went. Most disturbing was him knocking on our hotel door. That was nothing less than disturbing, but after a 'head wash', he finally gave up. I must admit, I felt a bit guilty when Mariola crushed his little dream of him being our guide, but his way was just too spooky.

The first morning it was time to pursue the reason of out visit, which is an active volcano north from the city. Tangkuban Parahu is the first ever volcano that we were about to see and hopefully experience. What we didn't expect is a road right up and almost into the crater. Basically you are looking into the volcano from a parking lot. The entry fee for a 'bule', which is their nick for a white tourist, is 10 fold of the entry fee of a local. Needn't to say that we were outraged. More so when we found out that for the visit to the actual crater and it's hot springs we were required 'by law' to hire a local guide for an excruciating amount of money. I suspect the so called 'local guides' run a private venture here, illegally. But they will not mind to step into your way, or put a flimsy lock on a gate leading to where you've planned to go. Essentially you may end up paying 3 or more times. Once to get through the gate to the parking lot, once to walk to the crater and once to walk down to different crater with hot springs. However wrong this we find, we were not going to cheap out after we travelled through half the globe. Of course... Once the fee is agreed, they are suddenly the sweetest people. Of course...

The second of the 2 full days we had in Bandung, I have convinced Majka for an educational day in the Geology Museum. The museum is informative and quite good size, however often only Indonesian speaking. I don't mean the staff, I mean exhibits. It was still interesting, exhibits are plentiful, with loads of pictures and info graphs. Luckily for Majka, I explained everything that I remembered from my uni. In return she remembered nothing and made fun of me... Of course.