The day of rest has turned into another day of travelling.
Change of plans was basically down to me being a great big mess, but I pretty much hit my limit this morning, sobbed for probably an hour while Emma slept in, and then we ended up abandoning our plans and heading straight for Yogya. I feel really shitty that it all happened this way, but I am also so fucking tired I can’t even see straight, let alone deal with things in a philosophical way.
Last night our train didn’t get into Probolingo until close to 2.30am, and then we took a nine kilometre becak ride to our hotel. Which was small and grim and also right next door to a mosque, which unfortunately meant that as we were checking in 3.15am the imam was singing people into prayer. This, as you may or may not know, is done through a loudspeaker so it can be heard all around the town so you can imagine how loud it is when you’re right next door.
So I didn’t sleep well and there were no sheets or blankets (there was something covering the bed, but nothing to get under when I was cold) and the bathroom was the size of a small toilet cubicle and actually only had a toilet that you needed to pour in a dipper of water to flush it, a bucket for said dipper, and a detachable shower head. I don’t know, I guess you could sit down on the toilet to shower? Then I woke up early because the curtains blocked no light, realised that something had bitten me all down one arm and I was really itchy, and I didn’t even have a sink to brush my teeth in, and that was pretty much it for my ability to cope with life. So I cried my eyes out for a while, admitted to Alyssa and Emma that I was done and wanted to run away, and we packed up out stuff (which I hadn’t even unpacked) and got moving again.
We caught a different kind of transport back to the train station, a yellow minivan with seats around the edges of the inside so that we kind of sat facing each other instead of facing forward. And really, when you think about it, the things I wanted to do on this trip were to take different forms of transportation and to take photos of stuff, and I’ve done that. I took a plane to get here, a taxi, a go-car, the little Turtle bus, the big tour bus, the ferry, the executive class train carriage, a becak, the yellow minivan, the business class train carriage, and now the economy class train carriage. I’ve and I think there are the horse drawn wagons (andong) in Yogya that I’ve never tried, but I’ve certainly expanded my range of experiences.
Anyway, we caught the train from Probolingo to Surabaya (business class carriage), which was quite fun – there was the most adorable little child in the seat in front who kept peeking around or over the seat at Emma and I and laughing. I think it was a boy, and he was just so cheerful and funny, I loved it. I even understood a little bit of what he was saying, which was a bonus. We waited at the Surabaya station for a couple of hours, where Alyssa gave me the gift of life (aka a box of dunkin’ donuts) and the will to keep on trudging. So it was into the ekonomi class carriage of the train for the trip to Yogya, which is where I am now. We’ll get in around 10 and the hotel is right nearby. All I want is to have a shower and actually get clean, put on clean clothes, and then crawl into bed in a room so airconditioned I need a blanket, and go to sleep.
I don’t know. I’ve been doing so good, but today I hated Indonesia and all I wanted was to go home where it doesn’t matter that I’m such a disaster.
Although, in the interests of fairness to this country, today I had a ‘soda gembira’ at lunch, which means ‘happy soda’, and it did indeed make me happy. It’s made up of some kind of flavoured syrup in the bottom, then a slug of condensed milk, and then mineral water on the top. You mix it all up and it tastes kind of like a spider, but thicker and creamier and really astonishingly delicious.
Their trains are really surprisingly good – very comfortable, and in this economy class train carriage people have just come around offering to sell us food and beverages and possibly extra cushions. They also have a power point at every seat so I am able to charge my computer and Emma’s phone as I ride along, which really seems like an idea that Australian trains should consider adopting.
The becak ride- it was so peaceful and really quite lovely going along so quietly. Although I have to admit I think using them in the city traffic would feel terrifying.
I finally got to try a durian flavoured thing. Not an actual durian, but a filled durian flavour donut. Alyssa figured that she may as well give me the best chance to like it, and I must concede that she is right and that if I am going to like anything, wrapping it in a donut is probably the best way to go. However, even the donut could not save the durian – it tastes weird and it smells horrible, so why anyone would eat them enough to develop a taste for them I really don’t know.
The singing from the mosque. I know this was also a bad thing, but really it was just the volume that was problematic- the singing itself was really quite haunting and yet soothing at the same time.
Emma and I went and bought snacks for the train, and we bought a 1.25 litre bottle of water, a coke, a pepsi, a box of wafer biscuits and a tube (33% extra!) of Pringles and it all cost me $5.10.
(Although why don’t they ever have diet coke???? I haven’t had any since we got here and I want it!)
And really, I am so thankful that I have Emma and Alyssa here with me. Alyssa has been utterly amazing, and I don’t know how I will ever really be able to say thank you. I mean, she already introduced me to Troy in the first place, and now this….I feel like I ought to promise her my first born or something, but it’s a bit late for that!
(Although considering Nicholai didn’t even want to get up out of his chair to say hi when I was skyping with the kids and Troy earlier, maybe I SHOULD try and give him away. He might want to reconsider this anyway – I haven’t bought him a present yet, and at the moment I’m not feeling all that fondly of him!)
I am thinking that tomorrow should be a kind of rest day. I think if I can get my clothes washed and have some serious sleep, then I’ll be as ready as I’m ever going to be to meet Alyssa’s Indo family. I’m kind of terrified of it, to be honest, but I also love the idea of family and proper Indonesian living. Not having to pack and unpack my backpack and haul it around to the next place will also be a relief!
I think I probably really do love it here.