they rock by comparison
05.09.2009 36 °C
If we thought that our experience on the Lombok ferry was bad, try being the only non-local people waiting (for 90 mins) in a train station, in a small town, in the middle of nowhere, in Java. Now we know what it is like to be a celebratory, as long as people only want to stand and stare and not ask for autographs.
It did seem like no-one there had ever seen a person with blue eyes or white skin, at first they just stared and did a lot of nudging and whispering, then one of the old men that worked there came over and started chatting to us and slowly one by one more people came over, some of the children were just staring at every inch of us and then a group of boys in their early 20s came and sat behind us, one of them took a huge shine to Gerald and started massaging him on his arms, hands and shoulders which caused much hilarity amongst everybody.
By the end we had a huge crowd around us some of them chatting to us, some just staring! The old man was a bit like our guardian angel, making sure no-one hassled us too much, ensuring we had bought the correct ticket etc.
The train arrived just before 12.30pm and we managed to find a seat eventually that would fit not just us but also our backpacks as we didnt want them to be out of sight. It was most definitely the worst part of the trip for me so far! It was an economy train which means it stops at every station sometimes for up to 30 minutes (no idea why!!!), the windows opened slightly which gave very little air flow on yet another lovely, sunny day so it was very hot, vendors were on the train for the whole journey constantly shouting out what they had on sale - and I do mean constantly, there wasn't a second gone by when we didn't hear somebody yelling! I think the hardest part was the amount of people with disabilities on there using the journey as a way to beg, it was quite upsetting as there was a constant stream of people - shuffling on their bottom along the carriages, feeling their way as they were blind, people with burns all over their bodies etc.
The train eventually arrived at our next destination Yogjakarta at 10.20pm - yes a full 10 hours on that train! we got a taxi to a popular tourist spot and booked in the first hotel that had a room! This morning we moved to a much nicer one for just a tiny bit more money and are now trying to decide how to spend our next few days.....
(and we have just had some New Zealand steak for dinner. the best we've had for a very very long time, and for the princely sum of 2 quid each. i may not come home. Gerald)