The-walk has finally reached the southern hemisphere!
I took a ferry from Singapore to Bantam and then another to Jakarta. It was a very “local” ferry and amongst all the passengers there were only 4 westerners. We naturally soon started talking and they turned out to be David and Elena from Germany and Mattia from Italy. And guess what, it turns out that Mattia is a long distance walker. He started a bit more than 1 year ago from Italy and intends to walk around the world!
It was great to meet another walker and the first one that was going the same way.We are both heading through Indonesia towards Bali and it looks like we will be able to walk together for a while.
The accommodation was very basic, but then the trip was very cheap, so what can you expect.
To my surprise, meals were included. They were basic, mainly rice and you had to go pick up your meal before they ran out, but it was food. I half expected to spend the 30 hours on the ferry surviving on raisins and water so for me it was a big bonus.
Mattia (check out his site here) has a lot more gear than me, and his chariot cart is well loaded.
We managed to convince Elena and David to walk the 14 km from the port to central Jakarta with us and strapped their backpacks onto our carts and set off.
I think David was a bit impressed by the mini-mule and took charge of it for part of the journey.
We stopped close to halfway and had a brilliant breakfast. The best noodles I have had so far in Asia!
The traffic has incredibly intense. People and vehicles everywhere. Noisy and dirty. Reminded me very much of my first visit to Bangkok in 1988. It was a lot noisier and dirtier then than it is now…
The next day Mattia and I set off on our walk to Bali and even though I had been warned about the traffic and congestion on Java, it was worse than I ever expected. Mattia said it was like India, just a little bit cleaner. Don’t know if I want to go to India after hearing that…
The one thing that makes a trip to Java worthwhile is the people. Everybody is friendly and smiling. They try to be helpful, even though a lot of them speak very limited English, if at all.
“Hej, Mister, where you from?” is constantly being called in your direction as you walk through the streets.
And it is mainly streets, so far the countryside has been very much missing. I hope it will get a little bit greener as we move east and get closer to Bali.
Mattia had a puncture but discovered it while we were still in our hotel room. It is much easier to fix in the air-conditioned comfort of a hotel room rather than out in the burning sun.
The days have been hot and humid, ranging from 30 to 32 degrees celsius and with very high humidity. You need to drink lots of fluids to keep going and thankfully there are plenty of places to stop and buy cold water or drinks.
Today (the 16 June) is out first rest day and it is welcome. After 9 days walking, the mileage adds up and you start to feel it, not only in the feet but also as an accumulated fatigue in your leg muscles. My long rest from walking is making itself felt and I will probably need a few weeks to get up to speed again. That said, we are still almost averaging just under 40 km a day so we aren’t taking it too slowly.
But I have to cross Java and reach Bali first, so I need to keep walking!