We arrived in to Yoygakarta at 6.30am which gave us plenty of time to see the sights. The palace of the Sultan was singularly unexciting except for some Gamelan music (Indonesian percussion orchestra) which I really liked. Its many layers are haunting and refuse to budge from minor key even for a moment. Other than that there was no real sights so we mooched about the market and streets for a bit before getting a bus to Borobudur. The bus proved to be a cramped minibus with loads of vegetables and chickens jostling for space. Good craic though. Arriving at the ancient Buddhist monument the touts swarmed like flies and we bravely sloughed our way through a never-ending hail of “Hello transport” until we finally found a really nice hostel on the outskirts of town. There was only one other family staying in the place which must of had at least 30 rooms. The low season is clearly the best time to visit Borobudur. The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn (Well Richard was, I was busy having another hours kip) and made our way to the temple. Its a pretty massive structure with four intricately carved square tiers topped off by another 3 circular ones. Its almost as good as Angkor Wat but isn’t as old or as detailed. The lack of anyone else being there made for a good atmosphere. After climbing all the tiers and taking 6 zillion photos we made our way back down and entering heated negotiations to hire a scooter to ride out a few Km to see another temple. The drawcard was that it has the only statue in the world of a normally seated buddha. That then, was it. The village is nicely situated in some rolling hills and is pretty chilled out when you get away from the touts but entertainment is limited. We got back on the bus to Yogjakarta and sorted out some transport to Mount Bromo and then Bali. Wednesday was a marathon minibus trip across the island until we finally arrived at the sulphurous Mount Bromo in the late evening. We hit the sack early as we were due to arise at 3.30am to take a jeep to the viewing point to watch dawn break over the active volcano. The huge clouds of white smoke pouring out of Bromo in the pre-dawn light with the more massive Mount Semeru belching out black clouds of ash at regular 20-minute intervals was a beautiful sight. Whn the sun was fully up, we descended from the view point and climbed the side of Bromo itself to stare into the source of its emissions. The rotten-egg smell of sulphur was eye-watering when the wind changed direction and blew the cloud over to our direction. Quality. Later we hit the buses again for the arse-breaking overnight trip to Bali. I’m starting to get tired of Indonesian buses already. Friday morning saw us arrive on the north coast of Bali at Lovina Beach. Five minutes later we were on a tiny boat on a dolphin scouting mission. For an hour and a half we plowed the waters but there was not a one to be seen until finally we caught sight of a school of the cheery looking feckers and the chase was on. They motor along at some speed, I’ll give them that. Dipping and diving in front of the boat they submerge themselves for about a minute at a time which makes following them a pretty difficult task. Our guy was good though and we managed to follow them for about 45 minutes before they gave us the slip, one of them launching himself in the air in a twisting somersault to show his scorn for our puny efforts. Lovina was fairly deserted and the water was too rough for any swimming so we headed further around the coast the next day. Same story here though and the constant arguments we had to have with bus drivers so as not to get charged 3 or 4 times the correct price soon proved enraging, so we decided to leave Bali for Flores and the Komodo islands. We arrived in Denpansar on Sunday and booked ourselves a morning flight to Laubanbajo in Flores for Monday morning. Unfortunately, this meant we had to stay in the tourist enclave of Kuta beach - the scene of the 2003 bomb attacks which appears to have fully recovered its place in the Aussie heart since then. Dwyer
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Dwyer Rooney's excellent blog from our London to Sydney Adventure