Thailand – Koh Tao

Now that we‚Äôre back home safe and sound at least we can tell you stories without scaring the parents too much ūüėČ

We decided to cross over to Thailand on the east side, taking the train from Sungai Kolok up north even though this is not always recommended due to insurgency in the south-east provinces of Thailand. At first we doubted and wondered if maybe it would be a better idea to go back to the west coast of Malaysia and take the train from there, but after talking to people who had already used the east coast crossing we decided it should be ok as long as we made sure to cross during the day and didn’t miss the train. We did leave a bit late to the border but as we would experience quite a lot in Thailand the train was about 3 hours late and there were no problems. What did strike us as a bit peculiar was the amount of soldiers present, the station was filled with them and when we boarded the train so did they. We weren’t sure if this was normal on all Thai trains or it was due to the conflict in the region. At all the stations where the train stopped at the soldiers stood up, looked out the windows, showed their nice big guns, and as the train continued they sat down. This continued all the way to Hat Yai which is considered as the end of the conflict zone.

Everything went fine and after taking the most air-conditioned night train ever (we had to cover our faces in order to not freeze our noses off), and a ferry, we arrived in Koh Tao ready for breakfast. As soon as we stepped off the boat we wondered where the hell we had arrived. We had been in some touristic places before but mostly we tried to avoid them, and this felt as though we were in Disneyland, or Lloret de Mar. But we had mostly come here to dive, so we practiced a bit of breathing and found a dive shop that seemed really great for the Advanced course. We had a great time during the course, learning perfect buoyancy, navigation, wreck dive, deep dive and night dive. The night dive was a bit scary at first with rough weather and guiding ourselves only by flash lights but in the end it was fun.

We didn’t really hit it off with Koh Tao so when we finished the course we decided it was time to leave. But not before having a reality check, buying our return ticket home to Barcelona in December…

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Happily surprised by the comfortable Thai trains / Positivamente sorprendidos por los trenes cómodos en Thailandia

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The non air-conditioned trains have moving fans in the ceiling / Los trenes sin aire acondicionado tienen ventiladores que se mueven

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Dinner on the sleeping train, afterwards they stow away the table and pull out the seat and prepare the bed for you with sheets and everything. We love Thai trains!¬† / Cena en el tren de noche, desp√ļes quitan la mesa, estiran el asiento y te hacen la cama con s√°banas y todo. Nos ecantan los trenes Thais!

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Sail rock, a 30m deep rock where it’s common to see whale shark / Sail Rock, una roca de 30m de profundidad donde es posible ver tibur√≥n ballena

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The weather wasn’t really promising for our night dive / El tiempo no promet√≠a para el buceo de noche

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Cables…

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One of the best parts of Koh Tao was waiting for the train to leave when we saw these guys and their super pimped car / Una de las mejores cosas de Koh Tao pasó esperando el tren a Bangkok y nos encontramos con estos tíos y su coche super tuneado

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Intermission

 

As most of you already know we‚Äôre back home in Barcelona. Although the trip was amazing it was time to go home, we were tired of moving around all the time, we could have stayed in Koh Kood forever but at the time that wasn‚Äôt a possibility ūüėČ

Adapting to ‚Äúnormal life‚ÄĚ has been a challenge. We arrived a week before the Spanish elections which was enough to drive us crazy, after that was Christmas which was a whole other level of stress that we hadn‚Äôt experienced in a long time.

However ready you feel to go back home to reality it can be hard to come back, it’s hard to go from 6 months of hot summer to winter time when you really hate the cold, it’s hard to go from smiling and happy people surrounding you to people that wonder what’s wrong with you if you smile at them, it’s hard to go from living out of 2 backpacks to a whole house filled with stuff and it’s hard to resist the urge to throw away everything in the first instant. But with time you get used to it.

After a time of unemployment and wondering what to do with our lives, we decided to try the island life of Ibiza. In just a couple of weeks we will be fully set to start a new adventure.

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If we hold on really tight we can imagine that we’re still in Koh Kood / Si nos agarramos muy fuerte podemos imaginar que todav√≠a estamos en Koh Kood

Como la mayor√≠a de vosotros ya sab√©is estamos de vuelta en Barcelona. Aunque el viaje fue incre√≠ble era hora de volver a casa, est√°bamos cansados de desplazarnos todo el rato, podr√≠amos habernos quedado en Koh Kood para siempre pero no era posible en ese momento ūüėČ

Adaptarse a ‚Äúla vida normal‚ÄĚ ha sido un reto. Llegamos una semana antes de las elecciones generales, lo que fue suficiente para volvernos locos, y despu√©s ven√≠an navidades que es otro nivel de estr√©s total que no hab√≠amos vivido en bastante tiempo.

Aunque te sientes totalmente listo para volver a la realidad puede ser duro: es duro cambiar 6 meses de verano caliente al invierno frío cuando realmente odias el frío. Es duro estar rodeado de gente contenta y sonriente y estar de vuelta con gente que te pregunta qué te pasa si les sonríes. Es duro estar acostumbrado vivir con solo 2 mochilas y encontrarte con una casa llena de cosas y es duro resistirse el impulso de tirarlo todo inmediatamente. Pero con tiempo uno se adapta.

Después de un tiempo en el paro intentando averiguar qué hacer con nuestras vidas, hemos decidido probar la suerte en Ibiza. Dentro de unas semanas estaremos totalmente instalados para empezar una nueva aventura.

 

Malaysia – Perhentian and Kota Bharu

After all the drama and change of plans we wanted some relax, we were getting tired of packing and unpacking all the time, looking for new hotels, always thinking of what’s next. The famous travel burnout was starting to show, so we decided to go to Perhentian islands for some diving. We took a night bus from Penang to Perhentian, were promised to arrive at 7am and were woken up at 5am instead, with 3 hours until the boat left. Oh the crankiness.

The initial plan was to dive at Steffen Sea Sports, run by the same guy we had gotten our license with in Indonesia, but when we arrived to the island they informed us that they had closed 2 years ago. Seizing the moment we decided on another place with friendly staff one of which had told us where to find cheap accommodation, good thing because we got the last bungalow! Perhentian was nice and we had some really nice dives. Unfortunately you could tell that some of the local people working in the restaurants were quite tired of the tourists. It’s understandable but it didn’t really help our grumpiness. So we did what we could at that point, took advantage of the 30% season sale on food and had pancakes for dinner and ice cream sundaes for dessert.

From Perhentian we went to Kota Bharu basically just to get a Thai visa. On our way to Kota Bharu we met a really nice guy that we started talking to about this and that, his name is Richard and he is a 50 years old Swiss opera singer that had set out on a 2 year round the world trip but was now on his fourth year and had only gotten to Asia. Since we didn’t have any plans at all we decided to go with him and check out his accommodation option. It was alright with a very friendly and helpful owner and there were fluffy kittens! You always say yes to a hotel with fluffy kittens! There’s not much to see in Kota Bharu, it’s a city close to the Thai border where many tourist pass during their travels either to or from Thailand but most don’t stay more than one night. Even though there weren’t a lot of sightseeing to be made we were pleasantly surprised by the city, people were super friendly and really interested in you, the first place in Malaysia that we experienced this after coming back from Indonesia.

Kota Bharu will always be remembered as the place where Katerina’s 7 year old Reef flip flops were laid to rest. After having endured travels all over the world almost without giving any sore feet, with one attempt to repair them, one rainy night in Kota Bharu they decided it was time to give up forever, leaving Katerina stranded with only one flip flop to make it back to the hotel. May they rest in Peace!

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Finally arrived in Perhentian, Pulau Kecil. After waiting 3h for the boat to leave it broke down after only 15 minutes / Por fin en Perhentian, Pulau Kecil. Tras esperar 3h a que saliera el barco, éste se estropeó a los 15 minutos

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Being underwater does not stop Victor from being silly / Estar bajo el agua no impide que Victor ponga caras en las fotos

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Underwater selfie! / Selfie bajo el mar!

Redang: so beautiful that the world is curved upwards here / Redang: tan bonito que aquí la tierra se curva hacia arriba

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We saw a turtle in Redang (if you look closely you might see it)! And a starfish! And a puffer fish! And! And! And! / Vimos una tortuga en Redang (si miras detenidamente igual la ves)! Y una estrella de mar! Y un pez globo! Y! Y! Y!

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We found Nemo, and they are so cute and friendly! / Encontramos a Nemo, y son tan monos y juguetones!

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Muuuuuuuu!!!!

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Katerina happy with her ukulele when Victor could actually guess what song she was playing / Katerina contenta con su ukulele cuando Victor pudo adivinar que canción estaba tocando

 

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Anti-grumipness food / Comida contra el mal humor

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Bye bye Perhentian! / Adiós Perhentian!

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With Richard outside of the Museum of Royal Traditions and Customs, one of the few museums we actually wanted to go to. But when we arrived it was closed, apparently the Sultan’s brother was visiting. After a couple of minutes of discussion they let the confused tourists go inside for free. / Posando con Richard delante del Museo de Tradiciones y Costumbres Reales, uno de los pocos museos que quer√≠amos visitar. Pero al llegar estaba cerrado, aparentemente el hermano del Sult√°n estaba visitando. Despu√©s de unos minutos dejaron entrar a los guiris confundidos, y sin pagar!

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Richard made some friends at this shop in the saddest mall in Malaysia. It’s a shop specialized in Tamiya, a cool-nerd racing game with customized miniature cars that race in this huge circuit. / Richard hizo amigos en esta tienda en el centro comercial m√°s triste de Malasia. Es una tienda especializadaa en Tamiya, un juego en el que coches customizables comppiten uno contra otro en estos circuitos enormes.

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Photo by Richard

 

 

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Posing with the shop owner, his parents and some of the competitors. / Posando con el due√Īo de la tienda, sus padres, y algunos de los competidores.

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Good bye breakfast with Richard before crossing the border to Thailand / Desayuno de despedida con Richard antes de cruzar a Tailandia

Despu√©s de todo el drama y los cambios de planes quer√≠amos un poco de descanso, empezamos a hartarnos de hacer y deshacer las maletas cada dos por tres, buscar nuevos hoteles, siempre pensando en el siguiente. El famoso fen√≥meno de estar quemado de viajar estaba mostrando su cara as√≠ que decidimos ir a las islas Perhentian para bucear un poco. Cogimos un bus de noche de Penang a Perhentian, donde nos aseguraron que llegar√≠amos a las 7 de la ma√Īana para el barco de las 8, en cambio nos despertaron a las 5 de la ma√Īana con 3 horas hasta que saliera el barco..

El plan inicial era de bucear con Steffen Sea Sports, perteneciente tambi√©n al due√Īo del sitio donde nos sacamos la licencia en Indonesia, pero cuando llegamos nos informaron de que ese sitio hab√≠a cerrado hace 2 a√Īos. Dadas las circunstancias decidimos ir con otro sitio, con gente maja que nos hab√≠a recomendado un sitio bueno/bonito/barato para alquilar habitaci√≥n, y tuvimos la suerte de cara ya que cogimos el √ļltimo bungalow! Lo pasamos muy bien en Perhentian, buenos lugares para bucear y bonitas playas. Desafortunadamente se notaba que algunos de los locales trabajando en los restaurantes estaban bastante hartos de los turistas. Se entiende, pero no ayud√≥ con nuestro mal humor. ¬†En ese punto sacamos lo mejor de la situaci√≥n, aprovechamos del descuento de 30% de temporada en comida y cenamos cr√™pes y helado de postre.

De Perhentian fuimos a Kota Bharu b√°sicamente para conseguir el visado a Tailandia. De camino nos encontramos con un hombre muy majo con quien empezamos a hablar de esto y de lo otro. Se llamaba Richard y era un cantante de √≥pera suizo de 50 a√Īos que hab√≠a empezado un viaje de vuelta de mundo de 2 a√Īos y que estaba en su 4¬ļ a√Īo sin haber llegado m√°s lejos que Asia. Como no ten√≠amos planes decidimos ir con √©l a mirar su opci√≥n de alojamiento. No estaba mal, con un due√Īo muy simp√°tico y con ganas de ayudar, y encima hab√≠a gatitos peque√Īitos! Siempre hay que quedarse en un hotel con gatitios! No hay gran cosa de ver en Kota Bharu, es una ciudad cerca de la frontera Tailandesa donde muchas turistas pasan en sus viajes a o de Tailandia pero muchos no se quedan m√°s de una noche. A pesar de esto nos quedamos gratamente sorprendidos de la cuidad, la gente era muy amable y se mostraban muy interesados en los turistas, el primer sitio en Malasia donde nos pas√≥.

Kota Bharu siempre ser√° recordado como el sitio donde se quedaron las chanclas Reef de Katerina de 7 a√Īos. Despu√©s de haber viajado por todo el mundo sin dar apenas rozaduras y de un intento de reparaci√≥n, una noche lluviosa en Kota Bharu decidieron rendirse para siempre, dejando a Katerina con solo una chancla para volver al hotel. Que descansen en Paz!

 

Malaysia – Penang

We had decided some time ago that we were going to volunteer at a cat shelter in Penang, we were missing our cats like crazy and wanted some cuddles. Since we had fallen ill at Ali‚Äôs house we left for Penang a few days later than expected, after having taken the metro, the train, a ferry and a bus we arrived at the cat shelter. It wasn‚Äôt the warmest welcome… We didn‚Äôt really know what to expect, we had heard some horror stories about people shovelling dead cats, it wasn‚Äôt that bad but still it wasn‚Äôt great. After travelling around Asia on a tight budget we were used to not expect ‚ÄúEuropean standard‚ÄĚ cleanliness, but this woman seemed to excuse everything on ‚Äúbeing in a 3rd world country‚ÄĚ (she actually said this!!) and thus not having to clean. Everything smelled of cat piss, and you didn‚Äôt really want to touch the floor with your feet. The promised sleeping arrangements had been changed so in the end we cleaned out one of the bigger play cages for the cats and put in a small mattress‚Ķ great. We didn‚Äôt get much sleep, due to the heat, the tiny mattress, and the magic smell of cat poop. The next morning we decided that we couldn‚Äôt do this for two weeks, so we left, and it was a huge relief. We went back to Georgetown, got a hotel room without a window and were so happy, took a shower and slept!

Now at least we had some time to explore Penang which is famous in all of Malaysia for its food, we were also lucky enough to visit during the end of the Georgetown festival meaning that there were some extra festivities all over the city. When we arrived at the hotel they gave us 4 different maps; street food, street art, UNESCO heritage sites, and one for the whole island. The street food map became our bible! We had so much food during our stay, and most of it was amazing!

Georgetown isn’t a very pretty city in itself, it’s actually quite rundown, but with all the street art and in combination with the food it makes for a very interesting city to visit.

After a couple of days Oli, a Chinese girl we had met on the farm, came to join us. She wanted to spend some days touristing before going back to China and asked if it was OK to join us. Of course it was! We ate and ate and ate, walked and walked and walked, went to the beach and taught Oli how to float. It was so nice to have some days out of the farm with her and it felt like we got a little sister now ūüėČ .

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Katerina was not impressed by the cat shelter / Katerina no estaba nada impresionada por el refugio de gatos

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Eveything feels better with a coconut milkshake / Todo tiene mejor pinta con un batido de coco

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Georgetown had these comic-like cast iron sculptures everywhere. Each told a short story of the neighbourhood they were in / Estas esculturas tipo comic estaban en todas partes de Georgetown. Cada una explicaba una peque√Īa historia sobre el barrio donde estaba

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Chinese restaurant in Georgetown, decorated with lanterns for the moon festival / Restaurante chino en Georgetown decorado con linternas para el festival de la luna

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Oli doesn’t like the sun / A Oli no le gusta el sol

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There was a Transformers themed street art competition within the Georgetown Culture Festival and Oli told us to pose / Había una competición de arte urbano con temática de Transformers por el festival cultural de Georgetown y Oli nos mandó posar

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Penang Buddhist Association. Swasticas look BAD to the european eye though / Asociaci√≥n Budista de Penang. Las swasticas tienen MALA pinta a los ojos europeos por eso…

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So true… / Tan cierto…

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Street food! / Comida callejera!

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More street food! / M√°s comida callejera!

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There were also plenty of graffiti made on the occasion of Georgetown becoming UNESCO World Heritage Site, many of which cat themed for some reason / Tambi√©n hab√≠a bastante graffiti hecho cuando Georgetoown se convirti√≥ en Patrimonio de la Humanidad UNESCO, muchos con tem√°tica de gatos por alg√ļn motivo

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This van was covered in knitting! / Esta furgo estaba forrada con lana de colores!

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Traditional theatre performance during the moon festival / Representación teatral tradicional china con motivo del festival de la luna.

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The theatre was boring Oli so Victor had to wake her up / Oli se estaba aburriendo con el teatro así que Víctor tuvo que despertarla

Tiempo atr√°s hab√≠amos decidido que √≠bamos hacer un voluntariado en un refugio para gatos en Penang, echamos de menos a nuestros gatos como locos y quer√≠amos mimos. Como hab√≠amos ca√≠do enfermos en casa de Ali nos fuimos a Penang unos d√≠as m√°s tarde de lo pensado, despu√©s de haber cogido el metro, el tren, un ferry y un bus llegamos al refugio de gatos. No fue la m√°s c√°lida de las bienvenidas… No sab√≠amos bien que esperar, hab√≠amos escuchado alguna historia horrible de gente recogiendo gatos muertos a paletazos. Al final no fue tan malo pero tampoco muy bueno. Despu√©s viajar por Asia con un presupuesto ajustado nos est√°bamos acostumbrando a no esperar ‚ÄúEst√°ndar Europeo‚ÄĚ de limpieza, pero parec√≠a que esta mujer lo excusaba todo con ‚Äúvivir en un pa√≠s del 3er mundo‚ÄĚ (realmente dijo esto!!) y con eso justificaba no tener que limpiar. Todo apestaba a meado de gato, y no quer√≠as tocar el suelo con tu pie descalzo. Las condiciones de alojamiento prometidas hab√≠an cambiado dr√°sticamente as√≠ que al final limpiamos uno de las jaulas grandes donde los gatos jugaban y pusimos un colch√≥n peque√Īo‚Ķ fenomenal. No dormimos mucho debido al calor, el colch√≥n chiquit√≠n, y el olor m√°gico a caca de gato. La ma√Īana siguiente decidimos que no pod√≠amos hacer esto durante dos semanas, as√≠ que nos fuimos, y fue un alivio enorme. Volvimos a Georgetown, conseguimos una habitaci√≥n de hotel sin ventana y estuvimos s√ļper contentos, nos duchamos y dormimos!

Ahora al menos teníamos tiempo para explorar Penang, famosa en toda Malasia por su comida. Además tuvimos la suerte de visitar durante el festival de Georgetown lo que significaba que había festividades extras en toda la ciudad. Al llegar al hotel nos dieron 4 mapas diferentes: comida callejera, arte callejero, lugares de patrimonio UNESCO, y uno de toda la isla. El de la comida callejera se convirtió en nuestra biblia! Comimos tanta comida, la mayor parte deliciosa!

Georgetown no es una ciudad muy bonita en sí, la verdad es que está bastante hecha polvo, pero con todo el arte callejero y la comida se convierte en una visita muy interesante.

Despu√©s de unos d√≠as Oli, una chica china que conocimos en la granja, nos vino a visitar. Quer√≠a pasar unos d√≠as turisteando antes de volver a China y pregunt√≥ si se pod√≠a juntar con nosotros. Por supuesto! Comimos sin parar y despu√©s comimos un poco m√°s, nos pateamos toda la cuidad y nos fuimos a la playa donde ense√Īamos a Oli a flotar. Estuvo muy guay pasar unos d√≠as fuera de la granja con ella y nos sentimos como si hubi√©semos ganado una hermana peque√Īa ūüėČ

Malaysia – KL, KS and PJ

Back in KL! This time though it was only going to be for a couple of days, enough to get our NAUI Open Water Diver cards and the repaired camera (yeehaw!). We had found a volunteering job through Workaway at an organic farm, the same farm Magda had told us about in Aceh and that she was in love with. With such a hype we were looking forward to go there and see for ourselves!

The farm is located near Kuala Selangor, north east of KL. We made the trip by bus, all the way communicating with who we thought was Arafat, the manager of the farm. That was our first surprise, as it turns out that Arafat had left the farm not long ago and now it was David, the actual manager, who was in charge. When we arrived at the farm we kind of noticed that there was some sort of tension between some of the volunteers and David. Our suspicions were confirmed two days later when, during the lunch meeting things got a bit heated. Long story short, looks like things had changed quite a bit when Arafat left. He used to foster quite a relaxed atmosphere and had let the volunteers pursue their own projects. David, the actual manager of the farm, is not really a people’s person and was happy to let Arafat run things and take care of the volunteers while he investigated with natural fertilizers and was engaged in other projects. When Arafat left David had to step to the front line with the volunteers and, seeing that the farm had not been properly taken care of in terms of productivity and maintenance (to his standards at least) he wanted to impose a stricter discipline. These differences created a strange atmosphere to live in, not at all the lovely place Magda had told us about. The long term volunteers were very disappointed with the turn things had taken and David’s social skills deficiencies made it so that it felt like we had a boss, as opposed to helping develop an interesting project.

Not everything was negative however. We met some amazing people in the farm, from whom we learned plenty of things and with who it was a huge pleasure to share our life during the time we were there. We learned some basics in building with adobe, gardening, composting, woodwork and how to make cleaning product out of natural citrus enzymes. We learned about calamansies (a small citrus fruit like small oranges) and that lemon trees in Malaysia have thorns. We had very interesting conversations about previous and future adventures, politics, religion, you name it. Since we were a group with so many different backgrounds, the exchange was always enriching. We even had a group of school kids one day to which we taught about the different projects going on in the farm. And it was really nice to spend some days closer to the nature, showering underneath the stars. In the end, it was an interesting experience, with good and bad things, but one that we got through making new friends.

We left the farm several days earlier than we had originally planned due to this atmosphere, but funny enough, we ended up being invited to stay with Ali, a guy from Pakistan who had been volunteering at the farm some time ago and who had come for dinner some two days prior to our departure. We were both surprised and grateful by his invitation, as we barely knew each other, but we did not miss the opportunity to stay with him and get to know each other better. Ali was the best, we’re quite used to not being allowed to pay anything when we go to Greece but Ali was a whole other level. For example Katerina asked where she could get her flipflops repaired, Ali told her where, and later at breakfast he told her he had already taken them to get repaired! True ninja style! Every day he stuffed us with chapatti, briyani, chai tea and all types of delicious foods. Ali lives with his brother and their employee in a very simple shared apartment, and he was also hosting Claire, another of the exiting volunteers. He has no beds so we were all sleeping on the floor in the same room except Ali himself, who slept in the hall. The family owns a computer repair service shop in an electronics mall right next to the apartment and were working all day, but by night we met all together and had dinner and some extremely interesting conversations. When we told him after a week that we were leaving (since we already had other plans) he was wondering why we were leaving so early! We’re so happy we decided to stay at his house, he and his family was just the best!

PS. The Malaysians seem to love abbreviating the names of their cities, Kuala Lumpur is KL, Kuala Selangor is KS, Petaling Jaya is PJ and the list goes on and on.

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So many fluffy cats everywhere / Tantos gatos por todos lados

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One day it started raining and it rained and rained and rained, everything was flooded. When it finally stopped there was no electricity and no gas and we were ankle deep in cold water / Un día empezó a llover, y llovió, llovió, y llovió, todo se inundó. Cuando al final paró no había ni luz ni gas y teníamos agua hasta los tobillos

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To go pee you had to be prepared / Para ir a mear tenías que ir preparado

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Amanda is trying to cope with the rain / Amanda intenta aceptar la lluvia

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Oli is prepared to harvest calamansies in the rain / Oli est√° preparada para cosechar calamansis en la lluvia

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Fruit enzyme workshop at the dinning table / Taller de encimas de fruta en la mesa de comer

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Martin showing how to mix the enzymes before letting them ferment / Martin ense√Īando como se mezclan las encimas anted de fermentarse

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Fermented enzymes that had been left without airing out the gas.. / Encimas fermentedas que se habían dejados sin dejar salir el gas..

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Charlie!!!

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The highlight of Kuala Selangor are the fireflies, you go out in rowing boats at night and go by bushes filled with teeny tiny flies that light up the whole bush / La atracci√≥n principal de Kuala Selangos son las luci√©rnagas, sales en barcas de remo por la noche y pasas por arbustos llenos de luciernagas peque√Īitas que iluminan todo el arbusto

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One night the newcomers decided to go see the fire flies. Left to right, up to down: David the manager, Katerina, Chris from Canada, Victor, Martin from Czech Republic, Amanda from China, Sophie from Germany and Oli behind the camera / Una noche los novatos decidimos ir a ver las luci√©rnagas. De izda a dcha, arriba a abajo: David el encargado, Katerina, Chris de Canad√°, Victor, Martin de Rep√ļblica Checa, Amanda de China, Sophie de Alemania y Oli detr√°s de la c√°mara

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Preparing for the good bye group photos / Preparando para las fotos de despedida del grupo

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Breakfast with Ali, his brother and Claire, another volunteer that gave up the farm / Desayuno con Ali, su hermano y Claire, otra voluntaria que dejó la granja

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Katerina is demonstrating bollywood dance moves while visiting Ali at his work / Katerina est√° demonstrando movimientos de baile de bollywood al visitar Ali en su trabajo

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It might look like more bollywood moves but it’s just Katerina saying good bye really early in the morning / Puede que parezca m√°s movimientos de Bollywood pero es s√≥lo Katerina despidi√©ndose muy temprano

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On day we visited the National Museum of Islamic Art in KL and now we can hopefully replicate all the beautiful patterns / Un día visitamos el Museo Nacional de Arte Islámico en KL y con suerte ahora podremos replicar todos los bonitos patrones

De vuelta en KL! Esta vez solo iba a ser unos días, lo suficiente para recoger nuestras tarjetas de submarinismo NAUI Open Water Diver y la cámara reparada (yeeeaaayyy!!). Habíamos encontrado un trabajo de voluntariado a través de Workaway en una granja orgánica, la misma granja de la que Magda nos había hablado en Aceh y de la que estaba totalmente enamorada. Con tan buena prensa teníamos muchas ganas de ir y verlo nosotros mismos!

La granja est√° situada cerca de Kuala Selangor, al noreste de KL. Viajamos en bus, todo el rato comunic√°ndonos con quien pens√°bamos era Arafat, el encargado de la granja. Esa fue nuestra primera sorpresa: al parecer Arafat hab√≠a dejado la granja hac√≠a poco y ahora era David, el encargado de verdad que estaba al mando. Cuando llegamos a la granja notamos que hab√≠a alg√ļn tipo de tensi√≥n entre algunos de los voluntarios y David. Nuestras sospechas se confirmaron dos d√≠as m√°s tarde durante la reuni√≥n de medio d√≠a y las cosas se calentaron un poco. Resumiendo, parece que las cosas hab√≠an cambiado bastante cuando Arafat se fue. √Čl cultivaba una atm√≥sfera bastante relajada donde dejaba a los voluntarios perseguir sus propios proyectos. David, el encargado de verdad de la granja, no es una persona con mucho don de gentes y estaba contento con dejar a Arafat llevar las cosas y preocuparse de los voluntarios mientras que √©l investigaba fertilizantes naturales y estaba metido en otros proyectos. Cuando Arafat se fue David tuvo que pasar a priimera linea con los voluntarios y, viendo que la granja hab√≠a sido descuidada en terminus de mantenimiento y de productividad (seg√ļn sus est√°ndares al menos) quer√≠a imponer una disciplina m√°s estricta. Estas diferencias crearon una atm√≥sfera rara para vivir, para nada el sitio amable y lleno de amor del que nos hab√≠a hablado Magda. Los voluntarios de larga duraci√≥n estaban muy decepcionados con el cambio y la manera de David de tratar con la gente nos hizo sentir que ten√≠amos un jefe, en vez de estar ayudando a desarrollar un proyecto interesante.

Sin embargo no todo fue negativo. Conocimos a unas personas incre√≠bles en la granja, que nos ense√Īaron muchas cosas y con quienes fue un placer compartir nuestra vida durante la estancia. Aprendimos t√©cnicas b√°sicas de construcci√≥n con adobe, jardiner√≠a, compostaje, carpinter√≠a y como hacer un producto de limpieza con encimas c√≠tricas naturales. Aprendimos sobre calamansis (una fruta c√≠trica peque√Īa parecido a naranjas peque√Īas) y que los limoneros en Malasia tienen espinas. Tuvimos conversaciones muy interesantes sobre aventuras futuras y pasadas, pol√≠tica, religi√≥n, de todo. Como √©ramos un grupo con trasfondos tan diferentes el intercambio siempre era enriquecedor. Un d√≠a incluso tuvimos un grupo de ni√Īos de colegio quienes ense√Īamos sobre los diferentes proyectos de la granja. Y estuvo muy bien pasar unos d√≠as cerca de la naturaleza, duch√°ndose debajo de las estrellas. Al final, fue una experiencia interesante, con cosas buenas y malas, pero una por la que pasamos haciendo amigos.

Dejamos la granja varios días antes de lo previsto debido a esta atmósfera pero, curiosamente, fuimos invitados a quedarnos con Ali, un pakistaní que había sido voluntario en la granja hacía un tiempo y que había venido a cenar un par de días antes de nuestra partida. La invitación nos sorprendió, ya que apenas nos conocíamos, pero estábamos muy agradecidos y no quisimos perder la oportunidad de quedarnos en su casa y conocerle mejor. Ali era el mejor, estamos bastante acostumbrados a no poder pagar nada cuando vamos a Grecia pero Ali era totalmente otro nivel. Por ejemplo, Katerina preguntó dónde podía reparar sus chanclas, Ali le dijo donde, y más tarde en el desayuno le dijo que ya había llevado las chanclas a repararlas! Un ninja total! Cada día nos llenó con chapatti, briyani, te chai y todo tipo de comida deliciosa. Ali vive con su hermano y su empleado en un apartamento compartido muy simple, y también estaba alojando a Claire, otra voluntaria de la granja. No tienen camas, así que dormíamos en el suelo todos en la misma habitación, excepto Ali que dormía en la entrada. Los hermanos tienen una tienda de reparación de ordenadores en un centro comercial de electrónica al lado del apartamento y trabajaban todo el día, todos los días, pero por la noche nos juntábamos todos para cenar y tuvimos conversaciones muy interesantes. Cuando le dijimos después de una semana que nos íbamos (porque ya teníamos otros planes de antes) nos preguntó porque nos íbamos tan pronto! Estamos tan contentos de haber podido quedarnos en su casa, él y su familia son lo más!

PD. Parece que les encantan abreviar los nombres de las ciudades en Malasia, Kuala Lumpur es KL, Kuala Selangor es KS, Petaling Jaya es PJ y así hasta el infintio.

Indonesia – Gili and back to Bali

The time we spent with Victor in Bali was short but intense, as we were leaving to Gili Air shortly. Just a bit of background on the Gili Islands. These three islands on the north-west of Lombok each have their own identity. Gili Trawangan (usually just called Gili T) is the ‚Äúparty island‚ÄĚ. We haven‚Äôt been there ourselves but we have met several people that have been and the consensus is that it‚Äôs too much: Nonstop party every day, everywhere on the island. As Roger Murthaugh said in Lethal Weapon, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm too old for this shit‚ÄĚ. Gili Meno is referred to as the ‚ÄúHoney Moon island‚ÄĚ. Quiet, calm, not much to do other than going to the beach and look into the eyes of your partner. Gili Air is somewhere in between. We weren‚Äôt actually expecting as many tourists as we found but it is still beautiful and calm, and the island is tiny, you can walk all around the island in 1-1,5h. As in all the Gilis, the fact that there are no motor vehicles (prohibited by law) makes for a very pleasant change for Indonesia, where cars and motorbikes alike honk all the time. Diving is the great attraction there, as you are basically guaranteed to see sea turtles. All the dive shops in Gili Air have agreed to offer the same prices for fun dives and courses, so that the differentiating factor is not price but the service. We tried two different shops and made several fun dives, and yes, we saw turtles. They are huge, beautiful and look pissed off most of the time, you have to really fight your urges to hug them, but it‚Äôs just amazing when you can swim up close to them. Gili Air is truly a paradise. The biggest concentration of tourists can be easily avoided by going more inland and the sunsets are spectacular. The only downside is that the food is quite expensive by Indonesian standards, often more than double the normal price, but it‚Äôs also an island with virtually nothing, so everything has to be brought from neighbouring Lombok or from Bali.

On our way back to Bali we had to fight for the transport to Victor’s place with the taxi company. It is quite common in Indonesia that, when you buy a combined ticket ferry + pickup (as we did) the negotiations you had with the transport company are not passed on to the actual people doing the job, so we had to call and insist that we had agreed transport to a specific address, not to a neighbouring village as they were offering. When we arrived we discovered that the situation at the house had changed quite a bit. All the bunk beds were taken and the mattress that used to be in the common area had been taken by Anggy, a new addition to the family, which left us with the floor as our only option. This would be our first time sleeping on the floor this trip, but not the last one. Next day we realized that there was actually one free bed in which we could sleep the two of us so we moved upstairs again. Our new roomies were a girl from Barcelona (Mary), two guys from Bilbao (Ander and Oier), a guy from Brazil (Peter) and a couple from the US (can’t remember the names, sorry). We all went together on a trip organized by Victor which took us through the hidden Bali, the part that is still not spoiled by tourist resorts. We visited some temples in the mountain, one of which had a wall that had been built around a tree in order to avoid cutting it down. We drove past some amazing rice fields and ended the day up a mountain sharing food and homemade arak, a local spirit made from fermented coconut water, with a family that lives over there. The views from up the mountain were simply breath-taking. On our way back we stopped at a beach of black sand where Katerina took tons of selfies with Maia and Pepep.

A couple of days later Pepep was leaving Bali to start the training for his new job in cruise ships. We were happy for him but sad at the same time, as we had really started to become friends! We had already stayed quite some time with the whole family and when we came back from Gili it really felt like coming back home. Halim and Maia took us to a big market where Maia used her amazing negotiation skills to get Katerina good prices on trousers, t-shirts and an ukulele (!). It may sound random but Halim had been playing ukulele all the time, even Pepep and Maia had been practicing a bit every now and then and Katerina had grown more and more intrigued about it. After the purchase Halim set to tune it and, without saying anything, fixed a problem with the frets. By now Katerina and Maia were BFFs and there was a very good energy with everyone in the house. Before leaving Bali we went to Amed, in the east coast, to get some diving. This was Victor’s turn to be sick at an inconvenient moment (Katerina had missed the first dive in Gili) and could not make it. Too bad, as Katerina had two amazing dives and in one of them almost went 30m deep so she that she got to see 2 sharks hiding under a coral!

Back in Kerobokan, with only a day to leave for Malaysia, we realized that our time in Indonesia was coming to an end. It had been a great experience, from the virgin jungle in Sumatra to the tourist crowded Bali, we had found friends all over. The farewells at Bali airport were a lot tougher than we had expected, bringing tears to our eyes at the thought of not seeing our new found friends in a long time. One thing is for sure: if we weren’t sure before if we would want to go back to Indonesia we certainly will be back now!

Gili Air beach… yeah! / Playa de Gili Air… Yeah!

Gili Air beach… yeah! / Playa de Gili Air… Yeah!

The beaches were full of coralls / Las playas estaban llenas de corales

The beaches were full of coralls / Las playas estaban llenas de corales

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The tree of life / El √°rbol de la vida

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Sexy Victor with his sarong. / Sexy Victor en su sarong.

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Selfie photobomb

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Victor hugging a tree which was left uncut while building the wall around it. / Victor abrazando un √°rbol que evitaron cortar cuando construyeron el muro.

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Mary and Victor with the family on top of the mountain. / Mary y Victor con la familia en la cima de la monta√Īa.

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One of the few pictures with Maia that is NOT a selfie. / Uno de las pocas fotos con Maia que NO es un selfie.

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Goa Gajah

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The most amazing tree in Goa Gajah that was impossible to photograph with only a phone / El árbol más fantásticoen Goa Gajah, era imposible fotografiarlo decentemente sólo con el móvil

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On our way to Amed we finally got to see some rice fields / En el camino a Amed pudimos ver campos de arroz por fin

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Entering Tirta Gangga water temple was extremely calming / Entrar en el templo de agua de Tirta Ganga era increiblemente relajante

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Had to do this / Tenía que hacer eso

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Huge water lilies / Nen√ļfares gigantes

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Pura Lempuyang complex, the first of seven temples. Unfortunately the weather was to bad to go the other ones, we gave up when we couldn’t see anything because of the fog and didn’t want to be attacked by monkeys / Complemjo de Pura Lempuyang, el primero de 7 templos. Desafortunadamente el tiempo era demasiado malo para ir a los otros, nos dimos por vencidos cuando no pudimos ver nada por la niebla y no quisimos ser ataquados por monos

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View over Mount Agung / Vista sobre la monta√Īa Agung

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We made spanish tortilla for our hosts, they liked it, with extra spicy sauce.. / Hicimos tortilla de patatas para nuestros anfitriones, les gustó, con extra salsa picante..

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Almost all the couchsurfers and an ukulele / Casi todos los couchsurferos y un ukulele

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Selfies everywhere! / Selfies por todos lados!

El tiempo que pasamos con Victor en Bali fue breve pero intenso, ya que nos √≠bamos a Gili Air en breve. Un poco de trasfondo sobre las islas Gili. Estas tres islas al noroeste de Lombok tienen cada una su propia identidad. Gili Trawangan (normalmente llamada Gili T) es la ‚Äúisla de la fiesta‚ÄĚ. No hemos ido personalmente pero hemos conocido a diversas personas que s√≠ lo han hecho y el consenso es que es un poco demasiado: fiesta nonstop todos los d√≠as, en toda la isla. Como bien dijo Roger Murthaugh en Arma Letal: ‚ÄúSoy demasiado viejo para esta mierda‚ÄĚ. Gili Meno es conocida como la ‚Äúisla de luna de miel‚ÄĚ. Tranquilidad, calma, poco que hacer aparte de estar en la playa mirando a tu pareja a los ojos. Gili Air est√° un poco entre medio. No est√°bamos esperando tantos turistas como nos encontramos pero fue igualmente una isla tranquila y muy bonita. Como en todas las Gili, el hecho de que no haya veh√≠culos a motor (prohibidos por ley) supone un cambio muy agradable con respecto al resto de Indonesia, donde los coches y las motos pitan constantemente. La gran atracci√≥n aqu√≠ es el submarinismo, est√° b√°sicamente garantizado que vas a ver tortugas de mar. Todos los centros en Gili Air han acordado poner los mismos precios en inmersiones recreativas y en cursos, con lo que la elecci√≥n entre un centro y otro es puramente por el servicio y el personal. Probamos dos centros diferentes y realizamos varias inmersiones, y s√≠, vimos tortugas. Son inmensas, bellas y tienen cara de mala leche casi todo el tiempo, tienes que contenerte para no abrazarlas, pero es incre√≠ble cuando puedes nadar cerca de ellas. Gili Air es un verdadero para√≠so. La concentraci√≥n m√°s grande de turistas se puede evitar f√°cilmente yendo m√°s hacia adentro de la isla y las puestas de sol son espectaculares. Lo √ļnico malo es que la comida es bastante cara para est√°ndares indonesios, muchas veces m√°s del doble del precio normal, pero por otra parte es un isla con pr√°cticamente nada, as√≠ que todo se ha de traer de Lombok o Bali.

De vuelta en Bali tuvimos que pelarnos con la compa√Ī√≠a de taxis para el transporte a casa de Victor. Es bastante com√ļn en Indonesia que al comprar un ticket combinado de barco + taxi (como hicimos nosotros) las negociaciones que hiciste con la compa√Ī√≠a de transporte no se transmiten a la gente que realmente ejecuta el trabajo, as√≠ que tuvimos que llamar e insistir que hab√≠amos acordado transporte a una direcci√≥n en concreto, no un pueblo cercano como nos ofrec√≠an. Cuando llegamos a la casa la situaci√≥n hab√≠a cambiado un poco. Todas las literas estaban ocupadas y el colch√≥n que hab√≠a en el sal√≥n se lo hab√≠a llevado Anggy, una nueva adici√≥n a la familia, lo que nos dej√≥ con dormir en suelo como nuestra √ļnica opci√≥n. Esta era la primera vez en este viaje que dormir√≠amos en el suelo, pero no ser√≠a la √ļltima. Al d√≠a siguiente nos dimos cuenta que en realidad hab√≠a una cama libre donde pod√≠amos dormir los dos as√≠ que nos mudamos arriba otra vez. Nuestros compa√Īeros de habitaci√≥n eran una chica de Barcelona (Mary), dos chicos de Bilbao (Ander y Oier), un chico de Brasil (Peter) y una pareja de EEUU (nos hemos olvidado de sus nombres, perd√≥n!) Fuimos todos juntos a una excursi√≥n organizada por Victor que nos llev√≥ al Bali m√°s escondido, la parte que todav√≠a no ha sido explotada por complejos tur√≠sticos. Visitamos unos templos en las monta√Īas, uno de ellos que ten√≠a un muro que se hab√≠a construido alrededor de un √°rbol para evitar tener que talarlo. Pasamos por unos arrozales incre√≠bles y acabamos el d√≠a encima de una monta√Īa compartiendo comida y arak casero, un alcohol local a base de agua de coco fermentada, con una familia que vive all√≠. Las vistas desde la monta√Īa eran preciosas. A la vuelta paramos en una playa con arena negra donde Katerina tom√≥ un mont√≥n de selfies con Maia y Pepep.

Unos días más tarde Pepep se iba de Bali para empezar la formación para su nuevo trabajo en cruzeros. Nos alegramos por él pero estábamos tristes a la vez, ya que realmente habíamos comenzado a hacernos amigos! Habíamos pasado bastante tiempo ya con la familia y cuando volvimos de Gili era como volver a casa. Halim y Maia nos llevaron a un mercado grande donde Maia usó sus avanzadas técnicas de negociación para conseguir buenos precios en pantalones, camisetas y un ukulele (!). Puede parecer que viene de la nada pero Halim había estado tocando el ukulele todo el rato, hasta Pepep y Maia habían estado practicando a veces y Katerina se volvió más y más interesada. Después de la compra Halim lo afinó y, sin decir nada, se puso a arreglar un problema con los trastes. Ahora Katerina y Maia eran las mejores amigas y había una energía muy buena en la casa. Antes de dejar Bali nos fuimos a Amed, en la costa este, para un poco de submarinismo. Ahora le tocaba a Victor estar enfermo en un mal momento (Katerina se perdió la primera inmersión en Gili) y tuvo que abstenerse. Lástima, ya que Katerina tuvo dos inmersiones increíbles, y en una de ellas bajó a casi 30m para poder ver dos tiburones escondiéndose debajo de un coral.

Vuelta a Kerobokan, con solo un día para irnos a Malasia, nos dimos cuenta de que nuestro tiempo en Indonesia se estaba acabando. Había sido una experiencia buenísima, de la jungla virgen en Sumatra al Bali lleno de guiris, habíamos hecho amigos en todos los sitios. La despedida en el aeropuerto de Bali fue mucho más difícil de lo esperado, trayendo lágrimas a nuestros ojos ante la idea de no ver a nuestros nuevos amigos en mucho tiempo. Una cosa está clara: si antes no sabíamos si íbamos a querer volver a Indonesia, ahora ya no cabe duda de que vamos a volver!

Indonesia – Bali

Bali was actually going to be our first destination when we were planning the trip, before our very first change of plans in our now long tradition of changing plans. We arrived in Bali with delay of course, I mean we’re talking LionAir here, they’re in hard competition with Delta. We were going to Couchsurf again. This time we were staying with Victor, a healer, metallurgist and martial arts practitioner from Jakarta that was now residing in Bali. However he was away for business, so we were going to stay with his friends and family‚Ķ that was a first. Maia and Halim picked us up at the airport and took us to their home. At first we didn’t know what to make of it all. The house was big and really nice, the room we stayed in had 3 bunk beds and lockers, not your normal Couchsurfing place.¬† This was either someone who absolutely loved Couchsurfing and had made¬†a big investment so that he could host as many surfers possible or was this a guesthouse? Did we have to pay?¬† Plus they had scooters for rent and they provided taxi rides to and from the airport‚Ķ suspicious. As it turns out, it had been a hostel at some point and it was now in a change of management phase, sort of. Victor had taken over and was trying out the thing first on Couchsurfing with the idea of getting feedback from the guests and then transform it to a backpacker hostel.

Our plan was to stay a couple of days in Bali so that Katerina could do aerial silks then go to the Gili Islands and from there take a 4 day cruise to Komodo and Flores. And then maybe go to Lombok as well on our way back (as you can see we were very energetic in the beginning). What really happened though is that we stayed one week exploring the area we were staying at, the local beaches, the local street food and socializing with our hosts. At first there was an obvious gap in communication with our hosts, since they recommended us the most touristic places around (Changgu Beach, Tanah Lot temple), but we soon got to know each other.

We read that around the time we were in Bali the famous kite festival was happening, so we went with the family all together to the beach where it was held, only to discover on arrival that it wasn‚Äôt happening. ‚ÄúLast weekend of July‚ÄĚ they told us. We‚Äôll see about that. We also did a daytrip to Ubud, supposedly Bali‚Äôs cultural capital. What we saw was that the city center is extremely crowded, full of tourist-oriented shops and restaurants. However, once you go out a bit for a hike you get to discover the amazing rice-field landscapes, which is well worth the visit. Halim gave us plenty of tips on things to do outside of Ubud, and we are glad he did! Ubud is also a great place to find local artisans among the crowd of tourist uniformity. Be prepared to pay the price though.

At this point our plans were starting to change again (surprise!). We were quite worried about our budget and we had just read some really nasty things about the companies that operated the cruises to Flores and Komodo, so we chickened out and decided to just go to Gili and spend our time diving and relaxing. Two days before we left to Gili we finally met our CS host: Victor! We were also supposed to leave the house a couple of days ago at that point but we considered that it would be bad manners to leave without meeting him. We had been talking on Whatsapp and were quite excited to meet him in person! Plus, we were already starting to really like Maia, Halim and Pepep, our hosts in Victor’s absence, and the feeling was mutual. Victor’s arrival was like a hurricane. That morning he gave us a life lesson on financial responsibility that we will always remember, and in the afternoon he taught us some breathing exercises and some moving of the energy in our bodies that helped us relax and almost made Katerina cry… What an intense day!

We arrived at the start of the Galungan holiday where these Penjor are installed by the side of the road all over the island / Llegamos al comienzo de las fiestas de Galungan, donde estos Penjor est√°n instaladas en las calles por toda la isla

We arrived at the start of the Galungan holiday where these Penjor are installed by the side of the road all over the island / Llegamos al comienzo de las fiestas de Galungan, donde estos Penjor est√°n instaladas en las calles por toda la isla

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Tanah lot

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Kids and adults are seen playing with kites everywhere / Ni√Īos y adultos juegan con cometas por todas partes

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Echo beach

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Sunset at Echo Beach / La puesta del sol en Echo Beach

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Low tide in Echo Beach / Marea baja en Echo Beach

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Babi Guling! Pork, pork and more pork, Victor’s favourite / Babi Guling! Cerdo, cerdo y m√°s cerdo, el favorito de Victor

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No kite festival, but we found some cheap beers instead with Maya, Pepep and Halim / Ninguna suerte con el festival de cometas, pero encontramos birras baratas con Maya, Pepep y Halim

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We saw some reaaally big kites on our way to Kuta / Vimos unas cometas enormes yendo a Kuta

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People seemed to dress up for temple and bring offerings almost every day / La gente iba a los templos con su mejor vestimienta casi cada día

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Monkey forest in Ubud! / La selva de los monos en Ubud!

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This monkey seemed to really like this sign / Este mono parecía estar encantado con este cartel

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Believe it or not, this is a Benjamin Ficus / Aunque no lo creas, esto es un Ficus Benjamina

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Campuhan ridge walk

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The first day we met Victor he climbed up a tree to pet a monkey and almost lost his ring for all eternity.. / El primer día que conocimos a Victor subió un arbol para dar mimos a un mono y casi perdió su anillo para siempre

Bali iba a ser nuestro primer destino cuando est√°bamos planeando nuestro viaje, antes de nuestro primer cambio de planes en nuestra ya larga tradici√≥n de cambiar los planes. Llegamos a Bali con retraso, por supuesto: Estamos hablando de LionAir, que compite con Delta por el mayor porcentaje de retrasos diarios. √ćbamos a hacer Couchsurfing (CS) de nuevo, esta vez nuestro anfitri√≥n iba a ser V√≠ctor: sanador, metal√ļrgico y practicante de artes marciales de Jakarta que est√° ahora residiendo en Bali. Sin embargo, nos inform√≥ antes de llegar que √©l no iba a estar esos d√≠as pero que nos pod√≠amos quedar con su familia‚Ķ raro. Maia y Halim nos recogieron en el aeropuerto y nos llevaron a su casa. Al principio no sab√≠amos qu√© pensar del lugar: la casa era grande y bonita, pero la habitaci√≥n en la que nos qued√°bamos ten√≠a tres literas y taquillas‚Ķ en absoluto la t√≠pica habitaci√≥n que encuentras en CS. O el due√Īo de la casa realmente ama CS y ha realizado una se√Īora inversi√≥n para acoger al mayor n√ļmero de gente posible o est√°bamos en un hostal? Tendr√≠amos que pagar? Adem√°s, hab√≠a scooters en alquiler y ofrec√≠an transporte de/hacia el aeropuerto‚Ķ sospechoso. Resulta que hab√≠a sido un hostal de alg√ļn tipo que se encontraba ahora en una especie de cambio de gesti√≥n. Victor hab√≠a tomado el mando y estaba probando el sistema primero en CS con la idea de recibir comentarios de los hu√©spedes para luego transformarlo de nuevo en un hostal para mochileros.

El plan era quedarnos unos d√≠as en Bali para que Katerina pudiese hacer telas e irnos luego a las islas Gili , desde donde tomar√≠amos un barco que nos llevar√≠a hasta Flores y Komodo en 4 d√≠as. Luego quiz√° Lombok a la vuelta (como pod√©is ver, derroch√°bamos energ√≠a al principio!). Lo que sucedi√≥ en realidad fue que nos quedamos una semana explorando la zona donde est√°bamos, la comida callejera, las playas locales, y socializando con nuestros anfitriones. Al principio tuvimos alg√ļn que otro fallo de comunicaci√≥n, como cuando nos recomendaron ir a los sitios m√°s tur√≠sticos de la zona (Templo Tanah Lot y playa Changgu) pero r√°pidamente nos empezamos a conocer.

Le√≠mos que durante nuestra estancia en Bali se iba a celebrar el famoso festival de cometas, as√≠ que fuimos con la familia todos juntos a la playa a verlo, s√≥lo para descubrir al llegar que no se celebraba. ‚Äú√öltimo fin de semana de julio‚ÄĚ nos dijeron. Ya veremos. Hicimos tambi√©n una excursi√≥n de un d√≠a a Ubud, supuestamente la capital cultural de Bali. Lo que vimos fue que el centro de la ciudad est√° abarrotado, lleno de tiendas y restaurantes para turistas. Sin embargo, a la que te alejas un poco de la ciudad para hacer una excursioncilla descubres paisajes preciosos de campos de arroz que bien valen la pena la visita. Halim nos dio bastantes consejos de cosas que hacer en los alrededores de Ubud y se lo agradecemos mucho! Ubud es tambi√©n un buen lugar para encontrar artesanos locales entre la uniformidad tur√≠stica. Prep√°rate a pagar el precio, eso s√≠.

En este punto nuestros planes estaban empezando a cambiar otra vez (sorpresa!). Est√°bamos bastante preocupados con nuestro presupuesto y acab√°bamos de leer cosas bastante desagradables sobre las compa√Ī√≠as que operan los cruceros a Flores y Komodo, as√≠ que nos rajamos y decidimos simplemente ir a Gili a bucear y relajarnos. Dos d√≠as antes de irnos conocimos finalmente a nuestro anfitri√≥n: Victor! Hac√≠a un par de d√≠as que nos tendr√≠amos que haber ido ya pero consideramos que llegados a ese punto ser√≠a de mala educaci√≥n no¬† quedarnos y conocerle personalmente. Hab√≠amos estado hablando con √©l por Whatsapp y ten√≠amos ganas de conocerle en persona. Adem√°s, est√°bamos empezando a estar a gusto con Maia, Halim y Pepep, nuestros anfitriones, y not√°bamos que el sentimiento era mutuo. La llegada de Victor fue como un hurac√°n. La ma√Īana que lleg√≥ nos dio una lecci√≥n vital de responsabilidad financiera que llevaremos con nosotros a la tumba, y por la tarde nos ense√Ī√≥ ejercicios de respiraci√≥n y nos ayud√≥ a mover un poco la energ√≠a por el cuerpo, lo que nos ayud√≥ a relajarnos y Katerina casi se pone a llorar‚Ķ vaya d√≠a m√°s intenso!