Rolling off the ferry into Java was perfect- wonderful! Whatever happened to the bike now, I only had to get a truck to Jakarta and didn’t have to deal with any kind of ferry issues or anything. I couldn’t relax, but I could certainly give my nerves a break.
The approach to the complex got you in the right frame of mind, with rocky hills surrounded by beautiful green rice paddies.
Then the temple itself consumes you in detail,
before releasing you to become enthralled with its views…
Having had my Java fix, I was off to Jakarta to see about the bike. A quick stop in Cirebon and I’d be there.
Then Cirebon actually happened!
For my night there I stayed at a nice little cheap hotel and decided to take a walk around and sample some of their famous seafood… Until I passed a swanky hotel with a bar called The Grizzly Bear. Being a good Canadian boy, I felt I had to go in and grab a beer. I wasn’t there 5 minutes before I was talking to the manager, who happened to be a rider as well (BMW R26 and Norton 500)… So, one thing led to another and for the next couple of nights I was sleeping at the swanky hotel for a near-nothing rate, getting free beer, and enjoying the sold-out bands for free. Too cool!
During the day, I hit a local museum to see some of the strange artifacts that the past Sultans had created in order to make all various local religions/cultures feel welcome…
Wings for the Muslims, elephant for the Hindus, and serpent for the Chinese!
Then it was off to a local waterfall where things got weird. Wonderfully weird. I had already noticed that my long blonde hair was a hit with the Indonesian ladies, but things were getting surreal. At the waterfall a number of lovely young ladies insisted on getting their picture with me- with my arms wrapped around them! I certainly wasn’t complaining, but it was strange since I still had this ‘conservative Muslim culture’ thing in my head. It’s not like anything went anywhere, but the whole experience chipped more huge chunks off my block of Indonesian preconceptions.
The next day, I broke my rule and gave the manager my keys for a quick spin around town. I was nervous, but he was a good guy and would never get a chance to ride a new BMW since Indonesia has such a high tax on ‘luxury’ bikes that they cost around $50,000USD there!
He had a great tour around and I just about finished falling in love with Indonesia and its people.