I spent my Canada Day on a bus, for about 11 hours. It was SPECTACULAAR! I traveled from Yogya to Paciran. I was planning to leave at around 6am, but didn’t get out until 7am… ah,well. It must be the jam caret, or rubber time that is rubbing off on me. Or I’m always bad with time. (Bethany could concur with this.) Anywho, I’m traveling by myself (kok sendiria? YES, I’m traveling alone. Nggak ada temannya? Di mana temannya? NO, I do not have any friends traveling with me. OH, by the way, I’m from Canada. Just wanted to let you know, because I know that’s your next question. *earphones back on”)…. so I don’t really have a set schedule.
So I popped an immodium (there are no bathrooms on the bus, and I constantly have stomach issues here in Indonesia…I don’t know if it’s from stress, or from actual bacteria, anyways, I seriously have not had any golden boys this whole year….very disturbing), and then I was considering popping a gravol, but I survived without it…. it helped that this time i wasn’t sitting beside Mr. Pukey.
The first leg from Yogya to Semarang was fine; I zonked out for a bit, and then listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland album, enjoying the hills with cassava plantations go by. And it was a bus with AC. Oh yeah.
Transit in Semarang after 3 hours. The boys in the warung across from the bus I get on to Tuban now recognize me. I said HI, got to go to the washroom. By the way, I don’t use toilet paper anymore. I just use water, like the locals. Some bule people think that’s gross. And I did at first too, but I don’t know what happened… I just got used to it, I guess. And it’s so hot here, I pretty much have a shower after going, so it’s not a big deal.
Then, back on the bus. This leg is longer; 5 hours. Believe me, I know this trip. Here, I’m traveling east across the north coast. On the north side, I sometimes look out to the North Java Sea. On the south side, I look to villages, rice paddies, shrimp farms, and occasional forest. AC again. I wanted to work a bit, but was too nauseous to do so… I didn’t want to join the puke club. It was stop and go, and the road is bad. Also, I have to mention that there is a lot of slow truck traffic, so the bus is constantly pulling out to pass the other traffic, accelerating in blind corners, taking turns exceedingly fast, and braking and pulling back into the correct lane only at the last minute. Once I sat in the front because it has more leg room, but I will NEVER do that again, since I felt like I was going to witness my own death at least 5 times every minute. The driver was probably getting annoyed at me too, since I was pseudo-gasping at least 5 times every minute. So I sat in the back, usually where there is more room.
However, this time, AMAZINGLY, there was a bathroom in the back! BUT, this was so nasty, I would not even venture to step into that cubicle; furthermore, given the aforementioned driving tactics, I do not begin to imagine how one can properly pee into the designated hole. I refused to enter and so didn’t drink a lot of water. But other people dared to enter, and unfortunately there was something wrong with the latch, and so on particularly bumpy parts or a sudden accelaration (e.g. at least 5 times per minute), the door would swing open, and there would be gasps and grasps to hold the door back. AAAAHHH, and they just needed to pee! I listened to Stereolab ‘Dots and Loops’, and then the Dixie Chicks and a few songs by Jean LeLoup.
Then, the usual stop at the bus restaurant, we all get out and run to the washroom (which usually isn’t much better than the one on the bus), and then have a meal, which is included in the price of the bus ticket (55 000Rp; about $6CAN). Then, I get off at Tuban about 15 minutes after the restaurant stop. The bus continues east to Surabaya, but doesn’t take the direction of Paciran. Now comes the fun part….angkot umum.
So I get off, then after AC that is blasted in your face for 10 hours, I climb into a type of small cube van that is designed to carry passengers with no AC. The first bench is taken, so I’m relegated to the middle/back benches which are designed for Indonesian height, so my knees are squished into the seat at an awkward angle. Then we travel to Brondong, at the aforementioned pace and speed, which is exacerbated even more, since we pick up passengers along the way. There is sort of a jockey that calls out BRONDONG, BRONDONG, and waves at people to see if they are going to jump on or not. He also takes your money and gives change, and opens the door, and helps old ladies with giant bags get on and off. We manage to fit 21 people in the van. I’m sweating. No problem. I’ve been in the van with 26 people before. Oh by the way, I’m from Canada, and I’m going to Paciran. NO, I do not want to go to WBL, the tourist destination. I will be going to the village. I do research there. Yes, I speak Indonesian. I also understand what you say in Javanese, so you might want to be careful. NO, I am not going to WBL. I live in Paciran. I do not want to go to WBL. As you might tell, I am getting tired after traveling for 10 hours.
Then, transit in Brondong. Getting in another van. Not to WBL, Pak, just to beside Alfamart (one of the two corner stores in the village).
ARRIVE. Happy Canada Day! I collapse in a chair and sit some more.