Interlude: 30 Hours of Travel

After spending a couple days recovering from my Mount Rinjani climb in Mataram (the capital of Lombok), I decided that I was done with Bali and Lombok, and so decided to go to Java – by bus. It took me 30 hours of travel.

I’m not sure why I didn’t just fly over. It would have been faster, stress-free, and more comfortable. The only answer I can think of, is that I wanted the experience. And so, 30 hours of travel.

From the Mataram bus station, I catch a 20 hour bus to Surabaya, a city in Java. First, of course, I am forced to wait 5 hours, as the bus is obscenely late. At least the bus station waiting area is comfortable.
Indonesia travel - Mataram bus station

Finally, the bus arrives, and we’re off!
Indonesia travel - bus

This bus ride is billed as an all-inclusive trip, with food, AC, and an onboard bathroom. The bathroom is blocked off and broken, the AC is loud but ineffective, and this is dinner:
Indonesia travel - dinner


Unfortunately, the bus is not a hydro-bus, and cannot cross the ocean between islands, so we also have to ride several ferries. The ferries themselves aren’t bad… but EVERYONE SMOKES. On a ship carrying 50 passengers but designed to hold 500, I couldn’t find anywhere to sit without breathing in cigarette smoke. Thirty years down the road, everyone here will have lung cancer.
Indonesia travel - ferry 1 Indonesia travel - ferry 2

After a long and uncomfortable night in the bus, we finally arrive in Surabaya, in Java! Unfortunately, there is nothing to do in Surabaya, so I transfer buses, for another 8-hour bus trip to Jogjakarta (Yogjakarta), the culture capital of Java. The fun thing about riding on long-haul indonesian buses is that all the vendors come to you. Sitting on the bus, waiting for the journey to begin, a long line of vendors file past, advertising their wares. Some vendors are straightforward – “nasi goreng! nasi goreng!” Others simply toss goods into everyone’s laps, hoping you’ll find them interesting and pay up.
Indonesia travel - vendor 1 Indonesia travel - vendor 2

A hello kitty coloring book was also tossed into my lap.

Java also has a ton of buskers. Instead of playing music on street corners though, they will actively seek you out, serenade you for 30 seconds, and expect a tip.  Ick.

The scenery traveling from Surabaya to Jogjakarta was pretty awesome, and so was Jogja, after finally reaching that city after 30 hours of travel!
Indonesia travel - Java Yogyakarta - city view

And what did I do during this 30-hour trip? I put my Kindle to good use, reading four books – the Zombie Survival Guide, I Am Legend, World War Z, and After the Prophet: the Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni split.

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn’t belong, can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

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