A Travellerspoint blog

March 1985

try a durian

not keen


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Friday 1st March
I am much troubled by a tired looking Dutch woman in the evenings. How she found out I was a doctor I’ll never know. She came right up and introduced herself and her problems right out of the blue. Her husband was taken ill a few days ago with a prostrating and painful febrile illness. I agree with the Dutch trained doctor looking after him that it sounded like dengue fever. However he has failed to improve and has had an EMG done, and his blood injected into mice. They are treating him with faradism and cortisone. Most distress generated by the Dutch lady was one evening when big panic looking for acupuncturist. By this stage the hospital had a differential diagnosis of acute alcoholic neuritis or morphine addiction. The patient was causing trouble when they refused his demands for more frequent injection. I have resisted all pressure from the Dutch lady to do a ward round at the hospital, which I suspect will add to the chaos she is generating. When he gets too distressed she slips him a benzodiazepine.

The vase meanwhile is looking quite reasonable.
 Eat Gudang type Javanese food in Marlboro Road with Dave, Lehla and Rick. We buy a durian afterwards. Don’t like it.
garuda.jpggaruda.jpgGaruda

Garuda

Posted by 1985 trip 12:52 Archived in Indonesia Tagged yogyakarta durian batik Comments (0)

start batik skull

staying at Losmen Bupurwa

rain 30 °C
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Saturday 2nd March 1985.
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I experience and urgent call to stool every morning, and for the past two weeks have been loose and explosive although only once a day. Decide have irritable colon with increased transit time. I will sit it out!
 My new expensive sarong is staining the bed sheets blue. Losmen Bupurwa (1000 rupiahs per night) up a tiny alley has 5 tiny rooms and a little communal area where we all play cards in the evenings. It’s just around the corner from Supermans the well known traveller's restaurant. And old lady keeps house for the owner, and spends her day flip-flopping around, usually clucking over a baby in a miniature sarong resting on one hip. In the little back yard is her charcoal brazier, there is always a cup of tea on the go “tea Mr?”. There is a communal mandi and all the walls are of plaited bamboo, so it’s all very friendly. I have to be brazen and smile after by volcanic morning visit. Several people pass through the Losmen while myself Dave and Lehla are in residence.
 It usually rains in the afternoon. My razorblades are still doing a satisfactory job after three months. Have black rice pudding every morning for breakfast. Start my batik skull.

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People's park Yogyakarta

with Lehla and Dave

sunny 29 °C
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Sunday 3rd March 1985.


It was to be an early start with Dave and Lehla for Parangantis (or is it Pharyngitis) for the beach and possibly mushrooms. But the artistic exertions of the week made for a late start. Do a lot of washing in the tiny backyard next to the well. The old woman tut tuts around putting me right several times. My two shirts are bus floor grey with a few indelible stains. My shorts are pretty mucky too. Washing now makes little difference to them. Have a brain wave and will use Andreas' dye baths to brighten them up. So I pop into Andreas' dive and do a bit extra. I have dyed cloth black before when doing the skull. Wax out all background. Bleach and dye to bring out skull. Also wax out hand to dye earth darker.
 Take a trip down to the peoples park in the evening with Dave and Lehla. Decide 1000 rupiahs is a rip off for the warung performance. But must admit it seems reasonable in retrospect. Write many letters.

Posted by 1985 trip 11:47 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia yogyakarta batik 1985 losmen Comments (0)

finish batik skull

no post, I hope for some in Bali

sunny 30 °C
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Monday 4th March.
Extra early start for plod out to Post Office and post letters. None for me. I hope there is something at Kuta! I’ve got used to find something at each poste restante.
 Finish skull and stool Tee shirts . Make one by dyeing black, paraffin wax end and bleach to make cracking. Dye cracks red. Dye my thin white cotton shirt deep red. My other shirt does not dye well being of mixed fibre.
 Decide must leave tomorrow in order to visit Bromo and get to Bali in time to confirm air ticket reservation. Celebrate last night with a beer, what luxury. Agree to leave message for Dave and Lehla in Hong Kong.
skull.jpg

Posted by 1985 trip 11:50 Archived in Indonesia Tagged yogyakarta batik Comments (0)

off to Probolinggo and mount Bromo

via Surabaya


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Tuesday 5th March 1985.


Rush around town madly finish packing, eat two lunches, Nase Goreng and Nase Campur. Buy rail ticket. Have to pack some wet clothes. Abandon one shirt and buy another 1500 rupiahs. Catch the 2.30 Express to Surabaya, 3rd class 36 00 rupiahs. Many people get off at Yogya so no difficulty finding seat. Plenty of room, some padding on seats. Get mine all to myself and have a sleep.
 Arrive about 9pm and catch train to Probolinggo 1 hour later, 1800 rupiahs. Slightly nervous half hour wandering around Surabaya looking for another railway station, but I was searching needlessly for the one I had arrived at. On this walk whilst waiting at a level crossing two Bechak peddlers gets off their machines and have a shit in the canal 10 feet away. This was in the harsh glare of car headlights.
 Fall irresistably to sleep on the train. Nearly miss getting off at Probolinggo sometime after midnight. From here it’s a chain of random minibuses up the Valley to the slopes of Mount Bromo.

Posted by 1985 trip 11:53 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

miss mount Bromo whilst hitch hiking

swap shirts for a ride


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Wednesday 6th March.


Wander around Probolinggo and make it to bus station, next minibus in 2 or 3 hours which could mean anything. Entertain and am entertained by the old ladies at the food stalls. Buy a good cup of coffee “Kopi pakit tida gula” 100 rupiahs, and some cigarettes as I now intend to hitch the rest of the way. Leave their toothless company, they are astonished that anyone can drink Kopi without sugar.
 Walk out of town on the Ngadsari road and get a lift after half an hour with a lorry. Cram into the cab with 3 Javanese men. End up swapping shirts, I get the drivers mates shirt which is even more sour and grubby than mine. Get dropped off two hours later at a petrol station and lorry park. I think I have been travelling along the coast instead of inland, and have missed Bromo. Will have to rename it mount Disappointment. Decide to cut my losses and continue on to Bali. After about 1 hour chatting in the lorry park with the highly vulgar prostitutes get a lift with two Balinese on their lorry. Arrive Ketapang at dawn and wait a couple of hours for the big ferry. Have their sweet mung bean soup for breakfast. Get free trip on ferry to Gillimanuk by mid morning, stop there for lunch and siesta.

Posted by 1985 trip 12:00 Archived in Indonesia Tagged hitch_hike Comments (0)

hitch hike to Bali

with police assistance

rain 27 °C
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Thursday 7th March 1985.
Balinese Temple

Balinese Temple


Well! I didn’t leave Gillimanuk until this morning, and then it was on my own two feet, after 24 hours hanging around. All the lorry drivers were waiting patiently for the police to drop their 'fee' at the roadblock 500 yards up the road. Enjoyed the lorry drivers company, and kept thinking we were about to leave. Considerable language barrier. My two Balinese friends were very polite. The driver, Wayan, was from Lombok, he kicked his mate out so that I’d have room to sleep.
 Eventually I say goodbye and walk up the road to just passed the road block, but the road is not busy and there are no lifts. After a while the policeman moves me next to his hut so that he can talk English to me in front of his men. Swaggers about feeling more and more important and stops a lorry to put me on. It is going to Negara. As in all Indonesia 6 men do the work of one, pay is poor but well distributed. The police boost theirs with bribes.
 Lunch in Negara and catch minibus for 800 rupiahs, a good price as it is 100 km to Denpasar.

Get very fed up wandering around Denpasar looking for Post Office. The map is out of date. Get directed to a sub Post Office so am unable to collect my mail. Catch Kuta minibus in pouring rain at 7 pm. Cheer myself up with a large beer and explore most of Kuta, find private room and mandi with banana breakfast for 2000 rupiahs, sleep, exhausted.

Posted by 1985 trip 12:04 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

walk to the airport

visit Peliatan

sunny 30 °C
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Saturday 9th March 1985.
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Trip into Denpasar and tedious morning plodding around town in search of the Post Office. Eventually get there, at least two miles from the City centre, and no mail when I get there. Catch minibus out to Paliatan on the Ubud road. Agree on 400 rupiahs, but he short changes me. Have to change minibuses so make big fuss and bully him into paying other driver rest of my fare.
 Peliatan is a beautiful village liberally embellished with stone temples and bulging eyeball gargoyles. Old men stroking their cockerals in the village square. Beautiful fern covered lanes, bubbling brook. Many artists and wood carvers live and work here. The big ones maintain workshops of 20 girls in their courtyards mass producing the small popular pieces. Most people specialised in still life like fruits banana trees etc. they are very realistically painted. Some of the other carvings of classical Balinese figures are exceptionally ornate. Also imaginatively intriguing carvings from old roots treestumps etc.
 I buy two fearsome masks after half an hour of relaxed bargaining for 4500 rupiahs. Not the best quality though.
 Fare for journey home is 300 rupiahs! In Denpasar buy a couple of Bali Tee shirts for the folks back home, 4000 rupiahs for two. Much more aggressive bargaining was required in the town market. Feeling nauseous at times and experience cramping volcanic bowel actions every morning, runny, no blood. Actually have been loose for about two weeks, but this is the first time with any symptoms.? Irritable bowel, chronic diarrhoea,?Giardiasis. Decide on a purging course of Flagyl. Checkout of guest house in the morning, returning in the evening as agreed to change and wash.
 Spend evening in Tropicana coffee are eating ice cream and end up feeling very nauseous indeed. they close at 10 and in the warm full moonlight night I walk slowly out to the airport 4 km away. Sleep on hard wooden seats in check in lounge, the lights go out at midnight as several members of staff half sleep on the seats too

Posted by 1985 trip 06:21 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

sleep at airport

leave Bali for Hong Kong

overcast 17 °C
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Sunday 10th March 1985
4.30 am. lights on and activity as several large tour groups turn up for the flight. Long delays checking in as computer not working. Spend last rupiahs in airport, cup of coffee - 700! Change planes at Jakarta for a 747 and have five seats to myself. Good laugh at “The Woman in Red” movie. shave and change shirt. Hong Kong customs men all look like British policemen except wearing shorts and Chinese faces.
 Met by Deborah. It’s cold. Hong Kong has a very exciting airport, sea on both sides of the runway, and an approach run between the skyscrapers with large cargo boats and international liners steaming besides the runway. Roast lamb dinner with parsnips and bread and butter pudding. Bliss.

Posted by 1985 trip 12:55 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

touring Hong Kong

cold, need more clothes

overcast 13 °C
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Monday 11th March.
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Commonwealth day so Deborah has day off. Steve goes to work dealing on foreign exchange markets. I have £300 left. Fortunately my credit card has arrived as I’m going to need some warm clothes, it only gets to 13 degrees during the day and northern China will be colder. Spend the day seeing Hong Kong and Kowloon with Deborah using all the different means of public transport. Hong Kong is very mountainous, with a thin rim of mostly reclaimed land facing Kowloon which is soaring with smart skyscrapers. Have tea on YMCA’s roof garden.

Posted by 1985 trip 12:57 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

fast food Chinese style

overcast 14 °C
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Tuesday 12th March.
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In Hong Kong as guests of Stephen and Deborah. Explored central Wanchai and Ca..s..y bay districts mostly on foot. Eating beef and noodles in the day for 5$HK. seen the bustling street markets towered over by architectural striking skyscrapers. See Chinese pawn shops where the pawnbroker sits beside metal grill 8 feet off the ground. Dried goods shops, old Chinese medicines: ground pearl, teal essence etc. Fish shops where the fishmongers wear 3 inch platform soles. Chinese restaurants, surely these people invented fast food.

Posted by 1985 trip 13:07 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

phone home at last

+ first letter from Mum

overcast 15 °C
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Wednesday 13th March

Buy smart designer watch with credit card for £100. Probably not a bargain considering the current rate of exchange. Stephen transfers £100 out from England at more favourable exchange rate and with no commission. Speak to Mum on the telephone, she and Elaine have been having anxious words together, it seems I’m not writing enough letters, but got mothers first letter this week!! Asked Dad to credit Stevens account in London.

Posted by 1985 trip 13:09 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

try agar agar to eat

don't like it

overcast 14 °C
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Thursday 14th March 1985
Get verbally murdered by 20 old Chinese crones in the market where they huddled over their baskets picking the bean sprouts. I had tried to take their photograph. DSC0000168.jpg Generally I eat out with Deborah and Steve most evenings, this is embarrassing as I can’t afford it and they insist on buying extra for me. Eat Mexican, Italian, and English pub grub. Also have excellent seafood meal in the street. Try a lump of chewy brown agar agar from a street vendor. It was a popular stand, but having tried it cannot comprehend why.
 $HK. 8.3 = £1

Posted by 1985 trip 13:11 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

send a parcel home

baby talk


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Friday 15th March

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Still no news of Mikhail address. Write to Tim. Elaine has changed hospitals within Leicester and is pleased with new lot of SHO’s. Send her a Bali Tee shirt. Send a parcel of other goods and unwanted effects home. Eat at Andy and Nicky’s, talk about babies all evening but worth it for the excellent apple crumble.

Posted by 1985 trip 13:16 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

out to the New Territories


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Saturday 16th March

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On Sunday we visit Deborah and Steven’s remote cottage in a dying fishing hamlet in a national park on the New Territories. The barest of facilities, but beautiful setting, rather like Scotland. Walk miles. Stephen spots a few birds. Round every corner loud groups of locals drink Coca-Cola and play transistor radios. The Chinese cannot be quiet even in a national park. They thin out as we trek further over the hills to a village.

Posted by 1985 trip 12:25 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)