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January 2005


WEDNESDAY 12 January 2005    BALI


Selamat Pagi… Apa kabar?

BAGUS!!!! Baik-baik saja…

A whole month to tell… as it has been a hassle to find a good computer or internet connection, I had to keep al my experiences in mind and will try not to forget too much, because one month has been a lot of travel time through Indonesia, with loads of different activities.

I start with my arrival in Jakarta, which was pretty late in the evening. I wanted to fly straight through too Manadoo, where I would find Jaco somewhere, occupied on the Project in Tangkoko National Park. I stayed @ the airport until the next morning, because all offices where closed and I was not up for going into Jakarta City 4 one night.

Circumstances where favourable, there some people from the airport took me in their office back stage, where I got some food and a mattress… cool! I was happy. These people arranged everything for me… my flight, my transport, everything.. (Lucky again). The flight was more expensive than I thought it would be, but that was inevitable because of the amount of people going to Manadoo for Christmas and New Year, to visit there families.

I spent my flight in the Cockpit, the stewardess proposed, and I saw how these Indonesians fly their big planes… From up there Indonesia looks amazing!, From down here as well, but unfortunately polluted though. Once in Manadoo, somebody was supposed to pick me up… after wandering around for 45 minutes, I took a cab to a Hotel in the centre, could not reach any of these persons, Jaco’s phone was not reachable at all.

Mister Noldy forgot about me, so I took a Taxi to Tangkoko the next day (2 hours from Manadoo, Beautiful panorama views, between the volcano’s and Jungle’s).

Arriving there, the grand opening party of the observatory tower was already full on… people singing and enjoying a big buffet. They were lovely, all so proud and happy. Then atmosphere here in North Sulawesi is special, people are always partying and enjoying every day as much as possible. North Sulawesi is 99 % Christian. Many churches can be found, 5 for one street. Loud singing can be distinguished from that direction.

I stayed at BatuPutih for 10 days, spent Christmas here and went to church on Christmas day, as the only white face I was enjoying the Indonesian Hari Natal. Shaking everybody’s hand. I stayed at Bobby’s place, one of the managers of the Tangkoko Guide club. He together with his wife and daughter had a nice home, where I could stay as long as I wanted. He has shown me loads of things around here. The coral reefs, which were the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Tangkoko Top of the Volcano, which I’ve reached after ½ day walking, Bitung City and Harbor, where I went to find out about the boat to the Philippines (Visa). The goes and floes of the local people, the sound tuning of their trucks for the Christmas parade, of course as loud as possible.

Not to forget… chaptikus… the self brewed dangerous heavy alcoholic drink of Sulawesi. It is very bad tasting and a dangerous making drunk drink because it is not properly distillated. Anyway… I had to try it once.

The Project Jaco has been working on is truly interesting and he is doing a very good Job. My time was to short and uncertain to start working along, as well I needed to adapt for at least the amount of days I was present in the end to the way of working, way of thinking and establishing a plan. The guides and managers are very enthusiastic though and the network is becoming bigger every day, which enhances capacities and a more successful management of the National Park.  This is needed because I think Indonesia is one of the most corrupt places in the world. Everything, which can be used to make money from, is interesting and nevertheless the actual activity neglected. Carrying out a profession is not comparable with ours. For example, rangers are not ranging but playing chess all day, looking up when a tourist comes by to pay the entrance fee, but not protecting the place from illegal activities.  Joining a tour is paying an unfair amount (more than the actual price, always) of money and not getting what the program has promised to offer. Always a good reason or explanation available… funny and something you can get used too in the end.


 The problem lies more in the protection of the Indonesian Natural Resources, the environment, ocean’s and wildlife, which are truly worthful and precious. 

But the people don’t seem to care that much, they have been living in a corrupted world for a long time and that’s the consequence I guess. The worth of a product is not that important, but the value in money is. And the police or/and army is probably the wealthiest part of the country… This I have experienced as a very sad part of my time in Indonesia. Though I’m trying not to judge them, because there are no good alternatives present for the people who do care and like to change something. It lies in the hands of the Government, which is still not the honest, reliable one this country needs badly.

But hey, look what happened on the other side of Indonesia, the Tsunami… The most feared and extreme part of Indonesia was Hit the most, the part where everybody was afraid of, because of their extreme aggressive attitude towards other religions. No excuse whatsoever, but I think we have no comprehension for what these people are going through since longer than this disaster. Extreme situations all the time, unpredictable and restless surroundings all the time… corruption and impoverishment…

It does not feel right for me to try to think they need help in the same way we treat ourselves. They are too different in all ways. For the current situation all help is useful, that’s why I signed up as a volunteer to go and help out, waiting for a reply if I get selected?   But for the country in the long run it is a mystery to me what will be the saving factor…

I flew to Bali after finding out that my Visa was not extendable without leaving the country. The Philippines trip was not safe in my eyes, so let’s change all plans fly to Australia one month early. Meaning that I had ½ month left to see some of Bali, Lombok and Flores (crazy and almost impossible). Arriving in Bali, I first went to Kuta, the Craziest place in Bali I guess. VERY busy and restless, full of tourist and shops and gadgets… walking around for one day and I was exhausted, pulls out all my energy a place like this (horrible). So next day I took a bus to Padang Bay, the coastal place where boats leave from to Lombok and trips start to Flores. On the Bus I met Miguel, A Portuguese guy, living in Switzerland, studied in Belgium… he is a very nice, friendly and intelligent guy, with whom I shared lodgement for a couple of days, so we reduced our expenses. He was planning to go to the Gillis in Lombok for New Year, so I thought that was a good idea and followed his route for a couple of days.

New Year Party on Gilli Trawangan, the party-place in Lombok. Small Island, beautiful and peaceful as well. A cheap bungalow 20 m from the ocean was nice, and again a place where I meat a bunch of super people from all over the world.


From here trips to Flores were available as well, but they only left on the 4th of January, so a couple of days to relax and not travel around continuously was meant to be, also meaning I will run short in time if I want to travel through Flores… A boat trip of 2 nights and 3 days, sleeping on the deck to Flores was pretty nice. We stopped @ several places, small Islands and deserted beaches to snorkel and walk around.  We were 20 people in total, without the crew. Miguel and I, a Japanese Girl(20), Ken (Brazil)(20), a Spanish couple (30), a couple from Luik (50) (Belgium), a couple from UK(30), A family from Australia, A couple from Canada (50) (great people, they left there country, sold everything and are finding a new place to leave), a couple from Holland (40), 2 guys from Germany… It was fun and these Islands are very beautiful. Loads of them when arriving in Labuhan Bajo (Flores) went to travel through towards Keli Mutu, the well known three lake craters, far away inland… I wanted to see that too, so I was thinking of going and travelling all the way up to East-Timor and get a new Visa there. I ended up not doing that because I got warnings about the dangers in Timor and I was tired, very tired. That day that I had to decide what to do, my energy was gone…I felt bad for the first time…  and in the end I choose for the way back to Bali. If I wanted to reach Timor in time for my Visa, I needed to travel with busses and boats for 4 days at least… Going to Australia is also possible, if I really want to come back, I’ll do that from there. Indonesia has controversially costed me too much money as well. I haven’t been able to stay on my budget at all and so I guess finding a job in Australia is a good idea. The return trip with the boat was a lucky situation again… I was planning to take the bus-ferry trip to Denpassar instead of the same boat/ different track back, because it was so expensive. Than Ken seemed to change his plans, because he got sick on the boat and so he decided to fly back instead of going with the boat. He did not get any refund on his boat-ticket, which was a shame for him but an opportunity for me to take his place, offering him the money I would pay for the bus trip. He was happy and I was Happy, because I definitely prefer a boat than a bus for two days. There were also nice stops again on the way back, Rinca Island (with beautiful panorama’s, Komodo Dragons, monkey’s, wild pigs, etc). We also stopped in a small village somewhere on Moyo Island, where the people and the houses where very pretty. The jungle on this Island is amazing, nice waterfalls on our way.

The sunsets from the boat trip where so relaxing and enjoyable! And I had much fun with the Belgium couple, Mohammed for sure… he was so funny, always joking and making fun with the crew. Some new people came on the boat on the way back, 2 couples from Holland and a British Guy; I ended up speaking all languages together.

Once back on Lombok, We travelled through to Bali, Ubud… The cultural capital of Bali.

This place is lovely, beautiful little streets, little shops, and nice people, not touting all the time or hassling you to buy something or anything. I enjoyed going to a traditional dance in one of the Temples, Kecak-dance, very surprising… Went to see the rice-terraces, and the elephant cave temple.. All were astonishing! Monkey forest and some shopping, needed slippers! This I enjoyed with the English Couple (Fred and Zoë, from Brighton) and the Dutch couple (Youandi en Pieter, Amsterdam). Since yesterday I’m Back In Kuta, I came to visit two friends, Sabine et Julien, I met in Gilli Trawangan, surprisingly coming from Ile D’oleron, my favourite place in France. They are living in Bali, teaching French for one year… I like them a lot!!!! Same age, super relaxed…

Tomorrow time for OZ… I’m flying @ 13.20h… exciting… I’m ready! I’m not sure if I will come back within this trip to Indonesia, I will find out in the near future.. I loved it, but experienced it as well as the less easy place until now to travel through.. a land full of mysteries, not easy to understand…

Enough writing for today I guess… sorry for all the spelling mistakes!

Kisses from Bali



Monday 17 January 2005      PERTH

Hi you all, I'm landed and stranded in OZ. What a shock! Have to admit this was a strange change of situation.

From a busy, overpopulated area, full of small building, statues, houses, bamboo huts, you name it.. too huge buildings, villa's, streets, cars, you name it as well.. So much space only 3 hours away by plane. People are careless compared with what I've been experiencing. But they are not compared to where I've lived for 23 years. Contrasts.. the western civilizations but anyhow very different again. I wasn't ready for this the first days, now I'm feeling much better and am ready again to discover some ways to go and discover this breathtaking country. Felt a little overwhelmed and lost in the first place... Only bad news came my way as well, no cheap Hostels anymore, No working Visa possible, etc... but hey... problems are there to find a solution for.

I was actually feeling cold the first day over here, only 26 degrees (that must be funny for you all), but a cool wind, woke up at night from the cold... the air is very dry here as well, so very hot (sometimes 40) but very dry, the heat is completely different. I was so used of feeling too warm and sweaty that I actually dried out in no time here in OZ... my skin became snake-like and my respiratory system felt like I needed to drink 5 liters of water, strange.

Perth is without a doubt the most spacious, large city I've ever seen, very clean and organized. I went wandering around a little bit already and to reach something you easily walk for a 30 minutes to 1,5 hours.. I've discovered the night life, by selling roses in clubs (a try out to earn a little money, I will have to find something If I want to survive this lifestyle (( hostel, water and basic food )) for 2 months). For sure if I want to see something besides Perth City. Hopefully somethings out here for me to be able to find and carry out. TRUST.

Sabine, a nice German woman has been my buddy these last 2 days, yesterday we've been able to join a nice Australian lady to visit the Pennacels, some desert like formation of stones coming out of the ground, which was 250Km up North. Very nice and eye opening to me. Thanks to this trip I got my energy back to go for it out here, which I was patiently looking for the first days here in Oz.

Today I will try to organise a little plan. I will be able to be in touch more often there Internet works perfectly well out here. Wish you all the best and know that I miss you!


 Tuesday 18 January 2005

I’ve found a solution to my problem… signed in the WWOOF of Australia and can go and work in farms and animal centers for food and accommodation… exactly what I need.. Take a look at the profile;

Seahorse Equine Centre, Lockwood road, Wonnerup 6280

10 acre Horse property set on open estuary land with views to old growth Tuart Forest, surrounded by the river & estuary system. we are 500 meters from local swimming beach. We are setting up an Equine assisted Therapy & education Centre. The work to achieve this outcome is varied from; horse care, building construction, land care, general maintenance & fencing, establishing an organic vegetable garden for ourselves and guests. Vance is building a traditional Timber yacht and would love to share the experience with others. Accom for 1-2 people in our home, van / tent or BYO (by your own), etc etc etc...

Those who come to visit us have to bring their SMILE, Peace of mind

 Sunday 30 January 2005          Wonnerup WA Australia


2 days ago, I had a ¼ or 3 months of my travel time accomplished. And I have to say sorry to those who like to see me back (and those who don’t), but I’m not coming back yet. I’m still enjoying and feeling a deep curiosity for all what might be coming my way…

Today I woke up early with the sunshine in my face, the first night in the House of the Family Scot. Until today I spend my nights in The Caravan out in the front garden.

This place has magic, it is so peaceful out here. It’s been 12 days that I’m here, working learning settling down. It was kind of a thought before, that settling down somewhere would be good, to kind of get back in a more regular rhythm, giving myself the opportunity to let the past experiences run through. I’m sure I was going very fast, moving around, seeing many things, living a lot of moments and figuring out possibilities. But felt a tiredness creeping in, which has nothing to do with not enough sleep. So this couldn’t be more fitting in, better or well chosen. A very nice family, 3 meals a day, the beach nearby (where we go and swim with the horses sometimes), the first town not closer than 4km, A lot of wildlife around, hard solid gardening and chipping (building) work. Early nights and early mornings, feeding the dogs, the horses, the chicken and ducks, taking care of the plants, preparing breakfast for us, doing the dishes, and varieties of things that need to be done.

An old forest 1km from here filled with Kangaroos, Opossums and many bird species.  

Don’t forget the Sunsets… those are so amazing here as well, when the moon comes up later than sun set you can actually see the Milky Way and the brightest stars…


The family; Vance (dad), Chris (mom), Caitlin (the youngest daughter, she turned 8 yesterday), Danny (daughter-17)… the sons are out of the house, one in the Air force, the other one living in Perth, Journalist.

Chris is trying to set up a Horse assisted therapy center for anyone who would like to come and conquer an inner battle, in a fun way. She is very good in understanding people and horses, she can see that a horse reflects the personality of an individual in a more acceptable way, so that that person can find out less aggressively what exactly is standing in the way. The funny thing is that they think in a similar way as me. Or me as them. No general truth, everyone creates his own reality, it is all happening by the way or manner you believe it is. What you believe…  So you can imagine that I’m having an interesting encounter and time over here… So cool!

They are building an extension on the house, where people from around Oz can come and stay with their horses. There is a Paddock nearly finished, which is meant to be the residence of visiting horses, the extension for their owners. They can enjoy walks on the beach, in the forest, joining a group with Chris’s education sessions.

A lot needs to be finished before they’re going to promote this possibility. The extension finished, the garden cleaned up, A vegetable garden created, bricks chipped and stored, A horse shed reorganized, etc…

Vance is helping out with this; also he has been making a peace of art. A yacht, small but completely out of wood, a beauty! He’s also working 3,5 days a week.

I’m not sure until when I’m staying here. I’m enjoying and probably at least until the 10th of February, maybe longer, let’s see how it goes…