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Preview: A Regular Travel Digest from Mark Moxon

A Regular Travel Digest from Mark Moxon

A selection of travel tales by Mark Moxon.

Published: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:05:02 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2017 Mark Moxon

Indonesia: Ampenan

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 19 September 1997, 20 years ago. Once I'd decided to head east from Bali to the neighbouring island of Lombok, it all fell into place; in the end, I managed to get from Ubud into the thick of Lombok in just two days, which struck me as pretty reasonable. I left Ubud on a Wednesday morning, jumping on a couple of bemos that took me across Bali to the port of Padangbai on the east coast. On the way I shared the inside of a tiny van with 22 other people, and even had a little kid throw up on my backpack, which was a nice touch....

Indonesia: Types of Traveller

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 18 September 1997, 20 years ago. Ubud is billed as the 'centre of cultural tourism in Bali', which basically means it's full of art galleries, wood carving shops, hotels and restaurants. It's also full of tourists, and where Kuta is full of Australians on shag-and-tan holidays, Ubud is full of Germans on a more cultural experience. While I perused the streets, I noticed a complete social stratum in the tourist scene, one I'd never quite spotted before because in a white culture, it's not always so easy to spot who the...

Indonesia: Curse of the 60-day Visa

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 18 September 1997, 20 years ago. Ubud was where the enormity of my Asian trip kicked in. In Australia and New Zealand I had plenty of time, my own transport, and mounds of information on walks, sights to see and places to stay. In French Polynesia I had a much more fixed schedule: where Zeke went, I went. But in Asia there are no guidelines except for time: I have 60 days in Indonesia, and then I have to leave, end of story. I can leave via plenty of recognised entry/exit points, but it's still only 60 days, and that adds a...

Indonesia: Ubud

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 18 September 1997, 20 years ago. Stepping out of a bemo from Kuta into a chaotic street in Ubud, how the hell do you know where you are? The guidebook has a map, and a blob saying where it thinks you should be, but how do you find somewhere to stay that won't break the bank? So I wandered aimlessly for half a minute, and then a man on a motorbike came up to me and asked if I was looking for a room. 'How much?' I asked. '10,000rp a night,' he said. 'I'll take a look, then,' I said. 'OK,' he smiled, taking my pack and stuffing...

Indonesia: Learning Bahasa Indonesia

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 16 September 1997, 20 years ago. I'm learning a new language while in Indonesia, and it's making travelling here so much more rewarding. Bahasa Indonesia (bahasa means 'language' in Indonesian) is a whole lot easier to pick up than English, and it doesn't take long to become proficiently fluent (by which I mean able to travel without having to resort to screaming loudly and slowly in your native tongue). Bahasa Indonesia has no tenses, no conjugation, no sexes, no irregular verbs and no plurals, it uses the Latin alphabet,...

Indonesia: Balinese Public Transport

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 16 September 1997, 20 years ago. Tuesday morning saw me standing outside the hostel in Kuta, waiting for a bemo (the local bus) while chaos erupted around me. Lining the street were loads of motorbikes, each with an owner hanging round nattering and waiting for something to happen. There was a policeman on hand, and all I could assume was that there had been an accident of some sort, and everyone was basically hanging around to see if anything juicy was going to happen. The fact that I understood not one word added to the...

Australia: Selling a Car

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 15 September 1996, 21 years ago. After the initial culture shock of returning to traffic, people, pollution, noise and rain – all of which totally threw me after such a long time in the desert – I set about selling my trusty travelling companion Oz, a rather sad moment after all we'd been through together. It turned out to be easier than expected. After obtaining a roadworthy certificate, which required about A$500-worth of mechanical work, I advertised in The Trading Post and settled back for the flood of...

Indonesia: Kuta

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 14 September 1997, 20 years ago. And so it's time for the Big Challenge... or that's how I've been feeling about leaving the safe haven of Australia and heading into the anarchy of Asia. Landing in Indonesia in the middle of the night, without any accommodation booked, precious little local currency, hardly a word of the local language, and nothing but an open mind... well, two years ago I wouldn't even have boarded the plane. Back then, landing in Sydney with everything pre-booked was scary enough. Because I landed late at...

Australia: Thoughts on Leaving

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 13 September 1997, 20 years ago. I'll miss Australia. Yet again it's proved to be a fascinating and friendly place, full of surprises, beauty, beer and, of course, the biggest and best of everything in the world. On my penultimate day in Brisbane I visited the botanic gardens at Mt Coot-tha (not the botanic gardens in the city centre, but a bigger and better version on the outskirts of the city). Wandering through the lush undergrowth, I came across a sign containing a poem by the one and only Bill Neidjie, the famous...

Australia: Familiarity Breeds

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 13 September 1997, 20 years ago. I'm developing a theory. Perhaps it's an after-effect of the pre-flight Vic Bitter, but more and more I'm beginning to think I know people. Looking around the transit lounge at Darwin airport – my flight out of Australia isn't direct from Brisbane to Bali, but has stopped in Darwin for about an hour – I keep thinking, 'Now where do I know that face from? And she's hauntingly familiar too...' I've had this experience before, and it's rather unnerving. Now I know that...

Australia: Noosa

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 8 September 1997, 20 years ago. Noosa is simply lovely. It's an upmarket and fairly yuppie holiday spot, just over 100km north of Brisbane at the northern tip of the Sunshine Coast. I hadn't been expecting anything much – it has a particularly small National Park covering various picturesque spots, but not a lot else – but the atmosphere was spot on. I don't know what it was that made Noosa feel so different from the comparatively tacky Hervey Bay or the overly touristy Cairns, but it felt more like a...