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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: Thu, 29 Sep 2016 07:05:03 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2016 Mark Moxon

Indonesia: Bajawa

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 29 September 1997, 19 years ago. Rosy-fingered dawn saw me getting up at 6am to catch the bus east from Labuanbajo to Bajawa. This I missed, thanks to some creative timekeeping from the hotel manager ('Oh, the bus leaves at 7.15', he said confidently, when it actually left at 7am). Still, I caught another bus, and instead of a direct journey, I had to change in some backwater where the bus terminal was home to as many squealing pigs as humans. After a long ten-hour bus journey through the beautiful volcanic scenery of western...

Indonesia: How to Survive Indonesia

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 28 September 1997, 19 years ago. It's downright impossible for a visitor like me to be fair in any commentary on Indonesia (or, indeed, Asia in general); the basic fabric of society is so different here that imposing western values is not only pretty hopeless, it's foolhardy. But as a part of the ongoing education that happens to all travellers – an education better known as culture shock – I've formulated a number of suggestions that might help when trying to cope with travelling in Indonesia. Always stay...

Indonesia: Labuanbajo

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 28 September 1997, 19 years ago. The island of Flores, named 'Flower' by the Portuguese before they sold the island to the Dutch, is quite beautiful, which came as a bit of a relief after the long bus journey through the comparatively desolate and barren Sumbawa; the island of Komodo, which is sandwiched between Sumbawa and Flores, is well worth a visit to see the huge Komodo dragons that live there, but unfortunately I had to sacrifice it to my schedule. Labuanbajo, the western port of Flores, is a small town with the...

London Loop, United Kingdom: Uxbridge to Moor Park

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 27 September 2002, 14 years ago. If you like walking alongside water, then this is the section of the Loop for you. While day 8 is a good walk and sticks to the Union Canal for most of the day, this part of the Loop combines the canal with a number of large lakes that make it hard to imagine you're in Greater London. When the Loop manages to pull this off, it's at its best. It's not far from Uxbridge tube station to the Loop, and it's worth keeping a look out for the Crown and Treaty pub on your left; this is where Charles I...

Indonesia: Sumbawa

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 26 September 1997, 19 years ago. After climbing Gunung Rinjani, I decided to strike east from Senaru, in the general direction of the island of Flores, from where a passenger ship would be departing for Sulawesi in just over a week's time. I got offered a ridiculously high-priced ticket from Senaru to Flores by a local tout, but I turned it down; he wanted 85,000rp for a trip that ended up costing me about 35,000rp, and he would have been using a ferry that turned out to be non-existent, an unsurprising discovery for this...

Indonesia: Indonesian Peace and Quiet

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 25 September 1997, 19 years ago. In compiling this travelogue, I came across a note in my 'diary summary' document – a list of one-liners that remind me what I want to write about – that read as follows: JUST FUCK OFF! (JFO) This demonstrates how the friendliness of the locals really got to me on the day after my walk up Gunung Rinjani, though it wasn't their fault at all. To the Indonesians a foreigner is someone to be friendly to, to talk to, to be interested in, but for the foreigner it can be more...

Indonesia: Gunung Rinjani

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 25 September 1997, 19 years ago. Friday morning saw me catch two bemos to the little village of Senaru, which teeters on the northern slopes of Lombok's towering volcano Gunung Rinjani (gunung means 'mountain' in Indonesian). On the way I got talking to a young bloke called Saina who said he ran a new losmen in Senaru, and he could help me get all the equipment needed for the hike up the still-active volcano that dominates the centre of Lombok. I gently refused his offers of a guide or a porter – a guy I met in Ubud...

London Loop, United Kingdom: Jubilee Park to West Wickham

Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 25 September 2002, 14 years ago. This walk was the first Loop section I did, and what an introduction it is; this is a lovely walk, with plenty of variety in the scenery, a healthy dose of ancient and recent historical stories, and a good pub en route. It sums up all that is good about the Loop. Even the link walk to the Loop itself is intriguing (well, it is for a link walk). The main drag in Petts Wood is lined with shops, and these shops are neatly tucked away under a long, triangular roof that's broken every few buildings...

London Loop, United Kingdom: Enfield Lock to Chigwell

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 24 September 2003, 13 years ago. Here's a tip. If you're planning to walk this section of the Loop on a nice sunny day, like I did, then make sure you pack a peaked cap or wide-brimmed hat. I didn't bother because I thought the September sun wouldn't be strong enough to warrant protection from ultraviolet, and as a result I spent most of the walk squinting. This is where the Loop turns south on its journey back to the Thames, and that means you're walking right into the sun. Shades won't be enough; bring a hat, or it'll drive...

Indonesia: Ampenan

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 19 September 1997, 19 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

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 18 September 1997, 19 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

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 18 September 1997, 19 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

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 18 September 1997, 19 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

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 16 September 1997, 19 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

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 16 September 1997, 19 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

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT

Written on 15 September 1996, 20 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...