5 April 2012
Mason Pine hotel to Ciwidey.
About 43km and 3 hours.
Today we're going to Ciwidey, which had been our intended destination on the first day from Jakarta before we realised how slow the driving was. Ciwidey has a white sulphurous lave in the cone of an old volcano and also some natural hot springs for bathing. Our first real tourist sight.
Along the way we passed numerous abandoned narrow gauge railway tracks. Sometimes leading straight in to the wall of a building that had been beuilt over them over dangling over the edge of a drop off like rebar from concrete. Somewhere we saw an amazing bridge over a gorge and explored a bit to check it out. Stone arch and iron trestle. It was a railway path that had been turned in to a village sidewalk and inter-village connection by pouring conrete between the rails. People would drive their scooter across or josh with friends on the narrow bridge. It was just the width of the rails and then a long way down to the rocky ricker. No railing or anything else to stop you from a trip and falllll. Pictures don't do justice to how lovely this old iron brige looked spanning the gorge.
We got back on the road and it started to rain. It rains for hours at a time. We're learning to adapt. Finding the luggage and places in the sidecar that leak and taping over them. Storing our rain gear in the most easy access spot.
Arrived in Ciwidey and it wasn't dark yet but still drenching us with rain. We took the first hotel we found, which also got a nod in Lonely Planet. Clean but basic they said. Smells as good as it looks I said. And I'll just hold it till I can go in a restaurant. When we checked out I looked under the bed to see if I had left anything behind. Wish that I hadn't.
At night time we were looking for an ATM and the only one we found was out of service. Some well dressed local saw this, said he was looking for an ATM also and offered to give us a ride. We declined at first as people helping sometimes turns in to a boondoggle. But he persisted and so we got in to his car. Nice car. Turns out he was was from Jakarta and was working on a geo-thermal project here. We drove and drove. Passed through a few villages and in to the dark night. I started to get a little nervous. How far could the next ATM be? It's close he said. The car stopped in another town to ask if there was an ATM there, then kept going. Actually, the driver was driving back to Jakarta tonight. "After the ATM how will you get back to Ciwidey" he asked? Uhhhhh.... Some silence. It's dark and late. I thought it was common sense that if you pick us up you take us back. 30 minutes (and many miles and towns) from the start of the drive we find an ATM. The driver tried to find us a taxi or bus to get back to our town but there's absolutely nothing here. Finally he reluctantly agrees to take us back. I didn't really need cash right now that bad anyway.
Lots of this
It's a long way down and to be honest I'm not a big fan of heights.
10x more beautiful in person
Get used to the buckets of rain, it continues for hours each day.
Sometimes you feel better before you check under the bed.