Diary

Goodbye my friend.

Thank you for the last 4 years.

What a great friend you have been….you have always been at my side, we have met so many beautiful people together, we have travelled to so many  places, you have made me think about so many things….you have changed me in so many ways!!!!!

I wish I could go back in time and close the back door of my house that morning. That way we would still be together.

I hope that you will find somebody that will be able to take the best out of you, and that you will not be left and forgotten.

Goodbye my friend.

 

my friend


To Rachel, Ben and Blake.

With the last of my friends gone I feel how the wheel of time starts to move  again….

Even though I will remain, I sense that I am already  travelling…this time is not me who moves but the others. Each kilometer they move away it appears in my mind as it is me who is travelling away, and with this thoughts,  the new adventures that I will head in this new  phase appear in front of me with special joy, excitement and peace of mind.

As I watch the sunset and I hear the  Adhan been called by the Muezzins of the nearby minarets, I am dressing a special smile, a smile that grows with each minute and that cant be stopped.

Its been a long time since the departure of a good friend makes me feel sad. They leave me full of good memories, and I treasure them in my heart.

No matter how far away you are in space you will always travel with me.


Camels eyes.

So I woke up in the morning, and went upstairs to the roof top thinking to myself:

 

“hmmm…I´m kind of done with the desert…”

 

and then  for a few seconds all  the three chained camels at the other side of the fence stared at me.

And within their eyes I could hear the eco of my thoughts.


Revelaciones.

Hoy me he levantado pensando:

“Yo no hago buceadores…hago guerreros de la luz”

…y de repente he sentido calor recorriendo todo mi cuerpo mientras mi cara se encendia con una sonrisa.


Waking up.

I woke up from a siesta…and I had no idea where I was:  Jordan? Costa Rica? I just felt in peace, relaxed, at the seaside sleeping over some cushions…a slow music in spanish was flowing in the air…

“Im in Dahab”…And I smiled.


Costa Rica and its amazing fauna.

A couple of days ago I received this email from my mom in which she showed me her concern regarding my stay over here…. they are seeing a lot of documentaries about costa rica, and she is scared to death something happens to me: there are fucking huge crocodiles and other horrible things around you know…so please…pleeeeeeeeeeeease…pleaaaaaaase Jose…dont try to do everything and go everywhere… hahaha.

Well…half an hour ago there was a huge cocroach around the corridor of my house (I have to be half a meter away from my wireless router for receiving signal…so that is I am at this moment sitting in a chair in the middle of the corridor)…but what the hell….Ive seen many cockroaches already in my life…besides…it went into the room of one of my house mates…no need to worry hehehe…

But then, a couple of minutes ago, I couldnt believe what I was seeing… it was a fucking HUGE BLACK SCORPION passing at 2 meters from me moving  into the bathroom…so…still not believing this, I went quickly to the kitchen to find a weapon: no way I am going to live in this house with a fucking scorpion around…

So what can I use as a weapon, what can I use…I have around 4 empty bottles of rum in the kitchen, another one of wine…hmmm not good …hmmm…not good enough…yeah! Lets use the mop!!

So I take the mop and…SURPRISE SURPRISE! There is a mother fucking huge spider in the mop!!! Well, I didnt have time to think to much so I destroyed it, I think it took me around 3-4 hits, I guess the mop is not a very good weapon as it is pretty soft at the end, maybe better could had been the broom. (Will try to remember it for next time). Anyway, after the 3 -4 hits I gave her another 3 or 4. Just in case. I dont want any fucking huge and now fucking angry black spider arround. I really like animals, and I am sorry for this…but I am not going to live with a huge black spider  nor a scorpion.

So armed with the killing mop, I approached slowly…coutiously the bathroom. The light was on…that is why I saw the scorpion move in the bathroom…and thank god I saw it…now if I think about it probably looked much bigger becouse of the shadows caused by the light…

So I opened slowly the door, looked down, look at the sides…up…I had the feeling it was going to fall on top of me in any moment…and then…I saw it!!! YEs!!! Just below the WC…. I planned the kill quickly and reacted according to the plan: I gave a small stroke to make her move to the open at the other side of the toilet, and then….ZAS ZAS ZAS ZAS ZAS ZAS ZAS….oh man…they are tough,…I was there like a minute hitting it hard….

Guys. the only thing I can think off right now is what the hell would have happened if I wouldnt have seen it .Imagine  I would have gone to take a crap later tonight with that scorpion around…

One thing is for sure. From now on, before I go to the bathroom Im going to take a good look around….and yes, there is another thing sure: and it is, that this time, mom. You were right. 😀 XXX


Change of plans!!!

Hi everybody!

Yep. Corn Island belongs to the past. Well, recent past as I left this morning and I am back at Managua…and don’t get me wrong, I LOVED BIG CORN AND LITTLE CORN!!!

I arrived on the evening of the 12th to Big Corn with all my dive gear and headed directly to the Dive Center which I was going to work and that I am not going to mention any more.

After 5 minutes talking with my future boss I just felt I had to run away from there so I took all my stuff, said “MUCHAS GRACIAS PERO NO”, and left to the closest hostel.

Basically the owner wanted me to run the show as I was going to be the only dive instructor (this was a surprise, I thought he was an instructor and there was another one more) and it is too early for that, I haven’t certified a single person yet!

That and the fact that he didn’t inspire me confidence at all…all my being was screaming “Get out of here!!!!!Fast!!!!”

Let me tell you that Big Corn was an amazing place, people where always happy and having loads of laughs, the locals are the descendants of British prospectors and freed African slaves, most of them are black and they have a very laidback attitude, and they speak in incomprehensible English… it would be a wonderful place to live on those islands guys, I think you can live 100 years or more as it is so laidback around there.

I spent 2 days at Big Corn Island, there is a beautiful beach called long beach, It was around 1 km long, and I was the only one there except for a native mother, her three sons, and the lady that took care of the only bar in the beach, I had a swim and after this I sat with her and chat for a while as we were the only persons at the bar…The harbor is also very nice, you can see the sunset while you watch the sea, the boats and the kids playing around a couple of swings in front of the harbor….

Then when you go to bed it is amazing: the roar of the wind and of the waves is so intense…it is unique! This and the fact I had to share my room on the first night with 3 gigantic cockroaches and around 20 mosquitoes which where all trying to get through my mosquito net…the second night I fixed this and upgraded to another room…much better guys 😀

Little Corn is really a jewel, it is small, it has beautiful beaches and the vibe is really cool, everybody knows each other, they are all kind of a family….also if you want to chill out you can go to the east side of the island…there is NO ONE over there!! Don’t miss it guys!! I tried to have a couple of dives but weather conditions were not good, very windy so I was only able to make one dive in a site called the Buoy, or Stanley´s point, nothing very special, although I say a HUGE turtle, they told me it was a loggerhead turtle it looked kind of Jurassic guys…

for what I know the avge size is around 1m, which is already huge, and they can be up to 2.7 m big and weight half a ton!!!!This one, as the one in the picture was at the bottom with its head stuck between some rocks, it was really hard to see between the rocks, really well camuflated!And I spotted my first octopus since I arrived to the Caribbean (yay! so cool, perfectly mimetizing with the rocks around him)

And last….I found another job!!!! It is at Costa Rica, I will be there in 2 days, the place looks awesome for me to start, it is a very well established PADI Dive resort at Playas de Coco, I think the diving is amazing and I hear it is one of the best dive shops around for diving, the owners are a Swiss couple and I am so excited!!!!

This is the webpage of the Dive Resort,

http://www.summer-salt.com

I don’t know if there are hammerheads around, but there are Manta Rays, humpback whales, bull sharks…and here I will be able to learn how to run this business properly. It is going to be an amazing adventure, I’m so glad the owners have trusted me to join them and give me this opportunity!

See you later guys, and please come to see me here!!!!

PURA VIDA!!!


DAY 67: FROM CARIBBEAN PIRATE ISLAND TO CARIBBEAN PIRATE ISLAND

Wow….I know!!! It has been ages since the last time I wrote something….

It has been 2 months since the last diary post I left…and many things have happen since then….for the first, I finished my instructor course at UDC, those were around 12 days + the instructor exam, where a course director came to our little island to test what we have learned in order to be certified,..2 weeks where we became Assistant Instructors, Emergency First Response Instructors and finally Open Water Scuba Instructors. YEAH!

And my friends, It has been tough, many days waking up early in the morning, many hours of classroom, swimming pool, open waters, more classroom, more swimming pool, and last but not least homework, homework and more homework…Im glad I already knew pretty well Diving Theory as it was already enough intense without having to study this.

Again, this blog is not about me…but about the people that I meet on the way, and not surprisingly at UTila I have meet really amazing people; our  Diving Teachers that have really really given 100% in order to help us with the instructor course, the rest of the lads I have meet at UDC that had to do the exam with me, the fantastic 15 they say jejejeje 😀 and all the rest of the people hanging at UDC doing their divemasters, MSDTs, instructors…etc….I wish you all the best guys…and I hope to see you somewhere, someday, under the water or on top of it…it doesnt matter!!!

Lets continue with the Story…well, about Utila…I actually dont know: I spent 2 months here and I havent gone further out than the street where  I lived: my house was at 5 meters from the dive center so no need to go  too much further, and all the bars of the island where on this same street as well….too many bars my friends…I think I have drunk most of the rum from the caribbean…

And moving on…becouse we are moving on!!!! After sending  CVs everywhere in the world for 2 weeks, I found a job at another small caribbean Island from Nicaragua,Big Corn Island,where I will help XXX, her wife XXX and their daughter XXX working at  their dive center XXX, guys…this island looks so nice, and the idea of working for this people look so much fun!!!I arrive in 2 days!!!

And yeah, now  you know where to spend your holidays…there is even a small hostel runned by the family  …and the  legend says there are hammerheads around…jejeje

Take care, I love you!!!


DAY 6: FINALLY DIVING AGAIN.

Dia 6:
Finally I made it to Utila! It  has been tough though...I had to wake up at 4 oclock in the morning a couple of days
ago to take the bus from the bus station of Managua (Nicaragua) and cross honduras to la Ceiba, 3rd biggest city of
 Honduras, where the ferry´s leave towards the Bay Islands.
That day I started the day full of joy like always, I met an interesting guy thay played the guitar on the bus,  he looked like what I thought those colored guys from the caribean must look like: rastas, tall, stilish, and with  a guitar on his back. I had a chat in the border with him and to my surprise he was Canadian (wtf?) but he was  travelling alone and he spoke spanish so there was something more I am sure... Well, I was enjoying the day talking with my hondureños friends, making jokes etc, until we arrived to the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. There I said good bye to this caribbean dude and he gave me his card so that we could keep in contact. I was very happy, I tooked out my wallet and slipped the card in. This was pretty much the stupiest thing to do: in a bus station crowded with people at Tegucigalpa honduras take out my wallet and show everybody in what pocket I was carrying it. In 5 minutes my wallet was not my wallet anymore. I couldnt believe it, 5 minutes in Tegucigalpa and already without a wallet. DUDE!! THOSE GUYS ARE SERIOUS!! Is what I thought at that moment...actually...at the moment I realized  that somebody had pickpocket me I was ñkind of psicologically knocked out....it was the first time I had my wallet stolen, I always noticed when someone pickpocket me, I thought I was a difficult target, but you see, in  Tegucigalpa, I met a guy that was very good. RESPECT. No big deal as I had only 7 dollars and no important document on it or credit-debit card, those were hidden somewhere else. Dont keep all your eggs in the same basket guys... So then the paranoia started. All those nice people around...didnt looked so nice anymroe...and thinking that at 5 pm my bus was ending at San Pedro Sula, 2nd largest city of the country of the world where more people were  killed in proportion to the population living in it started to give me the chills. I spent like most of the trip between tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula hesitating over if I should continue to La Ceiba or just stay at San Pedro  Sula: Pros of staying at San Pedro Sula-it would still be day light. Cons: Worlds most criminalized city in the fucking world, holly molly. So when I decided to continue my trip to La Ceiba, in a deluxe bus, I arrived to the terminal of San PEdro and  found a very cheap deal for going in a normal bus, so without thinking it too much I jumped on that bus.  I regret doing this almost at the same moment I was in the bus, as it was already dark and travelling through  Honduras during the night by bus is not a very good idea, but I took my chances and it worked fine. the following day I took the ferry to Utila, island of pirates in the caribbean, and this is completely true!!!
The people here speak very funny english!! I arrived to the island, just before sunset, and what a sunset...the sea

looks like electric blue, and the sky is red spotted with clouds…I will try to take a pic. and show it to you
guys one of this days!

Yesterday I was in the water at 19 meters deep for the first time in one year!!!! I felt a little bit uncomfy with
the gear I was using, also I was overweighted which made very hard to dive in horizontal position…

But on the second dive I corrected this and I had an incredible experience!!!! I went inside a cave for the first
time in my life!!!! It looked like a canyon at the beginning, I was not really sure if I should do this, but we were
all in line and the first 3 were going in, so I said to myself…why not? And once in there was no chance to turn
around, as there was no space and a couple of divers behind.
What an experience, it was amazing, seeing all this rocks around me, moving through the passage, trying to keep
buyancy under control….and then, when I was in the middle…complete darknesss….the divers in front of me where
blocking the light coming through the exit, so I had to keep cool in this small passage and wait until they moved
out in order to see something. When I started to move on, I turned right following the passage and while I did this I saw a school of golden fish (no idea what type of fish but they were golden :D) at my left side sheltering from pedrators at the end of the cave.

What a great day my friends!
Lets see where I dive today 😀


Dia 2: From Liberia to Managua.

I am now at Managua, in a room I could find in Indonesia, for the same price as indonesia and I had dinner at Managua in a cantina that guess what?  looked like the classic indonesian food stand with the same food as I could have been served in Indonesia with the exception that rice is also mixed with frigoles (arriba el gallito pinto!!).

All the bus drive I was looking through the window, and what I could see were volcanoes, mountains, a lot  of vegetation,trees, banana plantations:Indonesia again.

Although I was very proud of myself with the indonesian lingo I learned while I was travelling last year, this is not comparable with the experience of being in a very far away land and you can speak perfectly their mother tongue, It is so special!!!

People are treating me very well, and I find Central americans very nice. I always like more the old people and the very young ones, I guess it is because I feel I can trust them more.

During the trip from Liberia to Managua I was sitting all the way with la señora Marbella, 53 year old Nica (that is the way of calling Nicaraguans) that came from visiting one of her daughters at San Jose. I really enjoy talking with this people, always with a smile on their face, and of easy laugh and conversation. Before I could tell Sra. Marbella and another 2 ladies sitting in front of me  we were best pals.

I was a little bit scared the last days thinking about the dangers of travelling through Central America, but so long, it is really safe.

Big hugs,


DAY 1!!!! Again!!!

Hi everybody!

Today I landed for the first time in my life at the other side of the atlantic.

First sansation is that everything is more yellow, and everything is more hot, exactly the same as last year, when I was in SE Asia…

After around 14 hrs. being in an airplane, I am now at Liberia, Costa Rica. I had a beer in the park of town,it is very small, there must not be more than 50 trees, but all of a sudden hundreds of birds started singing beautiful songs with an intensity that I have never heard before.

The magic is back my friends.

The time for adventure is back.


DAY 293: From Van Vieng to London…

I just bumped into this draft from the last days of my trip more than 7 months ago now. I post it now.

Hello my friends…

when I think what has happened between Van Vieng  and London, I can only smile…it seems it is so far away in time and space…anyway let me try 🙂

I left Van Vieng with Stephan and Francoise, and two more back packers decided to join the hitch-hiking-rice field-hut-sleeping-expedition…so now we were 5 persons to hitch hike with our backpacks, and guess what? Only in Laos you could be successful!

It took us two days to arrive to the capital of Laos Vientiane, we could have arrived on the same day as we left Van Vieng, but our intentions were to camp somewhere around Nam Ngu, an artificial lake a little bit north of the CApital. On the first day we didnt make it to the lake, and we had a hard time to find a hut to squat on the way, so we finished sleeping in a Buddhist temple, after asking the monks  if it was ok with them…which it was!

There were two novices of less than 10 years in the temple, and we were playing with them on the river that passed by the temple…we couldnt speak lao and they couldnt speak english, but as so many times before, this did not matter, we spoke the universal language that everybody understands

…at night these  two young novices prepared for us the place for sleeping,sweeping the floor and placing some thin rugs on wich we could sleep more confortable. The place was a terrace on top of the river we had been swimming, at the side of a  commemorative stone, this terrace was  higher than the rest of the place surrounding us so we expected it to protect us from snakes and other short of “intruders”…

after dinner and an untasty noodle soup “I” prepared we all went to sleep, while we were placing our sleeping bags and blankets on top the rug, we saw it: a huge column of ants just passing at the side of the rug…but what else could we do? or either the ants on the terrace, or the snakes on the fields surrounding the temple….so we decided to give the ants a chance, maybe they wouldnt bother us no?

WEll. My head started itching, and when I put on my light lamp I saw a huge column of ants going directly to my head…and they were not small…as you can never win against ants, I decided to surrender and retreat. I went to the place where we made the fire, out of the terrace, but hopefully the snakes would not bother, and they didnt, good luck if it wouldnt had been becouse the place was full of mosquitoes…at the end I was able to sleep with my raincoat wrapped around my head…I could hear the mosquitoes all around me…waiting for me to make a mistake and let them some space to suck my blood….

the following morning, we headed towards the lake, which was much more impressive than what we expected: inside the lake there were a lot of small islands…not more than 100 meters long….We decided to spend one day on one of this islands, completely alone except for us…we convinced a sailor to take us over there, and told him to pick us up at 8 oclock the following morning.

At the island we were happier than ever. It was our island! 70 metre long 30 metres wide just for the 5 of us….we spent the rest of the day fishing bringing wood for building up the fire, preparing our place to sleep…it was so funny, the five of us fishing at the side of the lake…30 seconds after we placed the first hook, it got stuck so I went to check what was going on…I was  diving under the water the fishing thread was stuck below some seaweed, so I started pulling it up…and then Tarraaaaaaaaaaaa!!! A fish! there was a fish!!! So I got my head out of the water and told everybody! And nobody would believe it!!! After 30 seconds we catched our first fish!!!

Our first and last one, becouse we weere not lucky anymore for the next hours, but it was great grilling the fish on the fire that night…YES. WE WERE MIGHTY FISHERMAN!

That night, I decided to place my mosquito net, and the only place that I found it possible was tying the top part to a tree branch…not a good idea to sleep under the tree guys…dont do it:

At a certain momment in the middle of the night, when I was trying to make myself more comfortable on my place, I felt a strong sting on my left arm and my right hand…no idea what it was but it itched like crazy…I got out of the sleeping bag as fast as I could and I asked for a lamp to my friends that were sleeping several meters away…

I went back to the place where I was sleeping, and after checking carefully with the lamp all the blankets, I saw it:

It was a FUCKING SCORPION. I had been stung not ONCE but TWICE by a scorpion, in the middle of nowhere, in this small island where no one lived except my friends, and we had to wait until 8 oclock in the morning before someone would come to pick us up!

Somehow, I didnt freaked out. Actually, when I saw the scorpion it was not a surprise, in my head I had already thought about this possibility…so I did what I could: I warmed some water in the fire, and cleaned the wound with it. After I took a couple of painkillers, and another couple of  pils I was given against poison 8 months before when I had been badly stung by  jellyfish, and took a place to sleep between two of our friends…

Thankfully, the scorpion was not a dangerous one, and after a couple of days the sting didnt even hurt!

I went afterwards all the way from Vientiane to Pakse by sleeping bus, where we rented some motorbikes and crossed the bolivan plateau for a couple of days, again sleeping in huts, in one of them we were attacked by ghosts!!

The last days I stayed in Cambodia, went to Siam reap  and saw Angkor wat, where I went into my knees and thanked buddha for all his help…so many things have happened.I had been so lucky!

Anyway, I cant continue writting. I dont feel like it.

Jose


DAY 272: In to the wilds

I love this country. Its people. Its landscape.

For the last 13 days Ive been hitch-hiking all around the north of Laos, waking up every morning without knowing who will give me a lift, when, and where will they leave me, just stopping wherever I felt like stopping and seeing this incredible landscape 360 degrees from the pick up of trucks.

I met an Austrian when I was having a bike ride around Luang Nam Tha, the surroundings of this place are full of small villages, and the locals are really nice people.

In the afternoon of this same day we stopped by a house where there was a music band playing. The locals in the garden when they saw us looking what was going on invited us in, and the next thing I know is that I have a glass of beer in my hand and a plate of food in front of me. And more beer, and more food, and more beer and more food….and when they were running out of beer guess what?? Another truck full of BeerLao arrived to the house. Dancing aswell with the locals, the women more drunk than the men, and this men could not stand straight…

The host of the party was celebrating that his new borned child was 1 month old. I think it must be a big deal around here. The man sat down at my side for half an hour, hugging me, speaking to me in Chinese and Laos, which I could not understand a word, but he was so pissed that he was spitting me all the time when he was trying to say something effusively while he accommodated his self by placing his hand on my groin. He even sang me a song with the band!!!!!!

Like this, I have many more experiences,the number of times Ive been invited by Laos people to share their food and a place in the fire I cannot count, as it is all the time when I am away of the main cities-touristic areas.

I left Luang Nam Tha with this Austrian (Stephan) and a french boy(Francoise), hiking is easy here, but at the beginning we had problems as we didnt know when to stop, the first night we finished in a rural village outside the main road, having to ask the people of the village if we could sleep with them as it was already dark…and those people are so good that they let us a hut!!! And they even invited us to join the village members in a hut where they where all drinking “I dont know what” but it tasted like a strange fruit juice, from a stone jar with more than half a meter long straws….

Every day I feel more admiration for this people. So poor. But so so kind, and so so happy. The smile of kids here is difficult to forget. When the kids see us at the back of the pick up trucks they all start screaming, smiling and waving their hand to us…like if we would be rock stars. No. It is more like being the president of a country…the pope!!!! Saying hello at both sides of the road….

Near Nuong Khiow, and after sleeping for several days in those huts along the road at the rice fields, we decided to build a bamboo boat and go along the river Nam Ou until Luang Prabang. We estimated 2 days down the river, and in a near by village we met a Laos man that when he understood our intentions he was even more excited than us with the plan. Phffeuh! What a visionary this old man, he helped us cut the bamboo trees, construct the boat, and we slept at his house with his family for one night. dinners were based on frogs, soups, and birds which were so tiny and had so little meat that you had to eat the complete skeleton, even the head….

The bamboo boat journey was not very succesful, we left the town where we constructed the boat, Nam Pak (we called our boat “The Princess of Nampak”) and half of the village was present in the moment we started sailing away,the first night we camped along the riverside and slept in a hut in the way, but the second day we had a couple of accidents, having to stop for boat reconstruction for more than 2 hours, and finally crushed our boat in the middle of a tree that grew up in the middle of the river…we decided to stop then, not even 30 km away from where we started!!!

Luang Prabang. Spent 2 nights there, after sleeping in huts in the middle of nature and seeing the landscape from the back of a pickup truck and speaking intimately with the locals so much we were all looking forward to leave the place asap and continue with our hitch hiking, and so we did.

Now I am In Vang Vieng, around 80 km to vientiane, the capital of Laos. The landscape is so so so incredible here. Everything around me since we left Luang Prabang are mountains and valleys, the road is like a snake going around all this green surface…after it falls into a flat plateau, but all around it you can see really high and beautiful white limestone walls,most of it covered by trees growing from everywhere…yesterday we slept in an incredible place…surrounded by cliffs of limestones…

Sleeping in the wilds, listening to the sounds of nature…so intense here! we have our own pots, we do our own fires, we cook our own food…

I am loving every minute of all of this, and I cannot wait to get out of viang vieng and continue visiting the local people of the smaller villages around, sleep in their landscapes…

Big hugs brothers and sistas!!!


DAY 269: Crossing the Mekon

Well well welll…Im back again.

I decided to stay one more day on the Tai border, as the landscape I saw while riding the bus from  Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong was beautiful…valleys and valleys of cultivated land of infinite tones between green-yellow – brown and red and  the sporadic trees, bamboo hut that the farmers use to rest in when the sun is to hot, and an incredible sunset, with the sun literally red.

I rented a manual motorbike, this time it didn’t have even the button to start it up, just the pedal…I think that for not knowing anything about motorbikes if we continue like this by the end of the trip I am going to learn even how to repair them 🙂

Somewhere a long the way I must have taken a different road because this one was full of holes, mud and dust, so much dust that every time a truck passed by it looked like the smoking rooms of the bars in Amsterdam :).

The fields where there any way so I could still leave the bike and start going around them…I saw a couple of farmers and went for them. People from the north of Thailand are really really good guys, so so nice…and those farmers where no exception, they posed for me and smiled all the time…I continued my way on the dusty road, until I saw a little road that turned towards the west. I followed it and found a nice place to chill out: It was one of those huts that I mentioned before, surrounded by trees at the east and the farm land at the west. So I squatted the place for around 5 hours…reading…siesta…butterfly hunting with my camera (this was the best, there are so many butterflies around…and they are so damn difficult to photo as they move so much: Imagine the pic: Jose with his camera running behind butterflies under the sun in the farm lands of North Thailand…)

This morning  I crossed the border to Laos, the all mighty (and brown) Mekon…after the 20 minutes stop for visa arrangements, I was able to move on; instead of heading to the bus station or taking the boat trip down to Luang Prabang,which is the classic route for 99.99% of the backpackers that cross Laos from this place…I did what my heart was asking me to do… start walking on the main road alone and see what happens…

Now I am 200 km away North East, in a town called Luang  Nam Tha (this is the place i was aiming to arrive!).


  For the first couple of  km a  Laos man gave me a lift, in a prehistoric car which was all metal scrap and with the motor outside, I was loving it, this old man, me, all laos at my feet and going around with this flintstones car that didnt go faster than 10km hour and made a lot of noise bupbupbupbup when it went down hill BUPBUPBUPBUPBUPBUPBUPBUPBUP when we were going up…

After this he left me in a cross-road and….. The french saved the day! I met  Juan and Natalie, who gave me a lift all the way to here with their caravan…and the trip was amazing…I thought that I had already seen a lot of jungle…ejem. Not at all. Laos is much more…mountains and mountains around us full of the densest forest I’ve ever seen, and at the sides of this horrible road, the laos people playing games, walking on their original skirts…little girls riding their bikes with shiny colored umbrellas, little kids throwing rocks to the cars passing buy, villages that looked  like the one of asterix and obelix….the sad note would be the crashed bus we saw at the side of the road (I Dont know when it crushed but I am happy I didn’t take it)

I got the feeling I am going to love this place my friends…good night!


DAY 267: From Chiang Mai to Pai, on my way to Laos…

Hello my friends!

Chiang Mai was a very interesting city, north capital of Thailand full of art, temples and markets…completely diferent to Bangkok, this is a small place, and the temperature is cool…the best thing to do here is renting a bicycle and getting lost on its streets, and I say this because for me it took me less than 5 seconds to be confused and lost…and I wanted to rent a motorbike.
HA! I would have finished in Beijing…

I had a couple of incredible experiences, and they all occurred in one of the temples in the center of town…there is a mysterious magic over there…

so this is what happened: I was riding my bike, when I saw this catchy temple with a lot of flashy golden and red colors and nice carvings, so I decided to stop and take a look…I locked my bike on the sidewalk just in front of the temple, between its walls and a street lamp: at this moment an old lady with gray hair, makes this sign, like the buddhist sign of making hello with her palms together in front of her face, at this moment what I thought is that this benevolent old granny was showing her respects towards this westerner from far away lands, so I returned her the sign with a big smile on my face and stepped sideways, so that the venerable old lady could pass first between the lamp and the wall of the temple.

At this moment she makes a “haahgggmmmmmaaaa!!!” sound and she comes directly over me, and she squeezes my arm between her fingers as hard as she could while doing this horrible “haagnmaaaaaaaaaaaa…”

Guys, goosebumps all over my body, with the pain and seeing the old benevolent lady turning into a witch screaming at me with her black one tooth opened mouth…I short of got her grip out of my arm and continued my way to the temple….

So this was a good warming up before entering the temple wasnt it? After going around the temple, entering its shrines, I saw something that attracted my attention: It was a huge GONG drum, all covered with carvings and sacred buddhist scriptures around it…I was feeling curious about it, when then I see this big stick used to hit at it lying on the floor at its side…I grabbed it. It was heavy.

And when I am holding this big drum stick, this idea passed through my mind: should I hit the big gong???? I looked around me to see if there is anybody around….and then I see this buddhist monk smiling at me and nodding with his head….

so I hit it, all of a sudden the air was covered with this deep tone “gooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooongggggggggggg”…it filled everything…it was deep, powerful, sacred….and I LIKED IT.

So I did it again. But this time as hard as I could:
” GOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnNNNNNNNNNNNNnnNGGGGGGG”

And then it happened: Suddenly this wind raised from nowhere, a magical breeze appeared that started shaking my hair the branches of the trees around…and the tiny bells hanging from the temple roofs started dangling: clin clin clin clin!!!!!!! Incredible guys. I was feeling like an inmortal.LOVED IT.

After this sensations, I left northwest towards Pai…


village in the middle of a beautiful valley, all surrounded by waterfalls, hot springs, and beautiful green scenery surrounded by butterflies spinning around….perfect place to relax….if it wouldn’t be because of the amount of reggae parties at night, that kept me awake most of it, not because I was trying to sleep, but because of the cocktails I was having in them 🙂

This place is like neverland….very hard to get away…yesterday I was able to get out after one week…aaahhhh….it is so nice over there that you could perfectly stay for a full month

…but not now. Not now that I am on my last phase of the trip. Now I need to think, so I must stay out of temptations…

take care!

Jose


DAY 258: From Ayuthaya to Chiang Mai

Just arrived this morning to Chiang Mai, I met 3 girls from my hometown in the bus from Ayuthaya, 9 hours drive away, and I had my doses of laughs with them…until the malicious driver started dropping the temperature of the air-conditioning in the bus…I was prepared, as I already know how this bus usually end up as freezers with wheels, but It was not until the person at my side left the bus and I was able to use her blanket that my teeth stopped ratling…and this was with 3 fucking blankets on top of me, a sweater and socks! The spanish girls were at the other side of the bus but I think they kind of invented enough clothes to keep themselves warm until the end of the trip, I think they even used the desperate measure of using plastic bags to cover their heads jajaja

I arrived to Ayuthaya 3 days ago scaping from Crazy Bangkok, and this was the first moment I realized what my mom was telling me since 15 days ago…10 min, before arriving to ayuthaya all the landscape become a huge river…with water everywhere and people going in canoe…the thing is that my mom told me to be careful when I was in indonesia, and I found all this mess in central thailand…I was a little scared that Ayuthaya was flooded as well, but they wisely placed a lot of sand bags around the city, and it still holds its ground…sad to see it in this state, as you can see all those old temples helplessly at the side of the menacing waters of the river…

Apart from that Ayuthaya was beautiful my friends, a lot of temples in ruins, all inhabited by hordes of dogs…actually they are all around the place, kind of scary, you don’t want to be alone at night and be attacked by a gang of wild of scavenger dogs…In one of my walks, I found a nice, small and sunny path between to ugly grey buildings, so I decided to follow it, until the  way was blocked by two huge dogs, barking…of course I turned around and left, but the voice of an old lady coming from the end of the path stopped me, and all of a sudden I was crossing by her hand the fence of her house, in front of the two dogs still snarling furiously at me, and this old tai lady made me seat inside the house, and after offering me a lot of drinks I finally accepted a coffee…I was filling myself more and more relaxed in this sheltered environment , until I saw that black cloud coming down…a fucking legion of mosquitoes attacking me viciously… I left the place after holding her hands all the way back out of the path of the dogs and said good-bye to the old lady, a pity I was really enjoying it, it is amazing how friendly those tais can be…

love my friends


DAY 252: SAMPAE JUMPA LAGI KOMODO

Hellooooooooooooooooooooooooo

wow…another 2 months have passed…I would have written more…but I was  having such a great time, such an intense life  that I couldnt find the time  to even write…and when I thought about writing, I lacked  the time needed to express myself…

3 days ago I left Komodo National Park, but I still feel like if I would be there.Feelings surprise me in every corner,Im in a state of dreaming but I am awake. memories of the times I spent there worm their way into my brain: sensations of the underwater world I left behind, the ripping flow of the full moon currents flushing against my face while Im hooked at the top of a blooming coral mount at Crystal Rock, the taste of the salty water on my skin, the explosion of flavor of  pineapple in my mouth mixed with the sea water salt in my tongue, the relaxing noises of the inspiration and expiration of air from my tank, the soothing sensation of being in a womb completely submerge in 30 degrees celsius water for more than an hour, the red sunsets  on the way back to Labuan Bajo…and of course my friends that have so immensely helped me.

I AM STILL WET. Even though I left and I am  by now thousands of km away,i am still soaked in the waters of Komodo deep in my bones.

What I have experienced at Komodo National Park has little to do with learning the skill of diving. It has been discovering another way of living.

A life in which you are intimately connected to the sea and its creatures, far less violent, far more curious and approachable than land creatures: will never forget the day I was at the front guiding 6 guests and my friend juvens into 26 mantas at Makassar, all my field of vision covered with mantas, the sensation of power they transmitted, swimming at half a meter of our heads in circles  (Juvens count them, I was too excited :)))), the day I spoke with the cuttlefish…the days Ive been in the middle of a whirlpool of hundreds of fussiliers so close I could touch them if I extended my hand…the sharks and the big eye trevallies dancing around what Marij calls the ceremonial rock, at the east of Castle Rock….

A life in which you are surrounded by jungles of multicolored , multishaped coral, dream like, dali style landscapes that only those that have ventured into the underwater world can imagine…Batu Bolong, the north side of Pengah Kecil…

A life in which you  help other human beings showing the path into the discovery of a  new world, for most of the people forgotten, nonexistent and at times dangerous,dark and scary.

Yesterday, all of  a sudden, I realized that I am not the same any more. I have changed.

and it is not the colors, the coral, the sharks the 6 meters big mantas what has blowed up  my mind…it is taking all this into another level. A higher level. The spiritual level,the personal level, with passion, with love, with tenderness…

I feel strange but happy. Those days are now gone, but new are about to come, new adventures, new friends, new landscapes await…and here at my side, my loyal EOS400D, forgotten for quite some months, is ready and happy to start shooting pictures again 🙂

A big hug to all of you!!!


DAY 191: Exiled at Kuala Lumpur

Hello brothers and Sistas!!!!

Feels good to write something again, its been 2 months since my last post! The reason is that I have been very busy, I spent the last month and a half diving like crazy at komodo national park at the hands of Divine Diving, Labuanbajo. Ive done the Advance Course, the Rescue Diver course and I am now doing the Dive Master course…

I already did all my theory exams, and I have more or less the minimum amount of dives I need to be certified, but I know I need more experience, everyday I have to face new situations underwater, with different divers I will be responsible for and with different diving conditions, sometimes situations can be quite intense, so I want to continue making a lot of dives…guys, everyday I learn A LOT. And I learn so much more about my mistakes that at the end of the day, even when I know I did wrong, I feel also some good becouse it made me stronger, wiser, better…important lesson in life…making mistakes IS the way of enlightment my friends…so dont worry, be happy…

Life is incredibly intense,most of the days I wake up before the sun rises, we make sure that everything is arranged in the boat and we do everything we can so that the costumers of the dive operator are satisfied. Days are long, we leave after the sun sets most of the days and we again wake up early on the following… but the possibility of diving gives me so much back in return:guys, I live a life in which there is a door to another wold, and when you cross it you connect with mantas, eagle rays, devil rays, sharks, napoleon, bumpfish parrots,wrasses,tunas,  nudybranches, turtles, rainbows of fish and coral and other marine creatures…I am very happy!

Also, I must say that I have a new family back in the surface, which consists of the people with whom I dive with, so lucky to have finished in this place with such a cool people, everybody helps, everybody is different, with different diving experiences, nationalities, strengths and weaknesses, Maarten, Ash, Wietse,Christa, Marij, jubens…I will remember this time, this moment.

I stopped taking pics, basically I dont have time for anything else beside diving, now I am at Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, I had to fly away of indonesia as I couldn’t arrange a visa extension on time, so I am exiled here until I get all my documents arranged, which will hopefully be tomorrow, today I submitted the application form and everything looks ok…

Strange, two days ago I was at Flores, Indonesia, at the immigration office, I could never have suspected I would have to leave the country in 24 hours and finish at Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, running from airport to airport, exciting, like in the movies of spies…although not so exciting seeing my money gone in flights arranged on the last day at the last moment…this immigration problem is burning all my money in expensive flights…carpe diem…

The good thing is that now I had a week of, I could rest for a while, and surprisingly I met a couple of old friends from past adventures, I run into one traveller friend at the indonesia embassy and another one in the internet caffee…good health fabrize and Christoff!!!

…and for the rest of my nomad friends wish you all a great trip wherever you are, to all those who are already back home enjoy it as well, and for those that never left appreciate what you got, life is interesting intense and original everywhere, it mostly depends on you and what you want to make out of it!

a lot of love from KL

Jose

XXX

PD I bought as well my return ticket!!! A strange feeling when I pushed the confirmation button…half happy half sad… Back in the old continent on the 13th of December,I land in London… I am planning in visiting Adam before going back to bilbao, so happy to see again everybody back at home!


DAY 143: From Labuanbajo to Maumere

Helloooooooooooooooo…

I am now at Maumere, it has been a week or so what It has taken me to go from Labuanbajo to this city, a hell of a long trip by road, more than 25 hours by Indonesian mother fucking public bus, in some cases with 26 passengers when there should be 14 without counting the ones on the roof  while the driver blasted his stereo equipment with the most horrible Indonesian karaoke songs ever…and this is a very mountaineous region, with a lot of turns…I have seen many people pucking on those last days my friends…


WE went from Labuanbajo to Ruteng, spend the night in this town, which I can’t talk to much about it as we just slept, and from here to Bajawa.

Bajawa is a town deep in the heart of flores, a mountainous area where temperatures remain cool and original aboriginal believes are blended with Catholicism, creating a very interesting combination, a kind of santeria…

When we arrived at Bajawa, we found a local guide that asked us if we wanted to join him and his family to a ceremony in one of those villages, and as this was  a unique celebration (the last one of the same type on this village was 75 years ago) we couldn’t say no :).

So there we went with the family of the guide, actually, it was not a common touristic trip to a village, the guide was taking us as “part of his family” to this ceremony, which had been invited to the ceremony by his brother-in-law.

We first went from Bujawa to the house of his mother in another village, and after having some breakfast there and sacrificing a chicken and looking at his guts to see if everything was ok with the trip, we took a truck with another 20 family members and headed towards the village, which was around 3 hours away, up in the mountains in a horrible road…

I was feeling very uncomfortable at the wood bench in the truck (it was a simple truck with wood logs as benches, a metal roof and metallic bars at the sides ) so I decided to do the last hour standing on my feet at the back of the truck instead of with all the people sitting on the benches at the front.

THIS WAS A BAD IDEA.

Before I realized I was bumping my head with the  metal top of the truck, as the roof was too low,struggling to hold my self against the lateral bars at the side of the truck and fighting with my legs against the huge ceremonial pig we were taking with us who was moving all around the back of the truck, screaming like a maniac as I think he realized that he was going to die at the place where we were taking him…

for 20 minutes I had this huge pig between my legs, and all I could think is the big fangs it had, while I kept struggling to keep my place and not break my head against the roof of the truck…then all of a sudden it started screaming again, moving around wildly, and while I was moving around the place trying to avoid the pig I saw this massive yellow shit coming out of it and covering all the floor of the truck….

this was what I needed to take the final decision of jumping  out of the back of the truck, and hold myself at the rear of it with my too hands grabbing the roof and my two feet holding at the door…short of in the action movies…Imagine the picture: big old truck driving through a forgotten path in the middle of the mountains with me and two other guys holding ourselves at the back of the truck half our body above the roof, holding our hands to the roof, and standing with our feet over the back door…you really had to hold on strong to the roof, as there were moments the road was so bad and the truck bumped violently in every direction..,the only good thing I can think about this is the amazing landscape I was seeing, surrounded by nature in this really forgotten place where not to many “bule” (tourists) have ever set their feet on…Virgin land my friends!

When we arrived to the town, consisting of around 13 hay huts surrounding a square, and in the middle of this square 4 small totems built to adore their ancestors, to my surprise, I had to dress up in the traditional clothes of the tribe, with a handmade sarong wrapped around my legs as a skirt, and another long scarf covering my arms and my chest, both decorated with the tribe motives.

But my surprise didnt finished here. All the families coming to the event had to show their respect to the village dancing around the square and the ancestors…you should have seen me dancing around the village surrounded by mighty warriors, jumping up and down, trying to follow the rhythm and the pace…even though everybody was laughing their asses around me I did it very seriously and solemnly, with all my respects, and I tried to do it as best as possible…after a while  somebody placed the traditional hat on my head and a couple of seconds later somebody placed this big machete in my hand, and all of a sudden it was not me anymore, but a mighty member of the Loka clan, showing my respects at the village of Pali, at the side of volcano Inerie holding high my sword and now no  more kidding, and yes, sweating like crazy as the clothes where so thick and the sword so heavy…

Just after the second round around the square, already with the rhythm of the dance flowing through my veins I saw a couple of the dancers making me signs asking me to do something…and I did it: I put on my sword as high as possible, and from inside me bursted out a warcry that I guess didn’t shake the earth but made the people around me flip with the “Bule” that had arrived in the town…YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARHGG!!!

The ceremony lasted 2 days and 1 night, around 15-20 buffaloes where killed in the traditional way, this is cutting their throats in the middle of the square, and around 50 pigs where sacrificed as well…I havent eaten so much meat in my life, being also the first time I eat buffalo meat as well.

It is difficult to put in words all the intensity of this ceremony and all I have learned about this tribe, their traditions and their customs. It is also hard to express in words how well we were treated  by this simple people that leave so far away from everything,we even stayed another night more and they were happy to keep us with them, offering Arak (local whine), a room,food, and like always their big smile.

after all this, I went to see the peak of sacred volcano Kalimutu, with its 3 lakes of changing colors which the local legends describe as pools of souls, when a local person dies, their soul flies over here and goes to one of the pools, depending on their ages and their deeds…at the time I was at the volcano there where 2 electric blue lakes (with a subtle difference in their tone) while the 3rd one was  brown-black.

See you later!!! Sampae Jumpa Lagi!!!


DAY 135: Running “San Komodo”

Hellooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

After a 10 hours ferry we arrived to Labuanbajo, entry port for the Ferry from Sumbawa to Flores, and also operational base for all diving shops and boat tours to Komodo National Park.

After taking a day to rest and organize a boat trip to Komodo National park, we headed on the next day to what it has been one of the most amazing places Ive ever visited, I think the best till now on my trip!!!

We took a 2 day trip by boat, a small boat with a total  of 7 passengers, and the crew: the captain, who was all the time serving me glasses of the local drink, Arak, the chef (and what a chef!) and a translator. I must say that the trip was done from my point of view in complete harmony, we were all so happy of being here and being able to enjoy this beautiful place and the great weather that accompanied us  that our beings  irradiated happiness all over the place…

Our first stop of the trip was done at Rinca island, one of the biggest islands (after Komodo) of the national park, where we did a small trekking around some hills, during the stay in the island we saw around 15 komodo dragons, they are all over the place, even before jumping out of the boat we already saw one walking in front of the jetty…with out mentioning the other dozen that where lazily laying around the rangers office, having a little nap hiding from the sun under the hut…

The rangers of the park carry a  staff as a weapon in order to protect the tourists against a komodo dragon attack, do not make mistakes, they look lazy, but they can run faster than a human being if they want to…

when we finished the trekking and reappeared again at the rangers office, I was shooting my camera at one of the small ones that was lying around the place, when I saw there was one very big, (around 2-3 meters?) that was moving away from a big group of lizards, and my group of friends where all contemplating this…of course I went in a hurry to take position near them in order to take a pic of the great lizard, when all of a sudden one of the medium size ones starts charging towards us: at this moment we all back off, except the guide, who, under our petrified glaze as we couldnt understand what was going on, and like a torero matador that goes for the kill of the bull, he waits for the dragon and then pushes forward  towards him using the big staff wich ended in a short of a fork with 2 points to contain him…CRACK. The staff breaks on the top of the lizard, the sound was so hard that you could fill the strength of the crash..I was flipping… “RUN!!!!” was what i heard next, and then i was flipping even more, as the place was full of lizards, and we were not sure where to run, we start all to jog around the office of the rangers,  I was filling as if in one  of those cartoons of tom and jerry, running around the hut with my camera on hand,not really sure where to run,thinking “what the fuck is going on”,  expecting a dragon waiting at the other side of the hut…so there we go Like a “San Komodo” instead of San Fermines…what a glorious moment guys!  After it was all finished the rangers told us it was the first attack in the last 2 months….and when we went to Komodo they told us that there had been 10 people injured by komodo dragons since they recall, 4 of them who had died because of the wounds…their bite is lethal as their mouths are rotten with bacteria!!

We finished the day with another beautiful sunset, with the sky covered by the mighty flying foxes. those are huge fruit bats that live in the mangrove trees around the islands, amazing way of finishing the day, with the last orange rays of the sun being crossed by those huge bats and their screams filling the air…

Ah! Almost forgot. The snorkelling here is AMAZING, the coral is incredible, more than 95% of it is alive, best I have ever seen….

Anyway, the best of all was not Rinca, or Komodo, it was the  sailing around the islands, that incredible feeling of being here and enjoying this setting , with a group of nice people, each of us coming from different places, with different ideas, different ages, different moments in our lifes…but all sharing this incredible moment and the beauty of this world…

…and I think of what a wonderful world we live, and how much I love to live, and how much I love all of you..

good night buddies.

muaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


DAY 129: From Gili to Sumbawa- Killing the dragon

Hello guys!

At the moment I am waiting till tomorrow mornings ferry to cross from Sumbawa Sape to Flores, dont think I will go any further in indonesia…or maybe not 😉

<iframe width=”425″ height=”350″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ src=”http://maps.google.es/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=es&geocode=&q=sape+sumbawa&sll=-26.489046,137.498162&sspn=17.925183,28.256836&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sape,+Nusa+Tenggara+Occidental,+Indonesia&t=h&z=7&ll=-8.578597,118.977699&output=embed”&gt;
Ver mapa más grande

So I spent 4 days relaxing myself at Gili Meno, this is the smallest of all three Gili Islands, Gili Meno, and it was just wonderful staying there chilling out for several days, if you never have been in indonesia you must know that travelling is hard here, not the physical tiredness, which is big as transports are not so comfortable (I am most of the time travelling by public transport, packed buses, sweaty, and with chicken below and above your seat…), what is more unbearable is the psychological damage caused by the locals that want to make profit with you, every time you appear in a bus station or any other public place you got 40 guys harassing you in a way you can’t imagine…

So going back to the story 😉 I spent 4days at meno, not too much to do but sleep, eat well, lay down on the beach,see turtles while snorkelling (and there IS quite some nice coral at Gili meno, despite what I had heard related to this subject), read a book, and watch soccer!!

after this, me and Cattherine, who is still travelling with me!, we crossed all lombok by public transport and hopped to the next island, sumbawa, island of  green menacing mountains and fields, and EPIC surf…and yeah, I have surfed probably what I think the most beautiful waves of my life, if I close my eyes I still feel the excitement…the size, the power…and the incredible beauty of a perfect and a long left,surfed at sunset not even a day ago…but let me continue with my story 🙂

So we arrived to MAluk, what we expected to be a nice town was not that nice, and all accommodation was expensive and shit, but we were lucky, when we were already depressed and getting dark without many choices, we stopped to buy cigarettes (still smoking like crazy) and the owners of the place rented us a small house in an indonesian poor neighbourhood, which we accepted happily as it was the nicest place compared with the horrible hotel rooms and it was even cheaper.

From there we rented a motorbike and headed more south, we saw a lot of monkeys and lizards, and we finally arrived to YoYos,nearby a small town called sengkongkang another great surf break and splendid yellow sand beach, the landscape was stunning, and we discovered a hidden beach with nobody but us nearby, hidden in between to mountains a little bit more north of yoyos, we wanted to go to yoyos but mistaken the way and finished over here, which was the best thing could have happened as at Yoyos the wave was so big that nobody could surf…

The following morning, we left Maluk and continued our travels, with a smile on our face for having been able to discover yoyos and its beautiful beaches on the nearby, I wished I would have stayed 4 days around more, but anyway…so we headed east in our way to Hu’u, but we could only make it to Sumbawa basar, another town in the middle of the way, even though we discussed for several hours in the station the possibilities for taking busses…we were all the time surrounded by a dozen persons as well…I remembered a moment when Catherine was sitting in a bench and looking over the lonely planet and there were 8 heads behind her looking at what she was reading…I found it pretty funny, but of  course I’ve already been 2 months around Indonesia, I guess other people wouldn’t find it funny, specially if you are a woman…

oohh!! this was the best part: I will remember this for a long time…at the end we were sitting down in a bench with several locals, talking a mixture of english and indonesia, I am learning some lingo and can make myself understand for basic things, and have a couple of laughs as well…I must say that it doesn’t normally work both ways: I can make questions, but understanding their replies is another story, anyway, when I say a couple of words coherently they get really impressed and they get scared to talk between them in  indonesian, and this guy, a bus driver, very funny and nice I must say, said in loud voice pointing to me, so that everybody could listen: “He is a genius!!!” and quickly added “LIKE ME”. that was so cool. I gave him my box of chocolate cookies.

we slept in another horrible hostel with a bathroom where we didn’t  dared to put our ass on, and the following morning headed towards Hu’u, another surfing paradise, the trip went fairly well and we made it to lakey beach (the legendary lakey beach!!!!) before sunset, although there were moments it seemed we were never going to make it there, and I could feel the face of catherine darkening thinking she must sleep in a shithole again…but we made it!!!!

lakey is where we spent the last 4 days, and although I didn’t dare to surf the barrels of lakey, I did surf at Nungas, half a mile south, and that was fucking sublime guys…cant describe it with words…the first day I was scared, well, Ive been scared all the days, as again it is a reef wave and if the wave falls directly on top of you you can get smashed into the reef…yesterday night I went to bed so happy,and today I could still feel it if I closed my eyes, the sound, the image, the FEELING… it is hard to describe what you feel on those seconds you are riding the wave, unique feeling the wind on your body while you take speed, and the sensation on your body when you make the take off and you see at your sides how the wave is lifting and the vertical path you have to take…and you paddle onwards towards uncertainty and risk…

KILL THE DRAGON MY FRIENDS!!!!


DAY 115: from Temple of Doom to City of God- Vamos a la playa ohohohohoh!!!

Helloooooo…

well, we are still the three of us, Dani, Kattherine (alias “Hello Kitty” since a couple of days) and myself, we stayed at Ubud for around 4 nights,the town in itself although much nicer than Kuta, with a more relaxed vibe it is still very touristic, with art  and textile shops everywhere…It is a pity because when you come to one of those countries so far away you want to see the real life of how people live here, with normal businesses, but here nothing but small art shops and tourist shops, nice town but artificial.

However, it is interesting renting a motorbike (from not having drive in my life before this trip a I am now riding manual motorbikes, much cheaper, reliable, and why not say, enjoyable 🙂 ) and riding through the surroundings, a lot of rice fields as well at Bali, and nice little farming villages and temples….good to scape from the city and  make it real.

In one of our motorbike rides in search of interesting Hindu temples (really, dont bother in seeing too many I think once you seen a couple you dont need to see more) we stepped into one were they were celebrating cockfights, those indonesians are really serious and into cockfighting, being one of the major entertainments and attractions when they are celebrating Hindus festivities, this was amazing: more than a hundred indonesians, all men, screaming and betting for the cocks in a short of mini gladiator arena they had built for them, with stone benches at each of the four side making it a kind of colliseum

…people betting, talking between them., laughing, the owners of the cock in the arena, exhibiting their roosters (I didn’t wanted to say “cocks” jejeje) and tying  huge sharp blades to their roosters right legs, the referees around the arena making sure the rules were being followed accordingly, when all of a sudden everybody around me gets on their feet and start yelling while they pointed with their hands to the arena “SAMA! SAMA!! SAMA!!! SAMA!!!! SAMA!!!!”, guys, at this moment I thought my heart was going to come out through my mouth with the scary human voices in synchronization and rising higher with the tone, like in a short of frenzy trance, bloodthirsty…like in Indiana Jones at the temple of doom, when the priest takes out the heart of the that poor guy, (yes, I am flipping, but serious, my hair got straight like spikes, or however this is said in english)…

ok, lets move on…from Ubud we went straight to Mataram, capital of Lombok,where we found out that our plan of extending our visas was not going to succeed as…we didnt realize it was weekend!!! It happens when you travel, even when you have a phone that reminds you of the day you are living…

So we moved on the following morning to  Kuta Lombok, this is a little town at the south of lombok, guys what a cool place, what a beautiful rural landscape when you scape with a motorbike through the bumpy road:full of small bushes, coconut trees,lakes, buffaloes and herder wearing their typical sarongs…this place is great, not to mention the nice little kids that are all around running after you to sell you necklaces and purses(we showed them how to sing “Vamos a la playa, ohohoohoh!!!” and they were following us all the week singing this, so cool)…and of course, you can SURF!

And that i what I have been doing for the last 4 days, surfing like crazy with a canary boy I met at Khuta, (Paola and Tano, what a pleasure, love riding waves with good company)  at a nearby fishing village of Khuta called Gurupuk, where there are 3 breaks you must reach by boat, dun-dun (beginners), inside (it gets big, but the wave is very easy and gentle, no prob surfing here) with great rights and lefts, and outside (I stayed at the inside so I cant talk about this one, I think it is more dangerous with coral. so I avoided it).

Finally I will mention that my great friend Dani, one of those days that I left him alone, he snapped a rented board  when he was learning near the shore how to surf…guys, what was until that moment a lovely holiday became into a horrible nightmare, when the really cool young duddies that run the shop turned into the motherfucking crazy kids of the movie city of god: for3 hours at night all the kids of town and of the surf shop where trying to tell us to pay them more than a million rupies for the damaged board, price which was much much more than what we should have payed, but they were getting aggresive like crazy so we had to do it…not worth it  getting in trouble in a small town in Indonesia… yeah, like doctor jekil and mister hide…

Now at Sengiggi, after arranging this morning my visa at Mataram, which cost the official 250000 rupias, + the “250000 unofficial” ones…

take care my friends, and enjoy the summer!!!!

Jose


DAY 105: From Java to Bali

hello duddies…a long time right?

So I stayed two night at Jogjakarta, enough time to be screwed up not only once but twice buying batak art paintings!!! I continue surprising myself, how can I be so stupid as not only falling once but twice in the same trap…I guess that I liked the paintings, that is why I bought them, but I paid a lot more than what I should have paid…but in the other hand, what is the price of art??

well lets continue…at Yogya I checked out the Craton, this is the sultan palace, no idea there was a sultan over here, as I had been at Istanbul at the sultans palace I thought it would be similar, but not at all, this one was very very humble, and they did when I was there a puppet show, one of the hobbies of the sultans, it was really amazing, didnt understand a thing but the puppets moved as if they were a live, a lot of violence though involved in the plot, the puppets  were even fighting with martial arts…

I also went to Borobudur and Drambajan, two temples constructed 1000 years ago, one Buddhist and the other one Hindu, they were quite expensive, but The first one was a must, as it is one of the 7th world wonders…the temple is a massive monument of stone, it consists of 4 or five floors, don’t remember anymore as it has been more than a week ago…the interesting thing is that you should go walking through it doing a spiral, starting from the bottom and clockwise making your way to the top….on the walls there are motives with the teachings of Buddha, and as you move to the upper floors they also represent higher levels of knowledge of buddhism, very interesting, as you can see that the longest level is the bottom, and little by little you get enlightenment and you start moving upwards, as the temple is a massive pyramid you can see that the top levels are higher, you see more, landscape and they are also shorter,so you spend less time on them, it seems that this should also be somehow the way enlightenment comes…at the last level there are around 30 bells with a Buddha inside each of the bells, supposedly if you touch the Buddhas inside the bells (there are holes in the bells you can put your arm inside and touch them), you will be lucky, and guess what: I wished you all good luck touching one of the Buddhas, and I even rubbed all the bells on the other Buddhism order to amplify the effect…so guys, it is going to be a great year for all of you. I am sure!!!!!

On this tour to Borobudur I met a lot of people, and at night after several beers I decided without thinking to much to move with 4 of them towards Bali, the thing is that I was not feeling like taking too many decisions and I just took it as it came, going with the flow, for once not thinking, I was moving from  one place to another without too much mental work as somebody had already thought the itinerary, so I was wondering for the next 48 hours going in minibuses without really knowing my destination…not knowing in what town I was going to sleep …nice…

so after the beer night we got in a minivan with a poor Indonesian driver who had no sleep in 48 hours, he was sleeping on the stirring wheel and it took us a hell of a time to convince him to stop at a mini market where we bought him 5 cans of red bull. We were flipping when after finishing the ride trip the guy just turned around and started another 12 hours ride back home, we complaint to the tourist agency, but they told us “It is ok, as long as he smokes he will not fall asleep”.

Please be careful when you purchase a trip in a tourist agency, I strongly recommend to take the public buses or trains, those guys at travel agencies are not very safe…

So after the 12 hours minivan trip we stayed a night near volcano bromo…we only slept 3 hours as the following morning we had to wake up early and go to a view point to see the sunrise. So as zombies we went to the viewpoint the following morning, and there were around one million persons awaiting for the sunrise, you could almost feel the tension at 5 o’clock in the morning, everybody was pushing for a little place to see the volcano jejeje. Incredible views guys, after this we went in jeeps directly to the volcano and see the views from the top. FUCKING AWESOME!!!!!

After volcano Bromo we continued our crazy race to Bali, another 12 hours to make it to den pasar, and from there to Khuta, place I would only describe as Sodoma and Gomorrah,and expensive as hell. Dont want to say more. After a couple of nights the fellowship of Jogjakarta splitted up, and I went with Dinesh and Anais to Nusa Lembungan, an island which I expected to be a place where I could take it easy for a couple of days…

And what a place it was guys….I surfed for a first time a reef, incredible and frightening sensation as you could see the coral just beneath you, I tried to be extremely careful and even being this I fell on the first day  and slightly scratched my leg….however, never beeing surfing before in a place so cool as this one, with incredible views of the island and as well of Bali at a distance in the horizon, with its volcanoes covered with clouds. amazing…

not only this, we made a snorkeling trip to manta point, with a very nice french girl that at this moment is looking at what I am writing, so annoying but anyway… well, this  island, nusa lembungan, is at the south east part of bali, and it is unique as it is a short of highway for manta rays, those are huge flat rays that can be up to 5-7 meters big…

fortune was not at our side this time, as there was a very powerful swell that didn’t allowed us to visit manta point, so we had to change our plans and move to crystal bay (thanks Katy, this is the french girl, she is cooperating), and guess what, after five minutes snorkeling around I just saw one manta coming directly towards me…what a sensation having this huge thing just swimming in front of me, they look a little bit like a huge bat in the water…

guys, everyday I see and experience new things, I think that in 3 months ive lived more than in the last 10 years…

I am now at Ubud, with Dani, my dear traveler and friend I met at Malaysia 2 months ago, we splitted up at singapore and we are now back together, and Katy, which you already have heard about…

Ahh! I have had dinner like a king lately, incredible barbecues of tuna, and jacket, as much as you can eat, and only for 3 euros, the place is called  Mimpi Warang, near the mangrove at Nusa lembongan. Believe me you will never eat again like this….it is near the mangrove forest, just follow the beach ad you will bump on it!

This is not all, during low tide, an incredible landscape displayed in front of your eyes, the water of the beach was vanished, and you could see little fields of farmed algae, really amazing this, no water in the beach for several hundred meters until the coral reef, and all the boats sunk on the beach sand, and between the boats and the reef, all the alage fields,with the inhabitants of the island, young and old, all together cultivating and gathering them…beautiful guys, it was also full moon, so the tides were even more impressive, we were lucky…

Another thing: at this island I was feeling weird. a strange sensation…life was too good…this couldn’t be true…I couldnt be here, surfing all the day, drinking juices, and eating fish…

Bye bye, sorry if it is a little bit too long…I am sure anyway I am forgetting millions of things…XXXX


DAY 92: FROM JAKARTA TO YOGJAKARTA BETWEEN FIELDS OF RICE

Hello guys,

At this moment I’ve been 36 hours almost without sleep and actually I feel pretty good…must be the Javanese coffee!

yesterday morning I finally left Lake Toba, guys this place is stunning….made some good friends, Brillo, and Indonesia Batak friends, two girls, Ita and Ika, which were so happy when I took my camera out and shot at them that we did a home-made a photo session there in the terrace.. I was feeling like a fashion photographer, and I kind of lose control of the things I say when I am in this mood, but in a funny way eh???!!

So another horrible 5 hours bus to Medan, yesterday early morning, and from there flight to Jakarta, I arrived around eleven at night, and I had lost all the buses towards the center of Jakarta (train station is in the center of Djakarta). I was lucky as I met 3 boys from the canary islands that were taking a cab to the center so we shared the costs, that way I was able to make it to Pasar Sene around midnight, and this WAS NOT GOOD LUCK as the place was really really dark and dodgy…a lot of strange people at this hours of the night in a train station of the capital of Indonesia, and me, a white guy, the only white guy,alone,  and with a big backpack hanging…well it all went great, I made myself friend with the people that were sleeping between cartons at the entrance of the train station, and was adopted as an orphan by this mix of coffee sellers, taxi drivers, motorbike drivers, tuk tuk drivers and whatever type of people that were there at that hours of the night.

The only thing that I had to do was not fall sleep until the time my train came to take me to Yogjakarta,try to imagine, if I fall sleep I woke up naked in the middle of the station. this would be  at 6:45 am, so I stayed awake drinking coffee and smoking super high in tan and nicotine cigarettes with my new indonesian family,the  creatures of Javanese night…between cartons…one of them let me know that it was not a very dangerous place, just a little, that I had to be careful, 5 crimes had been committed in that station…another guy told me that I had to ask the police to scort me to the top of the train station, as all criminal minds were already aware of me around…a perfect target…this scared the shit out of me, and when I payed the station officer for the ticket at the office, my hands were trembling and I couldnt put the money back in the wallet….I did not had the balls of taking a single shot, afraid that showing my canon eos could be too  tempting… a night that I will not forget, and still I meet many good people around…actually I only met nice people. but it was scary, dark and dirty. So please, dont stay the night waiting at Pasar Sene station, just go when the train will leave!!!Or else let them know that you are a friend of “Jose” the Spanyol…then they will probably adopt you as well.

When the train left I was so so happy, I just stretched myself in the train seat, made myself as comfortable as possible in order to have a good sleep…well…this was not to happen guys. 15 min later the show starts: it was like a circus, everybody screaming, yelling, prices, products to sell etc….I was sitting in my train seat and I couldn’t believe it, all this people going around the train selling all shorts of stuff, phone batteries, plastic spidermans, a set of bananas, durian, incredibly good looking dishes, warm meals (in one of this moments I think I saw a guy with 5 plates on his hands just putting them in front of my nose, I thought that I was dreaming….), people sticking their eyes in front of you, waking you up to ask you if you wanted to buy!!!! I was getting mental…in each stop the train made people just jumped on the train and where trying to sell you things until the next station, when they would go down, but another new horde of salesman would come in to try to sell their stuff…I couldnt but laugh about all this…me, trying to keep myself awake until 7 oclock in the morning and now, safe in the train, not able to sleep at all with the revolution that was going on….even one of the travellers, a muslim lady tried to convince me to go to her hostel…displaying me all short of posters in the front of my face of her resort.The 4 hours telephone conversation of the lady behind me. Around 60 years old and with that mental agility, being able to talk for so long…, soaked in sweat, and I dont sweat.admirable. This was “bisnis” class. What would the “ekonomi” be…

And last but the best thing. the thing that made all this really worth it. The incredible views from the window of the train, the incredible landscape that you can see crossing java island from west to east…the life in the farms, everything covered with rice plantations, corn, and many others, making small green patterns in the landscape, and people working on them…an occasional person riding a bike in the fields, a little kid playing along the shade of a tree, a group of women relaxing under a hay roof in the middle of the field…just amazing guys!!!! and only 10 euros for this  8 hour experience  train trip!

I wish I could have gotten out of the train, to  shoot some photos, or that I would have had a video recorder and recorded the 8 hours…wellI turned on the sound recorder at the train, and was able to shot a couple of pics through the window, but not as I would have liked to…

good night guys, I am going for dinner and to sleep!