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Entries about air travel

BBB (Bye bye Bali)

semi-overcast 31 °C

Hamish left us for the Philippines after Christmas, sending us some valuable information about the country. Both me and Will are heading there, so it was more than welcome. After the villa, me and Victoria had to renew our visas, which turned out to be more of a hassle than expected. Apparently, you need to visit the immigration office three times. One visit for application, one for payment and one for receiving the documents. Why not pay when you apply? We have to follow the system, the lady at the counter told us. We got our passports back after a week and were granted one more month in the country.

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Spending a couple of days on the island of Gili Trawangan was a pleasant retreat from the sometimes over populated Bali. With no cars or scooters on the island it had a quite chilled out atmosphere, many people came to celebrate the New Year. The expectations were high and people were at their tops. However, it began to rain heavily at the evening and kept on doing so ALL night. Past midnight, the water level on the streets was knee deep. All the clubs were as full as they could be of course, since people got more or less trapped. It was a real mess out there. Eventually, the skies cleared and one could have some lovely beach time. It was nice to spend some time with the rest of the lads, before we would split up and go separate ways.

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I went back to Bali, since the surfing during the wet season is mainly concentrated here. The east coast is the main target during this time of year, because of the offshore winds blowing there. The west coast, which is more popular during the dry season, is mostly onshore now making waves closing out. Having tried some different places, my favorite is definitely Pulau Serangan. It’s a small island connected with a bridge with east coast Bali, just a couple of km south of Sanur.

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Although it can sometimes be depressive when you see guys doing vertical cutbacks and 360´s, my level has definitely improved and I’m happy with that. My main objective right now is to ride sideways and trying to hit the lip. Despite what people tell you, surfing is not easy and it takes both time and determination to be able to ride out a wave properly. It is very awarding though, the amount of time you put into it generates a longer and longer feeling of freedom when you ride out that wave. In that moment everything else is totally blurred and time somewhat ticks in slow motion. An indescribable feeling.

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However, a dSLR with a manual tele lens is somewhat not ideal when wanting to have your picture taken, especially when the break itself is 150m offshore and compacts are not really capable. Until I’ll find a friend with some basic photography skills, I have to be happy with what I get.

I have to squeeze in the worst thing about Bali in the wet season: Getting stuck in traffic in heavy rain and wind when you forgot your rain jacket at home. In those moments you wish you were somewhere else. It is cold as hell on that damn scooter when you’re only wearing board shorts and a rash guard that absorbs water. Apart from being beaten up by the waves and getting wet on the bike, I spent last weekend on the island of Lembongan, about 20 km east of Bali. The Island is quite small and you can drive around it with scooter within 20 minutes.

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It’s also connected to another, smaller island with a bridge. Two days are enough if you don’t surf or scuba dive, I didn’t bring my board and the scuba diving was too expensive for me. Somehow the locals don’t really make you feel welcome there, in a weird and indescribable way. The islands have stunning and impressive scenery though.

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The swell was four meter high that day, heading straight towards the cliff I was standing on. Care for a swim?

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Have you ever seen a shell big enough to serve as a sink?

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Stumbling upon a cockfight in the main village, I couldn't resist taking my camera out.

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I really enjoy staying outside of the tourist area, in a more local environment. Here you can eat a decent meal with chicken for one US dollar and get your laundry done for the same price. I’ve been hanging out with cool locals and slowly snapping up some basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of the nation. Since every region has its own language, the amount quickly adds up and a Google search will tell you that more than 700 different languages are spoken. The interesting part is that the languages are totally diverse. For example, the islands of Java and Bali are very close to each other but without an interregional language people would not be able to communicate with each other than with body language.

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Leaving for the Philippines today, I will miss Indonesia although I’m really looking forward to the Phillies. Good thing I’m coming back to Indonesia in February, this time to Sumatra. Speaking of which, here is the updated list of my completed and upcoming flights (all these flights combined along with extra surf board charge from here now on add up to a total of 1300 €):


Stockholm – Mumbai, 21st of August
Delhi – Chennai, 23rd of October
Chennai – Colombo, 24th of October
Colombo – Kuala Lumpur, 22nd of November
Singapore – Djakarta, 9th of December

Denpasar – Djakarta, 21st of January
Djakarta – Manila, 22nd of January
Manila – Bangkok, 10th of February
Bangkok – Medan, 12th of February
Padang – Kuala Lumpur, 11th of March (visa run)
Kuala Lumpur – Padang, 12th of March (visa run)
Padang – Kuala Lumpur, 10th of April
Kuala Lumpur – London, 15th of April
London – Stockholm, 29th of April

No, I don’t have a love affair in K.L., nor am I doing business there; it’s simply Airasia’s main hub and is the most convenient way to travel through.

//
Patrick
Setting fourth towards new adventures in the Philippines!

ps. Kickin' it solo in Asia is now viewed in 35 countries. Bring it! ds.

Posted by Patrick_K 09:59 Archived in Indonesia Tagged landscapes mountains beaches bridges art people air_travel Comments (1)

The road of contrasts

overcast 32 °C

It’s been hectic, but very diverse during the last week. After coming back to Kuala Lumpur I hooked up with some other travellers in the hostel and basically saw the rest of that city, at least what I wanted to see. I managed to squeeze in a bouldering session at a climbing gym in the outskirts of K.L. Good thing I had my camera with me, the view of K.L.’s skyline from that metro station was unbeatable.

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For you guys that haven’t been to the capitol, the tall building to the right of the Petronas twin towers is simply known as KL Tower. It’s almost as tall as the beautiful twins, but with a classical (pretty boring) observation tower type of architecture. It feels like you’ve seen it before, somewhere else...

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Since my passport hadn’t arrived (do we recognize that statement?), I wanted to do the most of the time rather than just sit and wait. When I heard of some people going to an island I’ve never heard about before, I wasn’t late to say yes. Pulau Pangkor was the perfect weekend escape from the big, polluted city. Four days of laziness on the beach along with fresh fish and prawns every day. I met some nice people in the hostel I’m planning to hook up with for Christmas on Bali. From what I’ve heard it’s going to be super crowded.

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After coming back to KL and reality, I finally got the message that my passport had arrived. Since I had a flight from Singapore just three days later, I checked out early the next morning and went straight to the embassy to pick my passport up. Over a month of lacking peace of mind and 400 € later I was finally on my way to Singapore. At least I had a souvenir I actually could use for five years! Singapore is so much of a contrast to the Asia I’ve seen, not at least on the Subindian continent. Having been in around 40 countries, I can swear I’ve never seen such a clean, modern and multicultural city all at once. I haven’t been to the Emirates or Japan; the only countries I believe have a similar approach. It felt like someone took the architecture of Manhattan, combined it with the cleanness of Switzerland, filled it up with middle class Asians from India, China and Malaysia along with western expats and finally put it on an Island in a very strategically correct place.

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Having only one and a half day to spend, I only managed to see bits and pieces. Maybe it was destiny for my wallet, it already had too much to handle. Spending 7 € for a pint and 13 € for the cheapest dorm bed, it’s hard not to break your South East Asian budget. I however managed to get great deals on some camera equipment, felt I needed some more range rather than the standard 18-55mm lens. I left Singapore with a 60-300mm manual lens (Paparazzi style!), a 0.45x wide angle lens (attached to my standard lens it goes as wide as 9mm), an extra set of batteries and an 67mm UV-filter for a grand total of 100 €. Ridiculous. The best thing is that it all fits in my camera bag.

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Landing in Djakarta two days ago, it was quite a contrast from my port of embarkation. I sort of missed the craziness actually, so it’s about time. I got pretty bored of Malaysia for that reason to be honest, everything was simply too easy and expensive compared to the crazy countries. My wallet is happy now as well, buying meals for 1, 5 €. I didn’t plan to hang around in Djakarta for too long, since there’s apparently not much to do here. For that reason I’ve booked a train ticket to Yogyakarta, a city surrounded by the active volcano of Gunung Merapi and the ancient ruins of Borobudur.

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Peace out
Patrick

Posted by Patrick_K 12:13 Archived in Indonesia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises buildings skylines air_travel Comments (1)

Goodbye India, hello Sri Lanka!

rain 30 °C
View Kickin' it solo in Asia on Patrick_K's travel map.

So much has happened the past few weeks here, that I don’t recall happening during the past few years in Sweden. It’s obviously too much to write about. I’ll just capture the highlights so you don’t get bored.

After leaving for Gokarna the bus stopped 3:30am, 20 km from our destination. I went out from the bus for a leak and said to myself: “Screw this; no way am I getting of here!” So we continued to Goa which was the final destination of the bus. In Goa we saw some amazing places. We rented a bike for a couple of days and did some sightseeing around Goa basically. I bumped into some friends I met in Arambol, just a month earlier. We actually went on a bike trip from Palolem to Arambol, which is across whole of Goa. It was cool seeing the transformation of the little village due to the massive increase of tourist. A lot more shops and restaurants had opened, along with higher prices I suppose. I liked monsoon Goa more, with almost empty beaches. During the season, you still can find deserted beaches. You need a bike though.

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In India everything takes ages to accomplish, hence the expression “shanti shanti” which means “slowly slowly”. To upload pictures for example and to write a blog entry takes three hours, due to frequent power cuts and extremely slow internet connection. If you’re not used to this kind of effectiveness it can be very frustrating. Fortunately, after two months in India I have learned to accept it. I wrote a two page blog entry and the power went off just 2 days ago.

I supposed to be in Sri Lanka now already, a flight I had to postpone since Mila lost all her important documents such as: Passport, ID, flight ticket, credit cards and cash. This happened (how? don’t ask me!) in Hampi the day before her flight.

Over the past few days I have become a social worker here in India. After traveling five weeks together I couldn’t just leave her 2200 km from her embassy with no ID or money. Being Lithuanian citizen though, things became more difficult. The first thing that shocked me was that the embassy didn’t even have a web page. Eventually we found a telephone number and called them. So it began, the journey to Delhi. Since you’re not allowed to fly domestically within India without ID, we had to go by train.

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All in all a 40 hour ride which was quite cool actually, we traveled with this polish guy Maciek and had a lot of time to get to know each other. It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s story when you’re sick of telling your own. After reaching Delhi, we had a fare well party with Maciek since he was leaving for Poland 12 hours later. We stay in Majnu Ka Tilla, which is a Tibetan neighborhood in the outskirts of Delhi. Tibetan people are really nice, nobody rips you off here. The food is good and there is plenty of Tibetan monks drinking Chai (tea) in the narrow streets.

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Dealing with the Lithuanian embassy went really fast when we actually found the place. She got a temporary passport. However, in order to fly back to the UK for her studies she needs to fly to Lithuania so she can get an ordinary passport. If she hadn’t lost her ID, she probably could get one here in India. Dealing with the Indian authorities to get her Indian visa (you need one to exit the country) turned out to be a real bitch. The past three days she’s been sent from one office to another. People working in government institutions here are somehow from a different planet! Are you rude? Is your patience minimal or none existing? Do you hate helping people out? Do you enjoy minimal of work? If you’re Indian and you can answer yes to these questions, the Indian immigration office will be happy to employ you.

Two days ago, when in the Internet café, I got a Trojan horse in my pen drive. This evil virus of course spread itself to my laptop, external hard drive and my memory card. I basically saw all my files and pictures being replaced by executable files you don’t want to open. Fortunately I found a computer guy that could help me destroy the virus and recover my pictures. Thank you!

Yesterday, I start to feel sick. Really sick. After spending a day in downtown Delhi, we went back to the hotel. I almost passed out before seeing a doctor in Majnu Ka Tilla. He fixed me up and gave me some medicine along with tips what to eat. I had become a victim of food poisoning after two months in India. No wonder there actually is an expression called Delhi belly. With these two encounters, I can say without any remorse what’s so ever, Delhi is a filthy place. Don’t argue with me on this one! There are parks that are actually clean though. The strange thing is that almost nobody seems to walk there.

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I wish everything turns out well for Mila so she can fly home as soon as possible, she missed out a lot in university and her parents are worried of course. She needs to fill in some final papers today. Hopefully she meets a cooperative person that can speed up the bullshit.

Tomorrow I fly to Sri Lanka with an overnight stopover in Chennai, I’m really looking forward to it. Palm trees, white sand beaches, elephants and surfing!

Posted by Patrick_K 17:55 Archived in India Tagged landscapes beaches people trains air_travel Comments (4)

Mumbai

semi-overcast 29 °C
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It's been an interesting day of travelling, that's for sure! First off I met Ertan, the turkish furniture exporter. Me and Ertan had a laugh during the four hour flight from Stockholm to Istanbul, talking about all of the places we´ve been to. The impression I´ve got is that the guy truly is a cosmopolitan and has an ace in his sleeve when it comes to picking up girls. After a couple beers, we had a giggle with the flight attendant. Good fun!

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On the next flight I met Prabhu, a cool Indian guy in my age studying to become a pilote in Georgia. He flies Learjets during his working hours :) Unfortunatly, beeing so tired as I was, I forgot to take a picture. Prabhu gave me a good reminder though, that I will use during my stay in India: "If you think over something twice in Europe, you have to think it over trice in India!" Good stuff!

Now I'm in my "not so cheap ugly hotel in the suburbs of Mumbai", and the plan for today is to buy some good to have medication and to find myself a better hotel or hostel. Some dinner (indian?) would be nice too. Seems that it will take two days or so in order to kill my jet lag, so easy times now :)

Booyakasha!

Posted by Patrick_K 16:12 Archived in India Tagged air_travel Comments (5)

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