Hello, Mister!

That’s what you’ll hear most frequently in the streets of Indonesia. On a good day, up to two million times a day (oddly, I’m not even exaggerating here). People waiving at you at the same rate. Toy superstar for the day. However, should you make the mistake to set foot into some of the more touristy territorial of Indonesia (think Bali or Gili Islands), then the conversations are more like the following (imagine this taking place within 15m of walking distance on a main road with lots of shops):

“Hello Mister, need transport?”
“No, thank you.”
“Hello Mister, taxi?”
“Hello Mister, massage?”
“Hello Mister, transport?”
“Hello Mister, smoke weed?”
“Well … no.”
“Hello Mister, transport?”

To say the least, it can become a bit exhausting. Smile and wave, smile and wave. Don’t get me wrong, Indonesian people are generally really nice and generous (except in touristy centres like Bali where they are generally greedy and evil), but they just seem to be the worst organisers of mankind. On my four major attempts to travel somewhere in this enormously huge country, I’ve got delayed four times (two times over 24h). So if you plan to travel Indonesia a bit off the beaten path, bring patience. A lot.

Environmentally speaking, Indonesia is incredibly. I’ve seen active volcanoes (incredibly destructive), black beaches (incredibly secluded), tons of temples (incredibly massive), and real-life dragons (incredibly scary). Besides Java, Flores was an impressive place to visit, including the close-by islands of Komodo and Rinca. It just took three days to get there. Climbing Gurung Rinjani on Lombok failed, sadly, due to constantly bad weather; consider visiting during dry season, that might save you a bit of frustration. On the other hand, situations evolving out of totally unexpected (and at first glance disillusioning) occurrences are, sometimes, the best ones.

They make for those travel stories.

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