Wonosobo – Dieng – Magelang – Borobudur
Early in the morning I follow the advice of the short men with the long nails from yesterday and get my butt to the intersection near the hotel to catch a bus to Dieng village (10 000r). It still dark and I feel pessimistic, but just a few minutes later a tiny bus arrives with great speed and slams its breaks right next to me.
Through the blasting Indonesian pop from the bus, I shout DIE-E-E-E-NG and the occupants of the bus shake their heads enthusiastically. The bus is already crowded with old cheerful women, boxes of deep fried foods and bags full of greens. There are a few dozing men, who continue to smoke even in their sleep. Smoking is a national pastime for men in Indonesia. Everyone and everywhere, men always smoke. I notice an interesting scarf hanging around their shoulders. It has a tubular shape and sometimes they let it drop down to cover their whole body. I am envious – such universal item must be very useful in this weather.
The bus ride – a short boring video:Click
The bus ride is interesting with the cheerful women gossiping about the various local characters, that get on and off the bus along to way. The road twists constantly uphill. It soon gets lighter and when the fog clears I am able to see the spectacular scenery. I am amazed how every centimetre of land is terraced and used for growing crops. The weather is miserable (rainy and foggy) but the people working the fields are not deterred.
At Dieng village the weather is still miserable. At least the rain stops, but the fog is so thick; within minutes I am totally soaked. An umbrella and a Gore Tex jacket are useless against the dumbness of the air. I walk to Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon (a couple of famous lakes) having a bad feeling about the whole Dieng adventure. It’s too early; there is nearly an hour till the opening time. With the thin wind I start to freeze. Down the road I see a few shacks that sell junk to tourists, but they are still shut. Luckily in one of them I discover a few locals who drink coffee and smoke. They are very curious about my humble person and watch me with interest while I warm my shivering bones with a hot Soto ayam soup. I smile.
When the lakes open I pay my 25 000r entrance fee and start to walk intending to make a full circuit. The narrow trail around the lakes has become an impossible to avoid muddy pool. Half way through my shoes are full of mud and I regret my determination, but it is pointless to turn back now. The overgrowth on both sides is heavy with raindrops. Pushing through, it soaks the last remaining traces of dry in my cloths. Then I get lost. I must’ve taken the wrong turn because instead of going around the lakes I climb on a hill and into some terraced potato fields. The trail leads to a view point above the fields, but there is nothing to be seen from the top, only fog. On the way down I meet a local guy who is spraying the young potato plants with some pesticide. He sees me making photos and makes gestures to pay him money. I tell him dude, are you nuts? – money for a photo.
Here I see poisonous gas bubbling from the cliff – short boring video: Click
Somehow I find my way to the sealed road which leads me back to the lakes. The sun has finally come out, and I decide to explore the lakes a little more. There is a strange hill between them, which contains a few sacred caves, but to me they look like small insignificant crevices in the rock. I am not moved to learn that the president of Indonesia has spent a day here in the “meditating” cave to find some kind of enlightenment. Disgusted with my ignorance and cynicism I go back to the small warung from this morning to enjoy another yummy Soto ayam.
The weather is now cheerful and I feel like making a full walking loop around the temples in the plateau. Given their great age, the temples are not spectacular, but the walk is nice. Along the way numerous young people stop me to ask for a photo with me. I am surprised because in general Vesko is not one of the most photogenic people. My vanity scratched, I oblige and smile.
Back at Dieng village I am ready to depart for Wonosobo. Now that the fog is gone I can see the vertical drops below. It is a hair rising ride down the mountain! The driver speeds across the sharp bends like there is no tomorrow, blasting the horn as his only insurance against head-on collision. It is a miracle we get down in one piece.
I grab my bag from Arjuna hotel and jump on an angkot (minibus) to the main bus terminal (2 000r). From here I’ll catch a bus to Magelang (18 000r) and then another bus to Borobudur (5 000r). I am not sure how this will all work out, but on the minibus I meet a young fella who is doing the same trip. He saves me a lot of wandering and a tot of asking around. I just follow him and make all the connections flawlessly.
Borobudur is even smaller than Wonosobo. I hire one of this cycle rickshaw for 5 000 to take me to Lotus 2, one of the recommended guest houses in the village. The proprietor shows me one dark, unpleasant room for 200 000r. I am not impressed and he suggests me to try Lotus, which is the original guesthouse. The cycle rickshaw dude takes me there for 7 000r. This time the room is nice, similar to Arjuna hotel but cheaper (100 000r), because the shower is cold, which is not a big deal for me. In this hot weather who would need a warm shower?
I finish the day with my favourite activity – looking for a place to eat. Borobudur is full of interesting small eateries which I inspect one by one watching how the food is prepared and served. I choose one of the numerous warungs around the temple. Dinner tonight is Soto mie ayam and ayam goreng, m-m. With a coke it comes up to 37 000r.
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