Monday, 28 June 2010

Escape from the city!: Tanjung Lesung

It had been nearly a month since I had left the city - I've been working 6 days a week since then and will have to work at least another one this wee - so the trip we had planned to the Thousand Islands sounded perfect. Unfortunately it wasn't to materialise and we had difficulties with booking a room and finding an ideal island at an ideal price. I had left it too late to book into the budget options and by Thursday was starting to get a little ansy. After flicking through the Lonely Planet I stumbled across Tanjung Lesung, a secluded beach resort around 160 kms away from Jakarta on the southwest coast of Java... The photos looked pretty but I was still secretly a little sceptical as to the quality of the beaches on Java...

I finished work at 10.30am and had planned to meet my fellow teacher Candice at work where I had ordered a taxi to meet us. The journey to Tanjung Lesung - if using Indonesian public transport, which we did - can be somewhat of an ordeal. There are an endless stream of hawkers trying to sell you everything from marbles to soft drinks... but nothing that a disapproving glance and a short "tidak mau" (don't want) won't solve. But seeing as a thunderstorm had started around thirty minutes after we left Kalideres bus terminal in Jakarta, the bus didn't seem like such a bad place to be! After arriving in Labuan, the 'transport hub' - if it can be called that - of this side of Java we quickly were shipped into an angkot (shit minibus) and haggled a price to Tanjung Lesung... we paid around 50,000 rupiah (about 3 quid), which was quite a good deal since it was a 40km drive.

Tanjung Lesung turned out to be everything that I needed. After 4 consecutive weekends in Jakarta doing nothing, I really needed a break from the humdrum that is English language teaching and the stinky oversized urban sprawl that is Jakarta. It is truly one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen - although in the grand scheme of things I probably haven't seen that many! The beach by our accommodation, which was around 30-40 seconds away, was quaint, quiet and calm.

I had really been craving a bbq'd fish dinner and as soon as I saw that it was on the menu at the restaurant at our accommodation my dinner choice had been decided! It was awesome and I love seafood, Indonesian prawns are the best I've ever tasted. After that there was nothing else to do except stroll up the beach and let the water trickle by our feet while drinking iced coffee. It really was quite serene! I also haven't chatted shit to somebody for a while and so Candice, and a pregnant cat, which I presume belonged to the accommodation bore the brunt of that!

We got up early the next day to see sunrise, which was really nice. I've never really been into getting up early to do stuff or into things like sunrises, but it was a really nice and beautiful experience. We could see fisherman in the distance preparing for the day ahead; Liwungan island a small uninhabited island in the backdrop and a knocked-up cat burying its poo in the sand! So the last bit wasn't that pleasant but it's true!...

After sunrise I went back to bed but couldn't sleep. After that, we pretty much just had breakfast and sat around lazing on the beach until it was time to catch our ojeks (motorcycle taxis), back to Labuan and then the bus back to Jakarta. Riding along a rural road alongside the beach is a really unique experience on Java! I love seeing the small villages and amazed looks on the locals' faces when they see a bule (honkey)... Now I arrived back at the terminal in pretty good time but Candice's ojek suffered a flat tyre and I was left waiting at Labuan terminal - more like dirt track - for her for around 30 minutes... I was starting to get a little worried but she turned up eventually so no harm done!

Work today was a real anti-climax to the weekend as the reality of me 'teaching' four lessons over 12 hours sank in! All I want now is to get away from Jakarta again!... I'm sick of complaining about my lot at the school and am just starting to luck forward to my holidays. I have planned all of my long holidays towards the end of the year. I am still debating whether or not to stay in Indonesia for another year, but if I do, I think I'll be looking to move to another city... Jakarta is really starting to grind me down, although I get away for plenty of weekends so can't really complain!... I can only highly recommend Tanung Lesung as a perfect getaway from the city... Peace x