Jakarta Thumbs Down, Krakatoa Thumbs Up
Indonesia is, without a doubt, a place I will travel to again. Although I was there for almost two weeks, I felt like there was so much we missed. I mean, it is made up of a zillion islands. One of my best friends, Nick, planned an amazing itinerary for our group. He put his heart and soul into planning the most vital details to make a comprehensive experience for our time there. He’s definitely still a little salty about it, but we didn’t even remotely follow his itinerary after about day three. It wasn’t because of anything on him, but we just ended up having too much fun in certain places and had a hard time pulling ourselves away/moving on.
It all started like this…On our way out of Jakarta (my least favorite city of anywhere I’ve ever been) we jumped on a bus towards the region with easy access to Krakatoa/Krakatau, a volcano Nick had adamantly wanted us to visit. During the bus ride, we met a quirky man who invited us to stay in his almost-finished, new “hotel.” He promised he would provide a boat ride to the volcano, breakfast, lunch, and accommodation for a good price. I still don’t think any of us know if he ripped us off or if it was a good deal, but it was an epic experience.
The hotel was definitely not finished, but it was a place to stay. Plus, the geckos running around everywhere added some charm. The small boating town, Labuan*, had a population that had likely never seen white people before. We felt like celebrities doing something as simple as walking to find an ATM. The food we tried along the way was brighter than highlighters, but still managed to taste good. And none of us got sick from it, so that’s a win.
We all woke up bright and early for our boat ride to the infamous volcano that destroyed a massive part of Indonesia and killed ****. The three-hour ride in the unforgiving sun was absolutely worth it. The volcano was actually spewing black smoke from the top as we approached the island. There were only two other people on the island, but we jumped off the boat onto the black sand and had our very own volcanic adventure. No tourist lines, no ticket booths, no precautionary advice on posted signs or a first aid tent were anywhere in sight. There was, however, a bathroom built amongst the palm trees at the base of the trail.
We climbed as high as our boat-driving tour guides allowed us to go, but the view from the top was nothing short of heaven. It looked like real life “Never Neverland*” from Peter Pan. Amazing, amazing, amazing. We were so lucky to have had such a perfect experience that day.