Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Belitung to Java

We haven't seen an overpass like this since Bali

We are heading to Krakatau and one of our rest stops (near Pulau Merak Kecil) was also our first visit to the island of Java, where most of Indonesia lives. One cruiser that we met before we came to Indonesia, told us their opinion that all Indonesians are lovely people, except people from Java (I'll leave out the colorful details of how he thought they should be treated).
Canal lined with houses and filled with boats and trash
I don't have enough information to generalize, but the area we have visited is much more crowded and congested than any other Indonesian city we have visited. It seems that the shy and friendly smiles we usually encounter have been replaced by fewer smiles and bold shouts. But so far, we have continued to encounter polite helpfulness, if maybe a bit more beaten down by the hustle of big city life.

As I sit here writing this, I can hear the ferry horns in the distance (this is a major exchange between Sumatra and Java), with a railway running through the towns. After the relief of Belitung, where an effort was made to stem the tide of garbage, there seems to be rubbish everywhere.

The refinery near Panjang Island. All so new that some of our satellite images don't show it.
This morning, as we left the anchorage near Panjang Island, an Indonesian Navy boat pulled up behind us and questioned us. They even wanted to come aboard (as we motored past the refinery). We politely declined, saying that it would be too dangerous to have them board as we dodged the numerous container ships, tugboats, and fishing boats casting and pulling nets (there were 84 targets showing on our AIS). We feel much more comfortable saying 'no' to the Navy after our experience in Donggala. They were satisfied with pictures of our boat and family (we had to call the kids to come topsides for the photo) . They were polite and it was a relatively minor distraction, but it's becoming a bit tiresome to have to answer to every bored and curious official we encounter.

Curious Navy boat
On the plus side, we found a doughnut joint that Google thinks is Dunkin' Donuts, but isn't. However, it does have donuts. This is what happens when you're away from civilization for long stretches: you get excited by a fake Dunkin' Donuts.

Krakatau is reportedly erupting now, so we should get some good pictures. Conrad is a bit paranoid after reading an old National Geographic article about volcanologists that were killed by a volcano. It didn't seem to bother him to walk up to the edge of a volcano or have chunks of flying lava landing nearby. He must be getting older or, more likely, wiser.

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