Quick flight to Surabaya, only 40 mins but I gain an hour on UK time, so am now only 6 hours behind. So thats a whole day knocked off the jetlag recovery time when I get home – apparently it takes a full day for every hour of time difference to get your body clock back to normal.
Then its find a taxi, check it has seatbelts, get in, pay the fare and then as we set off we realise too late that the seatbelts are for show only and don’t actually work! So its a free white knuckle ride to the hotel, zipping from lane to lane, squeezing into impossibly tiny gaps with frequent braking participating in a couple of very close incidents along the way!
We arrive at the hotel at 9pm, so its a quick bite to eat in the hotel cafe and up to my room for 10pm. Oh good, free wifi – oh no – no signal at all!!!! Cant even get a strong enough mobile signal to ring home and check all is well….the joys of travelling.
Anyway its just a 1 night thing….I’m awake at 5.40am so I might as well get up as we are checking out at half 7…I feel like a proper business traveller! No re-packing required….I only opened the suitcase lid!!
The mud flow is still going strong some 5 years after I last came to this area. It stems from an underground volcano that erupted in May 2006, and at its peak it was spewing mud out at a rate of 180,000 m³ of mud per day! The mud has a rotten egg aroma caused by the release of hydrogen sulphide, and as it continues to flow it is creating an unstable surrounding area as it begins to collapse in on itself. Geologists have predicted that Lusi as it is known in Indonesia, will probably flow for 25-30 years yet.
It has blocked one of the 2 main routes linking Surabaya and Malang (tonights destination), so the longer route will take almost 2 hours instead of an hour as it used to do (and in fact the journey was nearer 3 hours in the end!). The government keep building the retaining wall higher and higher to contain the liquid mudflow and the locals are very worried that the higher the wall, the weaker it gets and that at some point the dam will burst free and swallow up more of the surrounding areas – villages and road links.
Our meetings in Surabaya included meeting up with an old friend and customer Mr Ah Lung….a lovely man and his wife who always lend us their driver and car when we are in town..he had recently visited the UK for the first time last month and so we spent an hour at lunch going through his photographs….many of them in my nearest city of Manchester, that I haven’t even visited myself!
Throughout Indonesia, there are many differing preferences for fragrances in general. Jasmine is always a safe bet, but some areas prefer it to be heavy and some prefer it to be a background note instead. Sweet candy like fragrances always go down well here and light florals such as rose too. Grapefruit and sharp lime notes are deemed too sour, and cherry is too medicinal. Fresh, clean citrusy aromas tend to be found in most products.
As we make our way back to Jakarta for my last night in Indonesia, I am looking forward to a hot bath and a mojito before the long flight back to the UK. I hope you enjoyed my adventures here as much as I did