Saturday, 22 August 2015

Home at last

Uneventful flight to Brussels, the kids have slept a fair amount on both the long flights and were pretty perky. Delayed about an hour on the last leg to Madrid, jumped into a taxi and had a slap-up lunch at Esther's parents.

By early evening we were completely knackered. We barely got a few bites into the kids and all collapsed into bed.

Friday, 21 August 2015

The long haul back

Bali Fri 21/Aug 12:00-12:45(+1) Jakarta (Air Asia)
Jakarta Fri 21/Aug 17:15(+1)-22:45(+4) Abu Dhabi (Etihad)
Abu Dhabi Sat 22/Aug 02:35(+4)-07:55(+7) Brussels (Etihad)
Brussels Sat 22/Aug 11:05(+7)-13:25(+7) Madrid (Etihad; Air Europa)

We are over halfway through our marathon of a return home to Madrid, with one short and one long flight under our belts. A taxi arrived at 10 to take us to the airport. Left plenty of time as traffic can be a bugger (and it was). In the end we didn't have much waiting around at Bali airport. The time at Jakarta flew by what with baggage reclaim, the bus transfer between terminals and lunch (and a bit at a play area). We have left postcards for a little too late. They are written, addressed and stamped and we thought there would be a postbox at the airport, but no such luck. We'll have to deliver them ourselves.

Here at Abu Dhabi we have spent most of the time between snacking at a coffee shop and at another play area and will soon board our plane to Brussels. And the transfer desk; Esther left her wallet on the plane, so far it hasn't turned up, but we hope they will find it and send it on to Madrid.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Paradise lost

The beginning of the end starts today. After packing and returning the bikes we left out lovely island on the midmorning boat back to Amed. Happily no seasickness to report, and the whole experience was much more comfortable. Even so we decided we needed a rest once we reached dry land so we gave ourselves time for a leisurely lunch, with a last bit of sunbathing and snorkeling (amazing again) and organised a car for 4pm to Sanur.

15 minutes into the trip we ran into a bit of a standstill; a village cremation (apparently they do multiple cremations as costs are quite steep) had blocked the road. I love the way they can just do that here, in Europe we have to organise stuff like Reclaim The Streets to let people realise they are more important than cars. After a few minutes (gainfully employed buying ice cream and taking photos) we were on our way again.

The trip was longer than we had anticipated. The big dual carriageway didn't start until we were over halfway to Sanur. We have got the same hotel as last time. It is a good place and relatively close to the airport. Tomorrow we begin our marathon of a return journey.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Active beach life (within reason)

At the crack of 10:30 we headed out to hire some bikes. We wanted one with a chair to carry Aisha and a small one for Lucas, though seeing the state of the bikes and the roads he changed his mind and we got two bikes with chairs. On mine the breaks nearly work and everything. We also got a mask to do a bit of snorkeling. So, properly equipped, we headed up the road to complete yesterday’s mission: finding a swimming pool near a good snorkeling area.

Before long we came to a lovely beach where we just had to stop. We took turns snorkeling. Visibility is OK, corals a bit sparse (what we saw in Amed had been much better), but plenty of fish. Sadly no sightings of sea turtles yet, though the Gili islands are famed for them.

We continued on our trip round the island. Since there are various hotels with swimming pools we stopped at the first one which took our fancy. We asked if we could use the pool if we had lunch there and they were OK with that so we stayed for a couple of hours.

Near sunset we had reached sunset point, but the kids were tired and we had to return the snorkel by 6 so we just hung out a bit by the tide pools looking for sea snakes and starfish before heading on. Here the road got very sandy so we had to dismount and push the bikes.

There is a doctor / pharmacy round the corner from our place so Esther popped in for some seasickness pills. We don't want a repeat of the outbound voyage.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Gili Air life

A proper got-nothing-done day today. Aisha, like daddy, isn’t a great fan of the beach. Today we wanted to reach one of the hotels that has a swimming pool, the idea being they would let us jump in if we had lunch there. After a bit of fruitless haggling with the cart drivers we opted to walk (the whole island is tiny). Instead we stopped at the same place we had had dinner and movie yesterday for a quick dip (and were allowed to choose the movie for tonight - Frozen) and ended up staying the whole day there.

Which wasn’t too bad. A bit like our Ubud shopping day, a holiday within a holiday. We even had a bit of excitement seeing a would-be thief being taken away to Lombok (there are no police on the island). Lucas and Aisha made friends with another 3 kids and they got on famously. In the end nobody watched the film, they were too busy playing. Lucas wanted to watch the second (adult) film but five minutes into Mad Max we decided it was way too much for him and we had to prise him away with Harry Potter on the tablet.

For tomorrow we have sworn to be more active.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Paradise... at a price

Gili Air is a beach paradise. White sand, coral reefs, turquoise water, unpaved roads... However to get there from Bali involves a bumpy hour in a speedboat. And when Aisha fights taking her car-sickness medicine, plus you decide she might be all right since lately she has been fine in all the car trips, plus the sea is pretty calm, the price you pay is a load of semi-digested chocolate milk and pancake on your lap 10 minutes into the ride. So Aisha may have been improving in the car, but you can't extrapolate that to boats. By the end of the ride Esther was also looking a bit green. Only the boys were right as rain. Except for my scraped knee, which spent an hour pressed against the seat in font.

But it's worth the price. Which could have been worse - many boats depart from the South of Bali and take a fair while longer (or better, Gili Air is a stone's throw away from Lombok). There are 3 Gili islands. First we stopped at Gili T, the largest and supposedly most party-friendly, where most people got off (and we did a bit of a cleanup and changed seats). There were no passengers for Gili Meno, the smallest and quietest, so we skipped it and went straight to Gili Air, which is sort of in between: not party but not completely laid back either. Also it has some of the nicest beaches and snorkeling areas.

A quick look at the map told us we could walk to the hotel with our luggage (there is a mafia of horse-and-cart drivers charging extortionate prices to take you round). It's lovely to be able to walk around without motorbikes or cars whizzing past (though the cart drivers do a fair job at taking their place), only the occasional rusty bicycle.

After dumping our luggage we ran straight to the beach. It is brochure-perfect so we took a few thousand photos. Had lunch on an elevated platform overlooking the beach, with Lombok in the background.

Completed our first day in Gili with more sandcastles, a bit of swimming, strolling into the sunset, and dinner watching Minions at a small open air cinema at one of the beach restaurants. After the film Lucas made friends with another boy and they discharged their batteries running around for a bit in preparation for a good night's sleep.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Esther's birthday

Got up at dawn to photograph the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy but I got a few decent shots in. The huge shape of Mt Agung is very impressive in the early morning light.

Not long after Lucas woke up. It’s amazing how kids can get up an hour earlier if something cool like a birthday or Christmas is going on. Today is Esther’s birthday! We gathered all the presents and crept into her room. The plan was to not wake them up and leave the presents scattered around the bed (I vetoed Lucas’ suggestion of hiding some under the pillow) but we were so unsubtle we woke both Esther and Aisha up, so we did a proper present-giving (Aisha was pretty alert after 10 seconds). There was a pair of shorts and a bikini (Esther couldn’t have chosen better ones herself, ‘cos she had), a cool lego-covered notebook, and a waterproof Uno set for the whole family (though most of the yellow cards seem to be missing).

The beach in front of our hotel is a bit rocky and wavy, so the plan was to go to a more family-friendly stretch called Jemeluk. While the kids had breakfast I headed out and sorted out a taxi. The prices were extortionate, but I beat them down to something reasonable and went back to finish packing the day pack and mobilise the kids. In the end even the reasonable price I has negotiated was extortionate - Jemeluk was about 500m away. At least it helped to get everybody out the door at a reasonable time.

Jemeluk is much better for kids than where we are (which is much better for photography and just looking out to sea). It’s a bit crowded though, with not much sand when the tide is in and loads of boats. The waves were just great and I was having a fun time with Lucas when I stubbed my toe on a piece of coral and it promptly turned purple. Nothing broken, just swollen up, red, and bloody sore for the whole day.

Aisha had a small moment of homesickness but I just gave he a cuddle and explained how many nights were left and she was all right. She has these moments at times, but they are soon over with a bit of love and attention.

Saw an interesting contraption and asked it’s owner what it was. It was a full-face snorkel mask, the snorkel comes straight out and you can just breathe normally through your nose or mouth, and even speak underwater. He let us have a go on them - it makes snorkeling so much more comfortable, and more accessible for kids. It’s a Decathlon thing, but we haven’t seen them before. Maybe they just have it in France right now. As I was trying to manage Lucas in low tide (who absolutely loved the snorkeling, he said it was like seeing "another world") I managed to scrape my knee on some coral to add to my woes.

Walked back to the hotel. When I was looking for taxis in the morning I also tried to sort out tomorrow’s trip to the boat (we are travelling to some small islands for the next 3 days), but he told me they do free pickup. I had been trying to contact them all day with no joy, but luckily we found their offices on the way. So we sorted out the pickup for tomorrow at 8:30.

Bought some birthday wine and managed to drink it instead of break it this time. Nice, but definitely not worth 10 euros. This is the only real Indonesian wine we’ve found. The others all seem to be foreign, or made in Indonesia with Australian grapes.

Killed 2 huge roaches yesterday, and added another whopper and 3 small ones to the collection today. It must be an Amed thing though, our rooms are spotlessly clean. Over the years I am slowly improving on the roaches from, no longer to I faint or scream. That much.

And Aisha managed to find the rest of the yellow Uno cards amongst the bedsheets!

Great birthday dinner for Esther. I had lost the candle we took from the last hotel but the restaurant had one. We plonked it on top of some chocolate ice cream and all sang happy birthday. Then we packed the kids into bed and finished the last of the wine.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Back to the beach

Packing, pool and pizza (not really, the kids had chicken nuggets) was the order of activities before the arrival of our car. After 4 days away from the beach today we headed to Amed, on the east coast.

Oops, nearly forgot a whole bunch of clothes by the pool, including my new trunks. Ran out of the taxi (we were in chocablock traffic in the Ubud high street) and met them at another junction.

Ran into another major bit of traffic halfway there on one of the only two-lane roads on the island. Apparently one line was closed for roadworks, and the other was being hogged by some sort of jogging competition that takes place every year between students, police and military to celebrate independence day. The driver said we could be stuck there for hours (it was complete standstill) so he turned round. No idea why virtually everybody stayed put.

In the end it was much better for us as we took the scenic route through villages and countryside. Got great views of Mount Agung, an active volcano and the highest peak in Bali.

By the time we arrived at Amed it was dusk so we didn't have much time to explore. The sand is black (from the volcano) and Mt Agung rises impressively to the left of the beach. It's a bit choppy, but I'm sure it will be OK for Lucas and I to brave the waves for a swim tomorrow. He really enjoys playing in the waves. And Aisha is happy to play by the shore and occasionally get her feet wet.

Tomorrow it is Esther's birthday. Need to get a cake or something similar. We already have a candle we stole from last night's hotel. Maybe there is a bakery nearby.

We have just realised we lost a lot more than Lucas' shorts in the launderette. The girls are both missing most of their panties. We have gained a whole bunch of random socks though.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Get us out of here before we spend all our money!

Bargaining in the markets and spending a couple of euros per item is all good and well, but Ubud is a dangerous place. Billabong, Quicksilver, and assorted tasteful boutiques lay in wait on the high street, ready to pounce on unsuspecting tourists with too much time on their hands. I came this close to buying a beautiful 100x150 canvas photo of an old lady smoking a huge rollie (I thought it was a kretek, an Indonesian clove cigarette, but it turns out the lady in question is from Burma) - expensive but nearly half price of what I found on the web.

After moving all our gear to the new hotel (a stonking place, great value) and having a quick hop in the pool I updated my shorts department and Esther got herself a decent collection of birthday presents. We have also discovered that the restaurants closer to this hotel are much cheaper and just as good, so at least we are managing some savings.

So a bit of a shopping spree instead of going to visit the sacred monkey forest (failed to find football shorts for Lucas - the laundrette had lost the ones we had bought him). Plus a failed attempt at flying the kite (no wind) at the local football pitch while the girls had their nails painted. We did get some culture in: in the evening I took the kids to see a Balinese music and dance spectacle at Ubud palace. No point for Esther to come as well (though with all the shops out there I'm not sure if this was a saving) because, as expected, the kids got bored 5 minutes into the spectacle and 10 minutes later we were out on the street again. The dance was OK if you're into that sort of thing but frankly I found them a bit chubby and with a hint of a 'tash, and Balinese music sounds a bit like Lucas' music. Funky Maori-style crazy eyes though.

Thursday, 13 August 2015


Ubud is the main centre for arts, crafts, culture, music and dance in Bali. It has a vibrant expat scene and receives many tourists who want to get away from the beach for a bit. All this means you loose out a bit on authenticity, but it makes up for it in choice. And quality: virtually any restaurant is top notch - even though it isn't "real" salt-of-the-earth pure Balinese fare it is a culinary paradise. Good thing the belly trouble I've had for the last few days is over, not that it has stopped me (which is probably why it's lasted so long). Glitzy coffee shops and snazzy bars line up the side streets, and upmarket boutiques dominate the main drag. After wandering around for a bit we actually forgot we were in Indonesia for a moment. On the one hand this can be nice and relaxing, but it also can mean you have travelled to the other side of the world to visit Marbella. With more motorbikes and crappier pavements. This is fine by us if it's just for a couple of days, a holiday within a holiday.

Out hotel is all but glitzy though. It is a step below our usual. No towels, terrible mattress, dingy walls and a basic bathroom with no hot water. It would have been a paradise for us a few years ago during our 2006 backpacking trip, it's cheap as chips, and bang in the centre. Expectations were also a bit high, it had great ratings in and looked really nice (at a similar place in Kaliurang at least we knew what to expect, plus it was just for one night). Hearing a girl complain of bedbugs freaked us out a bit so we started looking for alternatives. Bit the bullet (we had already paid for this place) and got 2 nights at another hotel. But when I walked there at 10pm with some of out luggage to check in it turned out they were fully booked (they just hadn't informed - maybe after a certain hour the guys at reception pocket the money of the guests that walk in off the street). In a way I was glad - it was a bit out of the way in a pretty boring part of town. At least I had got some exercise in.

So we toughed it out at our current place, after carefully inspecting the beds for bedbugs. We have booked another place for tomorrow, which looks great and has a swimming pool.

We have really honed in on our haggling skills. The problem has been realising that in tourist markets things work differently than in normal markets. In normal markets there is little or no haggling. In fact many items even have price tags. The price is right even if you are a tourist. This is where we buy some toys and clothes. Tourist markets are different. This is where you buy some other clothes and "artisan" tat and if you don't get them down to a quarter you are getting ripped off. The tricks are: get an idea of the proper price, make sure the shop is empty (shopkeepers don't like other tourists overhearing how far down the prices can go), don't show too much interest (here kids are a liability), walk away slowly, look at similar items in the shop next door, and never accept more than 1/3 of the price. I got a (very useful) coconut piano from 150 down to 20. The shopkeeper called me some name which the other shopkeepers said meant "good bargainer" but I'm sure it really meant "tight fisted bastard".

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Central Bali tour

First mission this morning: take clothes to the launderette. For the rest of the day we had hired a car to take us on a 6h tour of the area. We are skipping the waterfalls as we've seen loads in our life, plus there is one within trekking distance which we might see tomorrow on out own (though by the end of the day we had decided to give even that waterfall a miss).

Due to the cloudy weather we reversed the order of the tour. Our first stop was the viewpoint of the twin lakes. We had come this way on the trip up, but without stopping. The view is nice, but it could have been much better without clouds. At least it wasn't all hidden by mist, which had let off barely a kilometre from the viewpoint.

We then headed down to one of the lakes to visit the "temple on the lake" (Pura Ulun Danu Bratan), a lovely Hindu complex and one of the iconic sights of Bali (the main temple figures on the 50k Rupiah note). We spent a lot of time here as there was a playground, gardens with statues you can climb on, and the highlight, a photo-op with some animals (for a modest price). We went for the bats, which were impressively huge and Lucas was perfectly capable of handling them. He was grinning from ear to ear with his sister proudly beside him. Later he told me it felt like "a baby pussycat".

After a long drive, interrupted by a quick lunch, we arrived at some hot springs where we also did a bit of shopping. After haggling a bit we got a dress for Aisha down to 40k (about 2.60 euros). On the way out they were offering us more for 20k. The springs were split in three pools. None too hot but we had a fun time. Washed off the mud and minerals in some clear water (though my trunks are still a mess) and headed on.

For the final stop we visited a Buddhist temple. The kids are big fans of Buddha and were delighted to see him again. He always gets plenty of joss sticks and small donations out of them.

I had talked about the possibility of hiring a taxi to Ubud at the launderette/agency but obviously our driver was going to try to get in on the action. After talking a bit we realised the woman at the launderette was actually his sister, so the deal was made. At a bit of a discount from the "official" rate. All these taxis and private cars are adding up, but they are way cheaper than hiring your own car unless you are continuously on the move. As we had read in the guide public transport doesn't provide much of an alternative.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


We had organised a late taxi, after lunch, to take us into the mountains of central Bali so we had time for a last visit to the beach. Today was windier. In fact we broke the kite (though I think I can fix it with a bit of sellotape) so Lucas and I scoured the beach to make an "invention" out of assorted bits of rubbish. This is his favourite activity, though sandcastles (and lately sand spaceships) also take up a fair bit of attention.

We were 5 minutes late back at the hotel. By then the boot of the taxi had already been filled with all our stuff so all we had to do was climb in and wave goodbye.

The drive up to our next destination, Munduk, was long but very beautiful. The urbanised beach area slowly gives way to small mountain villages and rice terraces (no flat spaces for fields out here). It took over 2h to get to Munduk, with only one 2m stop to get money out of one of the few cash machines.

It's a lovely little village. Just one road, with a few houses falling steeply at each side. As is to be expected the countryside idyll is interrupted by the sound of mopeds and cars, but we're sort of used to that by now. We even turned down the (more expensive) rooms a bit further away from the road: the traffic noise didn't seem too bad.

We didn't have time to do much, we just wandered into the main part of town and back again and organised our tour for tomorrow with the hotel people. There are no cash machines out here but everybody except the small shops seems to take plastic.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Sanur beach

The beach down by the centre of Sanur is prettier and much emptier. Nice but not amazing. Still, it's fine for us. We bought a kite and a bucket and spade (I suspect we paid way more than we should have, even though we knocked them down to half price) and headed towards the sand.

It is quite a shallow beach, protected from the waves by some rocks or coral about 200m out to sea. There was a bit of wind, but I only counted half a dozen kite surfers at any given time. I guess the surf scene takes up most of the attention. There are some cool local boats, sort of catamaran style, now only used for tourist rides. Most fishing seems to be done by rod out in the shallows. There is loads of beach and relatively few tourists, so it all looks quite deserted. It's great, I'm glad we avoided Kuta.

So an easy day. We swam, built sandcastles, flew the kite, had ice cream (and beer) and generally lazed about. Afterwards we headed to the main supermarket to stock up on milk and biscuits and other essentials we drag around to top up the kids diet. Someday they will be old enough to appreciate sauces, spices and chili but until then we will forever carry an extra bag when travelling.

There was a small party going on next to our dinner restaurant. It started off with a sort of prizegiving or something, and most people had the same t-shirt, from some club or something. There was also a guy playing a guitar. Over dinner the small party slowly transformed into a sort of small hardcore techno party (the Dutch influence I guess) which brought smiles to our faces (and frowns from the oldies at most of the other tables). The kids were intrigued so I left Esther to pay the bill and we went to watch the party. 2s later we were in, jumping around sweaty bodies and getting offered satays and beer. It took quite a lot of convincing to drag Lucas away after half an hour or dancing.

And the fun didn't stop there. On the way home there is a sort of traditional Balinese school where we had seem them practising music. Today they were in full swing with a dance rehearsal and everything. So we stopped and checked that out for a few minutes as well. Aisha was transfixed by the dancing.

Both were asleep within seconds of hitting the bed.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


Our original plan had been to spend these last two nights in Solo, but the hotel there had cancelled on us due to maintenance issues. After mulling over our options we had decided to spend those two nights in Kaliurang and Yogyakarta instead, but we had a flight to Bali from Solo airport. Since it was in the early afternoon we had plenty of time to catch the train there. Timetables for the luxury trains were against us so we had to go for a local train. We were a bit worried; apparently they can get very full and are a pain with kids and luggage. It was so cheap we decided to give it a try, we could always find a car to take us there.

In the end the train was amazing. Aircon, 4 seats for the whole tribe, nice and clean and not crowded at all. Over an hour's trip at 53 cents a ticket, bargain. It did get a bit crowded at the next station (don't know why people don't bother going to the first station, which is just a mile away, to get a guaranteed seat). Got to the airport in plenty of time with no hassles.

From the aeroplane we saw a small eruption which was quite exciting. A big plume of ash was coming off a volcano to our right. Nobody seemed too bothered but we all shamelessly rushed to an unoccupied window cameras in hand.

Bali is an hour behind Java, so we had time to quickly visit the beach and even have a quick dip. We have been warned that Bali beaches aren't as idyllic as you might think, and this one definitely wasn't. It was however very lively, with loads of locals swimming, chilling and eating. Obviously we picked up a few bites from some of the stalls and vendors. Even the kids liked some of it, especially a sort of flat fried thingy (minus the peanut sauce).

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Merapi volcano

A cool army jeep turned up at our doorstep this morning, ready to take us for a tour of the volcano. Indonesia is the country with most active volcanoes (172) in the world. And Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia. There is no danger though, there are 7 different monitoring stations and at the slightest alert tourists aren't allowed in the area. Most deaths are from villagers who don't heed government warnings, fearing for their livestock. In the last eruption, in 2010, 353 people died. It must be pretty nerve-wracking living at the foot of an active volcano, with the constant threat of life and possessions, but there are benefits too. Not only is the earth fertile but there is also a sizable mining industry picking up rocks which are good for construction (and mud for pottery). Locals also benefit from tourism. Even communities without infrastructure like shops or hotels make a pinch out of roadblocks that exact a toll from all the tours.

We piled into the jeep and hit the road. Jeeps are possibly the most uncomfortable form or transport I have been on, beating a horse drawn cart by a mile. The roads did their bit as well, as did having Lucas on my lap. But they make up for it in fun and adrenalin.

We bumped our way round the foothills until we got to one of the villages destroyed in the 2010 eruption. One of the houses has been transformed into a museum, showing the aftermath of the latest disaster. There is even a clock, it's hands melted into the face at 12:05, the time when the cloud of molten ash hit it. There are all sorts of ash-covered semi-melted bric-a-brac, livestock skeletons, and a few shelled-out motorbikes. Photos of the event hang from the still-standing walls.

We then headed to the main volcano viewpoint. Traffic here is intense, full of other jeeps carrying tourists and lorries carrying rocks. Since Aisha had lost her hat on the way (it blew out of the car before we realised) we got her a new one, and Lucas fell in love with an army hat which we also had to buy.

There is a bunker at the viewpoint which was supposed to protect people from eruptions. Sadly it was placed in the wrong area - there things are dust and ash proof but not lava proof. Apparently in 2006 two people used it and unluckily a lava flow headed this way, turning the bunker into an oven and killing them both. Apparently they also didn't close both doors properly.

Just after the bunker the land turns barren. In this area ash and flows are so frequent that not much apart from a bit of scrubland grasses have time to reconquer the land. Vegetation survives on a couple of hills to each side.

We said goodbye to the smoking giant (smoke can be seen virtually any day of the year) and made our way back to the hotel, where a cab was waiting to take us back to Yogyakarta. The plan was to visit a Hindu temple called Prambanan in the afternoon but it involved 3 different buses and the kids were knackered from the early jeep tour. So we swapped Prambanan for swimming pool and cartoons. Sometimes you just can't get two things done in one day.

Friday, 7 August 2015


Near miss this morning. The driver who was supposed to take us to Kaliurang had an accident on his way to pick us up and apparently ended up in hospital (probably not a big deal, he crashed into a motorbike, though we don't know what happened to the motorbike driver). Driving round here is your typical SE Asian driving. It looks chaotic and dangerous but there must be a method to the madness. In fact everybody drives, most buildings are one storey high so everything is really spread apart. You hardly see anyone walking in the streets except at the tourist hotspots.

The hotel sorted us out with a new driver who took us up to Kaliurang. It is at the foot of the Merapi volcano, the most active volcano in Indonesia (which is saying something).

To the kids delight there was a sort of kiddie park just outside the hotel. They must have just reopened, most rides were closed and the paint was still wet in some places (some playground things must have been recycled from a previous park, all rusty and in some cases broken but recently repainted). They had fun though, with some treetop walkways, and Lucas had a great ride on a pretty scary zipline.

Since nobody was going to go trekking at 3am to see the dawn from Mt. Merapi we hired a jeep to take us round tomorrow and see all the sights from there. The kids are really excited they are going to see a real volcano (though we saw plenty in New Zealand, maybe we didn't make enough of a fuss about them, plus this one has smoke coming out of it).