My first big journey was in 1988. It took me for several months from India, through Southeast Asia to Australia. This is the first time I experienced Bali up close.


From Yogya to Bali

On January 13th 1989, I board a bus at the bus terminal of Yogyakarta. That bus is supposed to take us straight to the island of Gods. Well, I'm curious about that.

Yogya lies approximately in the middle of the island of Java. The three bus drivers alternate regularly on the 600 kilometre journey. The road is well developed. However, there is no motorway yet.

In this dense traffic, the abundant overtaking manoeuvres are very nerve-racking. I don't wanna have to drive out there. It's criminal! Every now and then there are miles of traffic jams. We pass accident sites, with car wrecks and hundreds of onlookers.

It's the darkest night as we cross over from Java to Bali with the bus on a ferry. The strait between Ketapang on Java and Gilimanuk on Bali measures only a few kilometres. Therefore the ferry crossing only takes a good hour.

What a spectacle! Chug along rice fields from Gilimanuk to Denpasar at dawn.

Some other time

Ferry Banyuwangi - Gilimanuk

Late at night I get off the bus which brought me from Surabaya to Banyuwangi. I was told this would be the place where the ferry leaves for Bali. Well, a little off is a little off. As it turns out, the ferry port of Ketapang is just outside Banyuwangi. In a Bemo crammed of people, I get a ride over there.

It is already well over midnight, there is still quite a lot going on at the harbour. A ferry has just arrived. Buses, trucks and motorcycles with loads of merchandise drive towards me in a huge cloud of toxic exhaust fumes. Not until later do I notice the pedestrians. It seems to me that zombies are moving out of the clearing haze towards me.