Well, for starters it is a sleepy beach town where locals come to spend their holidays and foreigners come to escape the travel beaten path. The waves are perfect for beginner surfers, and the restaurants serve delicious local foods for cheap prices. It is easy to become comfortable in this small town, as you come across the same people hanging out in the same spots on the daily. Surrounding the town are rice fields, villages,and scenic "green canyon". The rice fields and villages are about as real as
Indonesian life gets.
We found ourselves staying in a cute "home stay" with a clean spacious room, our very own balcony, free pancake breakfast, and complimentary tea all day long. All this for $12/night.
The weather surprised us.. Intense heat and humidity, followed by thunderstorms. We made sure to carry our rain jackets with us while we walked around the town, taking in the national park, the port area, and the restaurants. We rented a bike to see the surrounding area, as well as spent a morning surfing.
We went body rafting in the green canyon river! Yes, you read correctly... BODY rafting. Hard to explain,.but I'll try..5 German friends, 2 of us and three guides. We drove an hour "inland" to pick up our gear.. Helmet, life jacket, shin guards and shoes to protect us from the jagged rocks in the river. Then we 4x4d through the coconut jungle and finally jumped into the green river.
We peacefully floated down the river through the jungle and gorgeous side banks. Then we would climb over the rocks that formed a rapid, and often let the fast water from the rapid take us along the river while keeping our feet cautiously ahead of us, so that we could kick away from shallow rocks. We would climb up the side bank and Jump off heights 4-6 feet high.
I can now say I've touched a rainbow!! (In Australia we saw both ends of a rainbow which was really pretty. But here we actually touched it and walked through it. ..
The next morning we spent surfing, And the afternoon, exploring the national park.
Surfing was fun.. but as beginners, we spent most of the time being bashed by waves. I was successful and stood up 4 times!! ..Ashton somehow throughout the day, broke off a fin from the surfboard. Apparently it's the fault of the renter when issues arise with the surfboard, as the guy located us at our homestay and asked us to pay for the cost of a replacement fin. (Again, this is just bad luck that the tiny fin on the bottom of the board fell off while Ashton was using the board)..so Ashton said, we"ll go look for it before we pay. We never found it and spent the next day looking for buddy to pay him the$7 .. However he wasn't around so we gave up and went about our day. Well.... He found us at 6 am the next day, 2 minutes before we were leaving Pangandaran and again asked us to cover the cost oft he missing fin. We gave in,at and Ashton gave him money.
Our second big highlight was touring the green valley via motorbike. Just the two of us followed our guide on our own scooter. We rode through rice fields and watched the rice farmers at work.
We stopped to watch "pigeon racing" practice!! Lol.. In a couple days, locals from all over pay a small fee to be part of the compeitition. Winner receives a large lump sum of money. A man takes his male and female pigeons to the competition. The male is put in a cage on the back of a scooter, and driven 100 yards by another local Indonesian on his scooter. The Indonesian then uses his cell phone to call the owner of the male pigeon to tell him he is releasing the pigeon. The owner (100 yards away, and standing in the home box), then starts waving/flapping the female into the air and hollers out "here's your wife, come and get her" in Indonesian of course. The male/husband pigeon is supposed to race/fly back to his wife. He is supposed to fly correctly through the box in order to complete the race. So the first male pigeon to successfully fly through the box to me his wife is the
Sounds complicated, but really quite amazing to watch. How the owners train the pigeons is interesting. Quite a big competition and lots of fun for the Indo guys.
Back to off roading we go, through the dirt, villages, amoung the way of life in the jungle. The cute kids somehow see us a mile away and always jump up and down and scream "hello" to us. Even the adults send us a friendly wave. Waving back at the cuties was one of my favourite parts of the day. Made us feel like celebrities!, ha ha..
Overall, a very enjoyable and gorgeous tour.
Excellent way to end our stay in Pangandaran.
Unfortunately the next day was a torturously long train ride. We ended up getting ripped off and paying way more for an economic train pass, which means we were literally squished in with the locals in the most uncomfortable seats. A supposedly 8 hour train ride with nice scenery turned into a 13 hour train ride !!! Turns our a train ahead of us broke down and it took 5 hours to fix, so we sat still for an additional 5 hours. Omg.
So after that hellish ride, we opted to stay in the Best Western in Jakarta, (the capital of Indo, also where we fly out of)..thanks to Kelly and Dan for their gift card to Best Westerns nation wide. The card was gold and we definAtly needed a clean, nice place to rest up and recharge.
We are currently awaiting our plane to Sri Lanka!!