37 - Scenes From Bondowoso (East Java, Indonesia)
A stopover in the stopover. Little guy all tuckered out. Ijen ain’t going nowhere. Me, on the other hand. A rickshaw and a smile goes a long, long way. So yip, yip, yippie ki-yay.
by Mr. Nos. T. O’maniac
I WANTED Ijen Plateau. I WANTED IT BAD. But I was pooped, tuckered out. Days of early rising, volcano skimming, and road travel caught up with me. Though I’d planned to see Ijen the morning after arriving in Bondowoso, I had not the strength nor the ambition. So, I used a personal day… and used it well.
I have many ideas, some of which are actually good. This day was a good one. I hailed a becak (pronounced beh-CHALK), a three-wheeled cycle rickshaw, and somehow conveyed my wish to cruise aimlessly around Bondowoso’s center. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. That was the idea. It worked out spectacularly well. Bondo holds little tourist interest on its own. It’s more of a means to an Ijen end, a stopover on the way to somewhere else. As such, most of the population have little contact with tourists. A mutant white dude trolling the streets for shits and giggles is a rarity to say the least. People loved it, enjoying my photofest as much as, if not more than, I did. I traded smile for smile and giggle for giggle…mostly.
There were a few skeptics in my viewfinder but I could hardly blame them. What the fuck was I doing snapping photos from the comfort of my own rickshaw? Rickshawing for fun? Who the hell does shit like that? Me, me, and me. That’s who. I highly recommend this, especially in Bondo. Traffic isn’t (or wasn’t) completely off the chiz-ain. There are as many bicycles and rickshaws as motor vehicles, and roads are wide and spacious. Ever wanted to be the life of the party? Well, get ready to rock the casbah. You may even want to throw in a six-pack of Bintang if it tickles your fancy. Probably the cheapest city tour you can muster, and one of the most rewarding. Yippiy ki-yay.