Friday, October 17, 2008

Blitar and Panataran

Bromo was the next place I had planned to visit. I could have taken a van from my hotel in Solo to Bromo but decided to take local transport and stop at a different city on the way so caught a bus to Blitar. I think this was a mistake but it was different than taking a van full of tourist and I did see more of how locals travel. There will be more on local travel in this entry and the next couple.

The bus ride was a bit longer than I thought it would be and I got moved twice from one bus to another. On the third bus they were trying to charge me again which I did not understand. Communication was a problem and I kept saying I had paid already. They kept saying something about Malang and I kept saying Blitar. Malang was the next big city past Blitar. It turns out that they thought I was going to Malang and I had been switched to this third bus just outside of Blitar and it was going to Malang. Once I figured out I was in Blitar already I got off the bus.

It had been a long day with only eating some fruit and peanuts that people sold on the bus so after finding a hotel I headed out to eat. I was reading the sign on one of the food places on the street and this guy wanted me to sit down and eat. I was hungry so figured why not. He spoke pretty good English and it was his Warung. Warung is what they seem to call all the places to eat here. He seemed really happy I was eating there and wanted a picture with me. The guy that took the picture said we were twin Santas.

I also had picture taken with his son and I think everyone that worked in the Warung. I walked a bit around Blitar and really enjoyed this town. It seemed to me to be the friendliest place that I visited in Java. Also it seemed to be the cleanest town that I visited in Java.

I had a bit of an issue getting the right taxi to get to the temple ruins Panataran. They call the local transport taxi but it is a really small van that runs on a specific route like a bus and is panted blue or yellow depending on the route is it going. I took a blue one and I was supposed to take a yellow one. The driver dropped me off and told me yellow. He did not speak much English but I was glad he did speak English colors.

Panataran is about 10 kilometers outside of Blitar and I enjoyed visiting it. The site is not overly impressive but still interesting and admission is by donation. When you give a donation they have you sign a little book and I sort of found it interesting to see when the last person visited. It was a Canadian pair 2 days prior. I think the book is only for foreigners since there were other people in the site that were there before me and had not signed the book.

Panataran is the ruins of a Hindi temple. I seem to always like the characters that guard the entrance to the temple sites.

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