Monday, March 22, 2010

Countdown to Java

It's a mere 3 more sleeps till I take an evening flight down to Perth then an early morning Air Asia flight to KL before connecting on to Jakarta. My domestic leg takes one hour each way but costs more than the entire international leg combined. You've got to love these budget airlines, even if some of their flight times are unsociable. I don't want to think about my carbon footprint though...

The trick to budget travel is to expect that for that price, you can't expect any semblance of comfort. That way you will not be disappointed, but might be pleasantly surprised. One of my biggest bugbears when travelling is listening to western travellers whingeing about the quality of bus/ train/plane travel when they've paid less than the price of a McDonalds burger for the seat. Perhaps I exaggerate, but guys: shut it!! Or pay up for comfort.

I'm fully packed with my tiny backpack well under the max cabin size and weighing right on 7kg, so I'll be doing carry-on only on this trip. I've a number of couch surfing and hospitality club contacts who have offered to host me and I'm at saturation point with my Indonesian language lessons. Yep, I'm ready to go.

And to top it off we had rain this weekend, awesome!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hot hot hot

I do recall whingeing about all those rainy cold fronts coming through late last year, but now that we are into our third week of stinking heat I could really do with some respite. Admittedly we did get a couple of days last week when the temperature dropped below 35 degrees C, but on some days that only happened overnight!!

It isn't often I turn on the aircon, usually I try to utilise passive solar techniques, but with no breeze except a hot one, and no effective overnight cooling, it has been impossible. Nevermind, at least I've tried.

The garden has stood up to the heat onslaught remarkably well, I'm sure helped by my decision to shade the vege patch, and almost daily watering. I've lost a few things but it hasn't been the usual summer massacre. I suspect I'm getting better at plant choices too.

My papaya tree, after being in situ for about 4 or 5 years, has at last produced its first fruit. Admittedly it is only the size of an orange but at least it didn't do its usual fruit drop. I've just planted some more papaya seeds so am hoping I can get something a little more productive happening, as long as I plump up the poor sandy soil with lots of muck.

The mango tree continues to limp along, having been successfully rehabilitated from near extinction following my overseas jaunt. It is only in retrospect that one realises that asking a housesitter to keep up the water to your garden when their own garden experiences are in high rainfall tropical Hawaii was perhaps a little presumptious and I should have provided more detailed instruction. Lesson learnt!

It's a couple of weeks till I head off to Indonesia for a month through Java, so it's all systems go getting the new vege beds filled with soil so I can start planting on my return. And making sure the retic is working as I don't think this heat will be abating for another month to six weeks.

The tropical Javanese weather, not to mention the bracing mountain temperatures, will be a welcome relief after this...