If you think adventure is dangerous, you should try routine: It’s deadly!

Paulo Coelho

Puuh, I guess he never used the indonesien ferries. Here you get both: adventure and routine.

We learned a lot about serenity, inner peace, relaxation

Emotions no longer boil up, no frustration, no anger. We are real serenity gurus. 

Unfortunately, this is not true. Some things we just can’t control. If it is not in my power to change a situation, then serenity is called for. And it waits relaxed behind my angry reaction. There it is quite calm, because: “It is what it is”. Some circumstances cannot be changed.

Serenity = inner emergency brake

And then it happens again, serenity takes a vacation. The only partner we have now to master such a situation is called “here and now”. The last chance not to go crazy, to get angry, to make the steaming cauldron explode. And indeed, it works. So we managed to book a place on a ship that will take us to Jakarta.

We entered Indonesia by ferry from Singapore, to the island of Batam. From there are ferries to Jakarta. Just not for the next 1-2 months. But we found that out only after our arrival. A young lady picked us up and found out for us that the ship has been send to the dry dock a few days ago for maintenance.

So after all to Sumatra and then cycle from there? We have only 3 months time, once again the visa then expires. Sumatra and Java we would hardly create in the time. Our new friend, actually she should turn out to be such in the next months, took us to a bike store. We rescheduled. We fly.  Then the idea to go to another island. From there a ship could go. We sit in front of the store and don’t really know if anything will happen at all. Slowly, one thing or another becomes clear. At some point we finally know where to go. To the neighboring island of Bintan, from which our ship leaves, on which we then also managed to book a cabin, and wait at the port.

Are we at the right point?

Whether we need to check in, whether we are at the right port, when exactly the ship leaves…. No idea. We wait. 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours. Instead of 8 pm it leaves at 1 am. We are still relaxed. Such situations actually don’t make us nervous anymore. We put our bicycles somewhere and take our luggage to the cabin. To do this, we cross the entire ship, past the kitchen. At the latest now I suspect that this will be hard here and I am glad that we have some apples and muesli with us. This foul-smelling mud in front of the kitchen, this garbage…. Okay, I think once we get into the cabin, we’ll be fine. I spare you to write about their condition. Except that every evening at the same time we were visited by many creepy-crawlies.

The whole ship was full of them. Small cockroaches that just live there too. I took a shower only once. There was a weird brown bag hanging in the shower.  We did not explore what was in it. There were 3 meals every day and I really tried to eat them once. But I couldn’t get it down.

How to manage the days on this ferry

So we creep around on the rusty steamer for 3 days and nights. A little karaoke, a few small fitness sessions, a small movie theater and a few computers with games should keep people happy.

Man, what do the Indonesians rest in themselves. I should take a leaf out of their book. They just lie around everywhere, of course also on the floor, and don’t care about the circumstances. They smile, play with their children, some vomit in a plastic bag (whether from the swell or from the food remains open). 

Hygiene standards on Indonesian ferry trips are rather absent.

We have already endured the one or other ferry ride. But none was as necessary in the „here and now“ as the one from Bintan to Jakarta. And even that worked only conditionally. We still have a lot to learn. 

What all ferries had in common:

The communal toilets are mostly very basic and the taps only work occasionally. Some toilets do not seem to be cleaned for days. Sometimes toilets are closed entirely to one gender. Our little animal friends were on every ferry. Only difference: they’re numbers.  The one or other pointless conversation and we made it. 

We dock in to Jakarta. What a skyline. But what seems much more disturbing to us, it looks like we are slowly going crazy.

Squat toilets

I would also like to comment again on the squat toilets. They may be healthier, about it there are enough treatises on the net and also opinions of friends and acquaintances when I posted this picture.

YES, they seem cleaner because you keep cleaning them with water too, so you should at least after each use. Anyway, you don’t sit on them anyway. I think it’s so really gross. In the woods, that’s something else, or on compost toilets, but this one…. 

I do not know how you men do it, but there the pee splashes so what of again high. And to hold back the pressure so that it just splashes is really a challenge. I don’t want to know what it looks like with diarrhea. So my clear favorite: the forest. In 2nd place the sitting toilet (but often I stand there :-)). And only if it does not go at all, then I take the squat toilet. The latter, however, also in the countries as rather dirty place is regarded, shows me the use of extra „toilet slippers“, which may be used on no account(!) outside. Well, so some slippers I would not like to wear then but also and then my own shoes and of course the trouser legs are quite at risk to get splashes off. Somehow a nasty unhygienic matter.

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