They say its a small world at times. One night whilst sat watching a show in the bar, a lady said to Sue, "Are you a teacher?" It turned out that Sue had taught her children.
Whilst returning from Bali, we were getting off the boat, when a lady recognised Sue and it turned out she had been in the same class at High school. Her husband lived on the same street as Sue and they had played together as children. Anyway, we chatted for a while and discussed the trip so far. They had played it clever on Bali and pre booked a taxi from the UK, because of this they had seen more of the island and saved a lot of money compared to us having to go on cruise trips.
We decided to share a taxi the next day on Semarang. Going ashore, we were greeted by large groups milling around. The locals had organised two tables, one with information and one to book taxis. This was a well thought out plan, apart from the fact that there were several ships in port and hundreds of people coming ashore. With only three people manning the taxi booking desk, they hadn't really thought this through. Fortunately, people were busy deciding what to do and I managed to get served quickly. We booked a three hour taxi journey and were given a sheet of things we could see and from this we could pick as many as possible within our time limit.
Visit to #KampungPelangi
Our first choice was the painted village, as we decided to look for something different.
A nondescript village in southern Indonesia has become an unlikely tourist trap - after undergoing a dramatic transformation.
Hordes of people have been flocking to Kampung Pelangi in Randusari, Central Java, after local government officials paid for it to be re-cast as a 'rainbow village'.
The area's council committee provided a budget of 300,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah - or £17,000 - to have the unassuming spot converted into a must-see attraction.
This proved to be a fascinating place. Apparently, it had been classed as a slum and now attracted tourists. Shops and other businesses have provided employment for the locals. It reminded us of when we visited Madeira, where they had painted the doors in a run down area; it proves that with a little imagination, you can transform a place and improve the economy.
After an enjoyable walk around the village and a treasure hunt for a dropped earing, which Sue spotted just as we were about to leave, we set off to see more sights. We stopped at the Lewang Sewu building but didn't have time to count all the one thousand doors, it is said to have and then we drove on to our next stop.
As we toured a few back streets the driver said he was looking for a petrol station; these were not some of the better parts of town . Eventually, after a couple of stops, he found one that had petrol and we were able to continue.
Our next stop was a small square by the Dome Church Blenduk. Here, as we walked in the garden, we seemed to be the main attraction, as several groups stopped us to ask if they could have their photograph taken with us; my fame must have spread worldwide! Either that or they weren't used to tourists in this part of town!
As our time was now running out, we returned to the ship whereupon the driver asked for more money. Apparently, we had just gone over our three hour time limit so we explained that the extra time had been when he was getting petrol and we weren't paying several thousand Rupiah for that! It was only later that we realised it was probably only a couple of pounds and we were going to give him that as a tip anyway.
An interesting insight into a small part of the island. We would have liked to have seen more, but only had a limited timeslot before we had to be back on board. Some interesting buildings and parts of the town tourists don't normally see. One of the other things that stuck in our minds was the almost suicidal motorbikes everywhere here and on Bali. They seem to start riding these at an early age and weave in and out of traffic at high speed. Quite scary for us who are not used to it.
One more day of cruising then we arrive at Singapore, which is why we booked the cruise in the first place. We have seen some incredible and diverse places and have thoroughly enjoyed it, apart from some of the tenders to port, which were often poorly organised.
Now a few days to explore Singapore. Would it live up to our expectations?