I woke up at 6:20 am. Ate breakfast and then waited (for two and a half hours) for the bus to come. We set off at about 9:00 am, sharing transport with an Australian guy named Dan. After a 3 hour trip, we arrived in Cianjur, where we were staying at the Cianjur Adventure Homestay. We were greeted by the owner, Yudi, and had a lunch of lemon tea and lontong (compressed rice cooked in a banana leaf, served with tofu, crackers and a coconut sauce). We then went out into the drizzle for a walk around the Cianjur backstreets. The rain picked up a bit, and that was when a local girl, Nara, approached us and invited us to her home. We accepted and were led to a community centre. We sat out the rain with Nara and her friends, who chatted with us in a mix of Sundanese, Indonesian and English. One boy kept saying that my hidung (nose) was fantastic. They took many photos and selfies with us before we went on our way. Supper at Yudi’s was prepared by other travellers staying at the homestay. We ate boiled rice, tofu, bihun goreng (fried vermicelli noodles) and quails eggs! Delicious! We finished the evening off with many rounds of Irish Snap and War before going to bed at 9:00 pm-ish.
After talking with Yudi the night before, Mama and Papa decided that Cianjur Adventure was not the place for us. We had a breakfast of nasi goreng (fried rice) and lemon tea, then packed up our bags and hopped on a minibus that took us to a bus terminal. We got on another minibus with 5 other people. I had loads of space in the back and was looking forward to a relaxing ride. However, people kept piling on, and by the end of the bus ride, there were 19 people and 2 chickens on the bus. It turned out that we had gone several kilometres further than necessary, and so had to hop on another minibus which took us to Buena Vista Hotel in Cisarua. On arrival, we had some lemon tea (a welcome drink) and were shown around by Heri, the manager. We went for a walk down to the river next to the hotel and chatted on the suspension bridge crossing it. We went back to the hotel and ate a light snack of gorengan (fried food). After a light siesta, we went off in search of a place to have supper. We settled on a roadside cafe (so roadside we were almost on the road). Rosie and I ordered mie goreng (fried noodles), and Mama and Papa had nasi goreng. However, there were a few problems. We said, “no meat” (while pointing to meat and non-meat items), and “we like the spicy”, so we got a plate of plain fried noodles that was so spicy that it was almost inedible. Mama fought through her plate, Papa finished his, and Rosie hardly touched hers, so I ate my mie goreng and Rosie’s. So spicy!!!! We finished off the night by watching The Huntsman: Winter’s War (thumbs down) and went to bed.
We ate breakfast (nasi goreng) and chatted with Dr Robby, Heri’s father, about places to go for the day. On Dr Robby’s recommendation, we went to Curug 7 Cilember (7 Waterfalls). The waterfalls were beautiful and were in the middle of a lovely jungle. Curug 7 (the lowest waterfall) was crammed with locals, so we hiked up to Curug 6. This was not as busy, and the only people we passed was a couple, the wife wearing high heels!!!! We would have gone up to Curug 5 and beyond, but it started to rain. This made the path wet and slippery, and there were also some monkeys that were out to get us, so we opted to go back home. We had supper at a different roadside stall. I had mie goreng udang (fried noodles with prawns). We then watched The Secret life of Bees up in our room and had pancakes, which Heri had made for us.
We started off the day with a cooking class from Heri. He taught us how to make gado-gado, a Sundanese salad, made from a mix of vegetables, rice, crackers and a delicious home-made peanut sauce. We ate that for our lunch and then set out for the tea plantations. We took a minibus up, which also was transporting a small group of giggly local boys who had great fun insulting Papa in Sundanese. On arrival at the plantation, we went to the office, and sampled some cinnamon tea and honey, and saw cinnamon drying out, all the while chatting to a lady about the plantation. As well as tea, they also grow spices, coffee and farm two different types of honey! Amazing! We wandered around the plantation, chatting, commenting on the place, and enjoying the scene. We also had a paddle in a river, and Rosie and I built several dams. The plasters to stop the rubbing on my feet had come off, my heels were bitten by mosquitoes, and I had stubbed my toe. I thought that I had the world’s ugliest feet when I found a leech in between my toes. I plucked it off and squeezed it to death. Many locals crowded around me, murmuring “pacet, pacet” (the Sundanese word for leech). One woman took a cigarette butt, chewed on it, and rubbed the tobacco-spit mix on the leech wound! She put a plaster on it and even offered me her flip-flops. We walked off, waving goodbye to the crowd of smiling Indonesians and hopped on a minibus back to Buena Vista. That night, after another roadside dinner of mie goreng udang, we chatted with Dr Robby, and had a special dessert of caramelised bananas that had so much rum on it that my mouth went numb.
We had a 3-course breakfast! First, we had bubur ayam (rice porridge), followed by bananas topped with condensed milk and cheese, and finally an avocado and chocolate salad which was delicious! We packed up our belongings and went for a final hike up the hill, through small clusters of houses and past smiling locals. Rosie and I played games throughout the walk, and marvelled at the beauty of the West Java countryside. When we returned, Dr Robby was waiting to give us a ride to a bus terminal in Bogor. From there, we caught a bus back to Jakarta. We had a great week in West Java, but also looked forward to getting back to our new life in Jakarta.