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Some Are Almost Derelict

11 Aug

As I was reading through the Lonely Planet guidebook on Indonesia, I came across a few phrases describing Ujung Kulon National Park that got me really excited. 

“On the remote southwestern tip of Java…” 

“Few people visit the park…” 

“…prime rainforest and untouched wilderness…” 

“…three-day hike across to the west coast…” (with a guide) 

“Conditions on the trail are basic – there are rough shelters, but some are almost derelict.” 

My first trip into true remoteness happened in Ghana. There’s a stilt village called Nzuluzu that sits above a lake on the far western coast. It took a bus, a tro tro ride, and then hiring a car because I got on the wrong tro tro, to get there. And the private car had to crawl over the excessively lumpy road, and a young guy kept leaning out the back door, banging the hubcap to make sure it stayed on. Then it was a canoe ride out to the stilt village – yes, I helped paddle. 

What did I get for all this trouble? Singing instead of television, clothing somewhat optional, eating fish from the lake and having no place to rush to. I got to experience a truly unique version of village life that reminded me of how complicated life doesn’t have to be. 

Isolated? A challenge to get to? Somewhere unique that may alter my perspective on life?  I’m there.

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6 responses to “Some Are Almost Derelict

  1. Foste

    August 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Having traveled a fair bit myself I can only agree. Some of those travel guides are really misleading. Many tourists in Banja Luka are shocked how peaceful it is. Most of them think that the war is still raging. *sigh* (sorry for the rant)
    Anyway, sounds like a fun experience!

     
  2. Trina Marie Phillips

    August 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    That’s why I like Lonely Planet. While they did lie badly about how long it would take to clim Tai Shan (I’m convinced the author asked a local and never climbed it himself), they’ve usually got a realistic take on the vibe of a place.

    The other thing I find is that many of the great things about traveling happen in between the places you go to visit, rather than at the sites themselves. As they say, it’s about the journey.

     
  3. Richard Flores IV

    August 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Lonely Planet seems great. I once followed a Youtube thing they did with a traveler who made a brief video of each stop. I am not a very well traveled person myself. It isn’t for a lack of desire, but a lack of ability. But its something my wife and I strive to change.

     
    • Trina Marie Phillips

      August 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      I started out with a complete lack of ability. Dive in when you can. You’ll learn.

      And don’t worry about language barriers. I’ve had many, many conversations where no actual language was understood by either side but the meaning was completely clear.

      Globe Trekker is a good show to watch to catch the bug. It was better when it was actually Lonely Planet, but it’s still good.

       
  4. Jared A

    August 13, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Love the tro-tro link. That looks like an adventure all in itself.

     
    • Trina Marie Phillips

      August 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

      My first tro tro ride in Ghana was up the side of a mountain to go to the Aburi Botanical Gardens, just outside of the capitol, Accra. It cost about a quarter, the minibus was packed, the people were friendly though I think getting a kick at having a tourist on board – and the ride put anything Disneyland has to offer to shame. I have loved using local transport ever since.

       

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