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A handful of tickets EINDHOVEN (THE NETHERLANDS) - Traveling in Indonesia, whenever you attempt to do this, you will notice the vast amount of small paper - sometimes even like toilet-paper - tickets you get. On virtually every occasion you will get at least one. Not one, but one for your car, motorbike, your friends, your family, your kids. And it gets even worse, since you don't get tickets for everyone, but also for everything. This becomes clear when you take the ferry. It doesn't matter which ferry, but you will get a ticket to enter the seaport, for parking, for boarding the boat, for bringing your car and to be insured during your trip. This results in a handful of tickets, and then you only got onto the ferry.

This time a look into several of the many occasions to obtain such a ticket. I have made many trips by motorbike, it's easy to go to places and do things, but it doesn't spare you from the ticket mania that seems to be present across entire Indonesia. Over the recent years I have collected a whole pile of time, literary hundreds of tickets. The strange thing is, I still have them. But by digitalizing them, it's also time to say goodbye to some of the boring green, blue or pink ones. I have enough of them now, so I only want to keep the colored ones.

A handful of tickets on display. Parking, entrance and boat - all of them require tickets.
A handful of tickets on display. Parking, entrance and boat - all of them require tickets.

Finding these tickets and editing them into digital pictures is fun to do. It brings back long lost memories of one of my holidays again. Time to organize these pieces of paper is scarce, but I know when I do it, it will be a wonderful experience full with Indonesia memories. Upon cleaning out one of my shoe-boxes with old stuff from Indonesia, I found a handful of tickets. Then I started looking for more and - of course - found them as well. When organized, they are most easily split into groups by their purpose.

Entrance tickets, parking tickets, tourist destinations, ferry trips and of course those bills you get in some fancy restaurants. Most times I don't get a receipt when I go out to eat though, because cheaper restaurants will do it for me as well. Here I have put a random selection of reasonably recent tickets, not really selected by subject, but well, the stories with them will do it I guess.

Entrance ticket to Goa Cermin.
Entrance ticket to Goa Cermin

Tickets of Goa Cermin, the Mirror Cave

Around Yogyakarta, there are some obyek wisata (tourist attractions). One of them is Goa Cermin. I noticed that one on a map already back in 2000, but until last year I didn't have the chance to go there, even worse, I just forgot about it until I was walking through an old Lonely Planet on a quiet day. All of a sudden I wanted to go there, so I prepared the motorbike, filled it up with gas and set course towards the caves. While going there, the weather got bad and is soon started raining. However caves are dry, I didn't want to walk around wet all day, so for that afternoon I decided not to worry about it too much and I added visiting Goa Cermin to my wish-list again.

It wasn't much later until I found my wish-list again. Yep, my wish-list looks the same as many of the tickets here, low quality paper with hard-to-read prints. But my wish-list was hand-written as well, adding another obstacle for others to read them. But Goa Cermin it was. The way to it wasn't that hard, there are good roads leading to it, and there are those brown with white signs telling you where to you if you don't know where to go. Of course I didn't so I had to rely on those signs.

When I saw the entrance sign of the tourist attraction, I was sure I was almost there. I should have known that these signs are normally placed well in advance. Luckily it was allowed to bring your motorbike almost into the caves. Almost of course, because the local preman had created their own small parking lot just in front of the ticketing booth. Parking fee was Rp 2.000, to be paid to one of the youngsters sitting on a wooden fence. Entrance fee to the caves was much less, Rp 750 to be exact. That's less than 7 eurocents.

Maybe it's true that you get what you pay for. The caves aren't very special and they are dark of course. Some of the caves are just holes in the rock walls. There are places to pray and make offers. Several big trees in front of the entrance of the main cave are on a well-maintained resting area, there are no trash cans there, but it's clean anyway. Upon entering the real cave, some people woke up to offer me a flash-light. I could already see there was no lighting inside, but I still wanted to take a look down there.

The cave itself is a decent one. You can make an underground trip if you want, but bring a set of dry clothes, because you will have to venture yourself in fresh water. I didn't count on that, so I decided just to take a look in the dry part of the cave, the first few meters that is. There is a stairs down to the water level. You will find some other people hanging around there. If it's a weekday, it's pretty sure all those people are there all the time, offering flash-lights. During weekends, more people visit these caves to pray.

When I left, all I was curious about is how the cave would look like deeper than I had seen now. There was a hand-drawn map of the entire cave system on the ticket booth, but it was still hard to imagine how it looked inside. So now these caves are still on my wish-list.

Entrance ticket to the railway museum in Ambarawa.
Entrance ticket to the railway museum in Ambarawa.

Ticket to the railway museum in Ambarawa.

Something completely different is a railway museum, south of Semarang, and about 2 hours by motorbike from Yogyakarta. I knew about this railway museum for a long time already. Again it was a lack of time to bring it a visit. On one nice day, it was time to look for it. The route towards it was via the main road to Semarang. In Ambarawa itself you will see signs for it when you are near the war museum, that's on the main road, the railway museum isn't. I haven't visited the war museum yet though, I'm more interested in trains.

The museum is located at the railway station of Ambarawa. Outside the still active tracks, the train station itself dates back to the Dutch colonial time, and if you ask me it breathes the same atmosphere as the 's-Hertogenbosch train station in the southern part of the Netherlands. But it's passed glory since all other train stations look completely different, or modern as it's called. The most horrific one is Stasiun Gambir in Jakarta, with it's 1970's green and orange colors.

Outside the official tracks, there are also small pieces of tracks which each have their own locomotive. They are all painted black and red for old times sake. They look good from the outside and from a distance, but when you take a closer look, or even get onto them (for as far as it's possible) you will notice that maintenance of these locomotives is something they haven't heard of here.

At the moment I was there, there was a photo shoot with a not-so-pretty lady wearing an umbrella. Some men were almost obsessingly watching the photo shoot, hanging lazy on a wooden bench while their wife was shopping - yes there were people selling wooden trains here and I got one for Rp. 30.000 - and their kids were playing around on the deserted tracks on the other side of the station.

When walking around from tree to tree - to be in the shadow most of the time - I discovered that the main entry wasn't the only place where you could enter the museum and train station. Near the end of the series of parked locomotives, there was a big hole in the fence. Barbed wire was cut away to make an easy entrance for the locals. Walking around to the main entrance was probably too far away. All of a sudden I realized that most people at the museum had probably sneaked in for free here.

Posted in Travel @ 15 February 2006 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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