22-Jan-2005 -- Confluence 8S 111 E, Eest of Pracimantoro, West Java Indonesia. Saturday 22nd January 2005
My driver and I left Yogyakarta at 0800, and arrived at Giriwoyo at 1100. The area is quite rugged with limestone cliffs, mountains and some big rivers. We looked around for the small road heading east and finally found it. We followed the road till we were directly south of the point by about 6km, (the map says we should have been north west of the confluence). The road then turned north directly towards the point, and I was becoming optimistic – bad news, the bridge shown on the map is not there. Time for a change of plans we back tracked and headed futher north to try another road. This trip again confirms that Indonesian maps are to be used as a general reference only.
We took the road from Baturetno, and followed for about 6 km. Unbelievably we ended up within 1.5 km directly north of the confluence, I started on foot at 12:00 directly up a steep hill.
The hike was beautiful, along manicured paths through terraced gardens and cornfields. There were numerous little waterfalls and streams coming off the mountain. I gradually made my way up the mountain contouring along the terraced paths. The point lies directly in the middle of a narrow steep creek bed. I had to climb over steep rocks and embankments to get there. The GPS was jumping around as satellite coverage had dropped due to the narrow canyon, I set the GPS down on the ground as it flickered close to all zeros.
I had lunch, and took some photos of the scenic area and hiked back to the car. I arrived back at the car at 1500 after traveling 4 km, and a total ascent of 200 meters. This was the nicest confluence point I have been to. Before this trip, I had originally not expected to reach this point due to ruggedness of the geography, I was extremely pleased to have had such a nice hike, and also be rewarded with success.
The fun was not over yet. On the way back, we were stopped by police at the small town of Pracimantoro. Seems that the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was spending the Idul Adha holiday at his village near there. He was traveling back to Yogya and was due to drive by at any moment. The police had cordoned off the road all the way back to Yogya (about 100km) The president’s motorcade came zooming through, I got a photo of the 1st lady waving out of the black Merc. We hopped in the car and took off, we managed to get right at the tail end of the motorcade and joined it all the way to Yogya. This was about as good as it gets driving in Indonesia. All oncoming traffic had been stopped, all side roads blocked by police, and no busses, trucks or cars ahead of the motorcade. We traveled fast non stop all the way back to Yogya. The roads were lined by police, and local residents coming out to wave at us as we and the motorcade passed by.
Arrived back at the hotel at 1700 a normal 3 hour journey only took 2 hours. I don’t think anyone else has been escorted by the president of the country after a successful confluence visit.