Since my workplace was closed for the week of the Eid holiday, I decided to take just a few days and leave the city to explore another peaceful, sandy location.
My intention was to spend a few nights of the island of Karimun Jawa. I had heard stories and seen lots of pictures which convinced me I was guaranteed to thoroughly enjoy myself. As soon as I could, I booked a plane ticket to Semerang and a hotel on Karimun Jawa, being assured that it was easy to get a taxi from Semerang to Jepara, and then a boat from Jepara to the islands.
Its a good thing I took my plans with a grain of salt, because I never made it to Karimun Jawa. :-(
After a smooth flight and a comfortable taxi ride to Jepara, I found out that, for some unknown reason, no boats were going to the islands that particular day. I was immediately stranded. There was a chance that I could get a boat the following day, but there was nothing else to do except try and find somewhere to stay for the night, during one of the busiest traveling holiday’s of the year.
Luckily, I found a place not too far away from the marina. For about $30 I was able to stay at the Segoro Hotel and restaurant, which included breakfast.
Since it was so early in the day, I decided to take a much-needed nap before venturing out. I basically had no cell reception and I was eaten alive by mosquitos, but beggars can’t be chooser’s. I was just glad not to be homeless for the night.
Feeling refreshed, I hopped a pedicab to explore the area. Known for its wood carving, Jepara boasts many skilled artisans. As expected, just about every other building was a carpentry shop, each displaying a more intricately designed headboard or dining set than the last.
After my tour of the town, I had a relaxing evening with some good books and a soft pillow, while enjoying “room service,” thanks to the attached restaurant.
The next day was more of the same as I tried to arrange a boat ticket again with no luck. The entire boat was mysteriously “sold out” five minutes after the boat office opened…. I, along with a few other tourists, was forced to change my plan and forego my island destination due to this suspicious development. Luckily, the hotel I stayed in the night before still had space, so I was able to stay another night with no worry. Needless to say, I got a lot of reading done the next day as well.
The following day was the only day I was actually supposed to stay in Jepara. I had a separate reservation at the Joglo Putu Inten hotel, so I just hopped into another pedicab to get to my final destination.
This was a really nice place: traditional Javanese style, beach, pool, restaurant…and the best part was the semi-secluded area.
Even though I completely missed the Karimun Jawa islands, I at least got plenty of rest and relaxation, which is what vacation is all about after all. Plus, I was still able to explore a new location. I ended up really enjoying my short stay there.
There were miles of endless back roads and alleys that were unpaved and unnamed. It was really interesting to see how people navigate through a lifetime of community connections and landmarks. It felt as if the only way to truly know where you are going is if you’ve already been there.
Once again I found myself exploring a sleepy seaside town with oodles of charm and boatloads of welcome. Even though my original plans fell through, something great managed to fall together.