The International Steam Pages

Steamy Java Sugar Mill Tour 2010, The Sunday Parade

This series of pages from July and August 2010 records our travels from China to Malaysia and on to Java, Indonesia where we were hosting the 'Steamy Java Tour 2010'. Click here for the main Winds of Change index page.

We had a wonderful day out at Gondang and, best of all, I persuaded the group to give me two hours on my own in the mill while they visited Prambanan. So 'Grumpy Old Man Mr. Rob' was only too happy to stop the bus on the way back for the classic sunset shot.

Next morning was to be the C1218 charter down the main street in Solo - I made a test ride very successfully back in May 2010. In a moment of rare inspiration, I had booked it for early on a Sunday morning when I expected the traffic to be minimal as the kind of Indonesian who drives a car normally likes a lie in on that day. Coming back through Purwosari, I saw a sign about 'car free Solo' (yes it was partly in English) which proclaimed that Jalan Slamet Riyadi was closed to all motorised traffic every Sunday morning. At which point I had visions of the train running down a ghost street... Anyway, I put it to the back of my mind and enjoyed dinner. Afterwards, I was so tired that I even forgot I had put the other half of my pre-prandial beer in the room fridge.

Next morning, Yuehong and I were lying in bed enjoying each others company at 06.30 when I heard the unmistakable sound of a steam whistle. I flung on a T-shirt, grabbed the nearest pair of jeans and trainers and pantless and panting I rushed into the street. Unfortunately, I had chosen a rather baggy pair of jeans and my belt was in the room... So with one hand holding up the jeans and the other the camera, I blearily set about recording the scene. Far from being empty, it was full of early morning strollers and cyclists and various organised groups were out too. However, with some gentle persuasion, the Red Sea parted and 'the spontaneous people plus train' shots must have pleased all but the most fastidious of our customers...

I was out for barely five minutes, but was delighted with the results - it did help that the train stopped outside the hotel as John Raby had guessed (correctly) that I would not have been up in time to greet the train's passage down the street.

After which, there was nothing to do except enjoy breakfast and write (and upload) this page, the road being closed until 09.00. Except that is, to finish the rest of the previous night's beer. 

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson