A Travellerspoint blog

June 2013

Canada takes over tour but is it corrupt?

Jakarta

sunny 35 °C

Sunday, July 30th

After a good rest and a hearty breakfast we felt equipped to head out a little adventure. Almost as soon as we were ready, Janet arrived. She had stayed with her brother’s friend for the first night.

None of the guide books describe Jakarta as a city worth visiting and I guess that is why our tour bails out of here early in the morning however I have to say I really enjoyed my day and I don’t think it has anything to do with my instant fame.

We decided to take a taxi to what is referred to as the “old town” or Kota which was once a Dutch colonial area. Today is some sort of school holiday so the streets and squares are full of families enjoying the day. But we had barely arrived when I became part of some sort of school project. This group of most school girls (one boy I think) came over and politely, with some giggles, asked if they could have their picture taken with me. Of course I said yes, and I asked them their names and ages while they took turns. Then they had a list of questions that wanted to ask me. So, I obliged while they video taped the interview. The usual questions, “where am I from?, do I like Indonesia?, if I am married?, if my country is corrupt?” Just the regular stuff. And what is the right answer to the last question? It was fun. They posted for a picture for me after.
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We wandered around looking at the street venders before going to the famous puppet museum (Wayang). Entry was 50 cents. We were immediately greeted by a guy who told us about his famous puppeteer family. I likened him immediately as the Indonesian version of the Turkish carpet salesman where they befriend you and then take you to their shop. I was right but he was lovely and no pressuring. He gave us a nice tour of the museum and then of course we visited his little shop. I resisted but Shirley got some nice puppets. A neat experience.

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Once we walked around a little, we jump in a cab and went to another area housing the National monument of Monas. Actually, we waited a long time for a cab. They are not easy to get but suddenly as Janet and I were making a plan, little Shirley shows some leg and wiggles her bum and a cab appears. Alright, I may be embellishing a little but she definitely got the cab when we had failed. Again, we just roamed around the parks. People are supper friendly and I had my picture taken a few times. We stopped and spoke to a few people. One lady explained she had to tell her kids why we were in the park. It is because “we are travelers”. (see pix of her sitting with kids)

Then it was time to head back to the hotel for a rest before meeting the gang at seven. Besides, Shirley was gone in the heat. It was certainly hot but thankfully nothing like Cambodia. Unfortunately our cabbie got lost and caught in traffic but on a positive note, in Indonesia, that only means an extra $1. It is the time that hurts more.

Our tour group seems great as always. We have a Swiss couple, a couple from Edmonton, one girl from the UK, who is Janet’s roommate, and four Australians. That makes 5 Canadians!!! Several have done multiple Intrepid trips. We had a short meeting and then headed off for supper. Most of us had the Nasi Goreng. I had mine spicy. It is fried rice, with a fried egg and a couple of chicken wings. Oh and some gross version of shrimp chips.

We leave here at 7am to take an 8am train to Bandung. Looking forward to the next stop but was surprised to have enjoyed Jakarta. Felling good about my decision to skip the side street tattoo though.

I just got an update on facebook from Isaac's group saying all is well and they went to bed early which makes me happy. I also got a text from him earlier saying he slept on the flight and that he was waiting til later when he had a shower to change his underwear. That's my boy!

Talk to you tomorrow.

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Posted by curlygirl 08:22 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta indonesia java intrepid Comments (0)

Jakarta

Intrepid - Jakarta to Ubud

sunny 33 °C

We landed at Jakarta airport right on schedule at 11:00pm. This flight felt the longest after seeming so close from Hong Kong but it was still another 4.5 hours flying and in pretty cramped quarters. I had always heard great things about Cathy Pacific but this was nothing to write home about (oh, wait, I am writing home but not for the right reasons). It was fine but the movies ran on their time on poor quality screens but all that doesn’t matter when we are here safe and sound.

Getting through the airport was not a quick process. We first had to pay for our entry visas, $25 or 250000 rupiahs, then line up for immigration. The wait for the bags was torturously slow and ours were amongst the last to come off but again, that does not matter. In the miracle of air transportation our bags arrived. From there we line up for a Blue Bird taxi, the most popular and considered safest taxi into the city. This took about 30 minutes, and the ride in another 30 minutes costing 130000 rupiahs or $13.

It was a long couple days but really quite simple considering we are half way around the world in one piece. Once again, despite the bad reviews on trip advisor, the hotel is just fine. Off to try and sleep. Should be easy, only had about 15 hours so far today.

A quick update before we start our day. I had a wonderful sleep and am enjoying breakfast before we track down Janet and beginning our day.

Isaac has arrived in Australia and was heading out to start his day.

Meeting our group at 7 pm.

Let the good times roll

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Posted by curlygirl 20:39 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta indonesia java intrepid Comments (1)

Hong Kong Airport

Good Morning from Hong Kong Airport. Well, it is actually 6pm here so I guess that makes it good evening. So far, our travels have gone really well with great connections and lots of sleep, at least for me. Shirley, not so much, although I think she has done ok and will probably be laughing when we get to Jakarta in 6 hours and is ready for bed while I am pacing the floors. We had great seats for our 16 hour leg and somehow ended up in United’s premium economy. Now before you are too impressed, it just means 5 extra inches of leg room which is likely more valuable to me than my little friend. The bigger bonus was no one between us so we had 3 seats to share. It was relatively comfortable because I slept the whole way minus the meals (wouldn’t want to miss those). I only watched one movie and had a nap in the middle of that. Shirley watched 4 and a half. We have an hour here before our 5 hour flight to Jakarta.

I am quite relaxed now but leaving St. John’s was tough. Our flight from St. John’s was moved up a half hour so poor Isaac had to go to the airport at 3:30am with us. He saw the first group from his school leave for Australia but his group had not yet arrived. His cousins were also due to arrive shortly after we left as well as they were headed to NYC. Still, leaving him all alone was brutal and as expected I was sobbing and had many more tears throughout the first flight. Once I heard that his group had arrived and he slept to Toronto I settled. He, on the other hand, was probably glad to see me go, I had the poor fella nagged to death.

Anyway, just checking in. We are getting excited now that we are on the continent and feeling the culture. Shirley is trying to figure out when and how to get some time in Hong Kong.

Gotta say I don’t mind the long flights and the compression stockings have worked like a charm. My ankles still look like ankles. Shirley elected to wear the full hose and nearly put out her back trying to get them on so that may be a consideration if you are thinking of getting a pair.

Speaking of plane attire. I was concerned about my look, all in black and my hood temple jacket but it seems I look really hot. Some guy kept staring at me at the check in at St. John’s claiming to be interested in my passport cover but Shirley thinks he was hitting on me and then boarding our flight to Hong Kong some guys smiles and makes funny eyes…lol. Not sure but we’ll go with that.

Talk to you from Jakarta.

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Posted by curlygirl 03:40 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged asia Comments (2)

One mom, one friend, one sister, one world

Indonesia adventure

Well, truth be told, the title of this should be more like two moms, three friends, and a bunch of sisters since we all fall into multiple categories here but that title isn’t quite as catchy. In short, there are 3 of us. I am travelling with my long-time friend Shirley and her sister Janet.

In less than 24 hours, I will be in St. John’s starting a long journey to Indonesia but even more even more significant is that at the same time as I board that aircraft, I will be leaving my 14 year old son at the airport waiting to begin his journey to Australia. An hour after my departure, he will leave on a different flight with 60 of his school mates on an amazing adventure and I am thrilled for him. Still, I am not sure how that will go given I am filling up with tears just typing this. This all seemed like a great idea in its conception over 2 years ago.

So for the first time in a while I will embark on a world adventure without my son. There is a part of me that is sad not to be sharing this with him but to be honest; I am also excited to be able to travel having to worry only about myself for a change and he is excited not to travel with his mother nagging to repack his suitcase neatly each night.

In my head, I have come to terms with it all, noting that I am partially responsible for his sense of adventure and glad that he shares my passion for seeing and embracing this awesome world that we call home.

Our travels take us from St. John’s to Halifax then on to Chicago. Then a 16 hour flight to Hong Kong, a short layover and a 5 hour flight to Jakarta on the island of Java.

Once in Jakarta we join our tour. This will be my third trip to Asia with Intrepid (in less than 16 months (how lucky am I?). With Intrepid we will travel across the island of Java then cross by ferry to the island of Bali staying there for a couple of extra days on the end. Here’s our tour if you want to look at the awesome itinerary.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ca/indonesia/jakarta-ubud-49389

Looking forward to sharing the adventure.

Posted by curlygirl 16:57 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia java intrepid Comments (0)

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