Indonesia Trip (Part 2)


(continued from http://pascalalfadian.blogspot.com/2010/01/indonesia-trip-part-1.html)

Indonesians don’t really like to take public bus for inter-city travel, unless they want to save money. Instead, private companies sell services to transport people from one city to another using minivans. Very similar concept with public buses, only better. And more expensive. Locally they are simply called travel.

I took one of this travel to go to Bandung. Departed from Jakarta at around 8.30 AM, it took a smooth 2-hour journey to Bandung. Or maybe because I fell asleep during almost the whole trip, exhausted with abundant activities in part 1. At Bandung terminal, I took a cab to go my girlfriend’s house. Unfortunately the traffic was so bad in the city. There was a festival at Braga area, and the whole street was closed, causing jams on other roads as well. Slightly delayed, but I reached there just in time for lunch.

The next few days were spent visiting shopping mall for, err, shopping. We also tried watching movie in Ciwalk Premiere, whereby we can sit in a comfortable electronic controlled recliner seat. Very similar concept with GV Gold Class, only much cheaper. The price is Rp 50,000 or $7.5 in SGD. Personally I didn’t really enjoy the lavish seat. It made me feel sleepy, and I went there to watch movie anyway, not to cuddle myself. Thanks to the non-stop puzzle in the Sherlock Holmes movie that kept me awake.

On the new year eve, we fired fireworks at the attic. Most of them are small rockets that emits whistling sounds. The attic was transformed into Baghdad-like in the night as we could see on TV during Bush’ presidency period. There was even one firework that shots 6 fireballs, each will explode in the sky. My friend enthusiastically asked me to hold the tube in my hand tightly, and point it to the sky while it shoots the fireballs. I read the instructions for a while, and found a bold text warning “DANGER! DO NOT GRAB WITH HANDS”. When I asked her whether I really should do this, her answer was “don’t trust the text, it’s wrong”. Luckily my hand managed to survive after two set of tubes. It’s only that the fireworks throw a lot of dusts, covering my face and body, forcing me to take another shower in the midnight. All in all, it was a very good experience, especially with the fact that you may not get this in Singapore, as either the SCDF* will quickly come, or your neighbour auntie yelling at you for endangering her life.

The day after new year, I went back to Jakarta. I took the same travel I used earlier. Reached Jakarta around noon, my dad and brother picked me up for lunch before going to grandpa’s house. Wanted to be quick, we stopped at a small shop selling satays and fried rice. I tried the fried rice with mix of mutton, beef and chicken meat. It contains so much sweet soya sauce, but the taste is just perfect (it’s been a long time since last time I ate food with such strong taste). Afterwards, we went to my grandpa’s house. He was very healthy in his 90s, and I am sure his diet does not include the kind of fried rice I ate earlier. Lastly, we went to pick up my mom, but it was too late to take dinner outside. So we just bought a fast food to take home.

The next day, I had to return to Singapore, with my brother again dropped me at the airport. There was an automated check in machine for AirAsia flights, so I bothered to give a try. Unfortunately the machine didn’t respond at the stage of sliding my passport. Seems that I have bad luck with travel documents (see part 1), and the queue for normal check-in was too long already, so I decided it is best to join the queue and use old fashioned way.

At the immigration gate, I was slightly delayed by the tax officer. In Indonesia, we have a special tax of Rp 1,000,000 (+/- 150 SGD) for Indonesian nationals going abroad. An exception for professionals working outside Indonesia for more than 183 days like me, with a proof of passport and work visa. Unfortunately, I’ve just renewed my password recently, and the officer argued that the new passport didn’t have enough information to show that I have spent for more than 6 months abroad. He asked for my old passport, which unfortunately I have put in my checked baggage. After some arguments, he asked me to go to the immigration office for “special treatment”. So I went there, and lucky for me that the officer at the office gave me the clearance without even a single question. Moral of the story: either you bring your old passport for the first 6 months of new passport, or, try to stay away from unfriendly officers.

The rest of the journey is interestingly normal. I took the on-time flight, arrived on-time, and clear the automated gate easily (this time I knew what document to insert!). And so I arrived back in the on-time-country, Singapore!

* Singapore Civil Defence Force

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