My Indonesian Experience

Being brutally honest is very hard for me because in general I don’t like speaking about bad experiences especially if it’s something as sensitive about our homes. And so for the first time in my life I’m gonna make a very public statement about something that really wasn’t a very good experience for me.

My cell member Jac booked tickets for Bandung, Indonesia ages ago and I was quite looking forward to the trip. I fantasised of nature spots and a picturesque city in my head but reality has a rude way of interrupting sometimes as you will soon hear about in this post.

Flying into Bandung & stepping out onto the runway of the quaint airport was nice and our first meal at this nice restaurant was a pretty good start to the trip but things soon started to take a turn downhill. It took us ages to find a hotel and driving around the city was horrendous due to the one way streets and heavy traffic. Plus Indonesia in general is a pretty dense place and the country overall isn’t very well to do which didn’t make it very picturesque.

The streets of Bandung.

The streets of Bandung.

I didn’t take any shots of the poorer parts of the city that I got to see but for the most part Bandung looks very much like the shot above. Sigh … Just being there and seeing the sights & sounds made me appreciate Malaysia very much. It was also strange to see rich structures amidst the overall poor portions of the city. I stepped into a “posh” shopping mall in the southern part of the city and boy was it a very different place compared to most of Bandung. It just made me realise that the disparity between the rich & the poor is huge in Indonesia. It must be such a struggle and when I thought about it I wouldn’t even know how to bridge that gap if I were in government in Indonesia.

The Paris Van Java mall.

The Paris Van Java mall.

To be fair we did have one highlight and that was the trip up to Tangkuban Prahu where we spent a couple of hours looking at volcanic craters. The experience was marred somewhat by peddlers hawking their wares and doing their utmost to hit our pity nerve (which they did succesfully) but other than that I loved every minute on the volcano. That was the one thing that made my trip to Bandung worthwhile. Our guide was a pleasant chap and I learnt a lot about the volcano and the legend surrounding the formation of the mountain. The hike made my legs ache but it was worth it.

Kawah Ratu - the main crater at Tangkuban Prahu.

Kawah Ratu - the main crater at Tangkuban Prahu.

To be fair to the city, one of my acquaintances whom I met in Singapore last month was a very pleasant chap and he kept SMS-ing me things to look out for which was really nice of him. I wish the other nature sights were nicer but Maribaya waterfall was dirty (at least the part of it that we saw) and we accidentally went to theme park of sorts instead of the Ciater Spa. I guess for me it was an eye-opener because I experienced for myself what life was like to the average Indonesian and it’s a difficult life with not much luxury.

The food wasn’t that great to me cos’ in general Javanese/Sundanese cuisine has a lot of raw vegetables and the average warung or stall doesn’t keep their food heated up. A lot of the stuff is just laid out on plates and served cold which didn’t make food very appetising. Veggies were served ulam style and eaten raw with chilli. The fried chicken was good though but overall I didn’t really enjoy my meals. I guess I’ve been spoilt somewhat by the variety of Malaysian food ya?

One thing I learnt from the trip was that company makes a world of difference and my travel mates Diani, Jac, Shawn, Sanjay & Abner certainly made the whole thing fun. Guys, if you’re reading this … you guys RAWK! I loved hanging out with you … and … shhh … drinking too. Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Love you guys!

For a glimpse of the more scenic shots I took, check out my photo album by clicking here! All taken with my brand new W810i.

Cheerios!

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