My "Too Cute"s

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mika going Wild at the International X-treme Autoshow

It's been ages since we went on holiday with the kids. Inez went to my mom and said that her school holidays were nearly over and yet she hadn't even been anywhere with us. My fault, mostly - been so busy and hubby is also usually traveling - and weekends are supposed to be lazy.

Anyway, we had two wedding invites, both at the end of the spectrum: KB and KL. My hubby actually wanted to go to both; but since my Dad cancelled the plan of going to KB for my cousin's grandson's wedding, we decided to go to KL for Zul's niece's wedding. It's that time of the year when people take advantage of the long weekend hols to get married.

So we decided why not kill two birds with one stone and take our young ones for a holiday while we're at it. Melaka, here we come! But Melaka was fully booked. Never knew Melaka was such a hot holiday destination. It was crazy, every hotel we called up was fully booked. So, we went to our wedding, helped out with it, even Inez and Mika played a small but significant role in opening up the petals of the bunga telur. The solemnization of vows were to take place that night after the Isyak prayers, so we took time off from the wedding preparation to go to Bukit Jalil for the International X-treme Autoshow. Tickets were priced at RM28 for adults and RM8 for children, if I remember correctly. It was the first day. It was like seeing all the cars on MTV's Pimp My Ride in one place. Mika was just so excited and checked one one car after another and wanted to have his photos taken here and there at one car or another.

Unfortunately for him, his mommy had forgotten to charge her camera battery and the camera sort of died out on us during one of his poses. Poor boy!
Anyway here are some of the shots:
Really can't believe how boys just instinctively grow an attitude when they are snapping photos in front of cars. See Mika's cool poses. Normally, he'd just make a monkey face whenever the camera's on him.

Compare that face to Inez's face in the pix below.

Here's Inez in front of a car she can tolerate. Haha!
And here's Mika with all the cars in the background (well, most!)
Mika didn't want to leave but we did have a wedding to attend, so we left around 6:30. Inez said it just wasn't her day. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Hunt for SOMETHING FOR ME: Day 3 Bandung Shopping

Day 3! We're going home and my bag's empty? How can that be?
Hubby felt sorry for me and we went out again to JL Dago and stumbled into LEVEL. Struck gold! Finally, a shop that I found something I liked. Bought myself some Jockey Yoga Pants (not that I do Yoga, but Yoga pants are extremely comfy to wear around the house) and bought Yoga pants for my mom, and my sisters, and I also found Isaac Mizrahi's T-shirts for Target which cost around I don't remember anymore. So I got one for myself and one for my mom. One satisfied customer. :D
Then , we came to a little factory outlet called Jetset, there I found Burberry T-shirts. Nice! Now I was happy to go home.
Anyway, here's a picture of an affordable hotel we came across called Patra Jasa. We figured if there's a next time in Bandung, we'd bring the kids and stay here coz it's on JL Juanda, and you just have to walk left or right or just cross the road to get some crazy shopping experience. You don't even need the Angkut.
Anyway, we left Bandung before noon on the TransX coz Zul didn't want to get stuck in any unpredictable jam in Jakarta going to the airport. Well, that's it, our bandung holidays!

Day 2 Bandung

Day 2 was a Sunday and due to their Independence Day Celebration, it was a long weekend, as Monday was also a Hari Libur/ holiday for the locals. After a long hard shopping day the day before, we were kind of undecided what we wanted to do. More shopping or some sightseeing. Anyway, as we were crossing the road near the hotel, an Angkot going to Lembang honked at us. Since we were without any real plans, we hopped into the Angkot. If you want to go to Tangkuban Perahu, you will pass Lembang. Here's the view from inside an Angkot:
It's kinda low, so you really need to bend your head when you are getting in. The boy in the picture is a fellow tourist. He's from Jakarta and also heading for Tangkuban Perahu. You can see a musician/busker at the door. We stopped at a traffic light. Street musicians take this opportunity to earn a quick buck.
Here's a random pix of Lembang.
It's like a cowboy town. For me, Lembang wasn't exactly that impressive but the way up to Lembang totally was. You can see all the Dutch influence in the buildings and so on. Apparently in Lembang, you have to take another Angkot, or car or whatever to Tangkuban Perahu. We never found out coz we turned back. We didn't even get down in Lembang town but got the Angkot to put us at the Strawberry Park that we saw as we were going into Lembang.
There, we bought some strawberries and blackberries. My first taste of Blackberries! Definitely, if I come across them again, I'd buy more this time. Nice!
But the park itself was kinda sad looking. We have better looking and better maintained parks in Cameron Highlands, I think. We couldn't wait to get on another Angkot and go shopping instead. As we were going down, we saw that cars were really piling up to go to Lembang/Tangkuban. We thanked God that we decided to follow our feet. Had we decided to go later we'd be wasting time, being stuck in a jam.
From the strawberry place, we took another Angkot back to Bandung town. I saw a kids' boutique (Yen's Baby Shop) and we got down. There was another outlet for kids (Happy Kids) next to it and between the two outlets was a steakhouse. We went from one shop to another. I saw a Baby Phat dress here but Zul didn't want his kids wearing any of those. I don't think he's too impressed by what he saw on Entertainment channel 712. But we bought Ben 1o T-shirts here, 1 from each shop. One for Mika and another for Naqib. Mika loves Ben 10. His fave alien is the one that can roll himself into ball, like an armadillo. Ah, what am I saying? He likes 'em all.
We had lunch at the steakhouse. It was okay. I've tasted better. Price? Not too cheap and not too expensive. More like the price of Western food at the food courts in KL malls.
From there, we took another Angkot to go to FOs in Jl Dago that we didn't enter the day before. I had not done my shopping yet. I can't remember where exactly we stopped at first. It could be Zenith FO (pix below) but I don't know. I know I didn't buy anything from here. After a while, all the FOs began to look alike to me. Especially when I kept seeing the same fashion for women and they don't stock many in 1 shop.
Here's the inside of Zenith. They had some interesting kids' stuff but I've been buying and so I tried really hard to stop myself from looking at more kids' stuff.
My hand must have been shaking. Kinda blurry but you get the picture, right? After that, we went to Level FO. (sorry not Jetset as mentioned earlier. We went to Jetset on Day 3.)Finally, something for me! But it's something to wear at home. I think Zul bought himself a Giorgio Armani suit here. I guess in all the excitement, I forgot to snap a photo of the FO. Bought this horribly cute dress for Hana and surfer shorts for Mika. I know, I know, I just couldn't resist buying stuff for the kids. I think all together I spent too much on the kids. No more birthday presents, I say!
Then, we walked to Rumah Mode (see pix above). Rumah Mode is supposed to be the biggest and most popular FO in Bandung. You feel the difference just getting towards the building. So many people! Cars coming in and out of the parking lots! Tourists and locals! and I really didn't see what the hype was about when I walked around inside. Plus I was feeling a bit dizzy because of all the people inside. I got out. I didn't buy anything. Outside there was a live show. Interesting, the singer was singing Rihanna's Take a Bow. I must say she sang better than the original singer. Sorry, Rihanna. Haha.
These are people leaving Rumah Mode.

We then left Rumah Mode and I think we boarded another Angkot. We stopped the Angkot at the sight of Paris Van Java (pix below). I got in, got out. Nothing! However, what was interesting is the signboard near it advertising X-Trans. We haven't figured out how we were going to get back to Jakarta; so we decided to check out. This brought us to Cihampelas-where FOs were named after superheroes.
This is the view from the X-Trans office. Below is the X-Trans office building. Anyway, Zul booked us seats to go back to Jakarta on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Then, we went back to our hotel. Went out again for dinner at a nearby restaurant just outside the hotel gate. Zul thinks the restaurant served the best rendang he's ever tasted. Then we explored the shops nearby. Apparently there's a Carrefour and one of the shops was selling Pumpkin Patch clothes and Batman 3/4 shorts on discount. Beli lagi baju untuk budak2. Sigh!

Then I tried the roadside fried tofu. Yummy for Rp3K.

Then we went back to our hotel and crashed out.

More Bandung Shopping! Still Day 1

After lunch at Dapurku, we decided that the day was still young, and why not head for our first Factory Outlet or FO of the day. On my list was Jl Dago. And next to it was a recommended FO called Uptown. At the restaurant, we asked how to get to Dago (which apparently is the oldest and most famous street in Bandung). We saw many Angkutan Kota or Angkots on the road.

We also noticed that the locals were using them. They must be affordable; and they were! It costs about Rp1000 to Rp5000 per pax depending on the distance.So we asked how do we get one that goes to Dago. Did I mention that when we were there, people were celebrating their Independence Day on Sunday? You could actually hear people practising for the parade especially early in the morning.

Anyway, the lady manning the kerepek counter gave us some directions and we found ourselves outside these gates (see pix below).
Across the street was like an Angkot stop. These Angkots can actually pretty much stop wherever and anywhere they like. If the drivers spot anyone they think need their service, they'd stop or honk. If the targets do need an angkot, other angkots won't stop for them anymore. It's almost as if the code among Angkot drivers is Finders keepers, losers weepers. Anyway, if you want to stop the Angkot, you say KIRI (left) and the driver will stop for you.
So we took one that says Dago on it. Be careful which Dago Angkot you take. We learnt the hard way that there are many Dago angkots and there are several combinations like Kelapa-Dago and so on. Kelapa is actually a name of a place. From the Angkot, we kept our eyes peeled and found Uptown! (Refer to earlier Bandung post for pix.) So cool! And we weren't disappointed.
Here's what Uptown FO looks like inside. This is the kids' section. We bought clothes for the kids.
Here is another FO we saw across the street.
And here's what it looks up close:
We didn't buy anything from here. Then we walked to Kartikasari (also within walking distance).
This is the place famous for its brownies. See pix below. We just bought a slice of this and that to try. On the last day, we stopped at a branch of Kartika Sari near the hotel to get some cakes and brownies to bring back. Zul went designers' here. He bought himself a Just Cavalli jeans and D&G shoes. They were very affordable. And absolutely gorgeous on him. Perfect fit.
Then we walked to the next FO and the next.
From here I think I bought some pants for Mika and Naqib. So far nothing for myself yet.
The building above is DSE. Here Zul bought a bag to bring our shopping home (he foresaw our bags wouldn't be enough), and some Old Navy pants. So many shops, yet, I hadn't found anything for me yet. Zul seemed to have struck gold at nearly every shop.
Anyway, we took a cab from DSE and I wanted to go to BEC. Somehow, in my mind, BEC changed to BTC (Bandung Trade Centre, and this was some distance away). Taxi wasn't a Bluebird. At first we thought he was using his meter but he said it didn't work. This was the taxi that fleeced us. Everywhere we wanted to go was 'lumayan jauhnya'/ reasonably far, even our hotel. Since he told us that BTC was lumayan jauhnya and cost RP35K, we decided to go back to the hotel. But on the way, I spotted the BEC building and realised that it was BEC that I wanted to go to and not BTC. We stopped the taxi and even though we didn't stop at our hotel, he wanted RP35K. Of all the nerve! We protested a little and I think we paid him RP30K.
Here, it was nearly 9 p.m. and most shops were closing. In that short window of time, I checked out the camera shops and knew that cameras were more expensive in Bandung. I gave up my quest for buying a camera, but Zul bought himself a laptop bag, which was really impressive coz it could be a backpack and a shoulder bag as well. It cost RM120 ++ if I'm not mistaken. Then we went back to our hotel. The champion shopper for the day was Zul. I was kinda depressed I couldn't find anything for me. Nothing appealed to me. It's just like that Samuel Coleridge poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner that goes, "Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink."
Shedih gitu...but who knows what tomorrow brings, and let's keep that till the next post. Ngantuk dah nie.

Wordworld on Astro now ; Simply Cool!

This is such a cool cartoon airing on Playhouse Disney Channel 613 on ASTRO. Especially SUPER COOL if your kids are learning to read and spell.




PEN INK ON WALL

I don't know if anyone remembers this but once upon a time, Mika scribbled on the wall between our rooms with black ball point ink. At first I thought they were pencil marks and so as punishment, I got Mika to rub it off with his eraser but to no avail. After trying everything I had, my paint began to thin. So I simply rectified it by taking out the chest of drawers from the kids' room and put that against the wall. At that time, even the internet couldn't help me.

Anyway, now guess what? There's finally a way to get rid of the pen marks. Apparently pantene pro-v hairspray works like a charm. :) Definitely will be trying that once I get myself that hairspray.

Read more about the tip from the link below:
http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf865567.tip.html

MORE YOUTUBE FAVES

HAMSTER DANCE


DANCING SLUGS


BEBE LILLY DANS L'ESPACE


ARABIC ALPHABET NASYID


ARABIC 1,2,3
Hana will yell out 'asyra' when it's number 10! Well, it sure sounds like it! Haha!


Mika's Faves.
WE WILL ROCK YOU! by WATER BOYS


ALIEN SONG


GUMMY BEAR


CRAZY FROG


INEZ'S FAVES.
Inez is like a teenager in a 7 yr old frame, sometimes methinks. Luckily she also likes the ones that Mika likes. :)
7 THINGS


THIS IS ME (FROM CAMP ROCK)


FROM HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 1


BARBIE IN DIAMOND CASTLE


BEN 10

UPSY DAISY LYRICS



Thanks to Ja, my baby Hana totally loves this song. Below is the Upsy Daisy Lyrics.

START

'I look, I see 2. (专辑名)

Upsy Daisy, now don't be lazy,
it's time to go to the Masjid.
Wash your face up, and pick the pace up,
it's time to go the Masjid.

Help your mother to get your brother,
it's time to go to the Masjid.
It's a wonderful place to go,
as a family.

We'll be standing,
all together in prayer.
We'll meet all our friends
when we are there.

We'll be standing,
all together in prayer.
We'll meet all our friends
when we are there.

So, upsy daisy, now don't be lazy,
its time to go to the Masjid.
We'll greet everyone with Salaam
when we're at the Masjid.

Listen carefully to the Imam,
when we're at the Masjid.
It's a wonderful place to go,
made for you and me.

We'll be standing,
all together in prayer.
We'll meet all our friends
when we are there.

We'll be standing,
all together in prayer.
We'll meet all our friends
when we are there.

So, upsy daisy, now don't be lazy,
it's time to go to the Masijd.
First we'll sit and read Qur'an,
when we're at the Masijd.

Next we pray with everyone,
when we're at the Masjid.
It's a wonderful place to go,
a wonderful place to be.

We'll be standing,
all together in prayer.
We'll meet all our friends
when we are there.

We'll be standing,
all together in prayer.
We'll meet all our friends
when we are there.'

END

Monday, September 22, 2008

People fall from the sky


The next day I asked Inez the same question. And I was expecting an answer like 'rain'. I know, when will I ever learn? To my surprise, Inez answered aeroplane crash, helicopter crash and people!
People?! What!
It's okay, Mommy, I mean people in parachutes. And people skydiving.
The things these kids know nowadays are pretty impressive I guess. 8)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Learning FUNdamentals is a cool book!


Last month, I went to Popular to hunt down some activity books for Inez and Mika. Mika especially loves mazes and every now and again tirelessly dogs me to draw him custom mazes with specific specifications, such as, "Draw me 3 firetrucks, Mummy" or "Can we have 5 monkeys?" or "4 houses on fire". It's not that easy to draw mazes, so I'd really rather spend some money than draw my own.
While I was there, I came across the book Learning FUNdamentals; and it's just great! I have to admit that I'm really not the type who keeps their children's drawings or artwork. I try but sometimes I just throw them away. I opened the book at a random page and the first article I saw was called 'Photographing Artwork' under the Self Esteem heading. This can be done when the fridge or wall becomes too crowded and there's no more space to put up new artwork. Should this happen, just photograph your child in front of the fridge or wall that's displaying all the artwork. The picture should then go to the child's own portfolio or The Book of Me. This will record the child's artistic progress. So for me, the advice was really impressive. The next page shows an article called Quiz Time, a game to play to keep children preoccupied. Some questions are Name 3 things that fall from the sky, Name three ways to travel. In the car, normally we'd play Eye-Spy but this was quite interesting too coz the answers are always unusual.
I asked Mika: Name 3 things that fall from the sky.
I was so totally expecting the answer rain and stuff but no, the answer was bird ("Bird?" i said, and he said, "yeah if people shot a bullet in the wings") and crashing airplanes and a helicopter that's broken. Totally unexpected!
I bought the book and it's well worth RM35.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Shopping in Bandung...woo hoo!

Bandung is basically all about shopping. Coz there, you are a millionaire (literally!), and you can afford Dolce and Gabbana underwear, Aigner bags, Giorgio Armani suits, Just Cavalli T-shirts decorated with in-your-face studded bling-blings, Burberry tops, and Kimora's Baby Phat clothes for your kids! Designer stuff everywhere! We were there 3 days and we hardly exhausted all the Factory Outlets there! Here are some we didn't even enter (see pix below).
BLOSSOM Factory Outlet (Look behind the Angkot)
RAFFLES CITY Boutique Outlet

Before going to Bandung, I did some last minute research, where to go and where to eat in Bandung, and here are some good blogs I found on Bandung:
Bandung: Shopping Paradise
(I didn't go to all the places she went to though, and I have to say if you wanna go shopping, Dago's the best. So many factory outlets within walking distance. She went to Cihampelas, that's where the shops are named after Rambo, and Spiderman and loads of other superheroes. That's where we took our X-Trans back to Jakarta.)
Place to eat at Bandung (A Malaysian perspective)
(I went to Simpang Raya. Mmmm, the moment you enter and sit at a table, plates and plates of food are set before you. Whatever you want to eat, you touch and if you don't wanna, you don't touch. Some are charged by the plate and some dishes are charged by the pieces. E.g. if there are 2 pieces of chicken on a plate, and you only take one. you are charged just one. We sorta misunderstood and ate by the plate. So guess what, we were charged for 4 pieces of chicken, 2 pieces of meat, and can't remember what else. Still, the price was quite reasonable.
I also went to Kartikasari for the brownies and kek lapis. Maybe i tried the wrong brownie coz the brownie was alright but the kek lapis was buttery and moist and simply gorgeous for a whopping Rp109K. When my dad was there, he bought another brand and it was okay, a bit on the dry side but this one....just lovely. mmmmmmmmmm)
I always go check out Trip Advisor if I plan to go anywhere. Click here for Bandung Forum page.

So having done my research, I wrote on a piece of paper I'd like to check out BEC. That's short for Bandung Electric Centre coz I wanted to check out the price of a camera. A Nikon is after all made in Indonesia. I wanted to go to Natural on JL Setiabudi, Uptown on JL Dago, Pasar Baru which opens from 9 - 5, and Renaritti on JL Martadinata. Other FOs of interest mentioned were Grande, Rumah Mode, Cargo and Rich & Famous. I also wanted to check out Distros which were supposedly cooler than FOs.

So did everything go as planned?

Here's what happened:
So we went to Bandung the night before the day we were supposed to go. Arrived there at nearly 10 p.m. Checked in and called it a night. Next morning, we got up, got dressed and breakfast was tasty. The selection was small but boy, was it tasty! It was made up of fried mee-hoon (vermicelli noodles), porridge, fried rice, fruits, and bubur pulut hitam. Yummy!

We asked the bellboy the whereabouts of Pasar Baru and apparently it was like a 10 to 15 minute walk away. Cool! No need to get a cab. So we walked in the direction pointed to us and we could see banks and lots of hardware stores. Kedaton Hotel is really like in the old part of town. You also see push carts laden with car parts:
I wanted to take some photos but we've ran out of batteries. (The pix above was taken the next day.) So, first thing on the agenda was to go get some batteries. Here's the electrical shop we bought it from.
Just a door away was a stationery shop which sold batteries for much cheaper. Dang! Anyway, Zul asked the seller what road were we on? She said / ʌ be t∫eɪ/ . We did a double take. What!? She pointed at the signboard across the road.


Oh, Jl. ABC.

Okay then we walked straight up the opposite direction of Pasar Baru and guess what, electrical shops lined both sides of the road!
Apa lagi, I went in and out asking about cameras. Alas, nothing beat the price of a Canon in Mangga Dua. As we walked the road back to where Pasar Baru was, we came across a wool shop. 1 big roll costs about Rp5000.00 so I bought 4 different coloured wools for Fatemah, who crochets well.
I also bought a cake tin in shape of a teddy bear.
Hahaha, I am not your regular shopper. In Jakarta, I bought a cake tin in shape of a car. There you go, that should make both Inez and Mika happy. To date, I have not made any cakes yet though. 8)
Anyway, sorry, silau laa this pix. Haha if you want a headache, just stare at this picture for 15 seconds. The car cake tin pix is slightly better. Forgive me for being an amateur photographer.

So we then made our way to Pasar Baru, wading our way through a crowd of people. I think we spent like 4 to 5 hours there. My friends wanted me to get for them some Kebaya material and so here's one of 'em. This one costs Rp150K. Or Rp 130K. Gosh, how quickly I forget. You can get a whole 'pasang' i.e., that is cloth for both top and bottom for Rp100 the cheapest I've come across. But, the quality is different. I have also come across really exclusive looking kebaya tops that cost millions of Rupiahs. So it really depends on how much you are willing to spend.
So, anyway, I bought everything on the first day. No intention of going back to Pasar Baru, unless really necessary. And we did return, coz Zul wanted to get belakon for his friends. The same belakon costs Rp80K at the Jakarta airport. If you buy enough, you get discount up to Rp15K per belakon. It's this traditional batik jawa type Songkok. Sorry no pix.

Then it was back to the hotel. We asked the hotel people again where to go if we wanted to have a good lunch. They recommended a place called Dapurku. We kinda lost our way on our way there but came across other interesting finds like this antique store.
We actually wanted to ask for directions to dapurku but got sidetracked. I ended up buying a Russian doll-like Indonesian doll. It actually doubles up as a container of sorts, and you can actually store your rings or brooches in there, but it's not that cheap. I haggled until I got it for Rp100K.
It's much bigger than the Russian dolls I got. I love Russian dolls. I have 2. And sometimes I let the kids play with them coz it teaches them the concept of size and allows them to create stories. They weren't cheap either. I bought them for like 30 Euros. Oh dear my memory is going. But that was years ago, 2002.

We finally found Dapurku. We were so hungry. Here's what it looks like from the outside.
The first thing we saw from the entrance was the food counter.

From the entrance, to the right is like a tuck shop selling all the traditional kerepek:
What it looks like inside the restaurant (pix below):
What we ate:
When you go to the counter, you point at stuff, and they will cook or heat up the food you ordered and bring to your table. The fish really tasted like otak2 if you are from Johor, or Sata if you are from Trengganu but spicier. Price: Rp51 920 for two.
Food: Yummy. Me, I love the sambal. I take the opportunity to eat their chilli sambal wherever I eat. Mmmmmmm.

Next stop, Dago street. First FO, was Uptown.
Will blog later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jakarta - Day 2

We were supposed to stay in Jakarta for 2 nights and leave for Bandung on Day 3. After the first expensive dining experience, as well as being stuck in a jam on the way back, we decided that we should be spending more time in Bandung. So, the next day, hubby made some arrangements and we thought to leave Jakarta right after checking out. In the meantime, we decided to do some Jakarta sightseeing. We got into a Blue Bird cab and made our way to Mangga Dua. We were supposed to take the overhead bridge to cross over to the market there but somehow we stumbled onto the Low Yat of Jakarta. There were floors and floors of electronic gadgets, and computers. My husband was astounded that there were so many shops selling Thinkpads, which was so difficult for him to get in Malaysia. I can't remember which model exactly he was thinking of getting. He was feeling a twinge of regret as he'd just bought himself a HP laptop at the recent Pikom fair in KL. When we finally crossed to the other side, where they were selling clothes and stuff, we discovered that the Mangga Dua Plaza was much more interesting. I wanted to get a Canon Ixus 80IS and we found 2 shops that could sell it for just below RM900. However since we were coming back to Jakarta as our flight back was from Jakarta, I decided not to get it yet. And who knows, the Canon might be cheaper in Bandung? To this day, I still regret not buying it in Jakarta. In Bandung, the cheapest price of the Canon was Rp75K more expensive, which amounted to RM952 inclusive of the 3% for credit card. For that price, I was just getting the camera without the casing, and a 4 gig memory card.

Anyway, it turned out that the cabby couldn't make it at the check out time and was arriving at 6 p.m. Do you know their 6 p.m. is really dark already and their 7 p.m. looks more like Malaysian 9 p.m.? So we decided to go to Tanah Baru, is it called? (It's Tanah Abang lah, sorry)I'm not so sure coz we ended up not going, thanks to the taxi driver who recommended we go to Melawai instead and it turned out he brought us to a huge mall (Pasaraya Grande) with really high-end but exquisite looking batik (the kind you wished someone got you coz you're too cheap to buy it yourself). I'm talking about millions of rups for a piece of kebaya material.
What I can say about the some of the batik clothes and dresses in that mall is that they don't look like batik or kain sarong anymore. The clothes look designers' and some are really chic looking and you can see the ladies of Jakarta wearing batik as casual and daily wear.
So, did I buy batik? Nope, instead I bought a car shaped cake tin for RM13 on one of the floors. Haha who would have thought I'd come out of a major batik store with a cake tin? Zul bought himself some biskut bangkit.
We were kinda irritated with the cab driver who assumed he knew what we were looking for. And too chatty too, he was. Ohh, we were glad to be rid of him when we arrived at that Melawai place. He told us it was easy to get a cab back and we waited for a good five to ten minutes before we decided to venture out to the main road to get a cab. We really needed to get back to the hotel coz the driver taking us to Bandung was almost there. Finally, a cabbie came and what a dirty fellow he was. Zul noticed him rolling up a piece of 10K rups and digging his ear with it. And guess what? Since the fare was Rp40K, and we only had a 50K piece, the Rp10k that he'd used to dig his ear was the change we got from him! Aaaaaaahhhhhhh. Thank God Zul caught him in the act. Now, I am suspicious of any notes I receive.

Going to Bandung

At that time we didn't know the existence of X-Trans (pix of X-Trans vans below), so what we did was pay Rp600K for a Kijang and another Rp310K for toll, petrol and the driver to take us there. Since we left at peak hours, we were lucky that our driver knew what roads to take and what roads to avoid. I really salute Jakarta drivers because it's really stressful to drive on their roads.

Jakarta Roads
First of all, you have to put up with traffic jams. Next, you have to put up with traffic jam vendors (see pix below, guy's selling feather dusters) who set up shop on road dividers or just walk around with their wares, which could range from mineral water, to newspapers and magazines (locally called koran) and wood carvings of horses! I must say that I admire their resourcefulness and willingness to work. Better selling stuff like this than being a robber or pickpocket. At least this is halal work.


Another interesting thing you could see on the roads are people putting up their index finger like they're trying to hitch a ride. And they are! For a sum, apparently, if there are three in a car, there's no need to pay toll. So you pay these willing passengers a small sum to avoid paying a bigger sum. There are also many traffic police on the road to ensure that everybody is driving in the right lanes. Apparently, there's a special one lane road for a certain number of people in a vehicle, if I am not mistaken, it's for 3 people. There are also bus lanes for buses.


Anyway, what I noticed is that Indonesian drivers are very cool. They zip in and out of lanes, and surprisingly they don't get angry even when an accident nearly happened. We didn't see any of the taxi drivers display any mannerisms of road bullies. There were no cabbies yelling strings of expletives like some do here in Malaysia. I was once in a cab to PJ whose driver kept saying "Niamah this and niamah that". On Jakarta roads, I guess it's because everyone is doing it and there's no point calling the kettle black, and getting mad about it. Methinks Jakarta drivers could set up an international driving school coz if you can drive there, you can drive anywhere. I swear the traffic is positively scary.

Bandung

The journey to Bandung was thankfully uneventful, thanks to our knowledgable driver. The only major traffic jam we encountered was at the R&R of all places. Zul thinks we were fleeced coz we paid quite an exhorbitant price for a Nasi Bebek (bebek actually means duck, haha, thought it meant goat, hahahaha) and a plate of rice with one fried fish and some vegetables. Zul said he'd eaten so much more before with his Indonesian colleague and had paid less. I guess the moment we opened our mouth to order we were screwed.

So a word of advice would be to eat at an eatery that has all the price stated on the wall or something so that it's not up to the shop seller to charge you.

We arrived in Bandung around 10 p.m. One half hour to get to the toll out of Jakarta, half hour or so at the R&R, and two hours on the highway to Bandung. It was really dark, and we fell asleep during the drive there but we found out later that the bridge to Bandung is kinda the highest. (Just look at the pix below. Read more on http://www.geocities.com/bandungcity/bdg.htm.)


















We stayed at Kedaton Hotel (below is a pix of the hotel from the outside and below it is how the room looks - they only had twin sharing). For about Rp488K on weekdays and Rp512K on weekends, you get breakfast and free internet access. They also come get you from the airport and send you to the airport for free! And it's a walking distance to Pasar Baru (last pix) where you can get kain batik, kebaya material, balakon (is this the right spelling? You know the songkok like thingy that's made from batik jawa or sarong) and kain sembahyang, sarong, etc. It opens from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. I'll be putting more on Bandung in my next post.




















































This is Pasar Baru. As you can see, packed with people.

Haha here's a better view of the sea of people in Pasar Baru.