It's that time of the year again and Air Asia is offering A MILLION FREE SEATS! Go people, go travel! It's true, everyone can fly; so fly! I myself have just got back from a well deserved holiday in Bandung. Okay, I didn't fly that far and I actually flew MAS (which by the way, is having its own MERDEKA SALE) to Jakarta and went to Bandung from there; but I swear, it's the MOST restful and relaxed holiday I've had in 3 years. I left work behind completely, and my adorable kids too. :(
It was just my hubby and me. Jakarta is really too crowded to bring 2 restless kids and a baby. I mean every time I looked out my hotel room, I see cars on the road stuck in one traffic jam or another. So imagine, taking the kids out in a cab and being stuck in there (shudder). Even the thought of it is scary. See photos below: (Photos aren't that clear but that's what the roads look like outside our hotel room on the 8th floor-Ibis Slipi Hotel - and it's not even peak hour! The topmost one was taken at 10 a.m. the next day and the one below was taken the day we arrived, some time in the evening around 6 p.m.)
Anyway, hubby says we can actually bring the kids to Bandung after experiencing Bandung ourselves. Initially, it was my parents who went first in the May school holidays this year and they went on about how beautiful it was and that the trip was too short...it wasn't enough...it was shopping galore. Dad had bought himself a leather jacket, a batik shirt, had custom made jeans...heck, I'd be smiling too! Mom said men had more choices and having gone there myself, I see her point. There were loads of stuff for women but they just didn't appeal to my sense of style, or lack of style. Haha! And I suppose, hers as well. :) Well, hubby told Mom if she came across surfer shorts, he'd like one. Mom found them alright and bought 3! Billabongs for a mere Rp 109 000 each. That's like 30 something our money. The ones in the stores costs triple and quad that. Crazy! The funny thing was my folks didn't even know the brand they'd bought was so expensive here. We were super impressed and that was how it started. You see, before that, I didn't even think of going to Bandung. Didn't really understand what all the hype was about. So now we know....
Anyway, Mom didn't think it was a good idea to bring kids coz crossing the roads in Bandung was scary for her. "So much traffic," she said. Then again, Mom hates crossing any road. That's why we didn't bring Inez and Mika.
We left for Jakarta on 14 August 2008 on a 13:55 flight. It was a Thursday. It's like a 2 hour trip and I can't for life remember the time we got there. Zul made me wait at KFC while he changed some money for Rupiahs, basically for food and transportation. Apparently, it's cheaper to exchange over there. However, don't make our mistake of taking money directly from the ATM using your ATM card. We didn't have enough cash, we didn't see any money changers around, so ATM, it was. I think, you get charged some processing fees or commission on both sides: our bank and their bank. (This was in Bandung, at Pasar Baru. They don't accept cards at Pasar Baru - see pix below - it's the tall pink building).
Anyway, after he got some cash, he came to get me and we walked towards the taxi area, and he warned me not to act touristsy and even to not talk to him. What!? Apparently, he wanted us to look as unapproachable as possible. If we looked like tourists, cabbies would be all over us and it'd be difficult to shake them off. I was like, "How hard could it be? Just say 'No.'" So he actually challenged me to walk a yard or two with my bag so that I could prove my point. So, okay, it's true that the cabbies were like vultures but they didn't come in droves. Some can be persistent (like one cabbie at our hotel) but it was quite easy to say 'No'. Zul said that's because I wasn't trying to get a cab. (We already got ourselves a BLUE BIRD. Please remember this name coz apparently, this is the most trustworthy cab company to use. We have tried another company in Bandung but we got fleeced by Rp15 - 20K coz the driver told us his taxi meter was broken. So take BLUE BIRDs coz they charge according to taxi meters.) Here's how to recognise one. You can see the words BLUE BIRD GROUP on the windscreen as can be seen in the pix below:
There are BLUE BIRDs (that are not allowed to go outside the area, e.g Jakarta BLUE BIRDs aren't allowed to travel outside Jakarta coz that'd be like they'd be infringing on the other area BLUE BIRDs. Do correct me if I'm wrong.), SILVER BIRDs can travel anywhere and everywhere from town to town and BIG BIRDs are basically big blue vans. The BLUE BIRD is usually a Toyota Vios. Cool huh?So anyway, you can see that people who are in know will take BLUE BIRD coz people were queueing for BLUE BIRDs. From the airport, it was about an hour ride to the hotel. It's not near any shopping area, so you need to get a cab to go to Senayang Plaza. If you think KLCC and Pavillion is unaffordable. Just go to Senayang Mall and you'll see brands like Jimmy Choo, and Hermes, and Just Cavalli, just to name a few. We just went there for dinner there at its food court. Rp57K just for a plate of rice, a piece of meat, one fried sambal brinjal, a piece of fried tofu and a corn cucur. Perhaps it's because we bought the rice from Sari Ratu, which I heard is kinda pricey over in KL too. A soto is about Rp26K and I can't remember how much the kebab cost. We were famished in an expensive place.
Also, don't be surprised to see, is it army dudes or police guys, basically men in uniform checking out the cars for bombs. I was like Whoa, BOMBS! That's scary. I did try to take a picture of them doing a vehicle check but it didn't turn out so well. I think I'll stop here first and post more stuff later. There's just so much to write about.