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.
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.
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.