Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Indonesia Trip '08 – Day 01 Part 1: Getting There

Having discussed it earlier, we decided to depart for LCCT from my apartment in Sunway instead of staying overnight at the place that I slept near KL Sentral during my trip to Manila last year. It made more sense to do that this time since our departure time for Indonesia was scheduled for 0950 which was much later than my Manila flight departure time last year. The night before the trip was used to repack our stuff to see if we could get more free space in our luggage for the items that we were expecting to bring back from our travels. On top of that, everyone was still wired with excitement at the prospect of finally starting on the journey that has been months in the planning.

We finally went to bed at 2:30am but woke up 3 hrs later to get ready to leave since the airport limo that we reserved was scheduled to arrive at 7am. Considering the early hour, we did not run into any problems during the trip to the LCCT and arrived quite early after the smooth drive in the Perdana airport limo that cost us RM60 per trip from my apartment. Once we arrived at the airport, we went to check in our bags and made a beeline to the local McDonalds for breakfast. At the time we didn’t know that there was a new food garden (found out much later when we arrived back) just outside of the terminal or else we would have tried something else then the tired McD breakfast set.

The plane departed on time at 0950 from LCCT and promptly run into some turbulence during assent. Thankfully, the rough patch was quite short and the flight was smooth from that point on. The flight took about 2 hours which I mostly fill up with fiddling with my new iPod. Time definitely flew by and we touched down at Sukarnoe-Hatta International Airport at 1050 local time (Jakarta was 1 hour behind KUL) safely. Learning for my mistake last time, I double checked to make sure that I had everything with me before leaving the plane. I did not want to have a repeat of losing my phone again as I did during my Manila trip last year. I am glad to say that I did not lose or break anything during this trip (yay!)

We cleared Immigration with no problems and soon we were on our way to the Arrival Hall. Having arranged transportation to the hotel in Jakarta through the net, I was not sure how I would be able to find the driver. I was expecting to see someone holding a card with my name at the Arrival Hall but when we first reached there, I could not see anyone there. Before I had time to panic (I know .. so DQ!), I heard my name called out and we were soon at the GoldenBird limo service counter to sign for our Avanza car to drive us to the hotel. The cost of the hotel pickup was not included in the room charges so we had to pay 130,000 Rupiah (Rph) for it. This was our first official encounter with the many zeroes used in Indonesia currency which would continue to confound some of us for the next few days.

The drive from the airport to the hotel took us through a highway that cut through swamp marshes and fresh water breeding ponds. For the most part the drive was smooth going with occasionally slow downs when we hit the infamous Jakarta traffic jams. It took us about 1 hour drive before we reached our hotel which was located in the Central Jakarta area. I had booked our family room at Hotel Atlantic through the internet and hoped that it would meet our needs in Jakarta which thankfully it did … barely. (More details about the hotel in a separate blog entry coming soon). Once we checked in and rested for a bit, our first item on the checklist was to check out what was available around the area of the hotel in terms of eating places.

We saw some street side warong selling local food just outside of the hotel but we decided to let our stomachs acclimatize with the local bacterial fauna before risking eating at warongs. Finding nothing much on the hotel side of the road, we crossed the road using the Busway pedestrian crossing (Selamba Carolus stop) to the other side where we decided to have lunch at a nearby Nasi Padang restaurant. I have had Nasi Padang before so I was already expecting them to bring out all the dishes that they have in the shop to our table. This came as a surprise to my travel companions who were not used to the way they serve Nasi Padang here. After the obligatory foodie picture taking session, we dug into a fairly tasty meal that cost us 80,000 Rph for the 3 of us. Once we had our lunch, we decided to go back to the hotel to rest for a bit and plan our next destination.


Chen said...

did u remember to bring the anti-diarrhoea pills?


Nickxandar said...

Yup .. but never had to use it