Bandung

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Every time i visit a different country, it feels like starting a new short-term relationship. You fall in love, learn to love its good, and before you can learn about its bad, it’s time to leave. When you get back home, you live with the memories of that special but fragile relationship you had. You try to reteach yourself to see the good of your own country because it is still your home – you live there. There’s a saying that goes, “We open our eyes when we travel, but a dog has an adventure everytime he steps out of the door“. So we try.

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A holiday is hardly ever enough, but sometimes all we need is a little getaway squeezed into our calendar. Bandung is perfect for that; unless you are very, very greedy.

Feeling like a celebrity waking up for an early commercial shoot in the morning, i groggily got ready while Big Guy was already all ready to go (obvious benefit of being a guy). We spent 80 bucks for breakfast, eating like a hungry king and queen on the plane. Not too faraway from our simple happiness, we learnt our first (unpleasant) Indonesian lesson . . .

Things they never told you about Bandung #1:

Upon reaching Bandung’s airport, hail a cab OUTSIDE the airport if you can. Do NOT get one from the airport’s taxi counter located at the outdoor entrance. Why? For the same distance to our hotel, this is the price difference:

Airport price: 120, 000 rupiah.
Real price: 25, 000 rupiah.

 
VAST!

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{Hotel California}

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Cost : 762, 300 rupiah / night

We luxuriated one of the benefits of traveling early – an early check-in to freshen up and relax in bed watching some TV. 30 minutes later, it’s time to travel and explore! :D

We booked a taxi from the hotel that would take us anywhere from late morning to early evening for 750, 000 rupiah. i requested the driver to play some Indonesian music; to which he happily put in the Aril CD, so that i could truly experience living in the infamous Indonesian culture : traffic jam. It was constantly interrupted by the wrecking sound of our driver’s hand break and when Aril got too soulful, i regretted the stupid request after all.

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{read all about Miss Belerang’s adventure at Tangkuban Parahu here}

Cost : 334,500 rupiah

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Some may view the traffic as a means to reach their destination. i do too, but when traveling in Indonesia, perhaps it’s wisest to see it as part of your journey. The constant, consistent pauses tell stories without words about the locals and their lifestyle. Imagine a motorbike full of eggs tied around it in the midst of a terrible jam. Between narrow, narrow lanes, both kids and the old; people with great potential to provide you powerful portraits should you have the talent to paint, sat roofless counting cars like how we would count sheeps at night.

Faces of politicians are strewn everywhere. Sipping Teh Botol, a taste of Indonesia in a bottle, i spotted wild horse milk and spaghettY carbonara. Everyone seemed to be carrying something behind their back, arms, hands, or vehicle – fake Hello Kitty plushes, dusty beverages, anything you can possibly imagine. i could almost feel their burden . . .

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We were brought to dine above water at Gubug Makan “Mang Engking”. Lunch was all about gorengan (fried stuff). It’s pretty much what the restaurant offers. Big said it was to kill any existing bacterias incase they weren’t fresh. i had a good laugh about that thought.

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{Gurame Bakar Madu, Cumi-cumi Goreng Tepung, Tumis ‘Char’ Kangkung, accompanied by (a very bad tasting) Jus Alpukat}

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{get Bejeweled}

Cost (Lunch) : 161,700 rupiah

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After all that ride, a good massage sounds just heavenly. If you ever visit Bandung, for your sake please, try Bersih Sehat (Jln Sultan Tirtayasa 31, +624260765). It is clean, professional, and super worthy for money at only 90, 000 rupiah per hour! You know you’re at the right place when even the locals go there. ;)

We both took a one and a half hour shiatsu mixed oil massage, followed by a refreshing shower. i’d most definitely advise anyone to go for more than 1.5 hours if they have the time. One honest downside: We didn’t get to sleep as they use curtains as partitions, so the shuffling of masseurs’ slippers kept us quite awake. Though that’s a pretty subjective topic or a really minor case altogether.

Cost : 330, 000 rupiah

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Things they never told you about Bandung / Indonesia #2:

Use Waze or Google Maps even when you are in a cab. No matter how friendly the drivers are, you can never totally trust a ‘book’ by it’s cover. What happened to us 3 times (!) was that they went round and round the city through its traffic to make our journey further, so they can collect more money from us. Be it a city tour cab or one you simply hail, do that and you do yourself a favor.

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It was a Saturday night after all, so we decided to paint Jalan Braga red. A travel research i did suggests dinner at Kiosk Ground Floor of Braga City Walk for lotek, a noodle dish, and sirsak, soursop drink. But we decided to do some factory outlet shopping instead while hunting down a cosy restaurant on our way; which worked out perfectly for us despite the drizzle.

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{a closet inspiration}

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{Nasi Liwet Kastrol + Sop Buntut}

Cost : 100, 000 rupiah

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We spent 28, 500 rupiah just on grilled corns in one night. They are just simply awesomesauce!

i used to ask Big what was the highlight of his trips, just to see him struggle with that question. i figure it’s a matter of time he gets used to it; i just didn’t expect it to be so soon! This time around, Big asked me instead, “What’s your favorite part of this trip?”

My answer: The corn stalls offering crazy spicy flavors, the night walk together under drizzle, and sealing the night snuggling in bed; watching TV till we doze off. Isn’t life wonderful like that? ;)

Total Cost : 1, 808, 500 rupiah
~RM500 per person

 

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