Road To The Crater (Half Film)

This would be one trip that we’ll remember for a long time. Not necessarily for all the right reasons.

Among the many parts of Indonesia, the one that I’ve always wanted to go to is Bandung, apart from the Lombok region. Maybe it’s the many comments I’ve heard from Indonesians about it being their favourite place. It didn’t make sense how much different Bandung could be from dirty Jakarta given their 2-hour separation by the Cipularang Toll Road, but it had to be done due to the rave reviews.

So on 16th June, we boarded the first Jetstar flight out to Jakarta, followed by a few hours road trip to Bandung. Our driver throughout the trip was Iwan, who happens to be the husband of our new helper, Siti. Our first helper, Leonilyn, had been ‘repatriated’ the very week her bond finished. That’s a whole post by itself, if I ever bother to write about it.

Our first itinerary for the trip, a stopover at Puncak before heading to Bandung, had to be scrapped since it was raining cats and dogs upon our arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The occasional landslides that occur at Puncak during heavy rain didn’t justify the risk. Needless to say, what was supposed to be a 2-hour road trip stretched to 4 hours due to the weather and traffic. What a way to start a holiday.

Things turned for the better as the rain stopped upon us reaching the outskirts of Bandung and we were awed by the serene beauty of the natural landscapes, engulfed by mist and as expected, due to the higher altitude, the outside temperature dropped to our delight. Bandung also contain some very beautiful and grand Art Deco buildings and residences; none of the nondescript Singapore ones.

We checked into Aston Bandung Hotel & Residence, before heading out to one of hundreds of factory outlets that are scattered within the town area. Dinner at Riung Sari proved to be one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time, none of that pseudo Indonesian fare from the likes of Garuda and Tambuah Mas.

Tangkuban Perahu, an active volcano reeking of sulphur, was the highlight of the trip. It’s also the venue where the Legend of Sangkuriang took place. One can still see the poisonous gases emitting from a corner of the crater. As with most tourist spots, we were constantly being followed by a group of peddlers under the guise of guides who kept repeating the same old facts. It last erupted in 1983. I got it!

Ooyah had her own fun at Tangkuban Parahu, as she kept riding different ponies that cost only 2,000 Rupiah per ride. On our way down the volcano, we stopped by Restoran Padang Sederhana and a strawberry farm to pick our own strawberries. Another fun activity for our little girl. That’s her flashing her ‘L’ sign … as in ‘Loving It’ … not ‘Loser’ …

By this time, we were going into full swing shopping at the numerous factory outlets before dinner at Karamba Sundanese Bistro, another fine eatery where the rest of the family had their first taste of Iga Bakar, grilled beef ribs that put Tony Roma’s to shame. I last ate it in Yogyakarta and just had to have another go in Bandung.

The third day was when something weird happened. By the time we reached Pos Indonesia to post a parcel containing gifts for Siti’s daughter, I was already reeling and vomitted whatever it was that was causing my diarrhoea earlier in the morning. The smell inside Pasar Baru, our next stop, only made it worst and I decided to just try and sleep it off, even staying back in the van while the rest tucked into Ayam Goreng Suharti. Felt better after a while before visiting the local zoo which was quite pathetic and more visits to factory outlets, including Paris Van Java, the latest shopping centre in Bandung. We ended the night at Braga City Walk, the shopping arcade right below our hotel, where a few of us had some local fares.

1 …

2 …

3 …

The number of victims added to the Bandung-diarrhoea saga prior to our road trip back to Jakarta. Ayah was the one worse off, vomitting a few times en route to the airport, hardly able to walk and had to be transported in a wheelchair. So much so that the airline staff in Jakarta kept asking repeatedly what illness he was under and whether he’s fit to travel. Some white lies muttered just so we could get through as we didn’t want to be held back in Jakarta. Even the bigger Lufthansa plane back to Singapore failed to lift our spirits.

On hindsight, Fadelinah, Ayah and Ibu think it’s the ‘es chendol’ from the night before, whereas in my case, I can only guess it’s the ice cubes in my cold drinks or the curse from that one and only peddler/guide I didn’t buy from after he tailed us throughout Tangkuban Parahu.

Thank God Ooyah doesn’t like ‘es chendol’.

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~ by blackcadillac73 on June 30, 2010.

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