Bandung, Day 2
Here I am! This is what Bandung looks like (or one part of Bandung, anyway) from the eighth floor of my hotel. Below is another view from the same window. The hotel is excellent, and it looks like I’ll be staying here for a couple of weeks until I find a rental that suits me.
See a map showing the location of Bandung relative to Jakarta.
My trip from the U.S. started on Friday with a 3 a.m. hired minivan taking me to the Jacksonville airport, from which I flew to Chicago. From there, I had a United flight to Hong Kong that lasted 15 hours. When I arrived in Hong Kong, it was 4 a.m. at home. After a three-hour layover I had a 3.5-hour flight to Singapore. All the planes were on time and all my baggage arrived with me, so I can’t complain (except about the outrageous baggage charges, which should be illegal).
The visa. I stayed at a nice hotel in Singapore near Orchard Road so I could get my one-year visa to enter Indonesia, using an agent who conducts business under the red awning of the smoking area at a nearby McDonald’s. I handed over my U.S. passport and 230 Singapore dollars (cash) at 9 a.m., then came back to the same place at 4 p.m. The chain-smoking man, wearing a cap and glasses, showed up a few minutes later with two handfuls of passports from a variety of countries. Foreigners converged on him from all corners of the plaza and he dealt out our passports in a few minutes. I was really happy to have the visa, but even more relieved to see my passport again.
Jakarta. The following morning I left my hotel at 4:30 a.m. (and paid again for all my baggage) and flew to the Jakarta airport, where the AMINEF official met me with the van that later would take me to Bandung, a two-hour journey on a pretty decent toll road. But first, a short meeting at the AMINEF office, an informational talk, some instructions, and a bottle of water. I didn’t see anything in Jakarta except roads and buildings along the roads. It looked like a lot of places in Malaysia, but not as big and shiny as central Kuala Lumpur.
The drive was entertaining because I got to practice my very rudimentary Bahasa Indonesia with the driver, Adi, who doesn’t really know any English. He was quite patient with me.
Around 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday, I reached Bandung. My colleague from my university here, Dandi, came to the hotel to meet me and took me to lunch. We ate some delicious Sundanese food, and of course I don’t know the names of anything.
Dinner. After lunch I lay down for a short nap and woke up six hours later. Honestly, I don’t feel jet-lagged, but my sleeping patterns are not normal yet. I walked down the street and found a restaurant, Sederhana, where eight mysterious dishes and a big bowl of rice were immediately brought to my table. Trusting that I was being treated like anyone else, I ate from five of the dishes, drank the tea that was brought to me, and made the universal sign for “Check, please,” at the end. The total was 48,400 rupiah — about $5 U.S.
My other fine success for the day was buying a large bottle of mineral water from the street kiosk. Hooray! I’m in Indonesia at last!