Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Monday, August 31, 2009

around Indonesia islands hopping in 8 days?

perhaps my FNF friends were trying to imitate the adventures of travelling around the world in 80 days? We didnt get anywhere close to that, but managed to cover bits and pieces of Indonesia in 8 days.

I know there is still much more to be seen, but spending each of the 8 nights in different towns was certainly a fair bit of moving around at least for me :)

I landed in Jakarta on Friday morning, waited at the airport, where FNF colleagues joined me for the connecting flight to Semarang. Had an interview over is very similar to Thai and the Thai-Chinese adaptation. Some more interviews the next morning, before heading off to Solo. ON the way out we worked out that one of the partner's wife happens to be a friend of mine from IAF, but by then it was too late to arrange to meet up, so all I managed was a phone hello to Iswari (but at least now I have some news of her - married, and an expectant Mom! congrats Iswari!! and Ofa)

I was excited about Solo being included in the trip, as was hoping to see some good Batik. UNfortunately, we only got there at 7.30pm, went straight to a dinner meeting with a large group, and finished discussion at close to 11pm. Time to head to the next town! Checked in at Kediri only at 2am.

More meetings, and here is where things start to get hazy. NOt sure if we left the town for elsewhere, or we simply had more and more meetings in Kediri, before heading out to Surabaya that same night. (Alright, so the title of the post is misleading....we changed plans and headed out to Surabaya late night, which meant we spent 2 nights in Surabaya, instead of whatever other town we went to whose name escapes me at the moment).

From Surabaya, after more meetings, we flew out to Mataram, the provincial capital of the famous Lombok island. Saw a lot more non local faces on the flight, and after our meeting with the Vice Mayor of Mataram I even managed to get a bit of western food. Dont get me wrong - I enjoyed Indonesian food tremendously, but after meals after meals of some sort of either grilled chicken with spices, or chicken curries, or chicken nasi goreng - all accompanied with yummy spicy sambal - I needed my dose of salad and fresh greens! Even had a couple of free hours in the evening that allowed us time to head to nearby beach to watch the sunset. HAve to say the beach wasnt as impressive, but my guess is you need to head further away from town to see the very beautiful beaches that Lombok is famous for. Im still appreciative of the break of course :) Will come back to update name of the beach. Too many names in my head at the moment!

From Mataram we flew to Padang in West Sumatera. More meetings there, followed by long winding road to Bukit Tinggi. It was my favorite place for the trip. A bit cooler weather, surrounded by mountains, and a decent hotel with a pool that I never had time to use :) BUT, I did manage to order a tiramisu cake, and a nicoise salad, both initially with scepticism. I was pleasantly surprised. For those that are heading to Bukit Tinggi - its the Hills Hotel, previously was a Novotel Im told, but now under different ownership.

The next day we had a meeting in the small town of Tanah (something), and on the way back we drove past the biggest lake in West Sumatera ..again I forget the name. I always thought it was Lake Toba in Medan? Perhaps if we had more time to look around, I may be more appreciative, but for those that know me and what road trips does to me would understand why sitting through long windy roads for a 1 minute glimpse of a fog covered lake didnt do much for me. (Speaking of my motion sickness - for a girl who hated road trips since she was 5, Id say Ive come a long way!)

Next stop Jakarta! Was I happy! Despite more hectic days ahead, at least there was something to look forward to. My brother was flying out to Jakarta to meet me! YAYYYYY. and ofcourse there is Lily. Didnt manage to catch up with Ida (AGAIN! ....but shes always so busy!)


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