I recently went on a trip to Indonesia – the liveblog of events can be found right here.
In order to better facilitate the retelling of this experience, I’m going to tell it in chunks. So much happened that to try and tell it all in one big wall of text would completely undermine the wonderful and awesome experience that I had in Jakarta and Bali. Plus, trying to cram all that text out in one go is just unfeasible for me – I work best with smaller volume of words.
The first part found here. This is part two, of three
We touched down safely, offloaded slowly, walked off the plane and started taking photos of the airport: So began the first day in Indonesia.
After marveling at how bright and clean the airport was, a star comparison to the hellhole that is LAX, we made our way to customs and immigration – where Nadia was reunited with her mom. There as much running, jumping and squealing of joy (the majority of which was from Nadia; Her mom was a bit quieter) and then brief introductions were made.
Then, I made my way to the passport queue, to pay for my Visa and get my passport stamped. Because I was going to be in country four 8 days instead of a week (Well, seven days and three hours, roughly) I had to pay for the longer-stay visa, which cost more. Granted, the total cost was only $25 US, so it wasn’t all that bad – and it would allow me to stay in country for a full month if need be.
After that, Nadia’s mom “helped” us through customs. I’m still not entirely sure what she said to the nice guard fellow, but he simply waved to me and Nadia and allowed us both into the country, no questions asked. Really, nice, that – otherwise, we’d have been in the line for ages.
It was a quick walk from their to claim our luggage, then out to the awaiting van and her father. We had, in short, made it and managed to catch up with two thirds of her immediate family!
The first thing we did was head to the optometrists – yes, the eye doctor – so that I could get new glasses. I’d been complaining about mine for a while before we left Vegas, and Nadia thought it’d be a good idea to just get my eyes taken care of while we where in Jakarata, cause it’d be cheaper. Also, being as how I don’t speak the language, and had no way to escape, I was pretty much her captive and kind of had to just go along with it. Her little plan worked flawlessly, and I got new specs.
Then, we had dinner, and it was great. The food was really, really yummy, and there was plenty of it. The restaurant was really cool, with great decor and they even brought out a tiny American and Indonesian flag just for us! So fun!
Then we went to Nadia’s folks place, where I met her brother and his girlfriend, we talked a bit, and I passed out for some much needed sleep.
The next couple of days were a blur of activity, we visited malls quite different from the ones here, laid out in a most chaotic way and filled to the brim with interesting – and inexpensive – items. We visited one that was several stories of electronics shops, all with enough odds and ends to keep one busy browsing for days!
We went to Nadia’s old University, where I got to meet her former co-workers and teachers, and friends. The campus was laid out much better than UNLV, I think, and was generally warm and fun to be there. The folks that I met were all really nice, and it was just a great time.
We had dinner with her extended family – aunt, uncle, friends, grandpa – and a fairly ritzy Chinese place. The food was, again, great – roasted suckling pig! – and so was the company. There was talking about various subjects, and generally a feeling of warmth and welcoming.
The next day we went drove to the mountains, were we ate at this really nice outdoor roadside place. Once my stomach had settled down from the ride (I don’t do mountain roads well if I’m not driving) we took in the views, and had a really nice – and large – lunch. Then we went to the zoo, which was also awesome and amazing.
It wasn’t so much a zoo as a safari park, the kind where one drives through and the animals mill about freely, occasionally licking the windows and asking for a carrot or other tasty treat. We had none to give, but that did not stop the zebras and llamas and other animals from demanding we feed them.
Nadia feel in love with be baby pygmy hippos.
While at the same park, we got to hold lion cubs, see some great birds, and play in the rain. Well, I played in the rain – I like rain, don’t see much here – while the other, more sensible folks hid in buildings and under umbrellas.
On the ride back to the house, we stopped and had dinner. Nadia got her and me some KFC – fried chicken and rice is super yummy – and then her dad bought durian for dessert.
I had heard many horror stories about durian – the stench, the taste, the stench, the slimy way it feels, the horrible stench- but, I didn’t really notice it. There was an odor, to be sure, but nothing extraordinary. Surely not as bad as, say, a pig farm in August. The taste was, well… Like a really strong banana and almonds. I really enjoyed the fruit until my lips became swollen and itchy.
Turns out, I’m very much allergic to durian.
<em>Stay tuned for part three, where we visit Bali, and I lip off to a TSA guard in L.A.</em>