Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Around Java in 5 days - Shoestring Budget

The budget was set at about RM1400 twin sharing. It is all inclusive with 4 nights of tourist class and above hotel, all food, airport taxes, domestic land and air travel.

Monday, 7th July
Took off with AirAsia from LCCT at 700am. The plane touched down in Jakarta at 800am. Colleagues took us to the office and breakfast was packed from the shops and were ready for us.

After our meeting we left for Bandung by road at noon arriving at 230pm. It was a bevy of activities as we have 3 locations to attend to. Bandung undulating hills and mountains were a sight to behold. We manage to catch dinner at a Chinese seafood resturant called Pondok Persanggrahan in Jln Karapitan. It is operated by an engineer called Budi Hidayat. Having to depart at 500am the next day for Jakarta to catch the 900am flight to Solo I hit the sack early. There was no Bandung to Solo flight.

Tuesday, 8th July
The Sriwijaya Air was 2/3 filled, testimony to the popularity of air travel. Local short hops usually costs around USD50 all inclusive one way. Sriwijaya has a good safety record even though we were using Boeing MD 82 planes. It should be more than 20 years old. Check out their overhead cabin!!

We have Solo and Semarang to cover. We have lunch at Resto Olo Gelo in Solo and left for Semarang 3 hours away. Due to to last minute changes we were not able to change our flight from Jakarta to Semarang which will cut road travel time by 3 hours as we will have to backtracked to Solo and then onwards to Jogjakarta. We have no meals till our late Gudeg Kampung Ayam dinner sitting on the five foot way of Jogjakarta city at around midnight! The saving grace was we managed to buy the famous Jogjakarta's Buah Salak. We look forward to 2 days stay in Plaza Hotel.

Wednesday, 9th July
Visited Magelang a town just after Borobodur. We have excellent grilled chicken. Thereafter we headed for Wonosobo, a small, quaint and high altitude touristy town. It is popular with locals. We passed 2 major volcanoes almost in a perfect cone shape. At Wonosbo we were treated to Tauhu Goreng, Tempe, Fried chicken and Mie Ongklong (like the Malaysian Law Mee without the vinegar).An interesting sight was cockerels strung up in cages up a 30 foot pole. It is part of training the Ayam Bekisar (cockerel) to sing (berkokok). Top competition winners is traded at USD25,000. Our dinner on Wednesday was prepared by Bangka Chinese. We have pork trotters, vegetables and meat prepared ala Chinese style. The next stop will be Surabaya. The flight will be early and checking out at 430am.Thursday, 10th July
We took Wings/Lion Air. An old Boeing 737, like those from yesteryears. Probably aged 20. However, local LCCs are investing in newer fuel efficient planes. I look forward to their re-fleeting as there are so many places to visited in this vast archipelago.

The plane touched down early Thursday morning in Surabaya. After a hearty breakfast of Sop Buntut and the usual fare we were packed off for visitation. Our luggages were check-in by friends. We have lunch of Sop Buntut and grilled chicken again other Indonesian small resto fare. We ta pau a lot of melinjo crackers (emping). It is an acquired taste. The crackers has a bitter after taste.
Ayam bakarNasi Kuning
We got back to Garden Palace Hotel (not recommended as the sparkle is gone) to change and then for dinner at a local popular Dapur Desa Resto. After dinner my room-mate and I book for a traditional Javanese massage. The massage room looks decent with curtains cubicles but were smoke-filled i.e. cigarettes smoke so we adjourned to our room. Bad mistake. We were offered extra services after the massage which we turned down.

Friday, 11th July
Time to wind down at the hotel breakfast. 1 more meeting and a visit to go. Then off to the souvenir shop for Smoke Bandeng (local milk fish). Go for the smoke and not the preserved ones. Shelf life for the smoked variety is 4 days. Eat it as ASAP. It is excellent. However, it a lot of nasty and fine bones. Well treat it as part of the eating ritual. There are fish floss available in the shops. Be careful. One of them have a few tablespoons and came down with bad food poisoning. If it taste and smell bad, throw it away.

Took off at 300pm from Surabay with AirAsia for home sweet home.

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