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BOGOR - The first impressions from Indonesia this year. Yesterday I arrived with a late flight via Frankfurt and Singapore. Waiting for the stopovers in Singapore and Frankfurt wasnít the main problem, but it seemed like I couldít get used to the little turbulence. At the end I was almost ill, not a very good start of my holiday, but the same happened last year, thinking that it would all soon pass over.

I took a Prestasi Taksi directly to Bogor, already thinking that the driver would never find Wisma Ramayana on his own. I showed him the address and a location map from Lonely Planet. That proved to be a good solution, because we drove there in once, leaving me to pay little less than 150,000, which I topped off to 150,000, understanding that the driver had probably drive back to Jakarta, together with his wife and family. (A bad excuse, but anyway, I donít mind helping the people a little bit.)
The first night in Wisma Ramayana was less unconfortable than the night in the plane, and also less confortable than the people had told me, because filming crews were at the wisma. Filming. That proved to be a little wrong information. There were just three film-crews sleeping there, because they were filming a soap, educational series and another something. But only one of the Ďpromisedí three showed up, making it less noisy than I was said.
The biggest part of the night wasnít spend sleeping, by the way, but talking with two other Dutch people, both teachers in the Netherlands. I always wondered what teachers did on their holidays, a part of that mistery is now solved, they are going to Indonesia, just as some of their students do.

The morning after I went to Kebun Raya Bogor (the botanical garden of Bogor) at the first place, telling myself that I should walk a lot before taking some transport, offered by the thousands of green angkot (minivans), driving like ants over here. Or not driving at all when there is a macet (traffic jam). There are just too many of them, driving everywhere in Bogor (*. I thought Jakarta had much transport, but over here there seem to be relatively more than in Jakarta, and they are not red, but all green, some blue exceptions excluded.
Wisma Ramayana overlooks the Kebun Raya Bogor if you are standing at the hard to notice entrance of it. The Wisma itself concludes a number of different-sized rooms, all in different Ďdecorationsí. I have a simple one without a bath, and without airco. I donít need any of that as long as Iím not feeling bad or something. My chances for a bath or a hot shower will be plenty over the coming weeks, at least thatís what I think.
Kebun Raya Bogor is a big botanical garden, within itís compounds the former Dutch Presidential Palace. Not the real one in fact, because that was destroyed in an earthquake at the end of the 19th century. Entrance fee was Rp.3500, stated at the ticket office very close to the entrance gate. Kebun Raya has a lot to offer, including guides that walk with you, and demand money when they say they have to leave you after one hour. Itís fine to m, but no way you are going to get Ro.60.000, as he was asking. I pushed a Rp 10.000 bill in his hand and was about to walk on, thinking of raising the amount to at least Rp 15.000, he asked a high amount again, and said I would offer no more than 12.. Eventually we made it 14, thatís not a bad bargain for a Dutch tourist on his first day back in Indonesia after spending 12 months in the Netherlands again, right?

After Kebun Raya I walked through the center of Bogor, meeting a lot of people saying always the same. Sometimes they wanted to sell something, but most of the times itís just for fun, looking if I will give a reaction to them. I always did of course, at least I think I did, because noise of the angkot and other traffic is loud. I have seen a train passing, making a picture of it was kind of hard, because the people even pushed me back, telling I was too close. Happy they did that, because I indeed was too close. Itís because the tracks are wider in the Netherlands, and the trains over here seem to be smaller as well, but that was a slight misunderstanding from my side.
I have walked over Pasar Bogor, including the few old shopping centers that come with it. The market stinks more than those I have seen in Jakarta, but thatís most likely because it has been dry in Bogor for a long time already. Normally Bogor has 320 days with thunder and rain in one year, but the last three months were very dry, with almost not a drop of water and no thundershowers as well. Thatís what I have been told, because Iím just around here. But I must tell the water in Sungai Ciliwung (called Kali Ciliwung in Jakarta, because of itís canalization there) looks very dirty, and there isnít much of it left.

Revisions and notes added later

On 6 September 2003 I edited the story on certain small points to make it more understandable for the visitors. The first version was written during my holiday, in a warnet in Bogor. This version should be better though.

The reason why Bogor has soo many green angkot was explained to me later on in Jalan Jaksa, when I met Bas. He told me that the becak drivers were banned from the Bogor streets. But because they threatened to loose their job, the local government gave them all a permit to drive a angkot, so now, the few public transport lines each have several hundred angkot plying them. Thanks Bas for your explaination.



Posted in Travel @ 07 August 2003 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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