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EINDHOVEN - In a series of short stories I will shine a light on things I have seen, I have done, I have smelled and touched in my three weeks stay in Indonesia (Jogjakarta and Sulawesi) in March 2004. Many things tend to fade away as soon as you are back home, picking up your daily life. Luckily I had a little booklet for some daily remarks. That will be my guide for this stories and stories to come.

After being cleared by imigrasi in Jakarta on February 29 (yes that date exsisted this year, and yes the schedule was correct) I was eager to get into contact with some friends across Jawa. I promised them that I would seek contact as soon as I bought a new telephone number. These things tend to have a fairly short life here, especially if tourists buy them. After not reloading them for over two months, your number will become unusable. Thatís why I didnít want to pay the regular airport price for that.
The first warung at terminal two of Bandar Udara Soekarno-Hatta, on my way to checkin for my local flight to Jogjakarta, offered me a new number including some Rp 25,000 worth of free pulsa. I didnít really care about the free pulsa, because you get that for free here with virtually anything. I just wanted to have a cheap number. They offered me a card with new number for a very expensife Rp. 150,000. The normal price for this card was Rp. 50,000 (excluding some cost for service, usually Rp. 10,000 for ďinstalling the cardĒ). Ooh no, not Rp. 150,000 for that card, I can buy three of them in Blok M Plaza. Of course the people selling at the airport know they can make a nice profit out of me because Iím not going into the city.
The next offer, at another stand, was slightly better with Rp. 100,000. Still too much though. I was collecting my small money, I always bring Rupiah back home and to Indonesia again in case of an ďemergencyĒ, me being a small-money fetishist. Looking for a phone-booth another guy approached me. He overheard me I needed a telephone card, brave as he was to ask me, or was it just because he could make money out of me? Anyway, he offered me to have a look at another stall, which sold all kinds of VCDís, and also telephone cards. Who doesnít? Virtually every stall has Ė under the counter Ė telephone cards. This one offered his at Rp. 80,000, still for a Rp 50,000 card with Rp. 25,000 pulsa AND Rp. 10,000 bonus pulsa. I must have overlooked that at the other stalls, because the packages all looked the same.
No, Rp 80,000 was too much, my Rp 60,000 offer was received with a laugh, telling me that I got bonus pulsa. Nice bonus if you have to pay for it.. Rp. 70,000 was a nice deal. I donít feel ripped off, because I bought it at the airport, more expensife, I needed it (obviously, otherwhise I would not walk around entire Terminal 2 just to buy it) and Iím still the bule, which can afford to pay more, however the ĎIím still a studentí still can make a difference.

After my first SMS(-ses) I bought a quick drink after checking in for the local flight. My first Teh Botol this holiday, with many more to follow. I had quite a long time to do nothing at the airport. Jakarta airport doesnít feature much in comparison to Schiphol back in Amsterdam or Changi back in Singapore, but reading a book makes things easier, knowing that there will be someone waiting for you in Jogjakarta even more.
Soon we could board the plane, and even sooner I walked down the stairs and walked on the tarmac to the passenger entrance of the airport in Jogjakarta. The weather felt hot again, hot as I liked it. I had the same Ďtasteí earlier that day in Jakarta, where it was even more hot (to my opinion), but the smell there is more strong than in Jogja, maybe the pollution makes temperatures even worse.

After being reunited with my friend, it was time for step two out of three to arrange the entire holiday in one single day. Of course that canít be done on one single Sunday afternoon, so I enjoyed talking about the last six months in Holland, about what had changed and what not, and to hear about Indonesia, what changed and what not. Nothing more than chit-chat, a part of spending time while unpacking my bag, looking for stuff to bring. Dinner was held near Kampus UGM, a nice plate of gudeg was fine for me that evening. I wasnít really hungry, because I was more tired of flying and waiting. Antimo also had itís effect on my awareness. It wasnít a smart idea to get on the motorbike directly, but I didnít think of that at that time. Nothing happened that evening by the way.
Around nine in the evening, I had settled down for several nights in Hotel Sala 3, and a few minutes later, after a short mandi bebek, I fell asleep already. Ooh.. what a wonderfull feeling to sleep in Indonesia again. Itís just so.... no itís not really different than back home, but everything around it makes it worth while to get in a plane and travel to the other side of the world in just more than 24 hours from door to door.

The next morning I was up early again. After sending an sms to notify my friend that I was awake I dressed up en enjoyed the early morning traffic. Not too long, because itís smelly already. Which reminded me to buy something of protection, a cloth or something. Not directly a protection against the toxic fumes, but against the blackening diesel output. Very hard to get white again after being in traffic for more than one hour. Trust me, itís based on experience.
After pickup it was time to get the tickets to Sulawesi (step two of three). I had arranged a ten day trip to Sulawesi with Caraka Travelindo. I have met the owner two times in Holland, so it was about time to meet him in Indonesia as well. Tickets were already reserved, but they were for departure on 5 march. I rather had tickets one day earlier, so there would be more time left when we came back from Sulawesi, suggesting I would need some rest then, after ten exhausting days in South Sulawesi.
Tickets were easy to arrange. We didnít go to the airport because a small (and new) company near the boarding house of my friend had the standard prices for us as well. We needed to go to Makassar (still often named Ujung Pandang in all kinds of documents and on signs however the name officially was changed to Makassar in 1999). The Pelita flight on the 5th didnít fly on that day, so the tickets what we had reserved could not be booked after all. We now had to fly with another airline or on another date. Pelita didnít have tickets available for the 4th, so we tried with Lion Air. They still had seats, however we had to fly via Surabaya. No problem for me with that. We only had to check in our luggage again, as we were told. A single way trip from Jogja to Makassar (via Surabaya) costed us Rp. 418,000 per person, a mere 40 euroís. We also booked the return trip as was adviced by the guy in Makassar. Our schedule on Sulawesi would be very busy, and we would not have time to buy our return tickets.

On the list of things to arrange as soon as possible also was the motorbike. Knowing that we would not need the motorbike on Sulawesi, we had to get one as soon as we would get back from Sulawesi again. Nothing to think about now, way to early. The motorbike we had now, we could use until we left for Sulawesi. Nothing to arrange anymore. My entire holiday was planned now, the big lines that is, because in Indonesia you never know what will happen the next hour. Time for a cold drink.
That cold drink, together with a cigarette, would be consumed in Kaliurang, north of Jogjakarta. From there, you have a view on Gunung Merapi, that is if you are early enough. Normally Merapi is too shy to show itself throughout the day, so it hides behind clouds after the early morning hours. That doesnít mean it will ruin my few first view hours in Indonesia, my first time together with my friend again, my first cigarette, my first Indonesian rain. Yes rain, because after lighting two cigarettes, raindrops started to fall down from the clouds around Merapi. Time to go back to Jogja for dinner. First things first, let the holiday begin!

ē Agung Tourist Service
ē Jl. Prawirotaman 31
ē Tel: (0274) 370187 / 081 2295 2295

Posted in Travel @ 04 April 2004 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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