Bandung, Java

Well, it’s been an interesting week, that’s for sure.  It was a bit of a culture shock, well more of a weather shock when we got here. From 0 degrees to 30 in about 22 hours.  We met Nancy at the airport after Ben and I wimped out and went to the transit hotel in the airport in Jakarta. We landed about 1:30pm and had to wait for Nancy who was landing at 8:30 pm.  So after being harrassed by taxi drivers right at the arrivals gate and offered watches, a ball point pen (I kid you not, he pulled it out of his shirt and tried to sell it to us!) and phone cards, Ben and I decided to check out the hotel.  Luckily we did because we both had showers and actually napped. It had been a crazy 24 hours at that point.  We had a 12 hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan and met up with a university friend of mine, Katanya Janzten.  She and her boyfriend carted the two shell shocked Canadians around to the night market and to some sights within Taipei before we crashed at her place for about 5 hours.  They were kind enough to drive us all the way out to the airport the next morning too.  I did notice a difference though in attitude towards those of us who look asian but don’t speak Chinese or Taiwanese.  Ben got smiles when he tried to buy things, I got frowns.

Back to Jakarta.   We were in a suburb of Jakarta called Depok visiting a friend of Nancy’s and her family.  They put up with our utter lack of knowlege and culture shockedness. We went to a Indonesian mall in the suburb and just walked around.  We did try to get out of Jakarta on the 24th but everything was sold out on the train so we stayed in Jakarta proper for a couple of nights.  The first night we stayed there we stayed at a questionable establishment which Nancy was not at all happy about so the next night we ended up at a nicer place.  Luckily for Ben it was nicer as he ended up having a fever of 39, and I was worried about malaria and Dengue fever… Not to worry, he’s fine now.  We finally got on the overnight train the night of the 25th and our seats on our so-called reserved carriage were taken and we all had to sit seperately.  Luckily for Ben and I, a nice family of 3 decided to take pity on us so that we could sit together.  We travelled to Yojakarta and I will never go there again.  We were accosted from the moment we exited the train station to the moment we left.  Every second store is a batik store and there are these 2 person bicycle taxi’s called Becak that the drivers yell “Becak, BECAK” in your face.  We left Ben at the hotel and Nancy and I wandered for about 4 hours the first day and ended up exhausted from being hassled the whole time.  We did visit some cool places though and our hotel was quite nice except for the leaky ceiling during the rainstorm the second night.  The second day, Ben felt ok enough to go on a tour to Borobodur and Prambanan.  Very impressive, I’ll post pictures when I can. Anyhow there are people waiting so I’ll wrap up.  We are now in Bandung and it’s a bit cooler and tomorrow we’re going to visit some volcanoes….

 mom and dad I hope Muffy is ok!  love ya all:)   

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