After one month of traveling: We're Ready for Bali

Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Garden Palace

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday we left Hotel Abadi, hopped a cab, and went to the airport. We flew in another tiny plane (just like last time) from Pangkalan Bun to Banjarmasin. In Banj we had a long layover, 3-4 hours, so we passed the time in the Executive Lounge. Unfortunately it was really smoky and didn't have as much good food as last time... oh well.

We flew then to Surabaya and felt happy to be back on Java--compared to Kalimantan, Java is just more accessible for foreigners. At the Garden Palace hotel, we were happy to see that our left luggage was still properly stowed in the Left Luggage room, so we retrieved it and went to our room. Again, the room was smoky and gross, but they claimed they had no others that were available to us. :(

Dinner was had at Sitarra, the "only Indian restaurant in Surabaya," because we liked it so much last time. :) Post-dinner we went to go explore the Arab Quarter, which had been heralded as one of the most interesting and attractive neighborhoods. It was, in a way, but it was also chock full of really aggressive beggars (who resorted to touching your arm and following close behind you for the whole block), and even more curious stares than usual from the locals, because even less foreigners adventure around there.

We had a very frustrating experience with a taxi driver, who took us all over the city (because he allegedly misunderstood our destination?) but then refused to take less money than was on the meter. (That would be the standard case in NYC if the meter went too high due to the taxi driver's fault. Not here, I guess... or at least, not for the foreigners). We tried to enlist the help of a concierge from our hotel, who stood impassively in the middle of the conflict. We wound up forfeiting the money, frustrated, and ending the night very eager to get out of Java and head to Bali.

Of course Java and Kalimantan are awesome and unique and beautiful and also can be frustrating for us -- we've really enjoyed our time in Indonesia -- buuuut, we've been traveling away from home for more than a month, consistently encountering language and cultural barriers, and are really ready for the sheer relaxing part of our trip: Bali.

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