Wild abandon in Bandung

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
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109
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Trip End Oct 31, 2007


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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We only came to Bandung because we hadn't been able to take a direct train from Bogor to Jogjakarta but we ended up rather liking the place.  True, there is nothing much to do here but it is a relatively pleasant city - after the unpleasantness of Bogor - and we were able to get a pretty nice room on a promotional rate.

The bus journey from Bogor had started off with the usual shenanigans (the usual shenanigans being the bus tout telling us that the bus is leaving in 5 minutes whereas the bus actually spends the next hour or so slowly inching forward in the bus terminal and then reversing because another more important bus wants to leave and generally hanging about because there aren't yet enough passengers to make the 3 hour journey profitable; only a ragbag collection of men selling packets of tissues and a guitarist hoping to collect a few hundred rupiah from the passengers - either of the passengers, that is.)  Once we got going things were ok.  We passed some attractive tea plantations as we drove up over the Puncak Pass and then, roaring down the other side, we bowled all smaller vehicles out of our path - for you shall know that this the way of things in these parts and indeed we shall all bow down before the mighty bus, oh aye.

Naturally when we arrived at the not-quite-in-town bus terminal there was a glut of taxi drivers who were only to willing to take us into town for the right price.  Note: the 'right' price is always the wrong price for yours truly.  We followed a man who lured us with the magic words "taximeter" - indicating that we'd only pay the metered fare.  Once we got to his car he then quoted a high-sounding price; I queried his earlier comment about the meter.  He pointed at said meter and said it didn't work. So only a taximeter in the loosest sense, then.
I decided not to reward him for fibbing to us and we walked round the corner to another who proceeded to quote a figure double that of the first chap.  We agreed on half that amount (i.e. the figure above) so in the end we still got conned - but at least it was just a good old fashioned case of simple overcharging.  So that's alright.

Bandung is a city of about 2 million and it seems there is only one place to be seen - Jl. Braga.  Braga Street has an odd assortment of bars, bakeries and restaurants.  We found a bakery called London Bakery with a picture of a traditional Beefeater to confirm it was indeed London, England that was meant.  The cakes weren't very British but nice and sweet and the iced lemon tea was refreshing.  Having nipped into the gents I was somewhat put off by the fact that there was no running water anywhere on the premises.  Perhaps it's not considered unhygienic to have toilets on the premises of a food preparation and distribution area but no place to wash one's hands?  Or perhaps it's a Dickensian London that the bakery aspires to.

In the evening we went to a good Japanese restaurant where we shared some very good sushi and then went for a beer in a nearby bar that, while it was not overtly seedy, nevertheless failed to provide sufficient lighting even to enable its patrons to get their drinks to their mouths without spilling it down their fronts.  I'm not saying I spilled beer down my front, you understand. (T)
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