Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discovery Travel and Puking

This is the second day I am back from Indonesia, and I am still unwell. Every time I eat something, I get sick. Something I ate in Jakarta or Bandung did not and does not agree with me.

My energy comes in short bursts, only to simmer down quickly when exposed to things like air conditioning or the like.

Bandung is described as a shopping haven, but after I have mastered discount shopping in Malaysia, I did not find anything great over there. For example, there are branded jeans in Bandung that you can buy for 60++ ringgit, but I am already buying Old Navy jeans in KL for RM25, at FOS. Or RM80 for jeans from Marks and Spencer at Gardens. Marks and Spencer - the Mydin of UK.

There are very cheap t-shirts, at RM8 each, but they do not have my size. The shops that do, charge extra. I bought one for RM20 because I had to get another t-shirt for the final day. Also bought two for RM30, but only after intense haggling from a very rude shopkeeper. I hate haggling and Bandung is haggling-heaven, which makes it hell for a shopper like me.

What is cheap are the cloth and stuff for weddings. Malay weddings. So, if you want to get married, go to Bandung and shop like crazy. Also cheap are children's clothing. If you are a breeder, Bandung is fantastic. I am neither, so the shopping experience was not so good.

I did buy some batik from Bandung for my entire family, though. Without haggling, I got the cloth for 20,000 rupiah per meter. That's like 6 ringgit.

However, the experience in Bandung is not one of comfort. First, the haggling. Second, the attitude. Indonesian shopkeepers are mostly rude and in your face. I found two who were polite and did not try to force their shit down my throat, so I bought a few hundred bucks worth of stuff from them. I only tried minimal haggling with them as that is the custom and as a result, they gave me a discount anyway, in the end. One shop in Bandung's Pasar Baru and another in Jakarta's Tanah Abang.

Third, are the fucking touts and street peddlers. They rush you like it's Piranha 3D. And if you don't buy shit or don't give them money, some of them get really, really angry. They will curse you on the spot and in your face.

I would not recommend Bandung to anyone other than families who can weather the storm of human bodies or people desperate to get married. Oh, and wedding planners will find Bandung a real haven to cut their costs down. Two people who went with us on the tour are mak andams and they bought 6 bags/sacks of stuff.

Overall, though, I did not find Indonesia to be a welcoming place. It's rough, dangerous and rude. That being said, I did meet some very friendly people who refused to take my money for anything. I believe that if I were not following a tour and was exploring the country on my own, I would have found more like-minded people.

I only saw one side of Indonesia completely this trip, and unfortunately it is the seedier, more desperate side.

And my stomach is still rebelling from the oily food. I need to go to the office clinic and get some meds, possibly an MC as I really don't want to be running to the toilet every half an hour while working.