Hello again Indonesia

Trip Start Nov 02, 2007
Trip End Nov 16, 2007

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Where I stayed
Kampung Sampireun

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

This time, Farida travels alone. The purpose of this travel is to see Oma (Farida's mom) and to spend some time with her and for me to assess her health as she has been having some issues with it.

I indulged myself to some Indonesian foods I've been missing. As well as some fun traveling with Oma and my best friend Renny.

This blog won't be as articulate as the ones Brent composed for our big trip, however, I shall do my best to keep the standard high. :-)

After spending a couple of days at Oma's house in Jakarta and conducted some necessary business, we head to Oma's house in Cipanas. It is once again rainy season there, so heavy rain which lasted for 15 minutes accompanied my Harry Potter reading time every afternoon.

We also did some traveling to Garut and Bandung.  Garut is a beautiful region in West Java Province. As we drove in to Garut, we were surrounded by mountains. Rice terraces and cool mountain air seemed to welcome me home! Oma and I stayed in a place called Kampung Sampireun. In sundanese (local language) means "village to stop in". It is about 3 hrs drive from Cipanas. First, we entered through a kampung (village) and on arrival at reception, we were graciously greeted by the staff in traditional sundanese dress and given a special welcome drink called "bandrek" (ginger tea), made from a traditional recipe. The lobby opens out onto a small wooden jetty. When we steped onto the jetty we were treated to a spectacle of color and lights which surround the lake edge. Dotted around the lake are cottages which sit on stilts in the water. The cottages are modern with intentional hints of traditional touches. On the other side of the lake a small fairy lit path leads to the restaurant. Our bags were quietly whisked away and we were then taken by canoe to our cottage. Yes, you read correctly... canoe! They gave us 2 big bags of fish food and you can sit by the water, hang your feet in the water and feed the big cat fish and watch them pile on top of each other fighting for the food. They'll nibble on your toes, but they don't have any teeth to hurt you.

This place is built for honeymooners or people who are looking to rest. The price, which was about US $150, which included dinner, snacks (afternoon and late night), morning tea, breakfast and early morning snack. We arrived around 1 PM, so plenty of time for Oma to take a nap while I caught up on some reading in the porch. It was quiet and serene with small cool breeze. Trully a tranquil experience. Until..... 4 american brats decided to ruin the afternoon shortly after their arrivals. Yes, I had a conversation with their parents who are from Chicago. They were rowing their canoe, all 4 of them with 4 oars, each rowing the canoe causing it to go every which way and them yelling at each other to stop. At some point they hit our cabin by the bedroom and woke Oma up. And when they were bored with that, they started hitting the "kentong" which is a device made from hollow bamboo used traditionally to call someone distance from you. Since the rooms do have phones, I am guessing the Kentongs are for decoration purposes only. After short talk with their parents, they seemed to calm down and the serenity continued.

Around 4 PM, the staff brought some "gorengan" to our room. Fried bananas, fried tofus, fried yams and tea. Around 7 PM Oma and I went to the restaurant for dinner. Our table had been reserved with our room number posted. How special!!! A Sundanese orchestra called "calung" is playing in front of us. The food were not out of this world, but the experience made it a great dinner. After playing the song they played when we arrived, they even greeted us by name, welcoming us to dinner. Every so often, they have a couple of dancers dancing Jaipongan (traditional sundanese dance). It was a nice dinner.

We went back to the room, and Oma went to bed. I was told around 9 PM a canoe of bandrek (ginger tea) would come around and serve the guests, however, it was raining pretty good that night, so the bandreks were served by the staff by foot. Sitting outside with hot ginger tea in one hand, Harry Potter book in the other, watching the rain and listening to splashing lake water and distance sound of jaipong orchestra ever so subtle made the night very soothing. The water was glistening from nearby lights, the breeze was cool and constant. I was in heaven. Only wishing that my 3 best people were there with me.

Around 7 AM, I heard a faint clinking outside. Oma was already up, and later told me that it was another vendor serving traditional pancakes called Serabi. I didn't have any, but remember having them when I was young. It's made from corn and rice flour, topped with salty condiments such as cheese, eggs...and sometimes, chocolate or bananas and brown sugar syrup. Breakfast came later, which is the usual semi western breakfast. The usual, eggs, sausages, fried rice and noodles (for the indonesian guests). We then have completed our stay at Kampung Sampireun. The staff was very eager to find out how our stay was, asking all kinds of questions at check out without being a pest about it. Very recommended place to stay if you are heading to Mid Java anyway.

From Garut, we went to Bandung. There, we checked in to a hotel, not worth mentioning. I met my bestfriend Renny and her husband Rizky whose knowledge for Bandung sightsee is second to none. However, Bandung is just another metropolitant city. Place to shop as it is  now full of outlet stores. So, what are you looking for? Gucci handbags? yes, they have those for cheaper than in the US ofcourse. The neat experience for me in Bandung was not the shopping, rather the eating. Renny & Rizky took us to a restaurant called "Sapu Lidi". They have 2 in Bandung, but ask for the one outside of town where you can sit in the middle of rice terrace in a "lumbung" setting (see the photos). We sat for awhile. This place will allow you to stay as long as you want, take a nap if you have to. Rizky did.

We also visited a place called "Kampung Daun". It is a restaurant wth similar concept as Sapu Lidi, but in a jungle setting rather than rice terrace. (see photos).

OK, this blog is getting too long. Sorry about that. I enjoyed some good and sometime emotional times with Oma alone. Good laughs with old friends, and very unforgettable time to myself.

Thanks for reading.
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Nury on


Thank you for sharing your holiday story with us as I am heading Garut in July for holiday with friends and family. Your recommended accomodation sounds great, I will go and stay there.

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