Indonesia, Part 6

Where we stayed in HK: The Stanford Hillview Hotel – it doesn’t show up on Expedia or the others, but it’s a good deal in HK, free wifi, kettle in room with coffee and tea, nothing special in terms of decor, but comfy and central in Kowloon.

Tips: 1. As per other HK entries, take the airport train to Kowloon and then one of the free shuttle buses to the hotel – very straightforward.

Email diary:

March 26, 2010: Indonesia Diaries, Part 6

Hey Everyone!

Greetings from Hong Kong – I think this’ll be the final installment of our vacation diaries. This morning we sadly bid farewell to Indonesia and made our way to HK. We spent the past few days just hanging out in Jakarta and nearby, as you can probably guess, doing a lot of eating and shopping.

We went to a mall in Jakarta with an art exhibiti and there was also a sculpture of Barack Obama in a becek – there was a lot of excitement this week as his trip to Indonesia was postponed. The next couple of pics are of a animal market in Jakarta that is within walking distance from d2’s aunt and uncle’s house. We went here on Tuesday with Pop to buy some bird seed for his birds and he also decided to buy a squirrel there – the third pic is of the little squirrel – he’s 2 weeks old. Like the bird market in Jogjakarta, there were all kinds of animals at this market – cats, birds of all kinds including owls, turkeys, chickens and talking birds, along with rats, mice, hamsters, turtles, lizards, snakes, lemurs (yes, a guy pulled a lemur out of a basket to show us!), and monkeys. It was most sad to see the monkeys – they were so scared. I couldn’t send you a pic of them – the squirrel is a much happier story. After the market, we drove about an hour south of Jakarta to a city called Bogor. There is a huge botanical garden there and we toured the grounds – here I am with some kind of crazy huge tree. Very lovely grounds in the middle of the city. In Bogor there is also a gong and gamelan factory that we visited. The factory has been in the same family for 6 generations and they still make instruments traditionally over a fire and simply hammer things in to shape. Unfortunately they had quit working for the day given that there was a thunder storm (they believe that once it storms they need to stop work otherwise they are the ones ‘causing’ the storm by agravating whatever powers that be), but they did tour us around their shop and tell us how they make and tune the instruments. The gamelan is an Indo instrument that’s kind of like a xylophone, except with a different sound and you can distinctly hear it in a lot of the music that comes from here.  I’ve included a picture of our buddy giving us a demo at the gong factory. Yesterday we did some final shopping in Jakarta and then had dinner with d2’s aunt and uncle while his parents went out with some of their friends. After dinner we stopped at a roadside stand for a super tasty treat called martabak. Here’s an action shot of the fellow adding the finishing touches to it. Essentially there’s a dough that they cook in a large pan (it’s like a pancake of sorts, only thicker), then they remove it from the heat and slather butter all over it, cover it with chocolate, peanuts, sesame seeds, the finale is what brings it all together: sweetened, condensed milk. They fold it in half and voila, you have an insanely caloric treat. We dove in to this at around 11 lastnight – best time to eat it I’m sure :o)

Today we were up nice and early at 5 am to get to the airport for our 9 am flight. Everything went uneventfully, and we arrived in HK around 3. We’re staying at the same hotel we stayed at nearly exactly 2 years ago when we were here. We spent the afternoon doing some more shopping, this time in an area that specializes in sporting goods – all kinds of shoes and clothes. And then we enjoyed one of our favourite meals – wonton soup with some veggies and rice. Afterwards we went down to the harbour and enjoyed the skyline.

Now it’s off to bed and we’re just going to take things easy exploring HK again tomorrow. Sunday I’m off to TO and d2’s off to mainland China. What a wonderful three weeks it’s been of learning all kinds of things, enjoying a new culture, visiting with family, and, I can’t forget, sampling superbly tasty foods. Hope you’ve enjoyed the diaries!

Love to you all!
dpr and d2

 

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