2 – Wandering Abu Dhabi

Here I am right now, sitting in CaribouCoffee, in the middle of Marina Malls shopping centre. Off the breakwater in Abu Dhabi. Visited the giant flag pole overlooking AD’s central area, but the Heritage Centre there won’t be open till 4pm cos of Eid holiday. The beachfront is under construction to make it a swimming area. I figure when I return here in Mar it will probably be ready. =P

Had breakfast after taking the 901 bus (3 AED from outside Terminal 3, 1 hr) down from airport to the city. Roti Prata set 8 AED! off the little shops. With Tristan and Geordie, who left for the airport thereafter.

Me I made my way to the Breakwater, where this mall is. I tried to upload pics onto Flickr and here’s the message that popped. “Access to this site is currently blocked. The site falls under the Prohibited Content Categories of the UAE’s Internet Access Management Policy”. Wha?

I’ll add on to this entry when there’s a chance…Heading off to Sharjah later. Before that I’ll pop by the Emirates Palace, maybe.

28th Nov 2030pm, Sharjah Airport Departure Lounge
At Sharjah airport, which resembles more like a budget airport terminal compared to Abu Dhabi’s relative grandeur, waiting to check in. It’s 8.30pm UAE time (1230am Sg) and i am bloody exhausted. It could be the jet lag, or (coming to) two consecutive nights of sleeping on airplanes, or some 3 hours of bus rides today. Or even hunting around for AirArabia’s pickup point in town (its across the road off the eastern wall of Qasr Al-Hosn (white fort). It could be walking down half the distance of the corniche just now (didn’t get to go in the Emirates Palace, cos of the crowd and i was probably too shabbily dressed with my giant pack to be allowed in). Ah…i know the reason. It’s the damn bag…My thighs ache and i just want to get on the plane so i can sleep. (4.5 hours flight this time –> and i reach there at another ungodly hour (0130am). I am REALLY looking forward to a nice clean hotel bed at Alexandria where I can just sleep for a bit and get a proper shower. It would be great to finally settle down on one location for a couple of nights.

1 – AirAsiaX we will go!

1: Flights

Hello all. The SG to KL flight was delayed by an hour, due to weather. Its a good thing I gave 4 hours allowance then. Reached LCCT at quarter to 7 with plenty of time to spare for dinner. Checked in the bag. I don’t feel comfortable with the weight. Firstly it seems like too much weight. Secondly, its a bit top heavy and bulky. I’ll try to adapt and adjust. Better get used to it, that and I’ll try to drop off some weight along the way.

Met up with Tristan and Geordie. Both on the same flight out to Abu Dhabi. From there we split, I make my way to Alexandria while they’re off to San’aa.

Right now Im in my first AirAsiaX flight. 2200hrs set off, reaches 0130 hrs. Its a 7.5 hr flight on a budget airline. =). The plane itself is an Airbus 340 instead of the usual AirAsia 320 models. Larger, with two aisles to walk down. Best of all, it’s half empty, so everyones sprawled across 3 seats. Me i took up 5 seats. Pretty comfortable for a relatively long haul flight.

Reaching Abu Dhabi at 130am later, will stay about the airport till there’s light then make my way into the city. I’ll need to catch the 4.30pm bus to Sharjah Airport.

-1: Of last minute visas (Eid Mubarak!)

The idea is to get the Egypt visa on arrival at Al-Nozha airport. No problem here, since all major airports there issue visa-on-arrival. Until an innocent email to the Singapore embassy in Cairo inquiring about a Letter of Introduction. The reply came “…oh and by the way, the embassy is closed from 26th to 30th because of the Eid Al-Adha holidays…” Hmmm, that got me thinking, if these guys are closed, then where would my arrival into a secondary airport at 2am in the morning without a visa leave me? Not a brilliant idea to be stranded at the airport. So early Tues morning finds me queuing at the Egyptian embassy for a last minute visa (2 days processing time).

Eid_Mubarak” goes the guy in the pressed shirt at the embassy “Your visa will be ready on Monday, because we’re closed on Hari Raya eve”. Lovely, i thought, i fly this Friday. ><. The staff there were accomodating though, i plucked out my flight itinerary from back at the car and gave my most pathetic face. I got my visa this afternoon today (1 day processing time!) =)

On a sidenote, how am I going to carry so much cash on me? TCs have lousy rates, and ATMs are hit and miss, even if there are ATMs in the first place. I need to find space in my underwear to chuck stashes of USD notes. 2 days and counting. Woot!

Bandung 080809

Now this is a test post, just to see how this links with Facebook. If it is too intrusive, I’m going to remove from FB.

The trip itself is Bandung, back on National Day. Never did bother to post the report. Did the usual tourist sights to Tangkuban Perahu, Ciater etc. More info after the jump.

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An intrepid day in Bandung.

Here I am in a 3x2m room in Hotel Patradissa, opposite the train station in Bandung. Did not expect too much from this 4 day break, after all, Bandung is another sprawling urban city. I initially intended to lounge around all 4 days, surfing the net etc. But then I forgot that this isn’t Bali, and I don’t have Wifi everywhere I turn. So I decided instead to write this short entry.

The AirAsia flight was delayed by a half hour; one of the few times this year that I experienced a delay. The Bandung airport itself was a short flight from Singapore. Took a cab (35,000 Rp) to the train station, where all the budget places are. Roamed all over the train station vicinity for about an hour before retracing back to this Patradissa, a nice enough place (95,000 Rp). Walked down to Jalan Braga, which was a disappointment, considering Lonely Planet’s mention as a nightlife / bar stretch. Had dinner at the end of the street at one of the ubiquitous Nasi Padang stalls (9,000 Rp). Asked for directions to the Alun-alun (what the heck that is I don’t know, no thanks to my lousy Malay). It looked like an open air concrete park, with people hanging around and playing neon toys that launched into the air before spinning down. I cut through the park and reached one of the shopping malls. Bought an Eiger t-shirt (79,000 Rp). Decided against buying shoes, cheap but I was trying to spend less. My extravagant buy was a second dinner of an A&W meal (39,000 Rp). Didn’t like it, nasi padang was better. I navigated my way back to the hotel. Thats 257,000 Rp + 9,000 (for 2 Mizones and 2 Oreo packs) for day 1. Slightly less than 40 SGD. Good.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to grab the 8am Colt to Subang, and ask to be let off at Tangkuban Perahu. From there it’s to Ciater hot springs.

Day 2

Morning was a 24,000 Rp Soto Ayam. Plus a 12,000 Rp Angkot to Tangkuban Perahu. Overpaid for a solo angkot to the top. 100, 000 Rp so that’s (26,000 Rp for entrance fees, and a 74, 000 Rp) profit to him. Mizones x2 cost 6,000 Rp here. Fritters at 5,000 Rp. Toiletries and bread at 30, 000 Rp). Peron ticket at 1500 Rp. You need this to cut across the train station to the other side.

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Gunung Tangkuban Perahu is one touristy place. There must be a few hundred tourists, locals and foreign around the large crater. It deserves the crowd though. The spectacular crater is easily accessible by car. There is a very carnival feel to the place. Horse rides for children, street vendors hawking their wares and a permanent stretch of shops lined selling all sorts of souvenirs. After wandering around the circumference of the crater, made my way down. I had all day, so decided to talk a walk down to the main road. Took a tourist tram that ends halfway down at 2000 Rp. Along the way, stopped at Kawah Domas, an area with bubbling hot sulphurous pools. Stayed there for a bit, boiled eggs in the pool, got totally wet after being soaked in sulphurous water vapour.

From the foot of Tangkuban Perahu, I made my way by Angkot (30,000 Rp) to Ciater Hotsprings. Dropped just outside the resort, and stayed overnight at the (considerably cheaper) rooms there at 200,000 Rp.

Day 3

The Ciater Hotsprings is a well developed resort, not exactly what I was expecting. However since I was there at 8am (its 24hrs), there were very few other people. Walked from one end to the other. Cascading man made falls, picnic areas, other outdoor activities (water cycling cars, flying fox, horse rides). I just soaked myself underneath the hot water for 45 minutes. Lovely.

From there, made my way back all the way to Bandung. Dumped my stuff back at Hotel Patradissa (well it is cheap) before making my way to the infamous Jean Street in the afternoon. Also known as Jalan Cihampelas, I walked down the 2km or so stretch, marveling at the giant Rambo? Batman? Wtf? Larger than life figures perched over the jeans shop. Did not get anything, how could I, the tacky décor was too distracting.

Cihampelas Walk, the entrance of which was under construction at the time of writing, was accessed through a little nondescript nook that wound along a wooden ramp before opening into a gigantic promenade. Very much like a shopping centre on Orchard road → or better I daresay! Did a lap around the place. Had too much time so caught couple of shows at the classy cinema. Then took an after midnight stroll back to the hotel.

Early morning on Day4, made my way back home.