Monday, July 7, 2008

Back in Jakarta... phew

Okay. I'm tired of airplanes and airports. We flew back from Balikpapan on Sat afternoon. The Sepinggan airport in Balikpapan is just one of those provincial airports where you have to walk out to your aircraft. Ever flew from Terengganu airport? I have. Same difference. Same filthy loos too!

Last night, two guys from Dear Hubby's office flew in and we four had dinner. We went back to Ocean's where we'd gone to before and it hadn't impressed me much. But guess what? This time, the food was great! We ordered a red snapper in Bangkok sauce. I haven't a clue what Bangkok sauce is but it was delicious. For starters, we had spring rolls and some triangles of prawn cake-bread combo that was deep-fried and then covered with sesame seeds. Wowza! Even the seafood fried rice tasted better this time round. Maybe it was because the waiters gave us some sambal. I didn't know they had sambal the first time round. Ooh, I love chilli! It makes all the differences in a meal!
Somehow, there was less space to squeeze into for going home in the car... I wonder why...

Yesterday, the driver took me on a tour of Balikpapan Baru (lit. New Balikpapan). It's a new area of town, comprising mainly of shophouses and housing areas, built about 4 years ago. While I was taking in the sights, I was caught by surprise to see a banner advertising houses in Vancouver. ??? I didn't know there was a market for that here! Later, I realised that the new, posh housing areas were named after world cities. Imagine my initial surprise when we turned onto a road and I saw road signs for Paris, Amsterdam, Vancouver and Kyoto!

Balikpapan Baru is... hmm... how shall I put it? It looks like Disneyland crossed with Taipan USJ. See what I mean? I went to the shopping center there which is called, appropriately enough, Fantasy Mall.

All in all, I'm glad to be back in Jakarta where there is at least some place for me to spend my money. When we first arrived in Balikpapan, Dear Hubby handed me Rp1 mill in case I saw anything I wanted. All I spent all week was perhaps Rp200,000+ for some fruit juice for me, crisps and cookies for him, fruit and a large bottle of water. The rest of the money remained in my purse because there was simply nothing for me to buy! Dear Hubby is now wondering if we should move to Balikpapan since this will mean MEGA savings for him... hmm.. clever plot...

Still, I do like Balikpapan. It's just nice to have the beach and sand and sea breeze for a change.

Some other pics from Balikpapan:

View of the beach and the fishermen's huts from our hotel. I wandered down to The Beach grill restaurant and found some steps leading to the beach. There were some tables and chairs on a wooden deck, so I sat there for about half an hour, just enjoying the sea breeze.

The monument dedicated to the freedom fighters of East Kalimantan who gave their lives defending their homes from the Dutch. Whoever built the monument must not have grown up in the tropics. You simply do not build stuff and leave a little drain all around it where 1) rainwater can collect for mozzies to breed 2) thoughtless idiots use as a convenient trash bin to toss their ciggie butts and crisps bags.

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