Lazy Traveler

Je suis allée à Jayapura and why I’m writing in in french.

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Le mois de Novembre dernier, je suis allée à Jayapura pour travailler. Ce jeudi, je vais passer un examen de français niveau A2. C’est pourquoi maintenant j’ecris un blog post ici en français. Pour pratiquer.
Donc, comme d’habitude, je vous voudrais présenter dix faits au hasard que j’ai noté durant mon voyage.
1. Les choses en Papouasie sont plus chères que ceux de Jakarta.
2. Je remercie Dieu pour l’existence de Telkomsel.
3. C’était la première et la dernière fois que j’ai mangé Papeda. C’est trop bizzare pour moi.
4. J’adore l’autres cuisines comme ‘sayur bunga pepaya’ et toutes les poissons.
5. Le lac Sentani est très très beau. Mais malheuresement, je ne pouvais pas prendre une bonne photo de lui. Il pleuvait et il y avait beaucoup de nuages là-bas
6. Je devrais visiter Wamena à l’avenir. Je voudrais prendre une photo avec les hommes Papouasie qui portent des kotekas.
7. Tous les gens que j’ai rencontrés étaient gentils et sympathiques. Mais ils nous ont aussi dit que les émeutes et les violences sexuelles étaient assez fréquentes. Vous devriez être prudent surtout si vous êtes une femme et voyagez seule. Vous pourriez aller en groupe et rester loin des gens ivres.
8. Je ne sais pas exactement et je dois vérifier. Mais je suis sûre que les gens qui vendaient Bolu Manokwari (une sorte de pain, souvenir célebrè pour les tourists), étaient clairement d’origine chinoise. C’est intéressant.
9. Le billet d’avion à destination Jayapura est coûteux! C’est aussi cher que le vol à Melbourne.
10. J’aurais dû acheter plus Batik de Papouasie là-bas. Ils sont merveilleux. Maintenant, je le regrette un peu.
Comme toujours, parce que c’était un travail, jen’ai pas eu de la chance d’être une vraie touriste. J’espère que je pourrai visiter Papouasie nouveau. La prochaine fois, je devrais explorer Raja Ampat et d’autres endroits exotiques là-bas!
P.S. Excusez mon mauvais français. S’il vous plaît corrigez moi si j’ai fait des erreurs cela m’aidera à m’améliorer. Merci!

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(edited, terima kasih Oom Patrice!)

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Prague and How to Get Better Pictures of Yourself

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When: October 2012

Why I went there:

  1. To replace my mother who’s having bad knees to accompany my father for a business trip.
  2. To visit a friend in Germany. (The good thing about Europe is the countries are located side by side. It’s like going from Bandung to Jakarta with Cipaganti)
  3. To go somewhere cold and new (it was autumn and I had never been to any country in Central Europe).
  4. To make use of my father’s mileages (Yay half-priced tickets!).

Ten things I learned from this trip:

1. In Wikipedia and Wikitravel I trust. I mean, in term of Prague travel tips and reviews. I won’t write too much about those stuff, because 95% of what I experienced is in accordance to what they wrote.

2. Apply a Schengen visa via Czech Embassy in Jakarta ONLY IF you have no other option. Otherwise, try Netherlands or any Schengen member state embassy that doesn’t treat you like a disease (or still does, but less). Well, the strict visa lady (most possibly a Czech) is quite nice and helpful. She gets your visa issued on time if you have completed all the requirements. But the system sucks big time. There’s NO ONLINE application system, so you have to submit your documents in person, and queue in front of the locked, security-guarded gate (YES ON THE  PEDESTRIAN SIDEWALK) which only opens every Tuesday and Thursday (9-12 for submission and 13-14 for picking up your visa), with no queue system as well. Don’t know if they have changed the policy by now, though, but my experience was “first come first serve”. Moreover, the process takes very long (up to 20 minutes for one person). Thus if you are the 5th person in the line to pick up your visa, chances are you have to go back on the next working day. And beware, sometimes they open a little late.

From now on I will complain less about US visa application for being a pain. Because at least they will eventually let you in, and they have more decent online and queue system. But I still hope that every embassy would be as humane as UK visa services.

3. Prague is very beautiful and clean. A lot more wonderful than the pictures I took (sure Lhuri your pictures are lame). Many people say, it’s like Paris, but cleaner, and less mainstream. I couldn’t agree more and I won’t turn down an opportunity go back one day.

4. Living cost in Prague is cheaper than that in Western Europe countries. The public city transport system is very well developed and quite cheap. And it takes only a 10-15 minutes to get yourself familiar with the routes (I only used subways/metro and trams). Also, souvenirs are not very expensive. I’m pretty satisfied with Stamion, a giftshop near Charles Bridge. Nice price, nice people. Note: 1 Euro = 23-25 CZK. Sometimes you get better rates at certain shops than in money exchangers.

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5. Czech people are friendlier than I expected. They don’t like to be photographed, and are not as joyous as Javanese people who smile all the time for no reason. But generally, they are helpful enough to help a lost tourist. My suggestion: find help from the younger people because they speak English. The reason why some Czechs might be reluctant to assist you find an address is probably the language barrier.

6. Czech people are good-looking. The ugliest lad can still replace Nicky Tirta in one of his sinetron. Well I’m exaggerating, but oh well, they really are beautiful.

7. Be safe. As warned by many articles, beware of stalkers. That’s true. I got followed by a stranger. He appeared shabby, drunk, and possibly homeless. It was horrifying because I was alone (my father is attending the convention), so I tried to stay close with a lot of people in open space, particularly old couples and families with kids. In fact, that’s how I got the stalker back off. I made acquaintance with other harmless-looking strangers who happened to be a very sweet couple and they knew I’d been followed. Those angels walked me back to to hotel safely 🙂

My tips if you’re going solo: keep your purse in your room. Bring only things you can keep in your coat pocket, like photocopy of passport, tickets, cellphone, and sufficient amount of bank notes.  Other alternative, get a Starbucks paper bag as your fashion item. That way you can still carry several larger things like umbrella and bottled water without provoking malicious intention.

8. If you are easy to please (like me), the best-known spots can be visited in just 2 days. Just so you can say to people you have been to Charles Bridges, Prague Castle, Vyšehrad, Wencesclas Square, and seen Astronomical Clock :p

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9. Eurail is comfortable. Very punctual and nice. The booking and stuff aren’t very complicated. So yeah, I’m pretty satisfied.

10. Look, here’s the weird lonely girl! If you want to travel around the city, be in a group of two or three. In addition to safety reason, you have someone to take your picture posing with some cool tourism objects. That way, you don’t end up having to ask strangers to take an awkward photo of yourself next to a cemetery gate (why would someone be photographed next to a cemetery gate anyway?). Or even sadder, doing this in front of a hotel mirror .

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I’ll post about my trip to Papua next time.

Cheers.

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South Kalimantan and Why I’m Such a Lazy Traveler

Because I enjoy going to a lot of places, but I want to have as minimum hassle as possible.

For example, even when when I tick that “travel purpose” box on almost all visa applications, I rarely ever travel for the sake of traveling. I always have another purpose, be it the core agenda or an additional one. Most of the time, for work, or accompanying someone.

The pluses:

You can worry less about accommodation, tickets, and all other travel preparations. Someone else is already taking care of it.

The minuses:

You have limited time to explore the place you’re visiting, because you have something else to do. Often when you’re accompanying people, you don’t have enough freedom to do what you want. But I don’t demand much, and am easy to please. So I’m happy to be in certain places and go home with a couple of moderate-quality site-specific pictures taken by a camera phone.


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Earlier last year, I went for a work trip in South Kalimantan. I spent one week in Tanah Laut, and one week in Barito Kuala. Here’s ten things I acquired from the trip.

1. The fish cuisines in south Kalimantan are really, REALLY GOOD. Nine out of ten dishes I had were excellent. Grilled, steamed, fried, anything! Saluang is very famous there but my favorite fish are Lais and Patin (I think it’s Basa fresh water). If you’re not into fish just go for Soto Banjar.

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2. If you are an accessories lover, go to Martapura shopping spot and buy your stuff there. The price can be up to 5 times cheaper than that in Jakarta. People in Kalimantan Shop are friendly and the price they give is good enough.

3. The beaches are okay but not that great. I went to Pantai Srawangan in Tanah Laut and I basically saw……….sand. And seawater. I mean, well, it actually has the potential to be a tourism spot, if cleaner and managed better.

4. There’s no flower in Flower Island (Pulau Kembang), but there are monkeysIf you go to Pasar Terapung and Pulau Kembang, you can confidently say that you’ve been to South Kalimantan. Kalimantan is famous for its numerous rivers. I’m excited to just get in the boat and be able to take pictures with these overly attached monkeys.

The monkey is in the picture on your left hand side. The one on the right is my working partner @ariefnugs. Okay?

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5. There’s only one mall in Banjarmasin. And be accustomed to those times when the power goes off. I mean this doesn’t happen infrequently. But it normally only takes 10-30 seconds. So I can still accept that.

6. There’s almost zero traffic jam. Banjarmasin is not a remote area but doesn’t have as much city atmosphere as Jakarta does. So you might miss an untouched natural sceneries but you won’t have too many problems with mobilization. They have decent roads and land transport is not so hard to find.

7. I find the weather hotter than here in Jakarta. Maybe because it’s closer to the equator. The good thing is there’s (of course) less pollution.

8. People are nice and friendly. Well, basically Indonesians are like that.

9. Next time you go to Banjarmasin, maybe a one-week trip would be useful. I only had around 3 non-consecutive free days so I didn’t get the chance to visit other interesting sites people had been telling me earlier. Like the waterfall, the mining site of Martapura, and several places in different part of Kalimantan like orangutan conservation and Derawan Beach.

10. Look, there’s “Terapi Gangguan Jin”! Meaning if you are possessed by an evil spirit/bad genie, you know where to go :p

Nabi

That’s it for today. Thanks @ariefnugs for the sunrise picture. Next post is about a trip to Prague in late 2012.

Cheers.

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