Saturday, 23 November 2013

Bandung and Beyond

We left the city for some more mountain air but this time towards the city of Bandung. We broke up the three hour journey with obligatory snack stops. The specialty of Lembang is tahu susu. Roughly translated it means milk tofu. We're still not quite sure how it differs from normal tofu but it didn't matter because it was delicious! The tofu literally melted in your mouth and the deep frying created a delicious salty thin crispy layer. We tried it in various form, as batagor, as part of a curry puff, as tofu martabak. There were all very tasty.

Breakfast offering today...bubur ayam

The requisite snack stop to try the specialty of the area

Soy milk to go with the food

Happy to get his own cup

Tofu before being deep fried

The final product. Looks ordinary but oh so smooth and silky!

Last one left!

The family eating

The drive up was so pretty with tea plantations lining both sides of the mountain roads. Our first destination was supposed to be the top of a volcano. However, they insisted that we showed our local citizen's ID. As half of us didn't have one, we had to pay the tourist price which was double the local price. Being the cheapskates that we are, we abandoned the volcano crater and headed for the Hot Springs of nearby Ciater instead. The driver kindly suggested using the Hotel entry instead of the public entry. It was a good call. We had the pools to ourselves and the entry price of around AUD$5 got us one free drink each as well.

The water was hot! It took a while to acclimatise but once in, it was very relaxing. For those who left swimmers behind, you can buy one for a bargain price of $4.50...We finished up, showered and headed for a Sundanese lunch. We had to hurry if we wanted to visit the Outlet malls and avoid the traffic rush back to Jakarta. Oh how I wish we had more time at the Outlet malls. Things were so cheap! As it was we didn't arrive back in Jakarta until close to 9pm and that as without a dinner stop. Fortunately my parents had planned in advance and bought munchies for all in the car. I had a quick walk around with my Mum to look for a place to get a massage. I was really looking forward to a 1.5 hour massage for $10! It was not meant to be as the massage place had closed for the day...Oh well. Time for a rest now in preparation for a wedding party tomorrow!

Time for a dip in the waters from the Hot Springs

The gorgeous surrounds of tea plantations

Awesome lunch. Sundanese food

Best fried chicken

Indonesian satay beats any other type hands down!

Amazing drink. Soursop, strawberry and starfruit juice

Another one of Michael's random photo of strangers. Once, if he's brave enough to take it, I'll post it!

More childhood favourites, sugar loaded tea drink!

My Uncle and cousin

Time for one last play before the long drive back to Jakarta

Friday, 22 November 2013

Safari Time

The King of the Jungle at Taman Safari

Today we left the hustle and bustle of Jakarta and headed up the mountains towards Puncak. Our destination was Taman Safari. The cool and fresh mountain air was a refreshing change to the pollution and heat of the city. We had once owned a villa in the mountains. My parents were disappointed that the scenic road had now been lined with buildings on both sides and that the views were no longer existent. However, they were glad that the buildings were all shops and they could reminisce about the various food items that they loved buying and eating.

As the name implies, Taman Safari is a...safari! You are able to drive around the trek in the comfort of your own car and view the animals around you. It was much better than I expected! The whole family delighted in spotting the animals that were often very close to the car, sometimes too close! Judging by our response, one might be forgiven for believing that we had never before seen a live animal in our lifetime. The one problem that we had thought, was that our van, was equipped for Jakarta traffic and weather. That is, it was tinted such that being inside the van was like night time! And...the windows do not open other than those by the driver and and front passenger seats. My polariser helped a little with reducing the reflection and glare with taking photos through the windows but they all have a slightly green tinge to them...Various members of the family slowly migrated towards the front of our van to get prime viewing position. Whilst we spotted lions, tigers, bears, birds, deers, hippos, giraffes and many, many more animals, my mother pointed out durian trees.

Our teeny tiny room with our suitcases open on the available floor space because there is no storage area!

Oh how I love a buffet breakfast. Sad to say though, this one was rather limited in choice


Black glutinous rice with coconut cream

And of course no good Indonesian would dare have a meal without chilli to go with it

Buying fruit on the way up. One of many many types of bananas

These ones are SMALL!

We were all excited to see the animals so close to us

First Alysa moved to the front

Followed by Uncle Michael

Followed by everyone else!


If you're going to be in traffic jam, let's throw in some zebras

Being mooned by the stripey creature

Not sure the licking attempt is much better


Yes that would be a lion crossing the road right in front of us

Next animal to cross in front of us, a Bengal tiger

White rhinoceros

The very natural setting of the park. You can just see the car in front on the path

I have decided that diets have no place in this country. How can I get into shape when we have 2 rounds of lunch followed closely by purchases of snacks to eat along the way?!?!? I also had to satisfy my need to drink all my beloved drinks from my childhood. It is afterall the land of the cheap freshly squeezed fruit juice. Our descent back down to Jakarta was predictably long, made worse by traffic. We met up with the rest of my mother's family for dinner before crashing in our hotel.

My brother Brian, his wife Asha and my niece Alysa

Rainforest Cafe anyone?!?!?

My Uncle Andrew and Jonah minding the seats with prime view of the elephant show whilst we get the food

Definitely not particularly safe for peanut allergy sufferers here...

Wildlife everywhere, even near the restaurant

The elephant show was surprisingly ok! They used the elephants skills to re-enact their story including deforestation and how to protect them in the future

Eating a satay makes any show better

Lunch round 1

One of my childhood favourites, bakmi ayam

Yay, coconut!

Lunch round two by the river

Soursop juice, another personal favourite. Oh how I love you!

Uncle Brian, breathing in the aroma

Jonah was luckily able to continue sleeping on the couch like seats

Still sleeping despite being transferred twice!

Dinner...Padang food

Time to meet up with more family

Brian and Ryuzo, brother of the groom