Before we checked out Kuching Hotel (RM35 for a double room a night), Shervin picked up our laundry from a shop nearby. We had all our clothes washed thinking there might still be bed bugs hidden amongst them. The shop asked for an extra fee because it was a 'rushed service', so we paid a whopping RM45 for everything (and believe me, we didn't have much clothes).
After breakfast at a small eatery just downstairs the hotel, we headed to Riverside Shopping Complex to look for an internet shop. We needed to check if a CouchSurfing host in Indonesia's available. But before we found a shop, we received an SMS from Colin saying he'd be at the Parkson entrance in ten minutes. We were supposed to surf Colin's Kuching couch. I have sent him a request weeks before the trip began. However, due to an unorganized itinerary, we weren't able to arrive on the date we agreed upon - yet he was kind enough to show us around on our last day.
We ate lunch with his friends at a local restaurant 'Fang Yuen', famous for its Hainanese chicken rice and roasted pork. Then Colin dropped us off Sarawak Museum (for a quick visit), where he also fetched us a couple of hours later.
After which we drove to yet another eatery where we sampled:
When we were done sampling Malaysian snacks, we told Colin we needed to log on the internet to contact a host in Indonesia. He said he has internet connection and we can stay at his place for a while.
Before we hopped in his car, one of his friends Von, accompanied us to a pharmacy nearby to buy medicine for our bites. Thanks to her, we were able to get a discount for our anti-bacterial cream (and we need not struggle communicating).
At Colin's place we had a can of Stella each. The balcony of his family's flat has a panoramic view of Kuching City. Such nice place to watch the sunset. Barely two hours of hanging out, we set off again to another local dining area for dinner. This time, Colin needed to use his GPS to find the place, hidden within a residential area.
Colin and his friends ordered noodle soup with intestines and fungus tea drinks for us. Shervin wasn't too enthusiastic about it. We were not that hungry anyway since we spent almost the entire time with our Kuching hosts eating. Gosh, we sure did commit gluttony that day.
We enjoyed the food trip so much that we lost track of time. In less than two hours, our flight will be departing. Colin sped up to the airport. When we got there, I quickly changed into pants to hide my bed bug bites. I knew they were merely checking temperature for AH1N1, but I was afraid we'd be held up with my red polka-dotted skin.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf was still open, and is located just in front of our gate. It was where we finally logged on the internet. We rushed sending messages to Jakarta hosts, and left our contact number on each one. Two responded to our request.
We chose Nita because the other host was caught up in some event, and we didn't want to hassle her. Nita sent a message about how to get to her house at first, but sent another message shortly after to inform us they'll just pick us up from the airport.
From the island of Borneo to Java. View Kuching-Jakarta in a larger map
Plane left Kuching and arrived in Jakarta on schedule (11:00 PM). We were held up at the immigration though because Shervin's passport shows that he's born in Tehran. Indonesia was still uptight due to the Bali bombing incident. So naturally, each tourist's passport was thoroughly checked (by the way don't forget to buy an onward ticket out of Jakarta, immigration will ask for it).
We dealt with the immigration for an hour. We were out of credits so we weren't able to inform Nita that we have touched down. She and her friend Ela were patient enough to wait, and we saw them standing just in front of the Citibank booth (as she SMSed) at the arrivals. We apologized and explained what happened.
Nita said we won't be sleeping at her place but at Ela's. And at Ela's house, we were treated like royal guests (her granma didn't seem to know though we're coming because she freaked out when she saw Shervin upstairs, haha!). We've been provided an air-conditioned room plus a netbook (to use the whole day) for us to organize our itinerary (which we were not able to fix since the bed bug tragedy).
They also provided home-cooked Indonesian meals. As if that's not enough Indonesian hospitality, they also drove us to the train station and helped us score tickets to Yogyakarta! Too bad we weren't able to spend more time with them.
[This blog is part of the South East Asia in Six Weeks series which took place May-June 2009. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]
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