Sunday, December 21, 2014

Quick Bites in Indonesia

I  recently returned from another business trip, this time to Bogor, Indonesia.  Because this was a business trip I don't have so many photos or restaurants or other things to discuss, but did manage to get away from the office for a bit.

Dinner on Japan Airlines in coach. Notice the Asahi beer, miso soup, and all-around better food than found on your typical US domestic flight. I could get used to such things. 
The flight path went from Dallas to Narita, Japan, to Jakarta, Indonesia.  What you can't see is that we flew directly over a typhoon, however the flight was smooth.
While in Bogor we visited a supermarket for a few things. I snapped a few picts along the way. 

These packets of coffee, creamer, etc were available everywhere.

The hotels catered to Asian visitors and had very few options for Western tourists.  A few of the people in my group had difficulty adjusting to the food, but for the most part it was fine for people used to eating Chinese, Korean, or other similar food.

No oatmeal or cereal available for breakfast, however the rice porridge with chicken stock was close enough. I added some peanuts and soy beans for extra protein and flavor. 
Our meetings were near the National Botanical Gardens so we spent a few hours there during a break.
Legend has it that if you sit in this chair with your sweetheart that you'll get married. 

This is the Presidential Palace. 

 The Botanical Gardens have a lovely cafe where we had lunch.

The cafe.

Oxtail Soup. Different from the varieties I've had in the US, but savory, comforting, and delicious. 
The soup was served with crisps and rice, as well as peppers to spice things up. 
Indonesian beer served ice cold. A light rice-based beer. Quite good and refreshing on a hot day.

The hotel where we stayed was attached to a mall.  And this is where I had my first-ever cronut.

The mall resembles the Galleria in Houston.
Christmas trees for sale. 

This cafe had really good coffee, donuts, and cronuts.
Beautiful donuts, including flavors such as avocado and green tea.
Cronuts.  Not available in College Station, so I tried one. It was like the unholy, delicious lovechild of a donut and croissant. I wouldn't wake up at 5 am or pay hundreds of dollars for them, like the people in those stories out of New York City, but it's definitely a good option if I'm in a donut kind of mood.
 Again, this was a business trip, so I didn't have much time for exploration. I'll leave you with a few picts I took from the hotel or the car while we were underway.

Some unsolicited travel advice:

  1. Traffic is bad in Jakarta and Bogor and follows rules very different from the US. I recommend hiring a car and driver (your hotel or concierge can call a reputable one for you). If you're going to fly out of Jakarta leave hours upon hours for the ground transportation. It took us 45 minutes to get from the airport to the hotel in Bogor at 2 am when we arrived.  It took 4 hours to get from Bogor to the Jarkarta airport terminal to leave.  1 hour of that was spent going from the airport front gate to the terminal.  
  2. If you fly from Jakarta have a print out of your itinerary and confirmation numbers.  You have to go through security before you get to the ticket counter. Only ticketed passengers may go through security.  You'll have to go through security 2 more times before you get to your gate. 
  3. Enjoy the local culture and remember that it's not supposed to be just like at home. 
  4. Unless you're from Indonesia you won't blend in.  Don't worry about it. You'll stand out so own it. 
  5. The country is conservative so dress it. In Jakarta and Bogor you, as a foreigner, aren't expected to blend in.  However show a bit of respect for your hosts and keep things conservative. No cleavage, tank tops, or shorts. It's too hot for jeans so wear long pants or skirts. There is the added advantage of keeping the mosquitoes off your legs. 
  6. Learn a few words in the local language. Be ready and willing to work with people who don't speak English.  Patience and a sense of humor are necessary.
    1. Good morning: sellamat pagi
    2. Good afternoon: sellamat siang
    3. Good evening: sellamat malam
    4. Thank you: terima kasih
  7. If your phone, like mine, doesn't work overseas, use an app to call home for free over wifi.
    1. Install the google hangouts app (free).
    2. Install the google hangouts dialer app (free). You must have the first app for this one to work.
    3. Dial any US number and talk for free. Your call will show up as "Unknown Number" to whomever you're calling so warn friends and family about this before your leave.
  8. Be prepared for credit cards to either not work or to not be accepted. Take enough cash, just in case.
    1. Also, call your credit and debit card companies before you depart so that they know the foreign charges are legit.
  9. Be ready to verify you're you when logging in to facebook and email outside of the US. 
  10. Buy a universal power strip so that you can charge all the things at once:

I got mine from Amazon. You'll need a 3-prong to 2-prong adapter (available from hardware stores or Amazon) and a region-specific adapter (available for $3, for individual adapters, or $10 for a set, from Target).

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