Friday, September 23, 2011

INDO DIARIES 2010 - Friday 16th July

From the moment the taxi started driving, we felt much calmer indeed. Before long, we were driving up green hills. We saw many eateries and promised to return, not realising that we still had further to climb.

Welcoming us to Batu was a hideous resort hotel which stuck out like a sore thumb. The landscape was cloudy and didn't need such a building, but it always meant we had a fall back option should we fail to find a hotel.

Our driver seemed to know where to go. We were on the main strip, which according to our book was where the hotels could mostly be found. Our driver continued, however. he turned right at the top of the strip and stopped at what seemed to be a luxurious hotel - The Orchid Hotel. We had read about it, but we just weren't sure.

Inside, we were welcomed by janitors and staff all ready to take our booking, our luggage, anything. In the centre of the uncomfortably large hotel was a big swimming pool, onto which all the rooms seemed to look.

We were shown a mountain view room (no pool views available). For an Indonesian hotel, it was a really expensive room, even for UK or Japan, yet the room had twin beds! Hardly welcoming for a couple.

The atmosphere was cold and not truly Indonesian. There was a caged cockerel in the entranceway, yet it was so out of place amongst the 'resort' feel of the hotel. Even the batik uniform seemed forced, along with the service.

We promptly left.

Just a stone's throw away, and the next hotel on the jalan was the Kartika Wijaya hotel, which is at the top of the hill on the main strip. It is from here that I now write this diary. It had also been mentioned in our guide book as having a colonial feel to it. We were less convinced having seen what 'Oen' had to offer us. But, at the hotel, in the lobby, there was a map of old Indonesia and it felt so much more like what we were looking for.

We checked in early and they gave us a lovely room. They even swapped a booking around so that we would not have to change rooms during our two night stay.

We left our bags and headed down the hill to Batu. It was time for lunch. The streets in Indonesia are always a nightmare to walk down. Single file is usually a must.

The town of Batu is cute. As you enter, a park welcomes you. We walk straight past to find a very colourful shop. There were costumes, was a festival costume maker shop! The colours and costumes were simply wonderful. The even had the woven horses that the girls had used on my first night at P wec.

You can see 2 sets of gernongs, ( 3+2)
They had some percussion instruments too, so Ian was in heaven. We played around a little, liking the gernong, in particular. On a base of wood, there were spaces for either two or three gongs, which were placed on strings. With a rubber beater and a little bit of rhythm, you have music!

Empty stomachs made us deliberate and we left the shop looking for food. And, what could be better than traditional sate overlooking the lovely park of Batu. You actually have to write down your own order. You also get the pleasure of watching the chef cook your breakfast.....on the street!

park & mountain view!

Cooking sate

Happy shopper

We were happy that the happy shopper had made his decision!

We went back to the costume shop, fiddled around a bit and finally made the decision to get the gernongs. We headed back to the hotel and got ready for a quick dip in the pool.

It was 3pm but the sun had already headed west. It was very cool and the water was cooler. Swimming and eating and reading and swimming and eating and reading....that was about it for the evening.

sumptuous strawberry juice

1 comment:

  1. So glad you found a hotel with the right atmosphere. I don't know why so many hotels think that being corporate is being more important than welcoming, friendly and interesting. !