Wednesday, October 1st, 2003 – Day 225 to Thursday, October 2nd, 2003 – Day 226

Wednesday, October 1st, 2003 – Day 225

The bus journey was fine. I got a Number 4 mini-van to the station around 5.00pm. With traffic, it arrived at 5.30pm. I got on the bus. You are better off to buy a ticket once you get there, although you have to go through an agent in any case. The price was 58,000 IR for a bus with reclining seats and A/C. You can get cheaper buses without A/C. There were buses going to destinations all over Indonesia, but luckily only about 10 people on my bus. I got a seat with no one in front, beside or behind me. I could recline the seat fully. We stopped at 12.00 for a half hour eating break. Had some nice banana pancakes with my dinner (500 IR each). They showed a Karaoke video on the TV bus. Song subtitles with pictures of mini skirted young Indonesian girls.

I actually slept between then and 3.00am when I was woken up. We were there. They had promised me we would not arrive in Bandung until 5.00am when sunrise would begin but here I was. I had gone to lengths to make sure that this did not happen. What to do!!!

It was too early to go to my chosen Bed and breakfast Home stay. It would be OK for a hotel. I like to be in control in situations and I did not want to get a taxi to god knows where at this time. I decided to stay put on a bench. Its a 24 hour city with 2 million people so I wasn’t alone. People were already setting up for markets. My choice to stay was confirmed by the fact that city buses started only at 5.00am. So, I stayed there. Some crack pots around but not too many. Time passed quickly and it wasn’t cold.

At 5.00am I went to the city bus terminal next door and paid 1,000 Ir to be taken down the main street. The bus was backed with benches down the main aisle. People were falling over each other. I knew the location of my hostel, so it was easy get off at the right street (the sun had came up).

When I got there, I was told the New Le Yossie had closed. They pointed me to another down the street called the By Moritz . They had no singles but a double for 45,000 IR with ceiling fan. It was OK but had a noisy fan. I decided to try the Old Yossie hostel about 5 minutes away.

It was 6.15am when I rang the bell. They had singles for 30,000 IR. I was wrecked so I booked in. Its like a Bed and Breakfast place and a family lives there. Within minutes I could hear children screaming and the husband and wife arguing together with a owl in the attic. I was shattered and I slept on and off until 1.00pm. Yep, I must have been tired as I have not slept this late since Buenos Aires seven months ago.

Bandung is the cool and comfortable capital of West Java. It’s an unhurried place (despite being the third largest city in Indonesia) which makes it a welcome respite from the din and bustle of Jakarta.

The majority of the population are the native Sundanese from west Java, who not only have a reputation as extroverted, easy-going people compared with the extremely refined Javanese, but also as zealous guardians of their own ancient culture.

So, if you want to mix it up with the locals and have an interest in Sundanese culture, Bandung is the place to go. Its other main attractions are the superb surrounding countryside, the famous Tangkuban Prahu volcano, numerous river walks and its faded art deco grandeur. Rowdy ram-butting fights are held in the northern suburb of Cilimus and can be quite an experience for anyone who’s not a fully paid up member of the RSPCA.

Bandung offers cool, pleasant weather year around, rich history and culture, some of the region’s most awesome natural wonders, and the friendliest smiles around. Don’t miss it when you get around Indonesia!

I walked down town. It was nice. The city is the most westerised I have seen in Java. Girls wear stylish clothes and make up and I have seen few wear head scarfs. I have seen a punk guys and no Osama t-shirts yet. People sell mobile phone covers etc and many Mc Donalds, Dunkin Donuts, KFC here. Bandung was the centre of the new Hi-tech Indonesia before the 1997 crash and it has the best It colleges. It has a young population. I saw lots of great portrait painters on the street. I commissioned one. Prices range from 30,000 IR to 100,000 IR. I passed a busking band playing PLACEBO Every You Every Me“. They were shit!

I found it hard to find a NET cafe. Impossible in fact. Seems they have all moved to become game only centres.

They are all playing Ragnarok. In thailand kids were restricted to playing this game from 10.00pm on.

Ragnarok, an Internet role-playing game that has more than 600,000 registered players in Thailand. Parents complained that their children were hooked on the game; others looked askance at players spending far too much of their money on it. The government’s response was a nighttime curfew. Since July 15, computer servers that keep Ragnarok running have been ordered to shut down between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

One of the banned games includes the South Korean fantasy game Ragnarok, in which players battle mythical beasts. The game has more than 600,000 registered players, and can reportedly last for hours. So popular is the game that there have been reports of people sneaking out after bed time to play at 24 hour net cafes. The government, backed by some parents, claims that the game encourages anti-social attitudes – and leaves less time for homework.

The online gamers have been described as “outraged” at being treated like children. They can be seen venting their disgust on webboards across the online community. Sisak Jamonara, the president of the Thai computer society, criticised the move, darkly telling BBC East Asia Today that “What the kids really need is love from their parents.”

However, not everyone under thirty disagrees with the move. “Ragnarok has become a drug and all of my friends are addicted to it,” one student quoted in Internet Magazine mournfully exclaimed. “Nobody plays soccer with me now.”

More here.

I walked to the North Sea Bar. It says its the only real bar in Bandung. funny, as I saw 2 more bars on the same street. Lots of house prostitutes, it had it all. I stayed for one drink. I went to a local shop, bought 2 beers and Newsweek. I walked back to the hostel. The owner was up watching the news. They were showing 2 guys caught with drugs. When the suspects did not answer a question from the news crew, a policeman used to puck (hit) the suspect on the back of his head with his hand. Quite funny. I drank the beers while reading Newsweek. I was in bed by 12.00.

  • I see my 80’s favorite Magnum PI is going to be made into a movie.

  • A new report entitled “Changing Minds, Winning Peace“, finds that 15% of Indonesians now view the US favourably – down from 61% in 2002.
  • From Empire

    In an effort to bugger film pirates and to allow filmgoers all over the world to see it at the exact same time The Matrix Revolutions will open simultaneously in 60 countries across the world on 5 November. That means that when the film has its first screening in Los Angeles at an ungodly 6am in the morning, it will also start screening everywhere from London to Hong Kong.

    Warner Bros is hoping that this global roll-out will stymie piracy of the movie. ‘Given the enormous popularity and success of the Matrix films throughout the international community, we’re thrilled that we can bring the final chapter of this amazing trilogy to our fans simultaneously around the world,’ said Warner Bros’ Distribution department.

    New character posters for The Matrix Revolutions here.

  • New stamps in honour of pioneer Irish seamen

    FOUR stamps celebrating Irish mariners, including the men who founded the American and Argentine navies, have been issued by An Post. The stamps were launched yesterday in Wexford, birthplace of Commodore John Barry, the US Navy founder featured on one of the stamps. Also honoured are Argentine Navy founder Admiral William Brown, born in Foxford, Co Mayo; Wicklow’s Captain Robert Halpin; and Captain Richard Roberts from Passage West in Cork. Halpin was master of the vessel that laid the first undersea telecommunications cables. Roberts captained the Sirius, which in 1838 made the first scheduled passenger trip between London and New York.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Bandung – Java – Indonesia (01-10-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Bandung – Java – Indonesia (01-10-2003)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2003 – Day 226

Again I did not get up early. Its a quite hostel except for the husband and wife bickering. I stayed in bed until 11.00am. After that the owner made me breakfast. Remember that I am paying only 3 Euro a night here. It is a nice guy and gave me hints on what to do today. I didn’t say that I wanted to f%^$ all today. Anyway it was very overcast today and threatening rain. It was still humid though.

I went down town and browsed MP3, DVD’s and so on. Hmm, did so little today.

I went to see ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO staring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Johnny Depp and Eva Mendes. I enjoyed it. The plot which some give out about was fine and I think Depp is great in every movie. It was 10,000 IR (1 Euro) in. Funny, as outside the cinema you can buy the film on pirate VCD for 5,000 IR (.51 cent) or DVD for 15,000 IR (1.53 Euro). You would think the cinema would be pissed. There were less than 10 people watching the movie. Why bother when you can watch for 1/2 the price as many times as you want if you buy a DVD.

One funny thing was that in many cases the cinema is within a shopping plaza. When prayers are on, they are pipped into the shopping centres. Every hard to concentrate on shopping when a Muslim cleric is semonising!!

  • I see there is a October 7-8 meeting of ASEAN leaders and a parallel business summit in Bali. It hopes to show Indonesia as a safe and stable country; stable enough to draw prime ministers and presidents not just from ASEAN but from such powers as China, India, Japan and South Korea, as well as hundreds of business executives.

    In fact, putting Indonesia in a good light is a major point of the meetings in Bali, says Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Ong Keg Yong.

  • I also see Mr. Sobhraj (“so-BRAHJ”) who was linked to about 20 unsolved murders across Asia beginning in the early 1970s as been arrested. He killed tourists on the so-called “hippie trail” which criss-crossed the continent, attracting a parade of young, idealistic, restless Westerners who pilgrimaged to Kathmandu and beyond. He had drugged and killed tourists from India to Thailand. More information here.
  • The Bali Bombing plot is explained in detail here.

  • More information on Bandung.

I did go to any bars. I bought a bottle of beer and headed back and listened to a new MP3 Album which included the Best of the Pogues. I saw a sports store with posters from the 70’s including that of Chocolate Thunder.

Dawkins made national headlines in 1975 when he was the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft and became the first player to move directly from high school to the NBA. He joined the Philadelphia 76ers at age 18 and quickly discovered that playing alongside Julius Erving was just one of the perquisites of the job. Over a 14-year career, Dawkins established himself as a physical presence under the basket. He was the first to smash a backboard and his 383 personal fouls in 1983-84 still stands as an NBA record. He was equally imposing off the court, where he enthusiastically embraced a lifestyle of crashing parties, doing drugs and chasing the ladies.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Bandung – Java – Indonesia (02-10-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Bandung – Java – Indonesia (02-10-2003)

I was asleep by 11.30pm.