Saturday, 23 August 2014
Intriguing Indonesia - Batam Day Trip
After the initial trip to Batam, I headed in again, to check out some possibility of business ventures. So I also took the opportunity to shop around a little, a mini day trip on Sunday. I started the long day with a hot green tea latte from Starbucks, while waiting at the now-familiar ferry terminal to board the ferry.
We finally got going, and reached Batam Island in about 45 minutes, me napping onboard. I was kind of miffed at the Batam customs at Sekupang Terminal because the officers had me seconded in a room - the passport did not have validity of at least 6 months, but it applications was underway, and I'd just been overseas two days ago with no problem at all. So I had to pay SGD$50.00 or turn back to Singapore - I chose to pay... what could I do?
We dropped by the Maha Vihara Duta Maitrya Buddhist Temple - that was supposed to be the biggest in Southeast Asia.
Then we dropped by Diana Homemade Layers Cake - it was literally someone's household, where we sampled and ordered whether we wanted the Kueh Lapis with prunes or without. At SGD$29.00 per KG, I wouldnt say it was pricey. Quite nice- not too sweet, light in texture.
People enjoy buying these dried snacks at Batam, so we also popped by to see if there was anything to get. We just got some Emping Chips (the crispy bitter chips), some fishballs and Jackfruit chips.
Then it was seafood lunch - seashells, calamari, baby lobsters, chilli crab, fish, soup, rice, and Kangkong vegetables with fruit platters and coconut juice.
There was some cultural show - we watched since I'd missed it the last visit. Rather impressive, for a small village's standard - fires, glass eating, dance. The main point was the donations which probably formed part of their daily wage, so I didnt mind.
We dropped by some place to see the honey-cakes, but no one ordered. The Otak-otak shop beside it was closed, a pity.
It was time for shopping at more factory outlets. I didn't buy anything except for the blue Batik dress (SGD$10.00) which I'd seen the last time round and didn't buy. Just thought could wear it to the beach or brunch or for sleeping, I reckon.
We ventured off the see fruits and local produce instead, and bought a 1.6 kg soursop, some rambutans, snake-skin fruits, mangosteens and 2 small bunches of bananas. I wonder why though - it wasnt like we don't have them in Singapore, and the price wasn't much different. When we asked the friendly little stall-owner to help us get rid of the ants clamoring all over the bananas, we thought he would use a cloth or something. It was rather startling to watch him merely blowing the ants off our bananas! Haha, I guess that's the way of life there.
The final stop was the Batam Ctiy Square (BCS) Mall, where there were lots of clothes, shoes, food stores etc, but nothing caught our fancy. I did enquire about a couple of pairs of heels though (only SGD$30.00) but they didn't have the shoes in my size (4). So our loot was mainly food and fruits, kueh lapis and my batik dress. What a laugh.
Since the damned return ferry wasn't due for another 1.5 hours, we took dinner at the Batam City Centre terminal. After scouring the choices, we decided on Coffee Town. I ordered an Ayam Penyet with tofu set - it was dry and not delicious at all - I have tasted far better ayam penyet in Jakarta, Bali and Singapore. But who's to complain - this set was only SGD$2.30!
We were pissed because they totally missed out on one of the others' dinner order, and could not comprehend what we were saying when we checked on the status, and also they did not apologise or anything at all. The waiters happily sat around whistling, singing and chatting. A stroll after dinner soothed us somewhat - the sea and sunset were lovely - and we wished we'd walked here earlier on so we could've chosen to dine by the sea instead. Too late.