|09:00 Sunday, June 26, 2005
Yesterday we spent time in Singapore, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. The
Cambodia visit was a surprise of sorts. We had booked a flight on Silk Air
from Singapore to Da Nang, not knowing that it involved a stop in Siem
Reap, Cambodia – the airport nearest the famous Angkor Wat temples.
Our arrival into Siem Reap was unusual in that winds forced us to abort the
landing and come back around for a second (successful) attempt. We
weren’t in a position to visit the temples, given that we had only 45 minutes,
but now we know where to find them.
We were all rather jet lagged and exhausted once we finally got settled into
the lovely rooms at the Furama Resort in Da Nang. Arianna, Alissa, and
Christopher had a quick swim and then the four of us barely managed to
keep our heads up through a light dinner. Arianna woke up this morning at
about 4:30am and hopped into bed with her Mum and Dud (who were also
just dozing in and out by that hour). We’ve since breakfasted, looked into
the day’s offerings, digested, and are about to begin adventuring.
27 June – July 03, 2005
Da Nang, Singapore, and Jakarta
We’ve done a bit in the intervening week, like visiting the ancient city of Hoi
An, where we each had two or three articles of silk clothing handmade to our
specifications; venturing into the Pacific in a “bucket boat”* so we could go
snorkeling above coral populated by blue starfish; and taking a “cyclo tour”
of Da Nang, featuring stops at a large local market and a visit to the museum
of the Cham culture. This was all punctuated with leisurely lunches beside
the pool, a rousing
6:30am game of tennis (we could never sleep past 6:00am), massages,
manicures, and countless naps. Don’t think us slackers, it’s just that we had
to adjust to that 12-hour time change.
We had two adjoining rooms at the Furama and kept wondering why the
parents’ room was always so much cooler than the girls’ room. Around 10:
00pm of our last night, the ceiling in the cooler of the rooms began to drip
condensation, then began a thin trickle, and ultimately a steady stream of
water – pouring from the light fixture, no less. Alissa and Christopher moved
rooms around that time. Maintenance cleared everything up by 6:00am, and
everyone lived through the episode.
After another round of massages and facials, we headed back to Singapore
Wednesday night, 29 June. We spent the night in a modest and forgettable
little hotel, collected the bags we’d left in storage in Singapore (bringing our
baggage total to 23 pieces, including carry-ons), and boarded our flight
Our entry into Jakarta was made easy by the presence of the company
formalities man, who met us off the jetway, collected our passports, and
quickly dealt with the officials. We never stopped at a desk or spoke with
any of the many uniformed individuals at the airport. The drivers helped us
load our bags into two cars and we were taken directly to the new house.
Several folks were in the house when we arrived and we spent a few hours
rearranging the furniture that had already been delivered, directing the
placement of the beds that arrived later, and introducing ourselves to Nani,
who will be our cook/housekeeper, and Musli, who may or may not continue
to be our gardener/pool man. We also met whichever of the security guards
was on shift at the time, but they patrol 24 hours a day and we’ve seen
about five of them so far, so we haven’t yet got names down.
That was Thursday morning, and this is Sunday afternoon; we’ve only seen
a little of Jakarta since then. Traveling anywhere within the city can be
trying. The streets are bustling and daunting, but orderly compared to Da
Nang. At least here everyone seems to flow in the same direction within any
given lane. We’ve been told of a recent surge in motorcycle ownership in
Jakarta (a decent motorbike apparently costs about $600 now). As such, if
there is a handlebar-wide space between two cars, there will soon be a
motorcycle snaking through the gap. At one point we were progressing
haltingly along a particularly congested section of three-lane roadway.
Vendors appeared amongst the slower traffic, playing a nonchalant but
nervy game of daring with the motorcyclists darting up the unorderly lanes.
Alissa had her first day of work on Friday and we spent much of Saturday
shopping for a few basics for the house. We don’t want to get too much
because our shipment from Texas includes many items we needn’t
duplicate. But we do have to supply the staff with certain things. For
example, as part of their salary package each is to receive a provision of
rice and an allotment of food stuffs. We’ve sampled three different grocery
stores and have established an easy favorite. We can readily find many
familiar products in the Ranch Market (several branches around town). We
also bought several lamps, fans for the staff quarters, a few cordless
phones, a kitchen stepstool for Nani (she can’t possibly be five feet tall and
the second shelves of our kitchen cabinets are a reach for Christopher).
We are reluctant to use some of the American electrical items we’ve brought
with us (especially the laptop) since the first thing we plugged in – an alarm
clock supposedly designed to work on 110 or 220 voltage – exploded
immediately. Granted, that was Christopher’s fault for not flipping the switch
on the clock to “220,” but it seemed a cautionary lesson nonetheless. We’re
not sure if we have internet access yet. There is a cable coming in the wall
in the study, but it’s just a bare wire with no plug or jack or fitting on its end.
We’re therefore uncertain how long it will take to get this portion of our
Indonesian adventurelog published.
More as it occurs.
reject that identifier and call it, simply, the Pacific. We inquired about
the construction materials for the bucket boats – 8-foot-diameter,
bowl-shaped, woven, and remarkably stable vessels. The dive leader
said they were made of bamboo and “cowsht.” Come again?
“Cowsht,” he said. The same question was later put to our guide on
the cyclo tour, who said “bamboo and botanical oils.” Oh, we laughed;
we thought the dive leader had been saying, “cow shit.”
Oh indeed, said the tour guide, really it is cow shit… we just prefer to
tell people it’s botanical oils.
Our bucket boat hadn’t leaked a drop.