Travel Journal


(Friday 2 October 2009) by Jon Paul & Sarah
So after hanging out in Jakarta for three days, we boarded the passenger ship for Batam, our last quick Indonesian stopover before continuing on to Singapore. It was an overnight journey, and we opted for "Class 2B", which put us each in separate 6-bed cabins, JP with men, and me with women. The economy class was another option; that's when a huge crowd rushes onto the ship when the gates open and people rush to claim spots by laying out their sleeping mats, pretty much anywhere on the ship - stairwells, decks, etc. Kinda gave the whole ship a slumber party feel :-) There was a woman in my cabin that I met right away; she was so nice, and within a few minutes of our very simple conversation (she spoke little English, and I know no Indonesian), she had invited me and JP to stay with her and her family in Batam (and by the end of the trip I wanted to!). In return I extended an open invitation for her to stay with us or my parents if they every find themselves in San Diego. I forgot to mention that to you Mom and Dad, but I'm assuming you're alright with that :-) She was with her granddaughter, an adorable 4-year old. The woman's husband and older son were in JP's cabin across the ship, so it was fun to spend a bit of time with them. The best part was trying to get the granddaughter to smile at us. She was so incredibly shy at first, and would give us massive frowns and shake her head violently every time she caught us looking at her. She was so cute though, we just kept right on, and eventually wore her down. When we gave her some candy she was sold. When she decided to like us, she wouldn't stop smiling and showing off, dancing, laughing. It was uncanny how much she reminded us of my niece Ella Grace. We called her Indonesian Ella Grace.

We were on that ship about 30 hours or so. They fed us all our meals, and there was even a mosque on board should we need one. The sunset was amazing. We got to talk to a few people too, and were given alot of good tips for our next visit to Indonesia! Only a few people spoke English; there were roughly six thousand people on the ship, and as far as we could tell, we were the only Westerners. So all in all, a great farewell to Indonesia! We said our goodbyes to our new friends (Indonesian Ella Grace kept giving us goodbye kisses :-), disembarked in Batam, and within an hour were on another smaller speed ferry to Singapore. By the time we got through customs in Singapore, made it through the huge mall (the entry deposits you inside of a mall, of course), and were looking for a hotel, we were pretty exhausted. The first couple places were a little more than we wanted to spend, but then we wandered into Little India and found a backpacker's hostel. We were asleep pretty much as soon as we hit the pillow; JP slept through the night, but I woke up hungry, and went and explored Little India. I found the best, and strangest, dinner I'd had yet, in an Indian vegetarian restaurant.

We really only had about a day in Singapore. In the morning we wandered along the famous Orchard Road, with crazy huge malls and shops for what seemed like miles in every direction. We gave our business to McDonalds and got Sundaes :-) Then we went in search of the "Southern Ridges" walking trail. We finally found was pretty amazing! It's 9 kilometers long, and basically hugs the southwest corner of the island. It takes you along this high ridge with incredible views of both the city and the harbor, through jungle areas, passes over a couple of freeways via suspension bridges, through parks and playgrounds, and for one really long section is just an elevated walkway over the jungle. Super fun.

We had purchased tourist passes for the public transportation, and they were good till midnight. We decided it was only right that we should get our money's worth, so after our dinner (of pastry!), our goal was to circumnavigate the city of Singapore via the subway/metro system before our passes stopped working at 12. And we almost did it! We took at little too long taking pictures early on though, and ended up having to get off just a few stops before completing our circle at Little India. I felt like Cinderella :-)

  • Ella Grace by Mom(Ann)

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