June 29, 2006

Are we thankful enough.....?

"I'm very tired of work and world cup matches, " said Izham.

I was totally upset of Brazil's winning over the Ghana. It was an upset result of the Franch beating the Spanish as well. But for French, they really deserved it. They played well and the most important thing is, Zidane scored, despite of all the complaints on him.

As a way out, disheartened and upset, I woke up early, grabbed my passport and took my bath. I decided to go to somewhere quite unreachable and ensure me to at least disappear from 'my life', just for a while, overnight is enough.

As I was figuring out where to go and what to do, I was also checking out my available account balance. There are a few places that was in mind, but at last, I pointed out Tanjung Pinang of Indonesia again as my destination. I have a few friends and relatives there, so they may be a good place to go for help for anything.

I bought the two-way tickets from Stulang Laut to Tanjung Pinang for RM132.00 and waited till 11.00AM to board from the jetty. The journey was quite peaceful as I was sick all the way. The sea was quite wavy and i decided to make myself sleepy so that I can sleep.

I arrived at Tanjung Pinang Jetty at around 1.30PM(MYT) as it was just 12.30(WIT) there. As the ferry approached the jetty, i was shocked to see people jumping on the ferry and rushed in to look for people with baggages/luggages to be carried up, and it's not free! They insisted to help carrying the luggage even though the owner doesn't want to. Luckily I only carry a small bag with me.

Like yesterday, an Indonesian lady was screaming to those who were taking her baggages without her approval, even they explained that the baggages would not lost, and they are charging the cost of carrying the baggages in Indonesian Rupiah. Again the lady refused by saying she has no Rupiah notes at all.

"I was thinking of how desperate these people are."

At first, I was scared when looking at these people jumping onto the ferry and rushing in to the ferry like looking for something. I thought it was a checking by the authorities. Sometimes it looks like the ferry was about to be hijacked too. Secondly, they forced people to pay for services they force people to get.

* Tips #1: So don't take too many things with you. I've heard that this happened in all the entrances into Indonesia, seaports or airports.

Then, I went through the immigration and walked to the nearest currency trader. I think their currency has gone up a bit compared to the last time I went there, the currency rate was Rp1.2million for every RM400 but this time it was just Rp1.005million for RM400. Difference of about 200,000 rupiah means nearly RM80 of difference.

* Tips #2: Change your money in Indonesia as Malaysian currency trader will sell Rupiah much higher than in Indonesia.

Then, I went to look out for the Hotel. I decided to stay overnight as my initial plan was just a day visit but my head was too dizzy. I checked in to Lesmina Hotel which charged me only Rp108,000 per night + Rp50,000 deposit, means only RM40 for charges and RM20 deposit. Cheap man! The hotel was quite nice, air conditioned, clean and well beautified bathroom even though it was pretty small, and the most important thing, TV to watch world cup.

I took almost 4 hours to sleep and woke up just to find out that there will be no match tonight! Haiyaaaa!

I went out and look out for dinner. It was really surprising for me as they gave me the order form myself. I was asked to tick what i want to eat and hand them the form back. I ordered Nasi Goreng and Ice Lemon Tea and a glass of Mineral Water (the weather was really hot and dry) which only costed me Rp19,800, converted to MYR was just RM7.92. I made one simple round in the surrounding bazaars and found a DVD shop selling 10 animated movies in one DVD with a price of humbly Rp12,000, which means RM4.80.

Then I went off to bowling. 2 frames was just Rp16,000. Damn man! Can you believe it was just RM6.40 for 2 frames and the shoe rent was free! Then I shopped for some tidbits and went back to my room and after a while, I realized that it's already 6.30AM in the morning, which it's actually 7.30AM Malaysian Time.

I clean up as I'm supposed to meet a contact today. It would be short as the earliest boarding Ferry after the 6.50AM was 10.00AM, their time. So I decided to see the contact in the KFC (they opened quite early) for the breakfast. I went there and order my as usual favourite of Snack plate with 2 piece of chicken, whipped potato and coleslaw but they don't have it whipped potato and coleslaw. So I ordered 2 piece of chicken and pepsi and surprisingly, I was charged nearly of Rp28,000, which was nearly RM11.20. I would say that it was quite expensive.

* Tips #3: Fast food is not cheap in Indonesia.

While I was having my meal, there come a chinese family, with quite a number of people. I saw that they were taking pictures, maybe while waiting for their meals. But what happened was, only one meal was ordered and it was actually the birthday of one of the family members. The rest was just looking.

I told my contact to finish his meal as soon as possible as I'm very disturbed and sad of the situation. KFC is an expensive meal. I cannot stand looking at other kids who were just licking their lips looking at the one and only kid who was enjoying his KFC meal.

While waiting for my Ferry time, I walked around (and I tell you, you won't be able to stand people riding on motorbikes offering you to use their service to send you to any of your destination. Not to mention the van drivers honking you asking the same thing too). I bought myself two buckets of Buah Salak and sit in a Kopitiam (just like those in the old towns, just like i wanted) and had coffee and toasted bread. I counted not less than 15 people walked passing me offering to sell the newspapers which only cost me Rp1000. What's their percentage?

I witnessed how desperate they are doing things for living and how low their standard of living as well.

Are we thankful enough? It's a refreshing thought of being a Malaysian. From that moment, I'm really thankful I'm a Malaysian.

At 10.00AM (their time), I boarded off the jetty with the ferry, plus another Rp50,000 for open ticket confirmation and Rp13,000 for the port tax. I arrived in Malaysia just to find out that I had miscalculated my expenditures.

* Tips #4: There were a lot of poor people there. Don't hesitate to hand them some money. God is the fairest that He will repay you, who knows.

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