Sunday, 12 June 2011

Homeward bound, Bali to Krabi

Monday 30 May: Taxi to Denpasar, Bali's capital for the bus to Gilmanumamuk (4hrs), ferry to Ketapang on Java (1hr) and overnight train, executive class, to Surabaya's tidy, well organised, Gunbeng station (6hrs).
Monday 30: A day to kill in Surabaya, so I take a stroll inland, along the Kali Mas river to the main place of interest in town, the curious
House of Sampoerna, a Dutch colonial-style building, where dusky maidens hand-roll and package Indonesia's best-selling cigarette brand, at lightening speed, all day, every day.
The forty rows of twelve rollers' work in pairs, one rolls while the other trims the ends and stacks the finished cigarettes. A roving supervisor randomly pushes the odd cigarette through a template. I put my stop-watch on one of the packagers. She pushes a flat paper carton into a mould, arranges twenty cigarettes in it, adds a card insert, folds the pre-glued carton closed, seals the ends and stacks it with the others - twelve seconds dead. Her body twitches as she works, her hands a blur to my eyes. All day long, with clocks on every wall and piped music. Originally set up by Leim Seeng Tee, cigarette baron and inventor of the 'healthy' clove infused cigarette, in 1932, it's a bizarre combination of factory, tobacco museum, very good cafe (with non-smoking area) and art gallery.
They also runs free mock tram tours of the city, not much to see. Unusual day.
In the evening I take the executive-class overnight train from Gunbeng station to Jakarta's Gambir station (10hrs).
Wednesday 1 June: A day in Jakarta where dinner is a great chicken tandoori at Pappa Indian restaurant in Jalan Jaska area where I stay for one night for a wash and brush up.
Thursday 2: A green number 14 bus (40min) takes me to Jakarta's port at Tanjung Priok (pronounced . . . Pre-oak) where I join Pelni's KM Bukit Raya bound for Kijang (pronounced Key-jang) on Pilau Bantan. I have a second-class 4-berth cabin all to myself for the entire voyage (40hrs) on the 327 foot, 6,400 ton vessel.
Saturday 4: Arriving at Kijang two-hours early at 5:30am I jump on a bemo to Tanjung Pinang (1hr) to catch the 7am ferry (3hrs) to Johur Bahan in Malaysia. From here it's a train ride to Kuala Lumpur for the evening express sleeper to Hat Yai in Thailand, phew.

Monday 6: Minibus to Krabi (5hrs).
Photos Bali to Krabi.

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