Batam

Love was in the Air…

Love in Air
Love in Air

But started little harsh, I don’t know if that was a learning lesson or something real, but girls at ferry counter in Harbourfront were quite unsympathetic in their interaction with tourists. I had some tough time asking and knowing about a name correction. Unfortunately, I mentioned Sunils’ name wrongly while sending them details of guys 😀 . Anyways, it was a good learning lesson, which helped me during my “One Day tour to Batam”.

As we did advance booking and it was a day trip only, so I was not worried much about packing things etc. I took only half of an hour to pack things, which I did on Saturday night it self. Batteries of my camera and mobile were fully charged.

We were suppose to report at 7:40 in the morning at ferry counter, so waked up at 5:45, because it was going to take 1 hour to reach Harbourfront and we need at least one hour to get ready (this includes having breakfast also… OK???).

Finally after little struggle between ferry counter and ferry, we manage to board on time, and ferry was on time also, we were among last few people who boarded. As per our travel itinerary this was supposed to be an air conditioned ferry and of course it was, but there was no placed left for us to sit, we finally manage to get a place at back deck of ferry, out side the air-conditioned area. It was a one side open place and smoke exhaust just above it. I was listening noise of engine, inhaling burning diesel and feeling water droplets coming to us from ferry jet. I cleaned my specs and lens of my camera many times. It was a good place to chill out and we were enjoying. To avoid the engine noise, I put my headphone on and started listening music (life finds its way!!!).

It was 50-60 minute journey from Harbourfront to Batam. After paying visa fees of 10 USD, we get chopped to stay within Indonesia for 7 days; it was a single entry visa.

I saw her first time 🙂 , just after coming out from immigration check point at Batam.

Lena
Lena

She introduced herself as Lena and she is going to be our friendly tour guide. I noticed that she has given me a new last name in her printout “Pandley” it should be “Pandey” as per my passport though.

Pandley (correct Pandey)
Pandley (correct Pandey)

Being intelligent enough to correct this error, I figured out that she was looking for us. After collecting our immigration card, she redirected us to the bus #26, which was waiting for tourists out side of ferry terminal. She stayed there to wait for other tourists.

The Bus
The Bus

Mr. Bus Driver was a cool guy; he was focusing on driving bus and opening door for us and not interacting with us at all. During her second introduction inside bus, Lena informed us English is not commonly used in Indonesia. Yes! This could the reason of Mr. Drivers’ silence.

Mr. Bus Driver
Mr. Bus Driver

There were total 27 tourists in the bus and most of seats were vacant. They were from India, Singapore, United States and Philippines. I manage to saw a Philippines passport, which was green in color and “Pilipinas Pasaporte” written on the cover. They were a family of two girls and parents. Girls are working in Singapore. They were sitting at the first row of bus.

Rear-view Mirror
Rear-view Mirror

Lena informed us about days plan. There was a factory outlet visit in the plan, but that was closed due to Lunar New Year, so she took us directly to “Maha Vihar Duta Maitreya” temple.

Maha Vihar Duta Maitreya
Maha Vihar Duta Maitreya

I tried to interact with Lena to know more about Batam, as others were doing their prayers, but noticed that she was not keen, rather she told me to do prayer and take pictures of place. Another tour guide, who was talking with Lena, disappeared from there when she saw I am heading towards them.

After temple, she took us to a dry fish shop. I saw that they had some vegetarian stuff also; I tasted and bought a “snakeskin fruit” soaked in sweet-salty water. It tastes really good… bit sore, sweet and salty…

Soaked fruits
Soaked fruits
Dried Sea Horses
Dried Sea Horses

We were hungry… so she decided to take us to a sea food restaurant, (sea food was one of the travel itinerary). She already asked that how many of us are vegetarian, I was the only one and later another fellow traveler also becomes veggie to give me a company. So we have got coconut water and fried rice for our lunch 😀 . Trust me I haven’t even touched any one of following.

Lunch
Lunch
Lunch
Lunch

After finishing our lunch, we boarded the bus again. Lena informed us about next few places where she will be taking us. First was a small shopping center. I was rather interested in taking pictures of Batam lifestyle, so hardly spent any time inside the shopping center. Our group of 5 people was wondering outside and looking around for some good snaps.

After this shopping center, she took us another big shopping mall “Batam City Square” or BCS. In between, she informed us that, she can drop those interested in feet or full body massage at the massage parlor on the way and pick up after one and half hour. I was aware that this point will come sooner or later, so I was looking outside of the window and was not at all paying attention to that. Though I noticed she was particularly looking at me while mentioning term “full body massage”, I think she was expecting that I will be the first to raise my hand, (it’s not my fault if I look suspicious). I heard murmurs “Waaaaaa”, after this “Massage” announcement 😀 .

She took us to BCS after dropping few to massage parlor. We have to spent rest of our time there and she will arrange our return ticket and immigration form.

I was taking pictures in side mall, when a security personnel jumped to me and informed that, I should not do this otherwise I may have to pay penalty. I decided to pack my camera rather than any confrontation and spent rest time wondering in and out of mall. I have to spent approximately 4 hours their. I noticed that you can freely smoke inside air-conditioned mall and they have ashtray available at every corner and tables… awful!!!

I had a cup of sweet corn which costs me 3500 Indonesian Rupiah and two 600 ml water bottle. I exchanged S$10 to Rupiah and when I exchanged back to Singapore dollars I got 8.50 back with few Indonesian coins left in my pocket. It means I spent S$ 1.50 for corn and water. Exchange rate informed by Lena was IDR 7400 per SGD. Now calculate and let me know that, how much I spent for water? Hehe…

I saw our bus ferrying other tourists and Lena many times to and fro the mall. At the end I decided to take my seat inside bus, rather than sitting outside the mall. I was sitting and waiting our return to ferry terminal. Lena is hardworking and capable girl, I really admire her.

During this entire trip I was looking for chance to take her picture without notice, but could not. So, decided to ask her just before crossing immigration check point. I waited every one of our group to cross before asking. She pleasingly agreed (picture posted above). I said “Thank You” after shacking hand with her and moved towards departure hall.

We have waited for half hour for ferry and then all the way back to Singapore. It was 7:30 PM when we reached back to Harbourfront. Every one at immigration checkpoint was in jolly mood.

So, that’s it… it was a worth spending a day at Batam, as I manage to get some good pictures and lived a day of my life.  🙂

Hope you enjoyed this entry!!!
Pawan

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