The nice parts of Singapore – the Zoo, the coffee shops, the air con and the bad parts – the hospitals, quickly became a distant memory as we took a 45 min ferry to Bintan and arrived in Indonesia. We stayed the night in a low rent hotel apparently often used by pirates?! “Yar-hargh, that we did…Aye!”. A day of Pirate accents was fun.
The next day we set off to catch the ferry to Jakarta, a mere 30+ hours away.
We (because this is very much a budget trip) were in 3rd Class. 1st and 2nd Class were empty. It was more expensive to upgrade than to fly direct from Singapore. The locals on the boat couldn’t understand why we didn’t just fly. We explained that in the spirit of the overland journey we had to avoid flights where possible. Bali to Darwin is unavoidable. Tehran to Amritsar was a shame.
So we settled into our tertiary class beds. If you want to picture the below decks scenes from Titanic when Rose dances higgledy-piggledy, you can. The reality was different. TV blaring out Indonesian Pop Idol (don’t expect to see any of these, even the winner, in HMV soon) and locals taking great interest in everything we did before they cranked up the Karaoke and settled into a day-long sing song.
We got a voucher for dinner. I went to collect and was met by the decapitated remains of my old nemesis. Mr. Fish. A few questions came to mind. If we all got fish heads (and we did) and there were no passengers in 1st or 2nd class to take the ‘middles’ – where did the bodies go? Needless to say I focused on the rice, and thanking the person who gave me a heads up to this culinary feast. Later I tucked into my Waitrose (who appear to offload own-brand stuff in Singapore) Fruit and Fibre and UHT milk.
I read the whole of the new Lee Child book. And nearly lost it when I discovered a trip-mate had torn out important pages at the end. Luckily (for them) they gave them back…
We got a voucher for breakfast. You guessed it. Fish Heads and Rice. Mmm Mmm Mmmm. I again tucked into the F&F and was happy until I realised the inevitable conclusion of the slow rocking of the ship, the fibre and the fruit meant I’d have to use the horrible toilets for more than 1’s. They were horrid, an inch deep in what we all hoped was water.
Still, we arrived at the port in Jakarta and then had to wait 2 more hours while a parking space (berth if you want to be all nautical) free’d up.
It was tiring and boring but altogether more fun than standing all the way to Beijing on a train.