Thursday, September 20, 2012

First impressions in CopperTown

I left my house at 6am, and after 24 hours, I’ve finally reached Timika via Jakarta, Denpasar and Makassar. And Timika wasn’t even my final destination!

There was a slight drizzle as we made our way down the MD-82 into the waiting coaches. The Timika airport though new was still very small and a sizeable crowd had gathered around the single conveyor belt. After getting my backpack, we (I was with two other customers from Jakarta, E and J) went into the departure side to get our heli ride up to Coppertown - I’ll leave out the actual Indonesian name to make it less searchable Winking smile . We were given the M-3 tickets. I assumed that meant the 3rd copter ride up.

However after awhile, we were told that all copter flights had been cancelled due to the weather. So we were ushered out to the arrival hall again after collecting our bags and had to deposit them at the arrival hall. There, everyone waited for their names to be called and we were packed into the bus ride up.

I made the mistake of being packed into two big Indonesians and ended up having only half my butt on the seat. Big mistake, that was going to be a 2 hours ride up. I can’t be sure, I lost time while trying not to fall off the seat with every bump and corner and was probably the first time I was glad the bus turned to the right and I get to squeeze left against the giant next to me and edge my bump back inside.

The bus is like the one pictured above. One would think that a bus ride going up the mountain won’t be so bad with the view. Wrong! All the windows were boarded up from what I reckon was probably bullet resistance material. It’s white and about an inch thick. Only a slit was available about the plastic boarding to let the wind in. This was in response to the local freedom fighters taking pot shots at the buses.
We finally reached CopperTown around noon. The weather felt really chilly, and since I came from Jakarta, my sweater was packed in the backpack. Since it was mid-day, it wasn’t so bad.
That’s my room door on the left, in the F Barracks. Yeah, it’s like two containers joined with a shared toilet in between. There are rooms below us and their entrance are facing the opposite.

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It’s spartan but OK. There’s a single bed with a comfy blanket, a cupboard, writing table and single plastic chair, heater, sink and the toilet is on the right.
Towel and one single Lux soap was provided and a laundry bag that will be collected every morning.

That’s the shower. Thank goodness there’s hot water! Glorious hot water! Oh many a mornings I just don’t want to leave the hot shower into the cold cold room. Yeah, the heater is quite useless when the room is on ground level and the strong cold wind just streams in from the below the closed door.

That’s the picture taken near my room. On the left are more rooms in hostel style and the Flamboyant staff mess hall where we have our meals.
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This is the other side of the mess hall. Taken from where we wait for our 4WD up. It serves local Indonesian and Western cuisine. There’s also a salad bar, bread area with assortment of jams, butter and Vegemite (yummy!), a few selection of juices/cordials, coffee & tea, soups, cakes and even ice cream dispensing machine. Quantity isn’t a problem and quality is ok - I’m easily satisfied Smile

Sun sets around 6pm and it gets really cold with the wind and the ever present rain or drizzle.

And my thanks to the gods of free Wifi for letting me upload this short blog Smile with tongue out

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jakarta - 9th September 2012 (Sunday)

Took the 9am flight from KLIA and arrived in Jakarta slightly after 10. Arriving in Terminal 2, the immigration lines had been changed and now foreigners are split into two sides of the room while the original immigration lines are reserved for Indonesians and crews.

With only 3 officers manning each side, a queue soon formed. There were about 50 of us on the right when two very overweight Arabs had problems with the immigration and took up one whole booth. On the other side, there were some raised voices. Mostly Malaysians have no problems getting thru, it’s the other foreigners that took longer to process.

After getting thru customs and immigration, I still had lots of time to kill cause my connecting flight to Timika is only at 9pm. So I checked into the Jakarta Airport Hotel. US$85 or R833k for 6 hours.

Jakarta Airport Hotel 1

Since I had only 2 hours sleep the night before, I crashed the moment I hit the bed, hence the untidy looking bed. Only took the photo when I woke up.

How’s the room? 6/10. Basic amenities. Cable TV provides CNN & HBO and a host of other Indonesian cable channels. Comes with 2 bottles of complimentary (I hope) mineral water, tea making facilities with neither tea or coffee provided. There’s cabled internet but it’s not free. There are also wifi in the lobby, but again it isn’t free. Shower has strong and powerful jet of water.

Jakarta Airport Hotel 2

View from the room.

Jakarta Airport Hotel 3

View from the lobby.

Waiting for my checkout time and get myself to Terminal 1 later.

Getting an Indonesian Visa from Kuala Lumpur, September 2012

Here are a few tips:

- Go early. Before 8am preferably. There are only 120 numbers each day and when I arrived at 7am, I managed ticket number 50.

- Process, everyone lines up outside the embassy (look for the visa gate, the other gate is for Indonesians). Embassy gate opens at 7:30am and everyone moves inside and wait in line outside of the office. There are chairs around, so grab one and have a seat in line. The office only opens at 8:30am to give out the number. To get a number, you will need to show your passport. Hence you can take a number for someone else, but you have to show the proper number of passports. Office officially opens at 9am to start processing.

- If you missed any photocopying, there is a photocopy outlet at the other side of the embassy. You need to exit and enter thru the other gate. Ask the processing officer if in doubt. The photocopying service is free.

- PARKING. If you are driving there, there are paid parking at the building next to the embassy. If I’m not mistaken, the building name is 231THR. It’s RM3 per hour and a max of RM12. This will be a good place to park if you are collecting your passports. You can also park along the road behind the embassy since you have to be there early. However, do note that people do collect ‘parking fees’ by the time you collect your car. Normally it is RM5 with no time limit, so this is a reasonable place to park if you are there for processing and you get a big ticket number.

NOTE: The information here is correct at the time of writing. The big crowd I faced may be seasonal in nature. However, if you really need to get a visa quickly, best to go early.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Dusun, 8-9 August 2012 (Updated)

The Dusun ( is a place located in Negeri Sembilan, nearby Seremban. It's in the jungle on a nice hilly slop. There are a few types of houses to choose from. There's the Tembusu House (3 persons), Berembun (2 persons), Emas (5 persons) and Sola (7 persons). There are plans to expand it with a new swimming pool and other facilities this December.

We were a bit worried about the driving conditions to that location because we've read earlier tripadvisor comments about difficulties finding and driving up to the Dusun. We didn't have any trouble finding the location by following the instructions given on the website. As can be expected, the roads up wasn't in the best conditions, but driving slowly in a low gear, we got there (hey, it's a holiday, what's the rush right?)

That's the pool and on the right is the Berembun House. Originally, we had booked that, but changed it to Tembusu, so there was a bit of a mixed up because they had prepared the Berembun. It wasn't a big issue and we waited awhile while they prepared Tembusu.

Meanwhile, we did a bit of photo shooting around Berembun and the pool.
Those are pictures of Berembun. You can see much better pictures from their website.
That is the Emas House, set slightly down from the pool.
That’s the parking lot and above it is the main house where Helen and her family stays.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo of the Tembusu House. Just these two rather blurry pictures of the bed. One is the Queen Sized bed for two while there’s a single bed at the other end of the room.
The kitchen has all the necessary utensils for a good chef! There’s even a rice cooker and a fridge. Unfortunately since it’s only a one night stay, we didn’t plan on cooking anything.
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This is taken from the bbq area looking towards the Tembusu House.
The two resident dogs (Blackie & Tan) immediately escorted us the moment we stepped out for a walk around the property.
Look! Durians! Unfortunately, we didn’t see any fresh fruits that fell Sad smile
Our two loyal body guards.
The beautiful Sola House.
Our dinner. The Minangkabau Classic Set. Nice! There’s fish (the one in yellow sauce), squids and vegetables (bean sprouts).

While it was warm in the afternoon (perfect for a swim), it starts getting dark after 7:30pm and the temperature starts to drop. In fact it can get pretty cold at night. One good point about the place is, I could get Celcom 3G signal and hence there’s internet. It’s very quiet and peaceful and the night was spend reading or surfing the internet.

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There is a coffee table and 2 chairs beneath the house too, so that was where I sat and enjoyed my morning coffee while reading my ebook so that I don’t disturb my friend still sleeping.

All in, I enjoyed my stay here. I will definitely recommend this place to people who wants to get some peace and quiet time, away from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

[UPDATED: 22nd November 2012]
Totally forgot that I had taken a video of the place. It was 7:15pm, just before sunset and the place was real quiet and peaceful by the pool.