Batam Cheap Hotels

A friend of mine asked me whether are there any cheap hotels in Batam. The word cheap is very subjective, as what is cheap to one person is view as expensive by another. I told him that there are many cheap hotels in Batam going for about US$60/- a night. He told me US$60/- is beyond his budget; he was quoting me a rate of US$40/- and below. I affirm that there are many cheap and budget hotels in batam for US$40/- a night but it would not be so comfortable and secure. He said that he does not mind so long as it is within his budget.

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Better Quality Cheap Hotel in Batam
Better Quality Cheap Hotel in Batam

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There are many cheap hotels in batam and  most of them looked like those 3 or 4 levels high shop buildings. These cheap hotels are easy to find and are plentiful in the heart of Nagoya town. You can get a room for about RP300,000 onwards depending on the location and the grade of the hotels and rooms Most of these cheap hotels offer single or double room and have either standard or deluxe type rooms There is normally a bathroom attached for this price.  A typical room for this rate would have a bed, a small chair plus table, a small TV, wardrobe, air conditioned and a small attached bathroom. The floor of this room will be bare – no carpet. Some budget rooms do not even have a window. My suggestion is to reject any room without windows. There are some budget hotels in Batam that also include a simple breakfast with the booking of their rooms. Simple breakfast means limited choices of bread with butter and jam, or fried rice and noodles with coffee or tea.

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Attached Bathroom in Batam Cheap Hotel
Attached Bathroom in Batam Cheap Hotel

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The disadvantages of staying in a cheap hotel in Batam is that normally there is less privacy, less comfort and definitely less secure. Most of these budget hotels have very thin walls. It means that you can hear the noise emitting out from the surrounding rooms and along the corridor. The door of the bedroom are non fire proof door with poor door lock system. It is common to have problems like air condition that is noisy or not cool, water pressure in the bathroom is low, or beds that are worn out, dirty towels and sometimes small cockroaches running around the room.

The important factors to take note in choosing a good budge hotel in Batam are as follows:-

1) it must be a proper budget hotel with a small reception and lobby and not those pirated hotel establishment

2)  ask permission to view the rooms – standard and deluxe room before booking. Most of them are fine with this. Tell them that you want to see their standard and deluxe room before deciding.

3)  insist on a room with windows and not too close to the staircase. Noise from people walking up and down the stairs can be heard during the night as the door and walls of the rooms are thin.

4)  make sure that there are no KTV or bars directly on the ground level, otherwise you will have sleepless night. However, if you are a party animal, then this does not matter to you; as you can go down to the bar and join them. Many of these budget hotels are directly facing a main road, so you have to bear with the noise from vehicles during the night – there is no choice.

5)  be prepared to see young ladies in revealing dresses or mini skirts with men. It is a common sight in many budget hotels in Batam. Most men used these budget hotels for one night stand or bringing women from the KTVs and bars into their rooms. Noise from lovemaking, fights and TVs can be heard from adjacent rooms.

6)  of course make sure you like the room before booking – that is is clean and comfortable.

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Batam Cheap Hotel
Batam Cheap Hotel

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Budget hotels in Batam are useful if you are stuck in Batam without a confirmed hotel booking during the peak holiday period. I have experience twice, when all major hotels are booked during the eve of Christmas as well as during Chinese New Year.  Take your time to walk along the streets of Nagoya and browse through these budget hotels to check for their rates and condition of the rooms. I am very sure there is a suitable cheap hotel to suit your limited budget

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Ginger or Jahe in Indonesia

Ginger is a tuber that is essential  in Indonesia for cooking, as a spice and also for its medicinal value. In Indonesia, Ginger is known as Jahe and you can buy it in any supermarket or vegetable sellers in the street. A lot of ginger that are sold in Indonesia are grown locally. There are basically 3 types of ginger in Indonesia. There is the big ginger, the small ginger and lastly the red ginger Red ginger is the hottest and it is  used if you want the food have the hot and spicy taste I used the big ginger often when I cook and it gives punch and  flavor to the dish. If I am boiling chicken soup, besides adding mushrooms and vegetables, I will cut small slices of ginger and add it in as well.  Chicken soup that are boiled with ginger can provide a good relief for common cold and flu; and it is also very easy and soothing on your stomach when taken.

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Ginger Beverage sold in Indonesia
Ginger Beverage sold in Indonesia

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When I buy ginger, I will put them in the fridge when I reached home. This help to keep the ginger fresh and enhance the shelf life. I have observed that the fresh big ginger which I bought can stay fresh for about a month when I put it in the fridge. If I want to prepare spices or used it for herbal medicine, then I would buy the small or red ginger. Most of the ginger that are exporter by Indonesia are the big ginger which is commonly used for cooking and beverages. To choose a fresh ginger, I will pick those that are firm in texture and without blemishes. Those ginger that have many blemishes, cracked and limp in texture are probably old and no longer fresh.

I do buy ginger tea in the form of sachet from the supermarket and there are plenty of brands you can choose in Indonesia. I prefer my ginger tea to be hot and with less sugar. However when I have the time, I also liked to make my own ginger beverage. It is very simple to do. Buy fresh large ginger and slice it thinly. The more ginger you used, the stronger is the taste; so normally I will buy one or two large ginger for making this beverage. Put the slice ginger in a pot, add water and boil it. I normally boil it for about 15 to 20 minutes and then it is ready to serve. You can add sugar, honey or a slice of lemon if you wish depending on your taste. For my case, I just add a sachet of sugar to my cup of ginger tea.

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Big Ginger commonly sold in Indonesia
Big Ginger commonly sold in Indonesia

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There are so many ginger products that you can buy in Indonesia, such as ginger candy, ginger bread, ginger tea, ginger oil and herbal products, ginger ale, etc.  Ginger enhances your health if you consume it with moderation. I am not aware of any side effects of consuming ginger on the long term basis.  Millions of Indonesians especially the elderly have consumed ginger all their life and remains healthy. In fact it is rather odd for a Indonesia dish to be cook without the use of ginger.

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Caterpillar Rash and Treatment

I was at the park in the late afternoon doing brisk walking exercise. I have been putting on a few kilos due to the good food that I have eating for the past few weeks. So I decided on a exercise regime to keep fit and shed my weight; and brisk walking is an exercise that I enjoy doing. After about 45 minutes of brisk walking, I saw a bench ahead of me and decided to take a break and drink some water. I always carry a bottle of water along with me about 500ml in size. The bench was shaded by a tall tree and I felt cool and relaxed. About 10 minutes later, I felt something on my skin and  instinctively looked down on my left chest and saw a small caterpillar crawling on my upper chest. I brushed it off with my hand and did not give much thought to it.

The next day, I felt that my upper left chest was itching and there were patches of red spots on it. So I apply antiseptic cream on the affected skin and as it was still itching even after one hour, I apply calamine lotion as well. I carry on with my daily routine despite the discomfort. During the night after a shower, again I apply the antiseptic cream and calamine lotion before going to bed. The next morning I felt that the itch was getting more intense; and more red rashes appeared not only on my upper chest but also near the side of my chest. Apparently the antiseptic cream does not work and I took the time off to see a doctor. My fear was that the rashes could soon spread and the itch was getting more unbearable.

The doctor who saw me told me that it was eczema and started to ask me whether I took any medication or any food that could have caused it. I told him ‘no’. Then he continued with his question and asked me whether is there insect that could have drop on my chest for example – a caterpillar. Straight away I told him about the caterpillar experience in the Park. He diagnose it as a Caterpillar Rash and told me that the rashes on my chest was a allergic reaction to the caterpillar. However he reassured that this rash was not contagious and prescribe the necessary medicine to me.

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Medicine for Caterpillar Rash
Medicine for Caterpillar Rash

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I was given the following medicine. The first medicine is a cream called Elomet cream which I have to apply twice daily. There is no need to apply a lot of it, in fact I was told to apply sparingly on the affected skin. The second is in the form of a oral tablet which is Prednisolone 5mg per tablet each, 1 tablet to be taken 2 times daily. The third medicine was a oral tablet called Zyrtec which contains Cetirizine Hydrochloride 10mg per tablet, which I have to take 1 tablet 2 times a day.  So I went back home and took my medication as prescribed. My reaction to the oral medication was that it make me feel very sleepy but the rashes is not so itchy anymore. The Elomet cream seems to stick on my skin even after a couple of hours. I thought it was supposed to be absorbed and then become dry. Anyway the rashes still appeared to be unchanged after the first day of medication though it was not longer itchy. It was only after the 3 day of continuous medication that the rashes finally disappeared. But to be fair, I took the 2 oral tablets for only 2 days and I discontinue it. The reason was because the itch was gone and I felt so sleepy that I could not focus on my work.

Now I still continued to go to the Park for exercise whenever I am free. But I am more observant whenever I sit on a bench or on the grass. My friend asked me whether I would kill a caterpillar if I see one near me. I told him definitely – No. Caterpillars and other insects have every right to be in this park. That is what nature is all about. However I would avoid caterpillar at all cost because of the itchy red rashes that they are capable of giving to anyone who cross their path. I still keep the medication in the fridge as it has a two year shelf life. And if there is another incident of caterpillar rash again ( hopefully not ) , I am now more knowledgeable on how to treat it.

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Cure for Dry Cough

Recently I had a bad flu which is a common ailment nowadays. However with the recent outbreak of H1N1, there seems to be a perception among people that the common flu has become something sinister and dangerous. Many health authorities around the world advised people to take a flu jab in order to prevent yourself from getting this deadly virus. How does a common flu being perceived to be so deadly nowadays? I am not afraid of getting flu or common cold, normally it will be gone in within one week without having to see a doctor. But the main problem that lingers on after the flu is over is the dry cough.
For my case, most of the time the cough that accompany the flu will contain phlegm which is greenish yellow in color. When I see a Chinese physician, he will tell me that I have too much heat in my body. And then he recommends certain herbs to boil and drink in order to cool down the body. But there are occasions that after the flu is gone, I may still continue to cough. However this time, there is no phlegm but it is a persistent dry cough. I try taking cough mixture and herbal candy but it does not work. After a couple of days, the dry cough gets worse and it becomes more frequent during the day and night. Dry persistent cough is a nuisance and it affects your ability to function and work. Worse, people around you tend to see you as someone who is sick and irresponsible – coughing and spreading the virus around.

I have found a way to cure dry cough using the natural way. It was recommended to me by a lady friend who is a firm believer in Chinese traditional medicine, natural fruits and herbs. She had recommended me to take Almond drink or beverage. So I took her advice and went to a few supermarkets to find natural almond powder. My suggestion is that the almond powder that you buy from the store should contain just pure almond and nothing else. Technically it means 100% almond powder. There are some almond beverages that contains sugar, milk, cereal and so on, which is not effective.

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Pure Almond Powder

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Take the almond powder and using a teaspoon, put about 3 to 4 teaspoons of almond powder into a cup. Add a sachet of sugar if you wish and then pour boiling hot water into the cup. Stir it well till you see that the almond powder has completely dissolved in the plain water. Then drink it while it is warm. Don’t wait for it to be cool or put it in the fridge. Drink it twice a day – once in the morning and another in the night. After 3 days, I notice that the dry cough has significantly being reduced.

Food to avoid during this period are fried, oily and spicy food. Do not drink icy cold drinks or beer. I did continue to drink my warm Chinese tea – which is the Iron Buddha tea. If you have red ginseng tea, that helps as well. After the 4th day, the dry persistent cough that I had was completely gone. I was so happy. This means that I could now do my jogging and cycling or any other activities without coughing. I recommend anyone who has dry persistent cough to drink pure almond beverage. It has done wonders for me and I have recommended this simple natural remedy to my friends as well.

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