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Cook A Meal – Singapore Chicken Rice

A number of people from Indonesia have told me that they love our Singapore Chicken Rice. It is tasty and fragrance; and it always makes you wanting to eat more of it. Indeed, the Hainanese chicken rice that is sold here is unique and internationally well-known. I have tasted chicken rice that were sold in the food courts in Jakarta. Most of them claimed that it is the authentic Singapore Chicken Rice. But upon tasting it, it is just fake. The taste is flat, the rice does not have the same aroma that makes Singapore chicken rice distinctive.

I have decided to put up  a simple recipe for those wanting to prepare chicken rice. I must admit that I am not a great chef but I do cook whenever I have the time. You can follow the recipe here or change its variation to suit your taste. Cooking is after all an art and not an exact science. So here it is:=

1) obviously the first thing to do is to buy a chicken. Get a medium size whole chicken say approx 1 to 1.2 kg will do. You can buy fresh chicken easily in Indonesia. Ask the seller to remove the head (neck) and the rear end. You can of course keep it if you someone who loves eating chicken neck and bottom. Personally, I will skip it.
2) now that you have the chicken, what’s next? Yes, it is the rice. Use about 4 to 5 cups of rice – approx 1 kg. Wash and rinse it properly. Try to use fragrance rice, it taste better.

3)  2 cucumber. I love eating cucumber. Put them in a fridge. For this menu, you need to wash the cucumber and then slice them. Cucumber taste good even when it is uncooked. It taste better when it is just remove from the fridge – totally cool cucumber.

4) The rest of the things that you need are – rice wine (Optional).  Get those chinese cooking wine. You need approx 1 tablespoon Ginger – sliced about 10 of them. Garlic – about 6 – you need to peel and keep them as whole. Red chillies – about 10  pieces. Sugar – 1 tablespoon. Salt – about 1 teaspoon.

Now for the cooking part. The chicken needs to be placed in a steamer. Just add water and steam it for about approx half an hour until the whole chicken is well cooked. Alternatively you can placed the chicken in a pot with about 10 cups of water, add ginger, garlic and half teaspoon of salt and boil it for about 40 minutes till it is cooked. Do not throw away the chicken broth, you need it for cooking the rice.

You can now removed the hot cooked chicken, just rub a little of salt and rice wine ( outside and inside ) and just wait for it to cool. Then you can slice them in portions. Next, heat up the wok – add sesame oil ( just a little), 5 slices of ginger and then the rice. Stirred fry the rice for about 10-15 minutes until the rice seems to look rather light and there is no more moisture in them. Remember the rice that you are cooking here has not been cooked. You need to pour these rice into the rice cooker. Add the chicken broth that you have kept – approx 6 cups, garlic and a little salt and then cooked the rice in the rice cooker. Once the rice is cooked, it has the unique chicken rice aroma, it is then ready to be served.
Now for the chilli sauce. Take 6 to 10 chillies, 3 slices of ginger, one or two garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoon of lime and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, add some hot water, blend them until it becomes paste.

Now that the cooking is totally done, you can served the chicken slices with the cool slice cucumber placed at the side. Some people loved to eat chicken rice with dark soya sauce. You can get dark soya sauce from any supermarket. Just add it to the chicken rice itself or placed it in a small sauce bowl as a dip for the chicken itself.

Chicken rice is a simple and yet a delicious meal that the whole family can enjoy. You can prepare a jug of ice lemonade or even fruit juices to go with it. Y Alternaltively, if you are a coke addict just like me, nothing beats a glass of ice cold Coke.

I like to acknowledge with thanks Ms Candy Chai for her valuable suggestion and comments in this preparing this recipe.

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Mercure Rekso Hayam Wuruk Hotel Jakarta – My Review

After getting off the train from the Gambir train station in Jakarta, I proceed to the taxi counter. A lady staff at the counter asked me on my destination and immediately she got a cab for me. That was pleasantly fast. I took my ride on the cab expecting that it will be a quick ride to my hotel – the Mercure Rekso Hayam Wuruk Hotel. After all, the distance between the train station and this hotel is not far away. That is a fact, but sometimes facts and reality are totally different. The problem is the traffic. I was totally stuck in a slow snailing crawling traffic on the busy road. In fact at that time I was thinking if I could just walk, it is even faster than sitting in the cab.

The Mercure Rekso Hayam Wuruk hotel is located in the North of Jakarta in the area called Glodok. In Glodok, you can see lots of local Chinese Indonesians; most of them are running their businesses over here. The Chinese in Indonesia are very enterprising people. Take a stroll around Glodok and you will soon realized that the Indonesian Chinese have the inborn ability to seize business opportunities whenever they sees it. This hotel is very near to the Presidential Palace. In fact if you are taking a cab, you will probably pass by it. Yes, the Presidential Palace looks grand and beautiful and unfortunately No, you can’t walk in and visit it.

Checking in was smooth and professional; but somehow I just couldn’t feel the warmth hospitality here as compared to other hotels, especially the smaller hotels. Anyway, that is not a major issue for me. I took my luggage and walked to the lift and head straight to my room. When I saw my room, I liked it straight away.

The room was spacious, clean and well layout. The bed and the pillows were clean and firm. One of the first thing that caught my eyes was the large flat screen TV on the table. Many hotels in Jakarta are still having the old conventional CRT TV. The air-conditioned was strong and cold. In fact I need to tune it down as I normally do not like room that is too cold. I got a room with a good view of the city, which is nice. There is a mini fridge for cold drinks as well as a small kettle where you can make a cup of coffee/tea. And yes, there is a small safe deposit box that is placed inside the wardrobe. The bathroom is clean and spacious enough for easy movement. There is a clean bathtub as well as a hairdryer. On the whole, I find the room cosy and comfortable.

If you intend to walk around the area near the hotel, you do need to watch out for heavy traffic on the roads. There isn’t any pedestrian malls or pavements that you can walk safely. The nearest mall that you can walk to is the LTC Glodok. But if you keen in shopping for the latest fashion or accessories. this is not the place. LTC Glodok is a mall that caters mainly to businesses. It is a mall where you can get all kinds of hardware, ventilation fans, bolts and nuts, pipes, etc. However, there is a supermarket and food court which still cater to some of your personal needs. If you still want to shop for clothes, you can take a cab and asked him to take you to Mangga Dua which is relatively nearby. For sightseeing, the national monument and the national museum is also nearby. But you still need to take a cab to reach there. I don’t advise walking too much, as you will be walking along the main roads with lots of vehicles very close to you.

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Wood Carvings in Indonesia

Whenever I am in a store or gallery that displayed art, pictures, paintings or wood carving statues, I will take some time to browse through the works. Most of the art works that I have seen shows a reflection of the cultures and people of Indonesia.

I am particularly amazed at the display of wood carvings in Indonesia. Taking a block of wood and turning it into a beautiful art piece is really amazing to me. Wood carvings can indeed brings out the emotions in us when we appreciate the beauty of the art piece. Perhaps that is the reason why so many tourists coming into Indonesia would buy them and take it home.

The art of wood carvings in Indonesia has been handed down from one generation to the next. It is in central Java – Bali and Jepara; that the art of wood carvings thrives. Most of the work that you see are ornamental, statues of men and women, animals, mythological animals, jewel boxes, puppets and antique furniture. So there is a wide spectrum of works that you can see and appreciate.

Basically there are a few types of wood that are being used. You have the soft white wood – Belalu, which is cheap and is normally used to carve out for wooden toys or small souvenirs. Hard wood such as the crocodile wood which is white in color and the rain tree (Suar wood ) which is type of brown hard work, are also commonly used. However you seldom see Teak being used. This is because it is very expensive. Teak is regarded as a “Royal” or King of all woods. It is a real beauty and can last for generations.

Statutes of wood carvings in Indonesia are popular among tourists. Examples are statutes of Javanese woman, man or couples. You can see it in the photos here as well as in my website. For myself, I like statutes of Javanese woman, especially when they are dressed up in their traditional costumes. They look beautiful when you displayed them in your living room.

So the next time if you are in Indonesia, take some time to view some wood carvings. I am sure you will love it as much as I do. Prices of wood carvings are rather subjective. There are large stores that sells them on fixed prices and there also small vendors on the streets where bargaining is the norm.

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Fanta & Sprite In Indonesia

Normally when checking in into a hotel, most hotel will provide complimentary tea/coffee sachets and mineral water as a standard service to customers. There are some hotels that provided me with baskets of fruits and chocolates. This is thoughtful, as it means that the hotel do make an effort to reward its customers.

Recently when I was checking in into a hotel, the hotel give me 2 bottles of soft drinks. They are namely Fanta and Sprite. What surprises me was that they are in glass bottles of 200ml. I have not seen Fanta and Sprite in glass bottle for years. It was really a pleasant surprise. Straight away it brought back fond memories of myself as a kid – the young man who had enjoyed these carbonated drinks from glass bottles.

Fanta is a carbonated fruity drinks that has been around for years. It is from the Coca Cola company and the target customers are mostly the young and teens. It comes in fruity flavors of grapes, orange, strawberry and I was told in some countries there is also pineapple flavor. I have tasted all except the pineapple flavor. I just wonder where I could get Fanta in pineapple? Most of the time, you can buy Fanta in the form of cans or plastic bottles. So I was delighted to see it in a small glass bottle. I consider the content of 200ml in the bottle as an adequate volume for me. The strawberry flavor Fanta tastes sweet and bubbly. I think the taste has not change much throughout these years, which is a good thing. After all, it was a favorite drinks for many kids many years ago and it is still popular with many Indonesian kids right now.

Sprite is another of my favorite drink. The competitor of Sprite is of 7up. Sprite is also produced by the Coca Cola company. Sprite is a lemon lime flavor carbonated drink that also taste sweet and bubbly. However, the content of Sprite is crystal clear – unlike Fanta which is colorful. Sprite is best enjoy cold especially on a hot day. Personally, I find Sprite as a enjoyable thirst quenching carbonated drink. The glass bottle of Sprite is colored in dark green which perhaps is a representation of lime or lemon.

So there it was, 2 delicious carbonated drinks in a beautiful glass bottles. Did I finished it? You bet – it was definitely enjoyable. I regret however of not bringing the empty bottles back to my home. I forgot about it. I wanted to keep it as a momentos. Next time when I do see it again in glass bottles I will buy it and bring it home with the content intact.

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Guide to Factory Outlets in Bandung

Bandung is well known for its numerous factory outlets that is spread throughout its city. Every weekend and holidays, you can see many Indonesians flocking to Bandung for shopping and to unwind. From Jakarta, you can fly to Bandung by air, take a train ride from Gambir station or alternatively drive or hire a vehicle take will pass through the toll highway, reaching Bandung in approximately 3 hours.

There are many factory outlets located in different areas in the city. So where should you go? If you are new to Bandung, these are my personal recommendations. The first place that you can go is Rumah Mode. It is a very popular and well known factory outlet in Bandung. I liked it because it has a nice ambiance. The entire place looks like a Balinese and Java style village. Even if you do not like shopping for clothes, you can still sit in the cafe and relax – while your wife or girlfriend does her shopping. There are a wide selection of international branded clothes on sale. It seems that the ladies department is the largest. There are of course gents and kids department as well.

As I was there on Sunday, it was packed with shoppers. I saw more local Indonesians than tourists and definitely it is a ladies paradise. Merchandise is well stocked and neatly placed in bins or racks. The floor area is well organized and clean. There were sufficient staff to assist you if you need help. As for the food outlets, I took my dinner at the cafe. The place looks rather dim (perhaps it was in the night and there were candlelights) and warm lights on the ceiling. It is a cosy cafe, with warm wood decor and a fountain and pond filled with koi fishes.

When you are done shopping at Rumah Mode and still have the energy to visit more factory outlets, there are more outlets to visit. Just walked out of Rumah Mode and and you can see the main street. On the main street, turn LEFT and keep walking. In less than 3 minutes, you can see a factory outlet called Mode Plus. If you keep walking straight, there is another outlet called Natural Factory Outlet. Keep walking straight for a few minutes, you can see House of Donatello. Now the House of Donatello is an outlet that sells shoes and handbags. It is filled with so many shoes and leather wallets and bags that you are literally filled with unlimited choices. I must say some of designs are really good. Do make a point to visit this outlet as well. All these outlets are situated very close to Rumah Mode. By the way, Rumah Mode is located at 41 Jl. Dr. Setiabudhi.

Another location which I liked to introduce is Jl. Cihampelas. This place is also known as “Jean Street”. It is a stretch of narrow road that are filled with factory outlets. If you asked a taxi driver to take you to Jl. Cihmapelas and he asked you where you would liked to alight, you can tell him at Premier Plaza or Rambo. What Rambo you may asked? Once you reached the destination, you can see a huge replica of Rambo – you can’t missed it. It is in fact a factory outlet store and just directly opposite this store is Premier Plaza and Aston Tropicana Hotel. The Aston hotel is beautiful and comfortable hotel. I will try it out ( stay at the hotel) and write a review the next time I visit Bandung. Premier Plaza which is next to Aston Hotel has Giant Supermarket as the anchor tenant. There are also food outlets that you can sit and have your lunch or drinks after shopping.Jl. Cihampelas is a long and narrow road. It is always congested with heavy traffic. So if you want to cross the road, the only way is to open your eyes and dash across. You could put up your hand to signal ‘Stop’ while crossing the road and most vehicles will slow down for you. There are so many outlets selling clothes, bags and accessories that surely you can find something that you fancy. I bought a couple of T-shirts for less than US$5/- each. Each outlet has it own design and layout which makes shopping for fun. Jl. Cihampelas is a good choice for shopping if you can withstand the narrow, polluted and congested road. If you have the patience and can take some heat – you will like it here.

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Sundanese Food – Warung Cepot Restaurant in Bandung

I was in my final evening in Bandung before returning to Jakarta the next morning. I wanted to find a small authentic Indonesian restaurant where I can have my dinner. I walked out from my hotel and strolled on the streets, looking at the shops and eateries. Nothing special caught my eyes till I saw a billboard on the pavement.

The word Warung Cepot caught my eyes. It wasn’t just a billboard, in fact there were couple of them promoting this place. I looked at the exterior of the restaurant. It was a small wooden house with attap (covered with coconut leaves) roof. As you approached the entrance of the restaurant, you can see a cepot (puppet) like figurine that resembled a chef. Small fountains and wooden carvings will greet you as you enter the restaurant.

The interior of Warung Cepot is totally made of wood, brick and stones. Even the tables and chairs are made of traditional hard wood. It has the feel of an authentic Indonesian restaurant. The waiters’ uniform is that of a traditional Javanese costume. On display are cepots ( puppet) that are traditional Javanese; displayed with a backdrop of a beautiful batik cloth.

The food that is offered here is Sudanese food. By the way, Sunda is an ethnic group in Java. It is in fact the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia. If you are not sure what to order, you could looked at the menu or asked the waiter for a recommendation. However, take note that the waiters there do not speak good English.

I decided to order the followings: – Nasi Cepot, Tahu Korowot, Nasi Sangrai, Ice Cincau Hijau ( a sweet cold beverage) and Jus Alpukat (Avocado Juice). There are so many variety of food in the menu, which I love to try but I am not a big eater. The waiter gave us complimentary Indonesian crackers and tea to start off our dinner. The cracker is dry and crispy and if you liked to have more, just take more, it is on the table. The warm tea is light and warm, just similar to Jasmine tea. If you enjoy eating the crackers, you can order some as takeaways.

When the food arrived, it came in quite a generous portion. I loved the fried rice that was served together with eggs, vegetables and crackers. But the real highlight of the evening was the Tahu Korowot. It is basically bean cake that is stuffed with many delicious fillings. It is crispy (deep fried) on the exterior but soft and warm inside. You can taste the yam, mushrooms, prawns and vegetables – it is simply delicious. Dip it on the chilli sauce and it taste even more heavenly. Sundanese food unique feature is the use of spices and chilli or chilli sauces. However, don’t have idea that the food is hot and spicy, it is not. If you loved coffee, try some authentic Javanese coffee. It is not the same Java coffee that you get from Starbucks or Coffee Bean. It is THE original Javanese coffee.

It was an enjoyable dinner and I loved to come back to this restaurant if I am in Bandung again. The location of this restaurant is at 96, Jl. Pasir Kaliki, Bandung.

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Train Trip from Bandung to Jakarta

Most people who are going to Bandung and back to Jakarta would normally travel by road. It is after all very convenient ever since the toll highways were opened; cutting down the traveling time. Bandung can also be accessible by train from Jakarta from the Jakarta Gambir train station.

I took a train back from Bandung to Jakarta Gambir Station in order to try out this service. I must say that I did find it enjoyable and without much hassle. The train service is run by P.T. Kereta Api (Persero) and the train station in Bandung is located at lcoated at No. 1 Jl. Stasiun Selatan, Bandung. It is near to Mutiara Hotel, approximately 10 minutes walking distance. However if you are staying in other hotels in Bandung, just tell the taxi driver to send you to the train station. Just tell them – Kereta Api station – they will get it.

I bought my train ticket from the adjacent building from the train station. It is a low green color building and near the main entrance of the door, you can see the words – Pusat Reservasi Tiket. Just go in and proceed to the counter. Tell the counter staff that you wished to buy a train ticket to Jakarta. I bought the Executif ( Executive ) class ticket. It is slightly more expensive, but there is air-conditioned and better seats. There are a number of departure times for you to choose, and the journey to Jakarta will take about 3 hours. Remember to book your train ticket in advance, so that you can be assured of a confirmed booking.

The train station is a huge compound with a big car park space in front. It is a dull low rise building. Just walked in, avoid the touts and give your train ticket to the staff near the entrance and just proceed to walk into the gate. After getting in, find a empty bench where you can sit and relax. If you are hungry, there are a number of food outlets that sell food and drinks. And remember to check in at least one hour before the train departure time. If you are staying far away from the train station, do make allowances for traffic congestion on the road. The train does not wait for you if you are late.

There are quite a number of kiosk selling magazines and newspaper too. So if you want something to read while traveling, there are a wide selection of materials for you to choose. The name of the train that I took was called – Argo Gede. If you are not sure of which platform to go for boarding, you can ask the staff or just show them the ticket. The boarding platform is opposite the waiting area where you are resting /seating on the bench. It means that you need to walk across the railway track to the boarding platform.When the train arrived and ready for boarding. Just present your ticket to the staff, and walked towards your appropriate cabin and seat number. The coach & seat number are also indicated in your ticket. Put your luggage on the luggage compartment on top, take your seat and just enjoy the ride. Do not lost your ticket, as you will be asked to present your ticket to the staff for checking when the train moves off from the Bandung train station.

You will also be served with a complimentary light refreshment consisting of a small cup of mineral water and 2 pastries. However if you are hungry, just wait a while. The staff will come into the cabin with trays of food – fried rice, noodles, fish and chips, etc. Just take what you want, the train’s staff will come back later to settle the bill with you. At that time, I had already bought donuts from the Dunkin Donuts outlet at the train station and a bottle of mineral water. So there was more than enough food for me.

The real joy of the train journey was getting to view the objects and landscape throughout the 3 hours journey. You will get to see slums, thick vegetations, hills, rice plantations, tall buildings, roads, etc. There is beauty and ugliness, light and darkness ( when it is in the tunnel) and there are moments of serene peace and chaotic disorder. In other words, a world of contrast will unfold before your eyes in this train journey. Which is why it was a memorable trip for me and I really would loved to take the train again.

The train stopped at a few stations before finally arriving at the final Gambir train station in Jakarta. So remember not to alight at the wrong station. One important clue I can give to identify is that the Gambir train is on elevated ground and it is also the final station. So if you see the train moving up on an elevated track and slowly coming to a halt, you should be near Gambir station. However if you are not sure, just ask the local people sitting around you or the staff.

After alighting from the train, make sure that you have taken all your belongings and walked towards the escalator that is going down. Walked out of the entrance and you will see lots of people and strangers shouting at you – “taxi, taxi”. You can choose to ignore them and head straight to the taxi stand. Get a ticket from the staff, pay a nominal service fee and she will show you the taxi. Remember that there is a minimum charge of RP20,000 if even if the destination is nearby. However, when the meter shows an amount above the minimum charge, the meter rate will apply.
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Mutiara Hotel – Bandung, Indonesia.

On my visit to Bandung, my initial plan was to book a service apartment but unfortunately it was fully booked. My next option was to book Mutiara Hotel. The reason was that since I was planning to take a train back from Bandung to Jakarta, Mutiara Hotel will provide me with an easy access to Bandung train station. It is after all the nearest hotel to the train station.

Mutiara Hotel is located at 60 Jln Kebon Kawang, Bandung 40171. When the taxi that I took finally arrived at the hotel, my first impression was that it must be quite a old hotel. The check in lobby seems to be small, spartan and simple. However, check in was quick and a staff showed me to my room. You need to walk out of the hotel lobby through a small exit to the car park and walked across the next building. The hotel buildings is an unassuming 3 storey like houses that are connected to one another by corridors.

When I finally opened the door to my bedroom, it seems small, even though I have booked an Executive Room. I asked the staff whether is this an Executive Room, he confirmed it. It was on the third floor with a view of the swimming pool. The room is simple and small, and the bathroom seems to be worn out after years of usage. On the positive side, there is a mini bar and a small fridge where you can put your cold drinks and fruits. The TV had multi channels where you can watched programs from different countries. Also, there is a lift that goes from the first floor to the third floor – where I am staying. The common corridor that connects the rooms is an open space walkways.

Mutiara hotel has a certain characteristic that makes it unique. The building looks old and colonial. The best aspect of it is that there are lots of greenery around. You can see trees and plants everywhere. That is something that is very pleasing. Near the pool, there is a mini garden – with a mini fountain and Koi fishes. The environment is slow and relaxing – after all, that is what vacation is all about.

The railway station is nearby to this hotel. If you walk, you can reached the train station by approximately 10 minutes. If you are just outside the hotel lobby facing the main road, there is only 2 ways to walk – right or left. Just turn left and keep walking. However, just remember that the railway station is opposite the road. It is a small building. While walking, looked out for vehicles, as the traffic is heavy and there is hardly any pavement at all.

Morning breakfast is served at the Tiara restaurant on the ground floor. Breakfast is basic but sufficient. If you are looking for a sumptuous spread, then you will be disappointed. From this restaurant, you can have a good view of the swimming pool. The pool is small in size – it is good for a quick dip. But I do liked the greenery surrounding the restaurant and the pool. The whole place is cosy and relaxing.

On the whole, the hotel do need to renovate its rooms. And the Executive room that I have booked seems to be of similar size with that of the standard room. I think there should be a difference – in terms of size of the room, the facilities in the room and of course a good view. That is the reason why people are paying more for a better room. Other that this, Mutiara hotel is a nice place to stay. There are a few factory outlets and restaurants that are close to this hotel. And if you explore the surroundings further, you can even find a beautiful church that is about 15 minutes walk from this hotel.

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Sukarno Hatta Airport – Link Railway System

The recent floods in Jakarta had caused havoc in the city of Jakarta and also lead to the closure of the Sukarno-Hatta Airport. The closure was due to poor visibility as well as floods on the toll highway leading to the airport. The local administration has decided to built a link railway system from the city to Sukarno Hatta Airport at a cost of RP3.6 trillion rupiah or approximately US$396 million. Perhaps this flood was a blessing in disguise. The local administration now realized that things are so bad that an urgent solution is needed to fix this problem.

Sukarno Hatta Airport is located in the Banten province about 20 km west of Jakarta. For access to the airport, one must travel through a toll highway. However, part of this highway cuts across a swamp, on a low flat region. A flood that is caused by heavy rain will caused this toll highway inaccessible to vehicles. At the same time, traffic in this highway is getting heavier each year. Currently the Sukarno Hatta Airport handles more than 30 million passengers each year. It is a no brainer that a mass transport system is needed to relieve the increasing traffic on the toll highway.

The proposed railway will be approximately 33 km, and certain section of the railway will run on elevated track. This is good news as it will serve as a good transport system even when there is a flood. Travel time from the airport to the city via the railway system will take about 30 minutes It plans to connect to several train stations using existing railway tracks as well. I am sure Indonesians and travelers will welcome this new link railway system with open arms. It is targeted that this link railway system will be ready by next year – 2009. For myself, I am eagerly waiting to try out this railway system from the airport next year. It certainly beat being stuck in a traffic jam in the toll highway, where traffic seems to crawl at snail pace.

In pace with thisnew development, I do hope that the relevant airport authority will also do their part to upgrade the facilities of the Sukarno Hatta Airport. This grand airport is more than 20 years old and it look worn out. The toilets in the airport really need to be upgraded, as well as the arrival and departure halls. I am not really concern about shops though, as I don’t enjoy seeing an airport that looks and feels like a giant shopping mall just like in Singapore Changi Airport. Keep the old charms in the airport but upgrade the facilities like the baggage belt system, toilets and seating facilities, etc. I love the Sukarno Hatta Airport because it has a very unique relaxing atmosphere.
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Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall – Batam

There is another new kid on the block, another new shopping mall has sprung up in Batam. It is called the Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall or some refer to it as the Nagoya Hill SuperBlock. No, the mall is not located on top of a treacherous hill, so there are no hill or steep slopes to climb to reach this mall. The mall is located in the center of Nagoya town and very near to Nagoya Plaza Hotel.

The mall is low rise one, with rows of shop houses opposite the main mall itself. The design of the row of shophouses is unique – I particularly like the roof. I was there during the Sunday afternoon, and there were many local people at the mall. There are 2 anchor tenants – Matahari and Hypermart. These are 2 giant retail stores in Indonesia. So when the stores are there, the shoppers will come. Hypermart is located at the basement of this mall. Normally I liked to buy food items from Hypermart, because it is cheap and fresh. The store sells everything from food, clothes, medicine to LCD TV and PC. I like the bakery counter because they offer a wide variety of bread and cakes.

There is a Food Street in the Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall itself. If you are entering the mall via its main entrance, the Food Street is on the left and right. Yes, both the left and right corridor of the mall. There are many food outlets. You can see A&W, KFC and many local food retail outlets. When I see so many food outlets to choose, I have a hard time choosing what to eat. I have to make a choice among so many choices. If you do not fancy the food at the Food Street, there are more food outlets spread across this mall. Just walk and browse, you will find them. I just wonder whether is food such a lucrative business that I see so many of them in the mall.

In the mall, I can see a number of retail stores selling clothing and accessories. I guess young people in Indonesia are also spending more to look good. Perhaps the reason why developers are building more malls is that people love to hang out in the malls rather than in a park or library. Though Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall is relatively new, the layout of the stores can be improved. I can see merchandise being stacked along the walkways, which makes it untidy and at times difficult to walk. After shopping, with a lots of shopping bags, you can get a cab/taxi just outside the mall itself. Remember to negotiate the taxi fare before commencing the ride.

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