Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Empty Hotel and other Fishy Tales


When we woke up in Batam the first thing we set out to do was find out how we could get to Jakarta. After visiting a number of tour and travel operators in the area they gave us two options.


Firstly, we could wait 4 days for an overnight ferry to Jakarta, or we could get the ferry from Batam to Du Mai (a port town on the northern island of Sumatra) and then get the bus down towards Jakarta. They assured us that the fastest option was the latter which could get us into Jakarta in 3 days. Even if it was the more draining of the two routes.


So with that we set off for the Sekupang Ferry Terminal on the north western side of the island to purchase our tickets to Dumai. Unfortunately there is only one ferry a day to Dumai, at 7:30am, meaning we would have to wait a day before we could make any progress.


Once we'd escaped the chaotic ticket office of the ferry terminal with two tickets, we headed off to find a hotel for the night. With the help of a friendly taxi driver, Erwin, we grabbed ourselves a bargain of a room at the Acacia Hotel. A big shiny marble covered hotel with a massive outdoor swimming pool on top of a hill.




We soon realised why it was such a bargain, we seemed to be the only people staying at the Acacia. We had chosen the Acacia because it was close to the ferry terminal and it was an early start the next day, but most tourists must stay on the other side of the island in Batam City.


Walking around these long corridors to our room, or to the pool area with no one around but a doorman and a receptionist was a kind of eery. It felt like we had walked onto the set of The Shining 2: Paradise Hotel.




That said, we made full use of the facilities, racing around on this little tricycle we found and playing with this two friendly twins we met in the corridor. Kidding. I mean going for a much needed swim in the massive pool to cool off from the tropical heat.



After the sun went down Erwin the friendly Taxi Driver arrived to pick us up and take us to his favourite seafood restaurant on the other side of the island, The Golden Prawn.


The Golden Prawn is one of those restaurants where you pick out the fish and shellfish you want to eat, then they cook them fresh to your specification. With a little push from the waiter we chose which delicious creatures would give themselves for our appetites and sat down at a table on the end of the pier.




We felt a little less guilty about crabby and fishy's fate when we found out that the entire spot is built on a fish farm so we can presume that most if not all of the fish that are served are farmed at the restaurant.





Guilt-free, fresh seafood is a delicious and rare treat so the meal didn't last long, but we knew we had to head back to the hotel if we were to get a good night sleep for the day ahead.




Tomorrow we get the ferry to Sumatra and try to make our way down to Jakarta if its possible on our crazy deadline!

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