The ride from Jakarta to Bandung was pretty uneventful. In the three hours that it took for us to get there, we chatted, we laughed, we ate and we napped.
Except, we were not in a car by ourselves but in a hired van with 6 other strange men who kept to themselves.
The silence in the van was so thick, it intimidated the two of us into silence.
Minutes into the ride, I couldn’t stand it anymore and whipped out my phone instead. I was grateful that I had picked up a local SIM card and started “chatting” with my friend seated just beside me.
We “talked” and gossiped about our fellow van mates without looking at each other. Our fingers never stopped typing, messages flowed between us as if we were having a real conversation. We smiled, stifled our giggles and at one particular funny point of our conversation, we literally had our hands over our mouth as our shoulders heaved in silent laughter.
Our van mates remained in silent contemplation of their own thoughts.
I took out my breakfast sandwich, the crinkling of the package making so much noise, I ended up pinching bits and pieces out instead of taking bites out of it.
Our van mates found their voice when we reached the city. Suddenly, there was so much hustling around us, we were left like the confused first time tourists that we were. Within 15 minutes, the van was suddenly half empty and we were left in confusion.
Were we supposed to get off too? We decided to stay on and wait till the end.
The van kept getting further and further away from the city centre. With only 2 other passengers left in the van, the driver finally asked us about our drop off point.
You could see all the question marks on our face.
And then the others joined in the conversation.
“Where are you going?”
“To Amaris Hotel”
“Ahhh, you should have gotten off just now” This was another helpful passenger giving us his opinion.
So between the three of them, they were discussing, no bickering, on our drop off point. We sat there like spectators at a tennis match going back and forth between the passengers and the driver with no chance of interjecting our opinion into the conversation.
The driver finally stopped and let us down with a “The hotel is that way…”
All around us were residential houses. Although skeptical, we still trudged our way down the road, trying to keep out of the way of incoming traffic. We had no map, no idea where we currently were. We picked a direction and just started walking. Amazingly, we did indeed stumble across our hotel. Even if it did take us around half an hour to find it, wandering around feeling lost.
And that was how I got to Bandung, with some help from the locals along the way.
To get to Bandung: I bought a ticket with Cipaganti, a hired van shuttle service that is available for travel in Java. They mostly cater for travel to Bandung, Yogyakarta and East Kalimantan. The ticket to Bandung cost me $100,000 rupiah and can be bought from any of their outlets. I found their services to be pretty reliable and they have regular timings slots from Jakarta to Bandung and vice versa. Do note that their staff do not speak English. And most importantly, you can tell them to drop you at any point along the way when you reach the city.
Did you have any similar experience while travelling locally? Please do share!