Category: Borneo, Indonesia, 2017

To Indonesia

May 29. View from our hotel room is not too shabby.
After breakfast at the club room at the hotel, we are transferred back to the airport for our full day’s journey (with stops in Singapore and Jakarta) to Jogyakarta on the island of Java in Indonesia. Check-in goes fine in the Kota Kinabula airport and our bags are checked through to Jakarta, where we’ll need to clear customs and recheck for the last leg. Only worry is a close connection in Singapore, which turns out not to be a problem.  In Jakarta, besides claiming our luggage, we need to take a bus to another terminal and find the right place to check in.  Both the Singapore and Jakarta airports make major US airports look like they’re in Third World countries.

One does encounter cuteness at airports

and constant evidence of globalization (though they would not accept payment from the Starbucks app on my iPhone)
Right outside the Kota Kinabalu airport is a very large sign with a picture of The Colonel and the words, “finger lickin’ good.”  Masks are rather common for our fellow passengers, such as this couple across the aisle.And Michael travels light, with his camera equipment.
These travel days are a necessary element of the types of trips we do and are likely to remain so, until the advent of time travel. They’re a drag, and can be very tiring, but there is no way around them. In this case, the travel day serves to delineate the two parts of our trip–nature and culture. Though the others may disagree, I think we’ve done enough nature for this trip, and I’m ready for culture.

At breakfast this morning, we marveled with the Lewises about the range of skills our birding guide, Azmil, displayed. For starters, it takes incredible eyesight even to spot the tiny birds we were searching for. Once spotted, the identification of the particular bird in a split second is remarkable. Identification requires knowledge of the likely places and heights which various birds inhabit. The types of flight patterns of birds and their calls provide clues as to their identity. To recognize bird calls, one needs a keen ear and knowledge of which birds make which sounds. To locate the bird, it often helps to have the ability to reproduce its calls, either through whistling or through recordings. Then one also needs to be able to discern where the call is coming from. You need to be able to see the bird with your naked eye, then get it into your glasses and/or scope. Fine distinctions in size and shape and color, and details in various parts of the bird’s body are keys to identifying the particular bird and these details must be memorized for hundreds of birds. Finally, the guide must be able to describe to his guests just how and where to find the bird and tolerate the curses of (one of) the guests when he can’t find–to use the technical term–the fuckin’ bird.
On arrival in Jogjakarta, we are transferred to the Phoenix, a charming hotel in the heart of downtown. Our itinerary says about it: This graceful colonial landmark dates back to 1918. Its 144 elegant, spacious rooms have been beautifully restored, and each boasts a balcony and a delightful fusion of Asian and European décor. It is a tranquil oasis amidst the bustle and charm of Malioboro Street.

And, having checked in, I can confirm that the itinerary description is accurate.

After a very nice dinner at the hotel, we settle into our comfortable, large and interestingly decorated rooms for a well deserved rest.

2 comments to To Indonesia

  • Looks like yet another fabulous trip! Did you try the Starbucks? Does it taste the same? Who is Michael?

  • arnie

    I refused the Starbuck’s, because they wouldn’t take my phone app, so screw ’em. Michael is Michael of Michael and Valerie Lewis, with whom we are traveling.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>