Saturday, November 14, 2015

Random (151)

Good experience despite lack of basic facilities

Backtracking on my trip to Pontianak, Indonesia last week. ^^;

Prior to the trip, my biggest concern was the haze condition that was still suffocating the region, and Kalimantan along with Sarawak, the rest of Malaysia and Singapore were among the countries worst hit during that time. Surprisingly, but pleasantly so for certain, there were afternoon thunderstorms every day during my stay there in Pontianak and there was no haze at all. ^^

As a matter of fact, the first thunderstorm hit me and my colleagues right at the airport, stranding us for about half an hour even though our taxi was parked less than 50 meters from where we were standing and waiting. ^^;

Work-related matters kept me busy throughout my trip in Pontianak, despite staying in the city center, so I didn't get much time to go out to visit any place of interest. That would be a rather challenging task to begin with, as public transportation is scarce and difficult to locate for foreigners. We relied on rented taxis and our acquaintances in Pontianak to travel between places, and I walked to go to places whenever I can. ^^

Other basic facilities like electricity and drinking water are lacking as well. There were frequent but thankfully short blackouts during my four-day stay there, including at my hotel. ^^; In terms of drinking water, Pontianak is the only foreign place I travelled to so far with tap water that is not potable. Thankfully, inexpensive bottled water can be found easily in stores and eateries almost everywhere in the city.

Despite the lack of basic facilities, the locals I encountered were very friendly and helpful despite our difficulty in communication. The city itself has a vibe of old-meets-new in terms of buildings and development in general, which I find rather refreshing. ^^ It was a pleasant and enjoyable trip overall. ^^

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