17/11/29 – Batam – Indonesia

After all the struggles to get the ticket to Jakarta which was my main reason to stop in this Island I decided to visit few of the sightseeing here.

Since the very first moment I get out of customs I saw Batam as a dirty crappy place. Roads aren’t in good conditions, there is rubbish all around. It was indeed a big contrast when coming from Singapore 20km away. Might be the fact that I wasn’t in a good mood after not receiving a visa I can extend or just the though of coming back to a place like Cambodia, but I didn’t react well to the first taxi drivers that started annoying me once I get out from the terminal. Even, here, in my western education, I found them much more unpolite. It was not the “Taxi, Sir” from the other ASEAN countries. Here they clap hands and make noises as if they where calling a dog. What make it worst is that even ignoring theme, they will follow and approach with that same attitude. Do they think I am deft or blind? If so, why they keep annoying me?

Not to mention, but there are no proper taxis, it is just regular people with their car trying to get some extra money, and for sure, me as western, I was a good piece. They behave was not that intensive with other locals.

People didn’t help me much to get all the way to the main town, neither to find anything I might be looking for as you may have read in the previous post. Still I get to meet good people that did their best to help.

From the bus between ports on different sides of the Island, I could see it wasn’t very developed in terms of infrastructure. Most of the buildings as well were in need of a restoration or at least to be repaint.

Nagoya didn’t appeal me at all. Smelly, with muddy bad roads, trash on the side roads, and old crumbly buildings. I found my self in the bars and pubs area to find out that all the bars had dark windows and ladies at the entrance. In one of those particular moments, the only non-locals I came across where three Spanish guys from Murcia coming out from one of the pubs saying that this was the paradise. After them three young ladies where saying goodbye from the door of the bar.

The hotels I visited where not very clean, but very cheap if I compare them to the ones in Singapore, but expensive regarding the rest of the ASEAN.

As I learnt later, this Island is considered a touristic spot. I don’t know why, though. It seems that in the north there are nice beaches and there is a ferry boat to go to nearby paradise-picture Islands. It is rainy season now, so not the good time to be here maybe.

There are no many sightseeing in the Island, and probably the mayor attraction for tourists are the resorts themselves. In Batam Center and Nagoya, there are several malls where most of the people hang around.

As it is cultural here, the market takes place in a market square and along the nearby streets. Shop tenants compete in prices and product, while motorbikes collapse the walking area.

There are several mosques and temples, however I just visited some of them in my walk between Nagoya and Batam Center.

The two biggest ones I visited there are not far from each other. The buddhist temple of Maha Vihara Duta Matreya is in between both settlements. It is a big concrete building that could have perfectly been a stocking if it weren’t because of the sculptures and symbols.

The Mosque of Batam is located in Batam Center and the square in front of it make it visible from the distance. Its style repeats the common style for the temples in the regions, but in a bigger size and dividing the roof with different levels.

Definitively, this stop was pretty much forced and if not completely unnecessary unless you are looking for cheap prostitution or to chill inside the resorts.

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