I couldn't really enjoy the little bit of luxury, namely a wider bed in my capsule hotel. Because at half past one in the night a ruthless horde of South American women came up, who rumbled and yelled as if the bedroom belonged to them. I was really through with this capsule hotel. In Japan I found them so pleasant, but there were also Japanese people who are much more considerate. With the noisy, thoughtless ways of us westerners, staying in a capsule hotel feels more like a storage barracks. Garbage flies everywhere.
But this morning at eight o'clock I finally left here. I caught a cold from there, I can tell by the onset of a sore throat. I take the bus from Boat Quay bus stop on the Singapore River to Harbourfront Ferry Terminal. I get there at nine o'clock. Way too early. I can't check in my suitcase until ten o'clock. Boarding is then at 20 past ten. But the ferry is late, but I don't care, because my connecting ferry in Batam doesn't leave until 7 p.m. according to my information. The ferry ride to Batam takes just under an hour.
It's pouring rain outside but the sea is pretty calm. Arrived in Batam, I'm not sure how the "Visa on Arrival" works in Indonesia. I quickly realize that I've given it a lot of thought. Trying to apply for this visa onlibe didn't work anyway and still took twice as long as the visa process here. There is a counter "VISA ON ARRIVAL PAYMENT". I hand in my passport and slap 50 Singapore dollars on the counter. For this I get a small piece of paper as a receipt. Then I go to the border gate, hand in the passport and the paper, and the visa is stuck in my passport. Time required: 5 minutes.
Now I change to the ferry terminal for domestic connections. There are plenty of counters and you can buy tickets to Dumai everywhere. But then the disillusionment: The ferry to Dumai and along the northwest coast of Sumatra does not leave at 7 o'clock in the evening (as stated in the travel guide), but at 7 a.m. in the morning. I pout a bit, but of course that doesn't help. I have to stay here overnight on Batam. Now I realize that I've done a lot of other things over the past few days, but neglected my ongoing travel preparations. I didn't download an offline map of Indonesia and couldn't say where I am and want to go. I also didn't look for a hotel for a possibly necessary overnight stay beforehand. Now I have to ask around at the ferry counters if anyone knows one. So you can quickly end up in a hotel that exceeds my overnight budget many times over or in a disgusting flophouse. But everyone who deals with it tries very hard and I manage to get a nice hotel for 12 euros a night with very clean and spacious rooms. It's called Safina Inn. So if you are in Batam and need a decent overnight stay for little money, this is the place for you.
I am surprised by the friendliness of the Indonesians. Of course, that reads like a phrase: "Oh, how friendly the people were." But I mean: friendly compared to the Malays in Malaysia. I looked into many dismissive and haughty faces and often their communication was reduced to a minimum.
I was afraid that it could be the same here in Sumatra, but I've laughed and joked more with the people here than in three weeks in Malaysia.
I am also enthusiastic about the food. In Malaysia, I tended to stick to Chinese cuisine as much as possible because Malay was so overdone and monotonous and often devoid of vegetables. I didn't get any fruit at all. Yes, bananas were given to me on the island of Tioman.
During my forced stay I found my new favorite noodle soup: Mie Ayam Bakso. These are mi noodles with beef balls. Had it for a late lunch today. Tonight it's Mi Goreng Ace style. Plus Chinese broccoli and a fresh mango shake. I also stocked up on bananas at the fruit stand and the seller peeled a fruit at the fruit stand and gave me a try. Very tasty but completely unknown to me.