Another weekend, another getaway.
This time we have opted for the over water bungalows at Palau Ayer. This is the closest island to Jakarta so we only had a 25 minute boat ride to get there – great! Or so we thought….
We arrived in no time and first impressions were good. There are approximately 30 over water bungalows along with on land rooms and ‘hotel’. With our previous 2 trips to other islands we arrived before 10am and had to wait until 2pm to check in. When we arrived at Palau Ayer at 9am we headed straight to reception who were only too happy to check us into our room.
The room was a one bedroom studio type room which had a separate lounge room and bathroom (with toiletries). There was also a tv and mini bar. We were impressed with the standard and cleanliness of the room. The best feature had to be the balcony. It was completely shaded and cool enough to sit on at all times of the day. Unfortunately our view was straight back to Jakarta and true to form even though it was only ~25kms away, we could barely see it through the pollution.
It’s easy to see why this island is a popular one with locals and tourists alike as there is plenty to do. There is a good range of play equipment for children, a basketball court, volleyball court, table tennis, billiards tables, 1km walking track, karaoke and a swimming pool – complete with kids’ water slide.
Unfortunately as this island is located so close to Jakarta, the ocean is completely filthy and I wouldn’t recommend swimming in it at all – well at least for some (see photo). It’s quite a shock to see so much rubbish in the ocean in one place. It still blows my mind that children in schools here aren’t educated on the effects of littering and it is not uncommon to see people discarding any rubbish they have onto the street. I would imagine if a tenth of the emphasis was placed on not littering here, as we do in Australia, there would be a dramatic improvement….
We went over to the pool for a quick swim and something to eat. We had paid for the weekend package which includes accommodation, 3 meals (lunch and dinner Saturday and Breakfast Sunday) and transport. It wasn’t quite lunchtime so we ordered from the restaurant menu. Pete had nasi goreng and I just stuck with some fresh fruit. Both were great, and super cheap.
After a swim we headed back to our room and spent a few hours on our balcony. There isn’t any internet where we were but we both managed to get some offline work out of the way.
We headed back to the restaurant for lunch which was served as a buffet style. Unfortunately there wasn’t much I liked there so I just stuck to plain white rice.
We went back for the mandatory afternoon snooze for a few hours (getting as many of these in before the baby arrives!) and when I woke before Pete I took the advantage to get in some exercise. I walked the 1km circuit 3 times before Pete woke up and I headed back to the room.
We went for another scope of the island and managed to find an area that had good mobile reception. We grabbed an ice-cream each and sat in the shade getting our social media fix and watching the footy score – well I did, while Pete read a book – yes, you read that correctly, Pete was reading.
After some quiet time we headed back to the balcony for a few more hours until just before the sunset we made our way to the West side of the island. We saw the sun disappear behind the thick layer of pollution on the horizon then headed back to get dinner.
Unfortunately dinner was more of the same as lunch. Again, I just had rice. There was a local band playing for us who were quite entertaining.
After dinner we headed back to the balcony once again. We had taken a bottle of wine to the island with us so I poured us each a glass (or in my case, a mouthful!) and we sat chatting. I noticed there were mozzies inside so I reached over and closed the door.
A few hours later we decided it was bedtime. I collected the wine bottle and glasses and went to head inside. The door was locked. We had joked about this earlier in the day when the door unexpectedly slammed shut on us so Pete thought I was playing around. He tried the door. Definitely locked. Oh no. Ok. Don’t panic. This has to happen often right? There must be another way. We tried to force our way in through the door but it wasn’t opening! We came up with all sorts of crazy ideas. Swim to the jetty, climb over the roof to the jetty or shimmy around the outside of the room. None of these were actually possible (except the swimming and neither of us were very keen).
Like normal, Pete was rather lacking in the clothing department. If he was to go into the water, he would have been completely bare by the time he got out. He wouldn’t let me get into the sea urchin filled water to scale back up the barnacle covered jetty to go off in search of help either. We knew our neighbours weren’t home yet so we decided to wait a while until they arrived. I was confident I knew enough Bahasa to tell them we were locked out. Pete has his phone with him but only had 10% battery and the reception was terrible. The only number we managed to google was the main office in Jakarta! After about 1 hour, the lady from next door arrived home with her young son. As soon as we saw her we started yelling as loud as we could. I got out what I needed to in Bahasa but we frightened her so much she just hurried inside, locked the door and pulled the curtains shut. That was not supposed to happen! With no other options, Pete started yelling like a mad man. Help!! Unsurprisingly, nobody came to our aid. He continued this for a few minutes, until the next door neighbours door opened again. The poor lady was so terrified (probably thinking we are crazy/drunk bules) that she had packed her son up and was heading back to the mainland. I shouted to her that we were locked out and needed help but she put her head down and hurried away. Low and behold, 2 minutes later, security arrive on the jetty! I did manage to say in Bahasa that we are locked out and he giggled and went off to fetch the master key. 1.5 hours after we first discovered we were locked out, we were back inside! Quite an adventure. I was impressed by the ideas we each came up with to get us out of there and I wonder what it would have taken for us to try. The bottle of red wine kept Pete busy but quite possibly could have given him the extra encouragement he needed to do something crazy – lucky we were rescued!
We managed to sleep in and when we woke headed over for breakfast. Breakfast was much better than the previous two meals but still not great. After breakfast we headed to the pool again. The rest of the day was spent lounging around the pool and shady grassy areas until our boat home left at 2pm.
Another (relatively) relaxing and quiet weekend gone and ready for another hectic week in Jakarta.