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My last stop in Kalimantan

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large_5550_14695040783295.jpgToday, I fly from Berau to my last stop in Kalimantan, the island and town of Tarakan. The 25 minute flight replaces 2h30 by bus to Tanjung Selor followed by 1h30 by speed boat to Tarakan.
I woke relatively late today at 0600 and had breakfast at 0630. It was a good spread at Palmy Hotel for brekkie. They offered a free shuttle to Berau’s flash new airport. The airport was decorated with Dayak motifs and nice sape music was streaming through. I like how so much of Kalimanatan (except Banjarmasin) celebrates the Dayak heritage.

I had arrived just before the counter opened for my flight to Tarakan [Tarakan-travel-guide-870969] (my final stop in Kalimantan) and it was only a short wait.The check-in clerk advised of a delay as the flight from Samarinda [Samarinda-travel-guide-869709] hadn’t taken off due to bad weather there.large_5550_14691969808091.jpgDowntown Tarakan with the Grand Tarakan Mall in the background.

Waiting at the departure lounge, with free internet, I managed to do a fair bit just between check-in time and original departure time. There was a flight going to Samarinda which was delayed and someone rumoured that it was the same aircraft that would come back and take us to Tarakan, meaning that it would be another 2h, which was also approximately a 2h delay. Hope not.

I managed to get lots of admin done with reasonably good internet. We departed about 1h50 late for the 25 min hop to Tarakan. It would only be marginally slower to take a car and boat via Tajung Selor (2.5h plus 1.5h).

Taking off, we flew over the open cast coal mine before heading towards Tarakan. I smelt smoke during the flight. I guess the pilot was smoking on the ATR but I didn’t want to say anything as it didn’t smell electrical or plastic. Soon enough we were descending into Tarakan. The waters surrounding the area was murky due to large rivers nearby.

Deplaning, I asked the crew how many sectors they were doing. Answer: Twelve. The other day when they did nine, I don’t think they had a single rest or meal break so I wouldn’t expect anything more today. I’m glad I was on the third flight of the day rather than the twelfth!

The ride into town took five minutes but was a set overpriced rate. The Milia Hotel was very nice. I managed to find a place for lunch across the road where I got a big dish of capcae kuah. I needed the veges so much after Derawan. When I went to pay, it was meant to be IDR20K for the vege and IDR6K for the juice but the man said it was only IDR20K because the juice was free on Fridays!. What refreshing honesty!

I retreated to my room to escape the afternoon heat and emerged in the evening. My hotel is in the epicentre of town, next to the Grand Tarakan Mall and the cross-road of the most happening places in town. The once-grand mall appeared disused; don’t know what went wrong. There wasn’t much in terms of “happening” or even eating places. No wonder the latest version of the guidebook has left out Tarakan!

I had a look at KFC and got tempted by their chicken fillet burger. It seemed too cheap to be true, and quite rightly so, it was tiny. I wanted something else and found a Pempek Palembang stall down the road. Oh dear, more fried food. I capped it off with an Es Campur in a dessert shop nearby before calling it a day, a rather lazy day.


Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Indonesia

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