I don’t really know why… but I’m having a serious case of wanderlust. It didn’t help that I’ve just got back from Bali less than 6 weeks ago… and am planning to go to Melbourne next month. I’m still jonesing for an impromptu trip! I wanna travel! By myself! To a far away, exotic destination!
It didn’t help either that Air Asia’s big sale had only started yesterday and a good 80% of the seats are booked already – what is wrong with us Indonesians? So, what better cure to my wanderlust than to write a little bit about my past travel experiences?
I don’t consider myself a well-traveled person, but I’ve had plenty opportunities to travel overseas and within Indonesia in the past. During my trips, I’ve stayed at many different kinds of accommodations. From nice 5-star hotels (on family and business trips), family and friends’ houses, seedy transit
sex motels, caravans, to the barest, most basic form of lodgings, I’ve been there, done that.
But out of all the hotel rooms I’ve stayed in… The ones I remember most are the SHITTY ones. Peeling wallpapers, leaky ceilings, suspiciously stained mattresses, cockroach partying all night, you name it. Well, without further ado, yes, this post is dedicated to the memory of the shittiest hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. Enjoy.
1. Hotel Panghegar, Bandar Lampung.
Stayed in: December 2009.
Me and 4 friends were on a road trip to Lampung, when my trusty Corolla broke down just at the outskirts of Bandar Lampung, halfway from our destination, which was Dayan’s hometown. It was Friday night and a public holiday, and it’s getting late. Not a single auto repair shop was open, so we were forced to stay overnight in Bandar Lampung. Get our car fixed first thing in the morning. It was an emergency, so we had to make do with the nearest hotel available, while sticking to our tight budget.
A local ushered us to this inconspicuous 3-storey motel right at the center of the town, not far from where we were stranded. We booked 2 rooms for the night, each for Rp. 100.000,- ish. OK it looked a bit dodgy and tacky and old, but little did we know, it was a night life spot-slash-love hotel. WTF.
We checked in at 9pm, all tired and shit, and soon after, we heard this loud dangdut music blaring from upstairs. OMG. I was like, WTF there’s a night club upstairs! If I wasn’t dead tired and super pissed from having car problems, Dayan and I would be eager to check it out… (we’re totally slaves to the Melayu rhythm) but instead, we dropped our bags in the room, paying little attention to the room, and went out for late supper. When we got back it was midnight and thankfully the shitty, loud dangdut music subsided soon after.
I checked into my room, which I shared with Rara. The room was old, small and cramped. The wall was painted cheery yellow. The curtains, a cheery shade of velour green. It had cheap written all over it… A queen sized bed, a huge ass antique cabinet with mirrored doors, a shitty single sofa and a small TV. No aircon. “Where the f*ck is the bathroom? I wanna poo real bad!” I mumbled. Rara and I looked around… then we found out that the bathroom was INSIDE the f*cking cabinet! You open the creaky cabinet door with the mirror, and literally walk inside the cabinet to get to the freaking bathroom! WTF!
It was like that enchanted wardrobe in that Narnia story, but much, much worse.
And when i got into the bathroom, I found out that I can look outside into the room from the cabinet glass. It’s a one-way mirror thing. Super weird. It’s too bad that I didn’t take any photos of this enchanting room, neither did Rara, cos we went straight to bed, and she totally left the TV on cos this room has a creepy vibe. Right.
The morning after, we went upstairs for free breakfast. Yay. FREE. At least something good came from all the bad shit that has happened. The breakfast room-slash-bar was eye-stabbingly 80s colorful, calling it tacky is an understatement!
Breakfast consisted of instant coffee or tea (which already ran out by the time we get there), shitty, dry fried rice with no meat in it, and some toast with butter and chocolate sprinkles. Really standard fare. Little did I know that most shitty Indonesian motels out of Jakarta serve this kind of breakfast.
We chew our buttered toast in silence, sharing the room with dodgy looking, middle-aged men… And seedy bar girls. Yes, the lighting is neon blue. Yes, it’s broad daylight…
After breakfast, we looked around the room and found the entrance to the dangdut club!
It was deserted in the morning, and we didn’t waste any chance to commemorate our stay by pretending to be dangdut stars.
At 10am sharp, we packed our bags and without hesitation, moved our asses out of this seedy establishment. Here’s one last shot of the boys’ room, looking out. You can almost feel the despair and loneliness.
Next time on shitty hotel rooms: One night in Pekalongan!