With Old Friends: Puncak, Bogor

I reconvened with old friends, Audrey and Eldwen, to embark on a trip to ease the mind. We took a drive out of hectic Jakarta, towards the hilly areas of Puncak, Bogor. Being vacationing vagrants, we had the luxury of traveling on a weekday. Avoiding the ruthless clutch of local traffic is a matter of proper timing. Driving like a bunch of wild animals is commonplace in Indonesian traffic-culture.

The 1st quarter of our trip was drenched in rain as Bogor lives up to its nickname, “Kota Hujan”, meaning “City of Rain”. We stopped by “Istana Bogor”, 1 of 6 presidential palaces located around Indonesia. It’s surrounded by lush greenery and many deer frolicking about its main garden. Access to the deer area wasn’t open to public and it’s a real pity. So many cute fawns being tended to by deer mothers and no real pictorial opportunity to justify the sight.

The visit to Istana Bogor was cut short by the rain’s insistence. We gave in, hopped back on the car and continued our drive uphill. A lot of the roadside eateries were closed since it’s the month of fasting and the majority of the population, both vendors and customers are partaking in this custom. For a little bit, we let the sceneries stall our appetite.

We made a stop at a tiny nameless barbecue shack, hanging off the side of a hill. We stepped in and was amazed by the view this humble spot boasted.

This tiny barbecue shack specialized in “Sate Kelinci”, meaning “Rabbit Skewers” and “Sate Kambing”, which means “Mutton Skewers”. It’s a simple, family-run shop. In South-East Asia, there are numerous such eateries: simple dishes that due to a lot of experience, control and knowledge of the ingredients, transcend the offerings of finer dining experiences. To date, I have never found sate/satay options at any fusion place that’s ever better than these roadside gems.

Imagine someone drawing the same still life subject for years & years… and you’ll catch my drift. It works in tandem: the clear flavors of the meat supported by the bits of garnish and a sauce that doesn’t wastefully drown them all.

We took our time, took in the view, enjoyed the quiet and chatted amongst ourselves. A street vendor later walked in with his wares and showed us his bracelets that he’s selling. It was all very quiet in the best ways possible and I haven’t had it that way for a while.

It was very nice to have been able to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in years, get away from a hectic city and refreshed by such simple pleasures. I hope to see these wonderful people again some time sooner or later.

Take care friends,

Posted Sunday, September 19th, 2010 under Food, Personal News, Travel.

5 comments

  1. The hillside view is gorgeous! Also that barbecue looked amazing! I’m glad you’re able to catch up with your old friends!

  2. Yeah, there’s not much you need to do to nature. That barbecue is also something else, I can taste it again as I speak of it.

    I’m glad I was able to share that with my old friends. Thanks for stopping by, Lateef.

  3. Next trip with the full crew
    cheers :)

  4. Hahhaaha, did your friend wear a Wanted: Wabbit shirt knowing he was going to eat rabbit skewers? That’s like trolling the rabbit gods. hahahaha.

    Experiences like this are what to look forward to when coming home. I hope your friends and you have many more to come. And maybe bring me by round there if I get go to Indoland!

  5. He wasn’t planning it but such is life. It sometimes throws you rabbit skewers and a pretty view with no warning.

    If you come by, I’ll do my best to have Eldwen and my other friends over at the same time.

    It’d be nice to have the whole crew in one spot.

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