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Monday, October 28, 2013

Bandung - Day 1

The journey to Bandung got off to a delayed start, or to be exact, four delayed starts. The flight which was scheduled at 3 p.m. was delayed to, initially, 5 p.m. Just as I was about to leave the house for the airport around 10 a.m., I got a notification from the airlines that the departure time was rescheduled to 6 p.m. I eventually left my home just before noon, taking the LRT to KL Sentral Station, and from there, took the airport bus. I checked in around 3 p.m., and shortly thereafter, I got information that the flight was further delayed to 6.30 p.m. In any case, we finally took off around 6.50 p.m. There were a number of academics from the University of Malaya on board the same flight.

This is my first trip to Bandung, and I did not really have much expectation. All I know is that Bandung is well-known as a shopping haven. As I am not the shopping type, this was not on my agenda. After all, this is a working trip. I am attending the International Conference on Islam in the Malay World, co-organised by Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Gunung Djati of Bandung and the Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya. This is the third annual conference, with both Bandung and Kuala Lumpur taking their turns to host the event. I have a paper to present on the second day, and that would be my main focus of this trip.

The time difference between West Indonesia and Malaysia is one hour, with Malaysia being ahead. We arrived in Bandung just before 8 p.m. local time. The host provided a coaster (minibus) to shuttle the Malaysian delegates from the airport to the Bali World Hotel where we stayed and where the conference is held.

When we arrived at the hotel, I got my first taste of local food, to be exact Sundanese food. The people of Bandung are mainly Sunda people, or Sundanese. The food here to me is quite interesting. What I enjoyed was boiled potato and boiled peanuts, and the drink that went with these, known as bajigur, is certainly an eye-opener. Bajigur is a sweet drink served hot, made from brown sugar and coconut milk with slices of young coconut meat.

After that, I checked into my room, and looked forward to a good night's rest. The first day of conference awaits when the new day begins.

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