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Published: April 14th 2009
On to Jakarta
Ross, Peter, and I were getting picked up at 14:00 to catch a bus back to Jakarta. All the trains and minivans were full since it was a holiday for the locals as well (since they're +90%!M(MISSING)uslim, I doubt it was Easter haha). Our bus drove around Yogyakarta for about 3 hours to various stations to pick up more passengers. We weren't going to leave until it was full. The 3 of us were crammed into a seat big enough for 2 at the most as we began our slow journey to Jakarta. It should have taken 10-11 hours to get there but without an interstate system in place, the traffic made a huge difference. We were on the Western outskirts of Jakarta when our bus quit working. Many of the Indonesia people just got out on the highway and walked to get taxis into town. We took note that we could probably cab-it from there but since we didn't know where we were we decided to wait. The bus cranked up again, but only long enough to get off off the highway. The bus driver and his crew began asking "Jakarta?! Jakarta?! You go! TAXI!!!!!"
Half asleep and happy to have my own row of seats to myself I was woken with a shock. What? We're getting off? Oh now?! They basically threw us off the bus. No surprise I left my phone (again I know, I know).
Our friends had the Jakarta guide book in their possession but we had a general idea of where to go. Thibaut told me to go to "Janet Jackson" street. When I asked him what the rest name was he just said "Just tell zem Janet Jackson men. Zey well find eet for youuu" We found out upon arrival that the street was actually JL Jaksa but "Janet Jackson" did the trick. We had planned to meet Matthew, Ralf, and Jonas on that street for breakfast but hadn't communicated with them in 3 days. What do you know? We stepped out of the cab and they were sitting right across the street eating breakfast! What a relief. We ate a good meal and after some more Java coffee ("Java Java") we headed out into the town. We took the train from nearby JL Jaksa to the Kota station at the end of the line. We walked about
the old town and checked out the recommended Cafe Batavia. It was expensive but it was extremely nice (surprising for a run down town for Jakarta). We walked around from there and headed to the old Dutch port. We walked around all the ships and I climbed up on one of the planks to take a photo. One of the crew popped his head out and signaled for us to come aboard. We nervously (some more nervous than others) climbed the 30 foot plank onto the boat. It was pretty scary really. If you would have fallen, there was about a 20 foot drop onto either concrete or disease ridden "water" below - gross. Luckily we all made it across, thew crewman gave us all a hand up. He showed us around and was very hospitable. We talked about it and decided not to give him money because that can cause some trouble. Matthew said the man probably just let us aboard to be nice, not for money and he didn't want to ruin the hospitality. We also didn't know if it would offend him if we gave him some money. Matthew handed him his pack of cigarettes which seemed
to go over well. We walked down the plank, even more nervously this time as we were forced to look down.
After that, it was time to walk back towards the train station. We looked for some cheap shirts to wear home since we had sweat through our last clean ones but didn't have any luck. Jakarta is about as far from a tourist town as you can imagine. It was really the only place I've been in SE Asia that really doesn't seem to care to help tourists out much at all (not that the people weren't nice, they were very helpful and happy). We got back to the train station then took cabs to the airport. It was raining and our cab was actually rear-ended on the way there so we got out and changed taxis. We had a fixed price with the first driver (so he wouldn't waste time driving around to run up the meter - we were in a hurry) but the second didn't speak English so we hoped we could make it in time for our flight. We made easily - phew! We paid the 150,000 Rp exit fee (if you're leaving Indonesia
make sure you have some money left over on your way out, don't miss the plane standing in line at the ATM) and headed back to Singapore. What a wild trip. Over the course of 4 nights, I spent 1 on a train, 1 in a crappy hostel, 1 on a mountain, and 1 packed on a bus like a sardine. I was exhausted but I had a great time! Yogyakarta was much more interesting from a tourist aspect than Jakarta but it was great to see how the local people lived in Jakarta. Java was awesome. For any travelers reading this blog, I think your time will be much better spent in Yogyakarta and eastern Java and on to Bali and Lombok. I don't wanna say you should avoid Jakarta but don't plan on staying long.
4 weeks till I'm back home! One more adventure left, 10 days in the Philippines at the end of the month! Woo Hoo! Out with a bang
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