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Published: July 24th 2014
Monas monument in Merdaca Square. This huge statue was built by Soekarno the first president of Indonesia back in the day.
We finally made it to Jakarta after a long journey. Vancouver-San Francisco-Tokyo-Jakarta. In total it was 20 hours in the air plus layovers which takes a toll on these aging bodies. ANA is pretty good though so it was as comfortable as it could have been.
After customs we got out of the airport just after midnight local time. We booked a taxi inside the terminal so we were rushed past the waiting touts to our taxi outside. The trip was great and the city was still pretty busy at 1am. Our hostel in the Cikini area was already sorted out so we got checked in, had a quick shower and passed out petty quick.
Our first day started slow as you'd expect. We ate breakfast and lounged around trying to figure out what to do for the day. They just announced the national election results two days ago and it was close and contested so we were wary of civic strife. All was relatively calm though (the good guy won by the way, google it) so we decided to head to the Museum Nasionale.
The museum is at the edge of the main square in Jakarta. We
Hindu and Buddhist statues in the Museum Nasionale.
walked there as we were told it was only 20 minutes away. As soon as we stepped out into the street we were instantly reminded that we were in a large Asian city. Hectic, loud, muggy and crazy traffic. Crossing the road here is a fine art. Constant walking speed is the key as the bikes weave around you at full speed. It took us a little bit to get used to it again but by the end of the day we were shimmying around cars while avoiding motorbikes going the wrong way on the sidewalk and hopping over open manholes like the best of them. On a side note as nuts as I am making this sound it is not as crazy as India. We feel like our first trip into Asia was like taking the advanced class before the beginner class. Jakarta is still an adult dose of Asia though. This is one of the largest cities in the world and with no major defined city centre it just rambles on forever in all directions. There is a bit of a light rail train and rapid busway system here but it's pretty confusing and taxis are cheap so
I don't see us using it much.
Getting back to the museum, it was pretty good as far as museums go. Lots of cool things to see and learn about the different cultures here. We were hoping to see the Flores Man which is the fossilized remains of an extinct hominid that was discovered on Flores island here and is apparently kept at the museum but not on display. We checked everything else out though and then hopped a taxi back to the hostel. We tried finding some lunch around 3pm but it being during Ramadan here hot food is tough to find in the middle of the day. We tried again at 6pm just after sundown. It's really cool to see a city really come alive with people looking for food once the sun goes down. The food carts come out and people start enjoying a well deserved meal that they've probably been thinking about all day. It's like a mini festival atmosphere every night.
We settled on an Indonesian restaurant that served organic produce from their own farm outside the city. We did rice with tiger prawns, seasoned beef skewers, fried chili oil and peanut butter
The outside of the Museum Nasionale.
satay sauce. My personal favourite was the fried krill that came as a side with the rice. I found it tasty and delicious but Jay wasn't a fan of their little krill eyes looking up at her while she ate. So picky! I like eating like a blue whale.
Tomorrow we have a flight booked for Pangkalan Bun in Kalimantan on Borneo. This is the jumping off point for our trek into Tanjing Puting National Park to see orangutans in the wild. Indonesia is the last place in the world to see orangutans in their natural habitat so we're pretty excited. We'll spend the night in either Pangkalan Bun or Kumai over there while we organize the guide, boat and the paperwork required. We're not sure where we are headed after that but we will work that out over the next few days. The frequency of our blog posts will depend on the quality of internet over the next little while.
We're on the rooftop of the hostel drinking a beer right now (of course we are) and enjoying our first relaxing night in Indonesia. We're happy to be back on the road and are looking forward to
Our first proper Indonesian meal.
have nothing to worry about over next month but travel.
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