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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: -6.18619, 106.806
Arrived safe & sound in Jakarta, Indonesia.. Though I can't say the flight from Taipei to Jakarta was as pleasant as the last one into Taipei. It was a madhouse getting on the plane, shoving and pushing, and it only got worse once we were all in an enclosed space. A man knocked me in the head with his suitcase while reaching OVER my head in order to cut me off to get his bag into the overhead space that I was lifting my bag into. It probably would have worked better if he weren't so much shorter than me, but it didn't stop him from getting the spot (even though there was no lack of overhead space for us all). Guess I'd better get my elbows into 'aggressive stance' for future airport endeavors here. =)
On a happy note, have to keep my title of eternal optimist alive, both flights had Chinese New Year decorations/prayers hanging around (scotched taped around like a kids birthday party), and as it happened on BOTH flights yesterday there was a New Years prayer above each of my seats. I'd call that a nice blessing to start my trip! Happy New Year!
Once I arrived at the Jakarta Airport everything was really breathtaking, a nice clean, open space; statues and fountains everywhere and crazy-beautiful vistas of tropical landscapes out the windows. There was no line at the foreign visa queue, and I got mine and was in line for customs in no time. (Thanks to a nice Brazilian Dr. holding my place in line for me.) My bag was among the last to de-plane (I hate that 'have they lost my bag?' anxiety, especially when I've spent the past month meticulously choosing every item within it.) I'll work on getting over that.
I negotiated a taxi fare to take me from the airport to my hotel in Jakarta, about an hour away. They started at 150,000Rp, and I felt great talking one of them down to 130,000Rp and off we went. On the way I saw villagers out in their rice patties walking around with traditional pointed bamboo hats (gotta find out the names of those), these beautiful white & yellow cranes chilling in the water, and about a million bajaj weaving all over the road - I can't wait to see more! (Bajaj: little orange three-wheeled motorized taxis, driven like there is not tomorrow.)
Getting to the hotel the driver asked for a tip so I just gave him 150,000, like a 15-20%!i(MISSING)sh tip. Whatever, I was tired jet lagged, and didn't have change anyway, he was nice, it's all good. This morning over breakfast, I read in my guide book that folks around these parts only expect 5-10%!t(MISSING)ipping if at all. I was ticked off for a second at being taken like a typical tourist, then I did the math and figured I'd given him about a $2 tip on a $14 cab ride. Considering it's a $45 flat rate fare from LaGuardia to Midtown Manhattan (not including tolls or tip) and that ride is WAYless than an hour, I decided to let the generous tip not bother me. LOL!
I've decided to stay in Jakarta another day, through Sunday, then I'll fly to Bali. The Mesjid Istiqlal is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and it's only 30min from my hotel. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istiqlal_Mosque) I'd like to go for noon time prayer tomorrow (Sat). Also, walk around the square in the center of town afterwards.
I read today that the western Indonesian islands have mostly Asian animals (elephants, rhinos, leopards, panthers, tigers), whereas the Eastern islands have more Australian type species (Komodo dragons and Kangaroos!). I don't think I've ever seen either of those in real life (Have I Mom? Sorry if I don't remember you taking me to some fabulous exotic zoo when I was a kid =) Anyway, here in town at the Ragunan Zoo there are both! I might need to go check that out. There are also Bamboo and tropical rain forests here, but those are more prevalent in Asia and I'm really extending my stay by a day for the Mosque and the Zoo. If there is time, I might check out the fish/vegetable market - there are supposed to be things there you'll never see anywhere else. Good photo ops I'm sure.
Enough for now, my coffee has kicked in, and I'm done with my reading, so I'm off to explore. Until next time (hopefully with some pictures to share.)...
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