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Chapter fifty four - Jakarta

Three days in a hot, busy metropolis

overcast 31 °C

Day 202: Jakarta, Indonesia 18/04/2012

Up nice and early this morning, a little earlier than intended in fact as Gemma had set the alarm for 7.40am on the phone but neglected to change the clock time in accordance with the one hour difference with Malaysia...anyway the rainforest looks beautiful before 7am...

We have a quick breakfast next to the very fast flowing jungle river before leaving for the bus back to Medan to catch a flight to Jakarta. The bus is empty save for us and a couple of old ladies and young children, which does not deter the driver from playing his Indonesian Happy Hardcore music at maximum volume for the duration of the journey. Relaxing. Arrive at the airport, buy a flight to Jakarta from an airline that only accepts cash and realise we are at the international terminal a fair walk from the domestic one so a complimentary golf buggy ride it is. After checking in (last night we had a ruthless clear out and have amazingly lost 8kg out of the bags!) and whilst waiting in the departure lounge, a member of the Lion Air staff walks up to me and asks 'is this yours sir?' before handing me a plastic bag containing my trainers and american football. 'Yes it is,' I reply. Was it that obvious that these stinking shoes belonged to me?

After a painless flight (certainly more painless than the twenty nine hour plus bus journey alternative) and attacking my neighbour's newspaper whilst asleep, we arrive in Jakarta and after a bus ride from the airport we check in to a decent, if ridiculously hot, hotel room.

Day 203: Jakarta, Indonesia 19/04/2012

Wake up at ten past ten, immediately realising that I have caused us to miss the complimentary breakfast. The hot room has got hotter over night. Parched.

Off to find a post office it is to post some of the inessentials salvaged from our big clear out. Jump onto a 'Metro Bus' that is so rusty you can see the road through the gaping holes in the floor and when confronted by the incredible traffic realise immediately that Jakarta (the biggest city in South East Asia) is in dire need of a decent public transport system. After sweating the proverbial knackers off on the rust bucket we eventually find the post office, which seemed like trying to find a needle in a haystack in the shopping bazaar district we were directed to. It turns out that the post office here is in fact bigger than the rest of the bazaar...clearly nobody sees the wood for the trees in these parts. It may be however, they were burying their head in the sand in an attempt to hide from the prices charged by Pos Indonesia for overseas postage. Enough to turn my hair grey.

Now on a money splurge to recover from the shock of these prices, we head for the tattoo studio and add to the growing collection before buying some new flip flops and head back for the hotel. Have tea and a beer for demolition man to reflect on a good day's work, having knocked over a magazine rack, a bike and a football boot display onto a drum kit.

Day 204: Jakarta, Indonesia 20/04/2012

Well, an immediate improvement on yesterday as we manage to get up in time for breakfast. However, staying in bed may have the better option as we are presented with a jam sandwich, topped bizarrely by grated cheese and chocolate sprinkles. Strangely delicious.

We go out and find out about how we will get to Pangandaran on the south coast of Java tomorrow. This results in booking a train to Bandung to then catch the bus the rest of the way, theoretically a seven to eight hour journey. We head for a shopping centre from here to buy me some shorts that fit (they all seem to have grown!) and take the manic Jakarta Busway to a really poor shopping centre. The adjective 'shit' doesn't even cover the first part of the market, and it seems that unless you want a personalised shirt for your darts/tenpin bowling team you may have to look elsewhere. Luckily, things pick up next door and we are pointed in the right direction by the Indonesian Louis Spence.

An incredible lightning storm interrupts Shaun the Sheep (they love it here) before we embark on a cinema trip to see Mirror Mirror, the Snow White film. Whilst having dinner beforehand a huge cockroach flies into Gemma and thereby ends the meal. All in all, Jakarta is a pleasant enough place for such a huge city but the hassle of getting around and the relative lack of things to do in comparison with other cities we have visited make it difficult to hold the city in any real affection.

Posted by tevs 01:07 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta indonesia city hot cockroach Comments (1)

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