From Singapore Changi Airport, I took Jetstar to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. I arrived quite early but my friend had classes and cannot pick me up until a bit later so I just hanged around the place.
I went through the customs really slowly. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to pay for additional visa to land, which I would need for nearly all other Southeast Asian countries …
I waited for my friend near the Departure Hall … the airport was fairly small despite being Jakarta, the capital of the fourth populous country in the world! There were so many people … there were many students heading on a trip and they had nowhere to sit except the floor. It was odd navigating through the hall between the people on the ground.
There were also a large group of people heading to Mecca. They wore uniformed clothing and there were many tears and goodbyes. I asked my friend later on why that is and she said Indonesia is a Muslim country and many people must make their way through Mecca at least once in their lifetime. However, the trip is difficult and there are times where there are so many people at Mecca, that trampling might occur. The worse case scenario is that they might not return alive, especially for older folks.
I waited at a cafe called White Town White Coffee, where the service was terrible and it took forever for my toast. I also wasn’t able to stay long because the table was uncomfortable and the WiFi was weak. Therefore, I moved to the nearby A&W and continued waiting there. When I left the restaurant to go outside, I was met by extremely warm air … and this was late November …
Eventually, my friend came to pick me up! YAY!! As we were heading to her place, I notice how empty the highway was and mentioned it to her … She was driving on a tolled highway LOL. People don’t want to pay for the highway toll so they are stuck in traffic in the other road 🙂
Eventually, we would get off the highway where the streets got smaller and you had to go between motorcycles, pedestrian and other cars. My friend commented that she has the best driving skills in the world because she had honed all her skills in Indonesia and if she can drive here, she can drive anywhere. And I believe her.
There also isn’t a lot of parking spaces avalible. There isn’t enough places for people to live let alone free spaess to park! However, nearby is an empty lot. My friend said that the family had flattened their house and made a paid parking lot for the neighbours. They still have a very small hut at the back for the friends and family to hang out. I don’t know if they have another place to sleep.
My friend is a university student in this school called Binus University, which is one of the top computer schools in Jakata. She had to skip a class for me … I feel bad but she returned to school because there was some events she promised to attend.
The school reminds me of those nicer high schools. It has escalators inside the school .. I had stairs, even the newest buildings.
We had lunch nearby. She was a vegetarian so I ate vegan with her. It was typical Indonesian food – there was dried food, rice, veges and shrimp crackers. It was ok, I think I was to sleep deprived to enjoy it.
After lunch was a juicy popsicle stick, which is great for the stuffiness.
Indonesian drinks! It is quite easy to calculate from Indonesia Rupiah to Canadian dollar, you just subtract 3 zeros. so 15,000 IRP for Green tea is $1.5 in Canadian (WOW…)
I went back to the dorm and rested a bit before heading back out again. We took a local public van known as ANGKOT or angkutan kota. We ask if the driver is heading to a certain place before getting on, then we tell the driver when we get off. It’s a good thing I had a local friend, or how else could I have experience this type of transportation?
It turns out that the van doesn’t exactly take us to where we wanted to go, so we had to transfer to Jakata’s public transportation, Transjakarta.
It’s a public bus that runs on a designated lane. It’s not that difficult to take … with a local friend that is. Since it is new, the bus station and the buses were very clean and safe 🙂
We finally made it, the National Monument (MONAS). It was rather late at night but it lights up and changes color every 15 seconds or so. We came too late so the monument was no longer open but we did walk around the park. We would come back to the National Monument, a symbolic tower for the struggles for Indonesia’s independence, later in the trip.
To be honest, I thought that Jakarta would be an unsafe place with lots of motor cars and possibly robberies, especially at night. However, I find it to be very safe. It is possible that I was with a local friend but I still felt it was much safer than say … Athens or Madrid.
Next to the MONAs is a night market. There weren’t a lot of people but many of the stores were still open. There were food and many souvenir stores. I bought a three T-shirts for $1 each!
At night time, my friend used another Jakarta transportation – the Indonesia version of Uber! My friend used an APP and after waiting for 10 minutes, a driver came and picked us.
At night, my friend went over to a street stall and got us dessert! She was so hospitable 😛
November 24 2016