A city not to everyones taste
Jakarta Travel Blog› entry 171 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia)
Our bus ride from the airport to Jakarta was a taste of what was to come, as we passed brand new shining skyscrapers, followed by ramshackle dwellings that looked like they would struggle to remain standing during a strong wind. After getting dropped at Gambir train station we caught a small tricycle to Jalan Jaksa and packed in with all our bags, happy memories of arriving in Beijing flooded back. We found a cheap room, had a look down the main tourist strip and after some dinner called it a night.
The following day we checked out of Kresna homestay which had been far too hot and full of mosquitos and checked into Bloen Steen homestay, literally next door.
The district of Kota is the oldest section of town and hosts the Taman Fatahillah (Old Town Square), which is skirted by the old town hall and several other buildings left as remnants of the Dutch colonisation. We also walked to Gereja Sion, which is the oldest Church in Jakarta and the Chicken Market Bridge, which is an old Dutch drawbridge. After an hour or so we were tired of the smell, the heat and the smog and decided to head back to the centre, thoroughly disappointed with what we had seen and saddened by the obvious poverty of the area.
After spending 30 minutes trying and failing miserably to buy a train ticket, we eventually succeeded with the help of a friendly guy and caught the train to go and see the colossal Mesjid Istiqlal mosque. Next up we walked to the Presidential Palace and National Monument (Monas), which is believed to represent a huge phallus - make up your own mind :) We walked around Lapangan Merdeka (Freedom Square) before taking a look at the Arjuna statue and finally making it back to Jalan Jaksa. It certainly tasted good to drink a chilled beer after a day in the searing sun.
Our second full day in Jakarta was spent taking a trip out to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, which could be described as a cultural theme park i guess. On our trip, we did not have any small change to pay for a bemo ride and a young Indonesian couple paid for us, to stop the driver keeping $5 from us, when it only cost 80cent.
The most interesting things to see at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah are the houses that represent each of the 26 provinces of Indonesia. It gives a vague outline to the huge differences that occur throughout the huge archipeligo of islands that comprise Indonesia. We spent several hours walking around the different houses and also got to see a rhinoceros hornbill up close for the first time, in the aviary that they had. The other amusing thing to happen was a car full of Indonesian people pulled up, jumped out and all took photos with us, they seemed absolutely chuffed to be photgraphed with 2 white people!
Our trip back to Jakarta was a slow one as we were put on 3 wrong buses, then when we eventually did get on the right one the ticket man refused to give me my change.
After some dinner we headed down to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium to watch the quarter finals of the Asian Cup between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. As we walked around the ground, we were approached many times and people kept shouting Uzbek at us, as they couldn't work out why any other white people would have been at this game other than if they were from Uzbekistan! We played along with it as Julia is from near enough there anyway! The ground held an impressive 100,000 people although it was far from full, but the people that were there were still very vocal at encouraging both teams.
Before setting off on Monday, Julia paid a visit to Western Union to collect some birthday money and we were introduced to the greatest rip off ever. Mot only did her parents have to pay $20 to send the money, but she had to pay to receive it, all be it only $1. BUT the big rip off came when they refused to give her the money in dollars (her Mum had lost money having to exchange roubles into dollars to send it originally) and insisted she must accept it in rupiah, with their exchange rate 10% lower than that offered in the bank we were collecting it from! I found this appauling and would urge anyone who reads this never to use this company.