The eagle has soared...and landed.
Jakarta Travel Blog› entry 1 of 23 › view all entries
Enjoying the solitude of the netshop, unlike the crowded ones in Manila. Though a bit expensive with around 30Php an hour. After having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts since my host's family does not eat one, I am taking it slow. Waiting at the netshop for my friend's colleague to bring the simcard (hope my phone is not locked to globe), and credits before I head off for the 2 museums, hoping I catch it before it closes at 2pm.
I am getting excited though with the number of people I am wanting to text and call for both work, church, and travellers wanting to meet up:-P
Let me backtrack a bit. Leaving yesterday was a bit heavy hearted for me, I felt like a stone was on my chest seriously. A different emotion compared to my excitement when going on short travel-immersion trips.
Thanks to my sister, and good friends, Danny and Keetch, I did not go the airport alone. NAIA 3 houses Cebu Pacific and it is definitely a bit world class compared to the old international airport. The challenge however was finding out where the friggin travel tax counter was, not my fault as they were just squatting in one of the check in counters. Another trouble was going over the allowable baggage. Cebu Pac decreased its allowable weight from 20-15kg. How was I to know without a weighing scale at home? Anywho, a bit panicky with the potential Php3200 I was about to shell out for the excess I headed to the nearest toilet to try and remedy it. After removing almost all my books and few shoe pairs, amazingly I decreased the weight by half.
Nothing special with the flight, cept that there were few passengers on board allowing most of us to have an entire row to ourselves. Some of the tourists went as far as stretching the entire length of the 3 chairs, yet another had his feet blocking the small aisle, how comfortable can you get?:-P
How did this trip come about? As I mentioned to most of my brothers and sisters, God decided it for me. May seem freaky for those who don't understand, but I don't expect them to. What am I gonna do here? Teach English to kids. Who are my contacts? Friends from my 2 online travel sites, Travbuddy and Couchsurfing.
Elsa, one of the nicest people who answered my request to couch surf, offered to pick me up at the airport, provided I pay for the gas and toll. As the Indonesian cabs have a reputation of being not so safe except the Blue Bird group. The Indonesian streets around North Jakarta are littered with construction work at dawn. Found out that the area easily floods hence roads are being elevated.
Her house is a typical Filipino house. The bathroom has the similar pail and water dipper, haha! The only difference that would honestly require a bit of adjustment for me is the sunken toilet bowl I've seen in Vietnam. The bedroom is airconditioned and the bed and sheets are smelling nice and comfortable. Whoever said that Indonesians have that distinct Asian smell? well after less than 10.5 hrs my allergies are fine. The lack of my a mirror in my bedroom though was remedied by using the one in the living room, yes I am vain.
I grudgingly wake up in less than 5 hrs since it took me some time to get to sleep with all the floating thoughts in my head. Waking up early to join Elsa to work to avoid getting lost in the area. Dazed, I forget the Bahasa line to say 'Good morning' as I catch her mother in the kitchen so I just say 'hello' no one else speaks English in the house except Elsa, how convenient:-) Mugs of prepared chocolate drinks are routinely left on the kitchen counter for each member of the family, me not included so I coolly take water. Her mother sweetly gives me a packed water for the day, a reminder that not all the sources of drinking water are safe.
We walk 10 min in a mostly muddy neighborhood to the minicar station, with small streets that had dirty canals left and right, this was definitely an immersion, reminding me of the houses beside Pasig river. I find out this is the dirty water that floods their houses and they had a knee length flood just 3 days ago. I realize, there is no way I can memorize that shortcut we took to get to the minicar (similar to our FX) and I definitely have to join Elsa to work the next 3 days I am still staying with her.
The minicar is similar to our FX in Manila, except the seats are vertical instead of horizontal. There are no signages but just the numbers to indicate the route. She gives me a map and a set of instructions on paper to the tourist spot. The map makes no sense to me. I have never been very good at reading one;-( You either tap your knuckles on the ceiling of the minicar to make it stop or you shout out 'Kiri bang!' The payment is given to the driver upon getting off. She tells me that the streets are terribly crowded during office hours, 8am-4pm. To me Manila traffic is slower moving than what I saw. I am warned not to open my bag inside the minicar due to pickpockets so I carefully grab money for the fare.
I have decided to stay with her for less than 4 days since her place is too far from the schools in South Jakarta. I will be moving to another couchsurfer this Sunday or to my South African friend who I toured around Manila last April and is studying for a month near the schools. The possibilities are endless.
What are the odds that in the world's largest Muslim country, my first host's family is a Protestant? this I confirmed after seeing the last supper portrait in their living room. Her family is pure Chinese but she does not speak Mandarin nor has never been to China.
I go after breakfast to a Forex shop and have a lengthy discussion on the stamps on some of my dollar notes and the exchange for both peso and US dollar. The clerk tries to cheat me on the peso exchange to no avail, thank God my eyes were open due to Pastor Mike's warning.
Elsa just personally stepped in to give my Simcard and credits, my phone is not locked! I am so excited to text people, yahoo!!! We are on a roll. God loves me;-)