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INDONESIA | Thursday, 27 April 2017 | Views [535]



Jakarta is loud, dirty, smelly and uninteresting - just as everyone said it would be but I had to check myself anyway. It looks like outskirts of Bangkok and you often find yourself wondering what is it thatyou're looking for while walking around the endless slums-like roads being catcalled every second and asked for a picture every two.  

My initial plan was to take a 4000 rupiah bus from the airport and then change to a tuktuk - as a good budget backpacker would do but after arriving late in the evening, failing to withdraw money from most of the ATM’s and being mildly harassed by a your Saudi Arabian boy I stuck to taking a cab instead - it only ended up being around 150 000 rh which is around 10 euros. Right after arrival I immediately made friends with a group of girls and we went out to dinner - street food fried rice. 

Six degrees, the hostel I stayed in lives up to its recommendations, it’s clean, comfortable, offers blankets, towels, breakfast and hot shower and a lovely roof top garden / bar, but the reception desk is either totally ignorant and / or uninformed about the things to do and getting out of Jakarta. 

On the first day me and a Norwegian girl from the night before had an ambitious plan to see everything there is to see in Jakarta - a monument of god knows what, a huge mosque, the old town and the ancient harbour to then later go to the bus station to buy tickets for our next days trip to Pangandaran (as we were told there is no way to buy tickets online and that if we go on the day of our trip the tickets will be sold out).

Entering the square with the monument is close to impossible, we walked 5 miles before reaching a gate by which time we were so drained we just collapsed in a mere shadow on the side of the road and tried to admire the concrete stick while posing for endless pictures and sharing cigarettes with the local youth. 

We fought strong not to get discouraged and made our way to the famous mosque expecting an old beautiful building. No. The mosque is a huge plain temple with a massive praying room. That’s it. No ornaments, no traditional decorations and nothing to see. We got kicked out soon enough anyway - maybe because we were the only foreigners? Or maybe because we started discussing poo on the main stairs?

Following the plan we went to the old town which was advertised to have amazing post Dutch colonisation architecture, fantastic food and plenty to see. It was a medium sized square with colourfully dressed muslim girls riding on neon painted bicycles. Awesome. 

When we finished our lunch a Dutch girl from the hostel invited us to have a refreshing drink together with her and her brother and to later go see the harbour together. Sweaty and tired we were pleased to discover that there is, in fact, no ancient harbour. 

Without further ado, we said goodbye to the Dutch sibling and headed down to the bus station to at least have a guarantee we will leave this lovely city the next morning. We quickly found a tuk-tuk to take us there and begin to unwind in the back seat. Well, all the way until the tuk-tuk driver stopped abruptly and told us he will drop us here, 15km away from the bus station, demanded the agreed money to be given to him and made a big scene in the middle of the road. Needless to say, he didn’t get any money, we didn’t get to the bus station and resigned went back to the hostel hoping and praying to all the gods that the tickets will still be available even though the receptionist told us we have no chance as it was supposed to be a bank holiday and supposedly everyone would be going away that day as well. Knowing our chances are low we had no power to embark on another Jakarta adventure and went to bed early full of hope. 

We woke up at 5am packed quickly and headed of to the station fearing the worst. The station was empty and the bank holiday didn’t start until three days later. Thanks for all the stress!

Tags: indonesia, jakarta, no chewbacca, six degrees

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