We quickly observed there were some strange shenanigans going on both outside and in the building directly opposite. Ladies with very tight short skirts and very little else were parading up and down and every now and then they would disappear with a newly acquainted male friend for about 15 minutes. There were some male on male shenanigans going on too. It turned out the bar we were drinking in was the hook up spot or should that be ‘hooker up’ spot for the love hotel across the road.
There seemed to be a pimp orchestrating all the business and writing entries in a notebook. The toilet in the bar seemed to be a half way station for both customer and vendor to inspect their bits n’ pieces and exchange money before heading across the road to do the nasty. A thoroughly entertaining evening was had by one and all.
The next day we checked out and headed back to Gambir train station to buy tickets for the so called luxury Argu Lawa train from Gambir to Yogyakarta (7.25 hours u$d 22) scheduled at 8pm that evening.
To bide our time before the evening departure we left our bags in a locker and hopped on a bus (20 minutes u$d 0.30) to the old town section of Jakarta called Kota and had a drink at the highly recommended Café Batavia where everyone who is anyone goes when they visit Jakarta.
The bus to Kota was midday and went without a hitch but the journey from Kota back to the train station an experience I’ll never forget.
The bus transport in Jakarta is extremely well organized with dedicated bus lanes and special platforms for boarding and offloading passengers and transport security men on each bus and platform to help organize the ensuing chaos. It was 6pm rush hour and I have never seen so many people queuing for a bus.
We could have just hopped in a taxi but we had time to kill and as I saw the sea of hundreds of people ahead of me I grew curious as to what it would be like to have to do this everyday – maybe twice a day. It was ridiculously hot and humid and the beads of perspiration trickling from me were more like rapid rivers of sweat. After queueing (shove, push, jostle) for 30 minutes we were finally on the bus.
Finally we boarded our 8pm train to Yogyakarta but wen we sat in our allotted seats there was a pungent smell of puke and after further investigation I realized someone had emptied their stomach on my seat very recently. The train was full so no chance of switching seats so as I type this I am literally sitting in vomit. Only 7 more hours of this vomit comet to go. An interesting 24 hours is just coming to an end.
- Jakarta is a polluted chaotic city with little appeal for this traveler.
- The queue for the bus would give the Tokyo subway a run for its money any day
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