Thursday, 18 June 2009

24 hours in Indonesia - Part 2

I found my future job (see photo above) - We took the airport Damri Bus (50 minutes u$d 2) to Gambir (central train station) and then hopped into a tuk tuk (7 minutes u$d 1) to Jalan Jaksa which is the backpacker area. We had booked ahead and splurged u$d 22 for a room with AC at Hotel Margot for our first night. We popped downstairs to the hotel bar for a badly needed beer to recount our recent visa saga.

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.

Check the fangs on this fishy!

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

Tags: ..24 hours in Indonesia - Part 2..

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Baino June 18, 2009 7:12 pm  

Ha! Bet that's a Patagonian Tooth fish, the naughty Indo's come into Aussie waters to pillage the litle pisces . . we catch em and burn their boats (the fishermen's . .fish don't need boats)
Clearly I won't be visiting Jakarta for a very . .very . . long time!

littlekim June 19, 2009 4:22 am  

That fish is going to haunt my nightmare, I am glad I didn't eat it! hope you didn't as well, its possessed.

nick June 19, 2009 4:28 am  

Vomit, hookers and a plate full of teeth, not a very life-enhancing experience! Just unfortunate turns of event maybe but the sort of thing that makes you vow never to return!

TCL June 19, 2009 12:22 pm  

Got plenty of those Patagonian tooth fish in Chile. Why are we serving an endangered species anyway.

Get out of the city and visit the coast! It's lovely.

Nomadic Matt June 21, 2009 10:38 am  

this post only reinforces my desire not to go to Jakarta

Anonymous,  June 25, 2009 5:16 pm  

Jakarta sounds a lot like Bangkok, only with slightly happier fish.

I want to be a tuctuc driver too :)

Quickroute June 26, 2009 1:51 am  

@Baino: Yes skip it - deffo not worth the visit

@littlekim: it was tastier than it looked

@Nick: what doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger!

@TCL: Yep - heading to the coast now

@Matt: skip it if at all you can

@K8: There's a lot of competition for tuktuk business - but the sleeping all day wins me over

Anonymous,  October 21, 2009 10:39 pm  

Sorry you don't have much experience traveling in Asia. You have to be patient if you want to travel like hte locals, and don't be absurd, sitting in vomit! Get the next bus.

Quickroute October 21, 2009 11:15 pm  

@ Anony: The vomit was actually on the train. The next train was 12 hours later and we would have to pay again :-(
I am the definition of patience!

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