Jakarta – the rest of it.

 

The main thing I have to report is that I was pick-pocketed on the Transjakarta busway and they got my phone. That was Monday so I’ve had time to get over it, but it’s a bummer and leaves the net result of the Indonesia experience in the minuses.
It’s tempting to say, “I guess it was my fault”, due to the circumstances but that’s a cop-out. It’d never have happened in korea. I got back to Seoul yesterday morning and I’m appreciating it a bit more than I did before I left.
The circumstances were I was stuck in a little crowded cluster of people around the doors on the bus heading south for ‘Blok M’. I was holding onto a bar above for balance and my shirt hem was raised enough that the top of the phone was exposed in my pocket. I’m out of touch with being wary of things like that because as I said, you could be stuck in the middle of a pressed up and clammy clusterfuck on the rush-hour subway here and even have your phone fall out of your pocket and someone would still return it to you.
Anyway that happened Monday mid-morning. I got back to the hotel, cancelled the phone serviced and scrambled around changing all the passwords to the open apps on it, then didn’t feel like going out for the rest of the day.
The next day I used Blue Bird taxis to get around and for the most part found them really good. Due to the constant traffic jams I don’t think it’s worth their while for the drivers to take indirect routes to jack up the fair.
But I did notice people here and there charging that bit more where they could, which is disappointing. It’s not a huge amount but it’s the principle.
On tuesday I did get down to Blok M and found that where the action is. The suburban shopping mall & mall rats action, that is.

The gap between ultra-rich and ultra-poor is a whole lot more apparent in indo than Korea. On the bus to the airport you can see huge swaths of tin-shed shanty shacks. On the Sunday I bumped across a high-class shopping mall with outlets for brands like Gucci etc. and in the valet parking (read: park wherever you want incl right outside the front doors) section I saw a Lamborghini murcielago (like <a href=”http://www.sunnybreaks.org/2010/12/30/gran-turismo-5/”>this</a> but in green) and a Mercedes SLS; the first time I’d seen either of those in real life. I know there’s ultra-rich people in Korea but they tend to be more low-key about it.
On the whole I’d say that Jakarta just isn’t a tourist city. I’ve never been into seeing the touristy things, and I do like to watch people in their natural settings but considering that Jakarta is the capital of the fourth most populace country on the planet, I can safely say that Jakarta is a business city and the Indos do their leisure in other parts of the nation, and they expect us foreigners to as well. The most common signs I saw on the largest buildings were those of banks. There’s no real defining features in the city that I could see.

Djakarta pt 1

Jakarta view

I’m having a few days checking out Jakarta on the way back to Korea. It’s 4 hours behind Melbourne so it made the plane flight easy to do in one day but it was a long day. The bus into the city from the airport was easy enough and I thought I might be able to walk and wheel the suitcase thru to the hotel but it turned out to be a bit too far so I got a tuk-tuk, which was kind of fun after getting over the CO2 poisoning. The concept of the tuk-tuk is great but unfortunately it’s them and the old buses that seem to be disproportionately contributing to the pollution problem in the city. Little tree wheeled vehicles that don’t need high acceleration and have short spells of idle time between uses (recharging) are perfect candidates for electric motors.
There’s a lot of little, new toyotas on the roads too. I saw this awesome Torana parked outside the hotel yesterday evening.

Because of the time shift I woke up at 5 this morning but it felt too weird to get up then. I should have though because it was hella hot by midday.
The people seem quite friendly. All the motorcycle traffic reminds me a bit of Hanoi but the people here are more smiley. And surprisingly chilled re hawking their wares — there’s almost none of it. But also, after a whole day of walking around, with a pocket of walkin around money, I didn’t find anything really worth buying. The most interesting thing I saw was this poster of Benito n’ Adolf, and I am looking for stuff to decorate the new apartment with, but I let it slide.
What I’m really after is some good coffee beans but I haven’t seen any of them either.

There these scrawny little cats here and there too. They’re all really short-haired, as I guess you’d want to be in weather like this. Being scrawny makes their balls really conspicuous. It’d be hard work finding enough foodscraps to get by in a city like this but the consolation is that no govt agency is going to cut off your balls. Here: I saw this one in the gutter of the bus lane taking a shit!

The combination of humid heat-haze and smog must be pretty strong because I hardly got burnt at all eventhough I was out there for a long time.