Thirty-six hours in Jakarta

Recently I got sucked into going down memory lane of past travels while consolidating my old photos (by the way, Google Photos is GENIUS!). It’s really a shame how quickly life moves on and these epic experiences get buried deep underneath the relentless preoccupations of daily life. In fact, part of my reason for starting this blog is, indeed, to help me remember and to remind me to keep all the things I’ve learned as part of my daily existence.

I wasn’t planning to write anything about trips I’d taken in the past, though, because the details are no longer so fresh – but man, I really don’t want to lose them even further. Luckily I kept a hand written journal (my trusty coping mechanism for frequent old age memory fail) that might help rescue this situation, at least in part. So I dug it out…

In summer of 2014 (an innocent pre-Trumpian age) when I was still a bright-eyed grad schooler, I went on an unforgettable 2-week trip to Indonesia, visiting Jakarta, Jogjakarta, and Bali. We (we = my friend C and I) were hosted by one of my classmates, a local Jakartan (Jakartian?) who had come home for the summer, so we got amazing local insight and treatment, including access to my friend’s haggling skills and knowledge of local restaurants. We also had to do literally zero work in terms of local research, because W already knew most things. So I was a very lazy, but happy, traveller.

Getting into Jakarta

After surviving several long-haul flights and a 12-hour layover in Dubai, C and I booked it straight for the Aston Pluit hotel, which felt SO LAVISH given how exhausted we were. The breakfast in this place especially rocked. In fact, the spicy, flavourful meals we got to have in Indonesia remain one of the major highlights of the trip several years later. This is probably why I am currently subsisting mostly on ramen and noodles, and can’t wait to do a year-long Southeast Asia trip.

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Spicy, noodly buffet breakfast at the Aston Pluit.

The hotel also had a pool overlooking a very urban landscape – a very unusual combination for me.

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Feelin’ pretty pleased with myself here.

After C and I finished napping, W kindly picked us up and we began our Jakarta adventures.

Below are a few understandably foggy highlights.

Jakarta’s Chinatown
We strolled through the Chinatown area for a while, taking snaps and popping into a Hindu temple .

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Jakarta’s Chinatown
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Here I was focusing on capturing some of the more squalor-like parts, because they struck me the most, at the time.
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A typical street leading off the main China Town area.
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Entrance to the temple.

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I felt the need to photograph the toilet door. The toilet inside is..eh..the hole in the ground type.
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Walkin’ around.

We witnessed some protests gathering over the uncertainty and rumors surrounding the 2014 Indonesian election results, but luckily nothing major broke out.

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Beginnings of a protest over the election.
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I was really struck by the number of these motorcycles EVERYWHERE, and how many people fearlessly piled onto them.
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Even kids on motorbikes?!

Inexpensive Massages

Later in the afternoon we each got a 1.5 hour massage. This was my very first massage in any country, and the experience was certainly memorable. We were sat in large comfy leather chairs in a large room with dimmed lighting. It was relatively relaxing (I don’t particularly enjoy strangers touching me, so it will never be fully relaxing), and I couldn’t help but fall asleep for a good 20-30 minutes. The girl massaging me was REALLY strong. My friend, C, couldn’t enjoy hers though, as her masseuse was a bit TOO strong!

Noodle Dinner

We finished the day with a meal that I still remember – really, really spicy noodle soup!

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Prior to entering the restaurant.
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Internal ambiance (sorry for the crap photos, this was before I decided to actually make an effort.
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Seriously delicious.

The next day we were due to fly to Jogjakarta, but before doing so, we had more food. This time at W’s house, which was super interesting because we got some insight into a local household (we also got to make fun of W for all the baby pictures of him on the walls) ;).

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More yummy food, though this time it came in some interesting wrapping.
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Dessert :).

Our time in Jakarta was pretty brief, indeed, because we focused on climbing a volcano near Jogjakarta and spending a good amount of time in Bali ;). Stay tuned for those stories!

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