Jakarta

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Planet View: S06°17.027′ E106°47.461′
Street View: S06°17.027′ E106°47.461′

The unbelievable lamb roast that Richie had waiting for us on arrival from the airportSoutheast AsiaOur last stop on our tour of Southeast Asia was Jakarta.  My cousin Sophie and her boyfriend Richie live in South Jakarta, she works as an English teacher for the Wall Street Institute and he as an administrator for an offshore oil drilling rig.  After braving the chaotic Jakartan traffic with Richie’s driver at the wheel we were welcomed to Sophie and Richie’s apartment at Hotel Kristal with the smell of a slow-cooked Aussie lamb roast for dinner.  The food in Southeast Asia was one of the highlights for me, but a lamb roast to welcome us to Jakarta sure The view over southern Jakarta from Richie and Sophie's apartment in Hotel Kristalhit the spot!  After backpacking through the rest of Southeast Asia on a pretty conservative budget it was a bit of a change to experience a few days of the expat lifestyle in Jakarta.  With the severe lack of public transport and city planning  in Jakarta I’d hate to think how one would get around without a dedicated vehicle.  Traffic in Jakarta gives a whole new meaning to the world, with 15 million people, little city planning, cheap fuel and low taxes on vehicles the cluster of chaotic traffic was like nothing we’d ever seen.  It took us two-and-a-half hours to traverse the city for our flight out on Tuesday, we seriously thought we were going to miss our plane when at one point we’d moved about three kilometers in the space of an hour!

The pool at Hotel KristalRichie and Sophie's apartment in Hotel KristalRichie and Sophie's apartment in Hotel KristalSam and Lisa in Richie and Sophie's apartment 

Cafe BataviaOld BataviaSophie put a lot of work into planning out our few days in Jakarta, after recovering from overconsumption of lamb the night before we traversed the city from South Jakarta past the National Monument and visited Grand Indonesia, Jakarta’s largest shopping mall.  Not quite as opulent as Orchard Road in Singapore but still brimming with designer labels and a theme park-like top two floors with a Vegas-style water show every hour on the hour.  Sophie also took the four of us up to Old Lisa and Sam enjoying a traditional Indonesia meal at Dapur SundaBatavia (or Kota as it’s now officially called) for a taste of old Dutch Jakarta, once considered the center of commerce for the whole country when under Dutch rule.  We were the only westerners in the square of Old Batavia and upon arrival were instantly swarmed by throngs of teenagers wanting to take photos with us and a few even interviewed Lisa for their school projects.  Rock stars for a few moments…  Lunch at Cafe Batavia was a journey back in time, the restaurant is located in one of Old Batavia’s historic buildings and is set in early nineteenth century style.  The Churchill Bar upstairs was quite impressive, the whole place was very well done.  We spent the afternoon cooling off at Indonesia’s largest water park, Waterbom, a collection of eight huge waterslides a short drive from Old Batavia.  We all enjoyed the group slide the most, requiring us to squeeze into a large inner-tube-like flotation device and haul down an oversized slippery dip into the pool below.  As Indonesia is a Muslim country Sophie and Lisa tried to be respectful by wearing shorts and t-shirts over their bikinis but for some reason the Waterbom attendants kept making them take off their t-shirts before each slide, to the obvious surprise of some of the other local female sliders!

Jakarta's National MonumentSophie and Sam in the car on the way to KotaThe Grand Indonesia mallThe Grand Indonesia mall Sophie and Lisa at Grand Indonesia mallOld BataviaOld Batavia Old BataviaLisa being interviewed for school projects in Old BataviaRichie and Sam taking photos with the locals at Old BataviaSam taking photos with the locals at Old Batavia Sam taking photos with the locals at Old BataviaLisa being interviewed at Old BataviaCafe BataviaCafe Batavia Lisa holding the menu at Cafe BataviaRichie, Sophie, Lisa and Sam at Cafe BataviaOld BataviaOld Batavia The port north of Old BataviaRichie, Sophie and Lisa at the port north of Old BataviaLisa and Richie at the port north of Old BataviaLisa and Sophie at the port north of Old Batavia 

Some of the slums alongside the highway in northern JakartaA dormant Amorphophallus Titanum We spent our other full day on Java with a trip to the south of Jakarta to the mountain town of Bogor.  Bogor’s main attraction is its extensive botanic gardens, home to one of the world’s largest flowers Amorphophallus Titanum.  The plant (the unexceptional looking green leafy specimen pictured here) flowers only once every two to three years.  The flower itself can reach 3.5 meters in height, weigh up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) and smells like rotting flesh to attract pollinating flies!  Unfortunately no flowers during our visit… 

Lisa and Sophie in the Bogor Botanic GardensLisa and Sophie on the Hanging Bridge in the Bogor Botanic GardensLisa and Sophie on the Hanging Bridge in the Bogor Botanic GardensLisa and Sam on the Hanging Bridge at the Bogor Botanic Gardens 

From Jakarta its back to Australia to pick up The Tank and then continue our journey down the coast of Western Australia.  I think we’re both going to sorely miss the exotic foods of Southeast Asia, the cheaper-than-cheap street stalls provided us with an amazing range of tasty cuisine to sample.  My favorite places in Southeast Asia would probably have to be Ko Tao and its amazing diving as well as the tranquil surrounds of Laos’ Luang Prabang, Lisa’s with me on Luang Prabang and also really enjoyed the cultural experience of Sapa.  Thank you Sophie and Richie for such a fantastic conclusion to our nearly two months in Southeast Asia!  Next time we’ll have to drop in on Bali and maybe Borneo as well.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 at 5:45 PM and is filed under Indonesia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Jakarta”

  1. Sophie says:

    Ha! that’s a cool photo of the view from the appartment! Your such a photographer Sam! And the little man at the port with he red hat, looks so cool. Thanks for coming, we had the best time with you guys! hope to hang out with you again soon. xox

  2. Montana Youngs says:

    Hard to believe you have covered so much territory already … what wonders and contrasts. Your mind and heart must be full to bursting!
    Thank heavens for a bit of regrouping in Australia! Will you have your travel vehicle again as you continue your Aussie walkabout?
    We love you!
    Blessings abounding!

  3. Broome to Exmouth | Our Walkabout says:

    […] flew from Jakarta via Singapore back to north Australian city of Darwin, where we spent the day enjoying lunch with […]

  4. Adelaide | Our Walkabout says:

    […] Great to see Sophie and her boyfriend Richie again, we stayed with them when we visited Jakarta on our tour of Southeast Asia last year.  Also good to see my uncle Bob and auntie Cathy […]

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