Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

48 Hours to Kill in Jakarta, Indonesia

I just arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia on business and have nothing to do until I start work Monday morning.

What the hell am I going to do?

There aren't sidewalks in this massive 3rd World metropolis so I can't take a stroll. I asked my local business partner what I should do and he recommended taking a taxi to the mall because "it's safe". Wait, is this city dangerous?

I'm on the 14th floor of a Muslim-owned hotel. As far as I can see out the windows, there are low-rise red-roofed buildings sprawling into the haze and pollution hovering on an ill-defined horizon --- a few skyscrapers rising up like sore dicks.

I hear the din of thousands of car horns below --- not so loud though, because the 14 story layer of carbon particles hovering in the city air muffles the noise before it gets through the window glass. It looks hot outside --- liquidy, heavy air --- like the Chesapeake in mid-July but without the water, the wind, or the charm; come to think of it, Jakarta is nothing like the Chesapeake in mid-July except for the hot wet air.

There's a mosque with an aquamarine-colored roof far down to my left. I can barely make it out, but I can see someone walking on the sun-beaten roof carrying a shovel. Weird. Luckily, I paid extra for broadband Internet and an expansive view from two big windows. The above picture is what I see.

Indonesian food sucks and so does their beer. It's all bony fish and fried rice under uninspired sauces. They have a brew called Bintang (means "star") which is like a sweeter Miller Lite. I'm drinking one from the mini-bar now. The top of the can smells like dust so I wiped it off with the underside of the t-shirt I've been wearing on my 35-hour plane trip here. On my previous trip to this country, I seemed to be the only one who drank the stuff. Being the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesians are mostly teetotalers. What fun!

Shit, suddenly it's POURING rain --- the drops coming down in skyscraper-sized slanted lines onto the grimy motorbikes and tuk-tuks below.

I can't wait till I'm talking to shrimp farmers come Monday morning, but until then, I've got 48 hours to kill in a over-populated 3rd World city.

UPDATE: All the tourist forums said this about Jakarta: leave and go to Bali. Since that's not an option, I've found two things to do for tomorrow: 1) The sauna. It's filthy and a bit rust-stained but stays hot and has a nearby one-person cold water pool; 2) the Sunda Kelapa port where I can see a bunch of old schooners. Cool!
Go gitcha self a a hoo-ah, Fodgy!
I am currently stuck in Anchorage with nothing to do for 48 hours. (Added bonus: I have no luggage, thanks to the good folks at Northwest.) I would gladly trade.
and this is why I don't leave "teh Hill"
Your going to Sunda Kelapa 0_0

Ive never been there as an Indonesian, and dont plan to...

If I were you, I'd go for the malls.. Ride the taxi... BlueBird..

There are like ±90 malls in Jakarta, so you should be busy for 48 hours^^

If you want something other than the malls, then..... You should go to the... SPA? (Not in ur hotel, look for better places) Or...... Ancol in the North..

You should realize though that you should go somewhere much earlier than you should..

For example, it should take you for an hour to go from one point to another, but it can take 3 - 5 hours in Jakarta.. (I left Jakarta 2 years ago, I'll go back there permanently one day)

There are a lot of things u shud learn from Jakarta before you actually go there...

Ask locals..

Jakartan ppl, anyway, everyweekend, always try to avoid Jakarta and go for the countryside (Bogor? Theres a huge park built there by the English a LONG time ago).. Or at least the malls..
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