Well I touched down in Jakarta this afternoon around 4.00pm local time, its 11.30pm now so we are 6 hours ahead. The city is one crazy mass of cars, buses and a million motorbikes! Carrying anything up to three people, I saw a small child sandwiched between mum and dad who both had helmets on but not the child!
My hos, Henry of whom I am staying with has been a wealth of information telling me the population of Jakarta is 12 million and is growing with the influx of tourists and business.
Its a sprawling city, with one part being full of all your major city banks a Louis Vuitton apartment block! and the usual chains, including the golden arches and Starbucks on every corner!!!
Jakarta has a growing economy of 6% just a little under China. Once having a huge trade in textiles has now turned to coal and oil, along with a booming electronics industry, being likened to the early days of Silicon Valley!
On my way in from the airport I was struck by how many street vendors were on the highway selling everything from cold drinks, snacks and cigarettes. Not exactly a healthy way to make a living considering the emissions from all the transport rushing by! Driving in London is a breeze compared to this and one I would not want to tackle. The rush hour traffic was like a giant car park and my driver had the patience of a saint. I finally arrived at my place for the next two nights, a beautiful house in amongst small stores and street vendors, and directly opposite is the local mosque! I was greeted with the most amazing call to prayers as I began to unpack my bag and realising I had left my battery charger for my camera at home doh!! So my task tomorrow is to find one, otherwise I am going to be a bit stuck without it. But my initial panic subsided and I quickly grabbed my H4n and recorded the amazing vocal. Its Ramadan and the morning prayers apparently start at 4.30am so I had better put my ear plugs in tonight.
I am hoping to get to one of the museums tomorrow to get a real taste of cultures past. Jakarta got its independence in 1949 from the Dutch, there are still a few reminders of their occupation as we drive down some of the streets, most of these houses are now owned by the rich indonesians. You definitely get a sense of the haves and have nots here as I saw so many families sitting on the street with their carts, selling food or anything they can to make a living. I even saw a number of young children trying to hitch a lift.
Well thats all for today, and I will endeavour to write some more tomorrow.