Day 1

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.

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3 Responses to Day 1

  1. ini.itu says:

    best place for all things electronic ( and pirate ) is Glodok 🙂 if you can make it to the museum, you’re lucky ( and tried, it was chronically closed… )

  2. Gyälten Sangpo says:

    Thank you for your posts thus far on your Indonesian journey Riz. Your experience and observations of Jakarta are resonate of my experience in my other home, India. Street vendors on the expressway in northern Delhi would always approach vehicles at traffic standstills or lights.

    My apartment in northern India was right next to one of our monasteries, so I was awoken early to morning prayers as well.

  3. Stephen R. says:

    This is amazing and very interesting Riz. We’ll be re-posting from the Architects and Heroes side!

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