Day 2 – Jakarta

After spending a sleepless night and trying everything to get to sleep, I finally gave in and went with it! At 3.30am the most amazing sound began to emanate through the streets of Jakarta, its Ramadan and so at 4 am the airwaves are filled with the most intense yet beguiling symphony of voices from all over the city! I spent over an hour recording the whole thing it was incredible and something that I will not forget for a long time. I finally found myself asleep not long after that only to be awake at 9am! On a mission to source a battery charger, my lovely host Henry gave me a lift down to shopping mall city! This was a place for all those who love their gadgets wall to wall stores or little booths with everything and anything. It was a relief to be in the cool air conditioned mall away from the intensity of the oppressive 30 degree heat outside.

I then made my way over to the Museum Nationale which is Jakartas place to find artefacts a beautiful building brimming with everything you can imagine from Indonesia. A room filled with Gamelans and other fantastic traditional instruments. I also was just blown away by the masks on show, every indigenous community has their own identities via these masks, with all a spiritual attachment.  I then proceeded to walk a bit around the city, not something I shall ever do again, this is not the place to take a stroll along the paths, well they weren’t exactly paths and I spent a good hour trying to dodge cars, bikes and there is no way you can cross the road without getting yourself killed. Folk just seem to step out into the paths of oncoming vehicles and take their chances! Feeling a little drained and overwhelmed by this I jumped a taxi back to the place I am staying. Its not the easiest thing to do when you don’t speak the language and even though I had good directions and a map I ended up in the right neighbourhood but some distance away from the house. Me feeling the intrepid adventurer got out and walked thinking I could sense my way to the place, wrong! I ended walking around for what seemed like an age, and getting quite a bit of attention, I guess seeing a lady with bright orange/red hair is not a regular occurrence here. I even had one couple stop me and they made their little daughter stand next to me for a photo!  With some good phone directions from Henry and my asking local folk where Jalan J was I finally found it after a kid man walked me to the end of the road, accompanied by some local kids who found it amusing to mimic everything I said, of course I played along and we all laughed!

Phew exhausted but feel like it is an experience here, not somewhere I would want to come for a holiday as it is just to full of fumes and by the end of my walking around I had black feet and a sore throat, so I am guessing those that live here full time are not very healthy. It transpires that there is a bill that they want to introduce to help with this pollution but at present nothing has been done!

Well I am off to Borneo tomorrow and not sure if I will have the luxury of internet, so I will be resuming my blog as an audio diary. Time for a nice cool beer!

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