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Jakarta, Java

Written on: Saturday May 10th, 2008

A journal entry from: Southeast Asian Adventures!

Jakarta wasn't nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be (perhaps because I'd spent a fair amount of time in Manila beforehand). From the airport Alan and I headed to the backpacker area of Jalan Jaksa. We stayed at Bloem Steen Hostel, a simple place with a very friendly and helpful owner.

Our second day in Jakarta we decided to visit the historic area of Kota, known for its colonial Dutch architecture. After an hour or so of traffic jams, we arrived in Kota to discover that there wasn't much to see. There are some beautiful old buildings, but many are crumbling now, and the canal is stagnant and smells terrible. After wandering around for a bit we had a drink in Cafe Batavia, a beautiful world famous bar located in an old Dutch colonial house.

There really isn't much to see in Jakarta. The city is quite westernized and is a shopping mecca. The highlight of Jakarta was meeting up with our friend Charlotte. Charlotte flew from Surabaya where she works at the Maple Leaf Centre (the same school I worked at 2 summers before) to stay with us in Jakarta. Her first night with us in the city was a bit crazy - the 3 of us found a road side bar (consisting of a picnic bench, a cooler full of beer and some music on a radio), and drank way too many Bintangs. We also made friends with the Indonesian guys at the bar and were using our phrase book to chat with them, while they attempted to teach us some Indonesian. It was a great night, but the 3 of us paid for it with hangovers the next day.

Overall, Jakarta is a pretty unexciting city, unless a lot of shopping is involved. Unfortunately for us, shopping didn't come into the picture.