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JAKARTA - In the midst of a true anti-teroris atmosphere I was leaving for Jakarta today. Very early in the morning (read in the night) polisi was driving around Bogor with a hurry. The newspapers now reported that they are behind several terrorists in Surabaya, the same is happening with those in Bogor, because the police were in a hurry for a mass-arrest. I donít know whether they actually found someone, probably they arrested a few for display in ďPatrolliĒ.

Early in the morning, the Dutch teacher which I had met one and a half day earlier, woke me up. Donít worry, he wasnít drunk or anything, I had arranged with him to do that, because we would both take the train to Jakarta Kota, because he wanted to spend a day in Jakarta, and I had to go to Jakarta because Iím leaving for Bandung as soon as possible, since a friend is waiting for me there.
We almost ook the wrong train to Jakarta, in fact it was the right one, but the set of trains werenít connected, so the part we were in, was supposed to be the next train. But luckily we werenít the only people in the wrong train, even the Indonesians were, so I think it doesnít happen a lot. We just moved to the first train and we departed within a few minutes. Lucky for us my Indonesian is getting better everytime I get here. If people talk to me as they supposed to do, I can often understand the main parts of their story.
Our arrival at the Kota train station was never realized, because the train also stopped a Stasiun Juanda, the first stop after Stasiun Gambir, which is passed by the ekonomi-trains from Bogor. Donít ask me why, probably because the trains leaving and arriving on Gambir are the intercity trains, and not the overcrowded commuter trains from Bogor to Jakarta Kota for example. Now I know why they call these trains kelas kambing, you are really packed like cattle in a train wagon. But well, I didnít complain, the Pakuan Ekspress wasnít about to leave in another 1,5 hours, making the wait for us far to long, since I wanted to move on to Jakarta Selatan, South Jakarta, and the Dutch teacher wanted to go to several museums in the area of Monas (the National Monument in Jakarta). We were both warned the night before that we should just look out for anything suspicious. Independence Day is coming up, and with the attack on JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, three days ago, nothing can be seen as safe, especially the big department stores, international hotels, and all other places where many people gather, even if they are Indonesian, that doesnít matter to (for example JI (Jemaah Islamia)) the bombers, because they have said they will attack anything opposing them.

The teacher was sent to the Museum Nasional, opposing the Monas monument. That has also changed a lot. When I was there the last time, somewhere in July 2001, the entire square (grass plain) was open and free to enter by anyone. Now they have closed it with a huge fence of about 3 meters high. Ooh well, it doesnít like very welcoming anymore, but itís at least keeping the bad guys out. As always the good have to suffer for that. The pavement around the square has also widened a little, and they have been renewed completely, still needing a finishing touch before Independence Day, comping 17 august.
I walked around Jalan Thamrin a bit, past the dangerous places of MacDonalds, the United Nations building and several big banks, a primary target to destroy the bad ones, at least in the eyes of these strange terrorists. I took the bus to Blok M Plaza, always on the road to somewhere. I wanted to buy a Mentari mobile phone number already, so it getís a lot easier to contact my friend here. I phoned one of them telling I would try to get to Bandung tomorrow, thatís IF there are still tickets available, otherwhise I will have to spend another night in South Jakarta, not a problem for me as well.

The Blok M Plaza experience today was not very special in comparison to other years. What I noticed around the city is that there werenít more police and soldiers in the city, maybe there may still be more, but you just donít see them, thatís why I think they arenít just there. At the entrance of Blok M Plaza, a gate where you canít drive your car-bomb in because you have to drive onto a stairs of a meter or two, so you wonít get inside right away, I was body-scanned for metals, and the other guard wanted to see my entire packback.. I was already worried for the fact that he would turn everything upside down, my well-packed backpack. Luckily he only wanted to see the bag opened, then I could close it again. Good service, but good protection is something different. Nevertheless I still feel safe around this place, just as safe as I would feel without the Ďsecurity checkí.

Arriving in South Jakarta (somewhat familiar because of my holidays in 1999, 2000 and 2001), I already had some kind of instinctive feeling where I should be. For those who know the place around, I was looking for J.J. Guesthouse in Jalan Cilandak Permai RayaÖ ooh.. a hard to find address, asking is not an option most of the time, because the people are willing to help you if they know. Itís not in their interest to help you when they canít earn any money from you. Thatís why I decided to take a bajaj (similar to those in India, the noisy read three-wheeled taxi), to look for the place. Eventually he found the place, and I found out it was closed. But luckily several addresses of friends in the neighborhood are stored in my memory, hopefully forever. I told the guy that he should go there, in my bad Indonesian, and he didnít have a clue about the streetname, eventually he pronounced is differently than I did, and he know. He brought me there, I paid him some two euroís for driving around over an hour, far to much, but I was longsince happy that I had reached safe grounds for the night. Meeting the family of my friend was fun, tomorrow I will be gone again.
Right now Iím in Cinere again, the area just south of the official border of Jakarta City Area (DKI Jakarta), and the place here is officially named Depok. I will check Stasiun Gambir tomorrow for a ticket to Bandung in the more luxury train, and together with my mobile phone I can tell my friend Iím actually on the way, however I doubt it that will work while being in the trainÖ far outside the big cities. I will just have to try it.

Revisions

On 6 September 2003 I edited the story on certain small points to make it more understandable for the visitors. The first version was written during my holiday, in a warnet in Jakarta. This version should be better though.



Posted in Travel @ 08 August 2003 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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