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JAKARTA - After my few days left in Jogja after my week in Lombok, I'm back in Jakarta again. Yesterday I took the plane from Jogja to Jakarta to relax for the last few days, and to possibly meet some friends and other people here. Earlier on, I didn't know that some friends from Jogja, were about to go to Jakarta as well, but not by plane, by with the train. One of them left on Monday morning, I left Monday afternoon, and two more are currently in the train, waiting and travelling to Stasiun Pasar Senen. I hope to meet them tomorrow, for doing something else than what I'm doing now, writing stories and waiting for tonight, when I will meet an old friend which lives in Jakarta, somewhere...

As soon as I checked in in the hotel I wanted to get out again, looking for things that I had missed over the last four weeks. Hotel Atlantic, booked by my very own website,, is a not too bad hotel, but to be honest I espected better. Even more a reason for me to get out as much as possible. I needed to buy some oleh-oleh, but I don't know if I can bring all things that people asked me to bring. There is so much I want to buy myself as well, and of course I'm a little Dutch egoist, only thinking about myself during my holidays. (If you really think that's the truth, you may leave now, at no cost.)
I crossed the street via the pedestrian bridge in front of Rumah Sakit St. Carolus, almost across my hotel. It's the most easy way of crossing a street, it takes some time to get to the bridge, but waiting to cross the street, because of the raging traffic. On the other side, I was having a look at what bus lines passed. To be honest, I didn't have a clue where I exactly was (on the map of Jakarta, because the adress is Jl. Salemba Raya, that's what I know). Several buses stating “Manggarai”, “Kota” en “Senen”. I would like to go to Blok M, because that place is familiair to me. I can shop around, and go back right away again when I want to. I needed to go to bed early. Soon a bus showed up, with a guy yelling “Blok M blok m blok m blok m”. That must be the bus I needed. I jumped on and for a meager Rp. 1200, I was brought to Terminal bus kota Blok M. I got out, and walked to Blok M, over another pedestrian bridge, one that is known for it's bad condition. Nothing has changed about that in two years time.

Blok M hasn't changed as well, besides the seemingly increased security, stating “security check” at the entrance. The sign included one security guard with metal scanner. A few weeks ago, when I was here as well, I alredy asked myself in what way he could ever stop some suicidal maniaks from entering the building and blow it up. He will never succeed in that, and calling the polisi for help doesn't matter as well, since they have to go by car. Remember that Jakarta is in fact one big macet on it's main roads.
I went for a snack, and after that it was already time to go home, because I really needed some sleep. Over the last four weeks there was an increasing shortage of sleep, because the nights in Jogja can be late, even if you are not doing anything more than playing a game of biliards and having a snack afterwards. That's behind me now, and I hope to get it back soon... but that's a dream at this moment, too bad.

Now, a new day has arrived, and I can see Jakarta in bright daylight ( obstructed by heavy pollution and some clouds). I have to day that it 'tastes' different than I'm used to. I have spend three separate holdays here almost entirely, but now... something has changed and I need to find out what it is. Jakarta is my city, as I used to tell people, but will I tell them again? I think I will find out over the next few days. Of course, a few things have changed on my side, and I now think that they are the biggest changes, I don't think Jakarta changed that much over the last two years.
I have made new friends in the two weeks (excluding one week on Lombok) in Jogja, which I have seen regularly. SMS-ing is something real Indonesian by now, and so that is what I have been doing over the last few weeks. An SMS is normally priced between Rp. 300 and Rp. 500, really cheap in comparison to making a phone call, that's why many people prefer SMS-ing of course. Me too, by the way. :). But that's not what I was talking about in fact, to back to topic. Making friends in Jogja, and meeting them is much more easy than in Jakarta, because Jakarta is in fact too big to travel around just for meeting someone a short period of time. That's why I also start to prefer Jogja, it's smaller, but with it's half a milion residents, it's still a place that has everything, except a bioskop.
Second of all, it's easy to travel around by bus in Jakarta, and if you need, you can get a taksi almost everywhere you want, as long as you pay of course. Northing wrong with that, besides the long time of travel, and the often very humid conditions, it's good enough to get around. But Jogja has better things to offer. Most of the times it's not that hot as in Jakarta, and for sure less humid. Buses and taxi's are widely available here as well. The buses are as old and ramshackle as in Jakarta, but new taxi's have arrived in the city not too long ago, but the price is a little higher than in Jakarta.
But now comes the best part of a not too big city as Jogja. Just rent a bike and drive around wherever you want. That's what I did over the last weeks, and it proved to be a very good sollution, especially when there is someone to drive you around sometimes, and to show you how to get somewhere and away again. Storing roads in my memory takes time, but it's working more easily in Jogja dan in Jakarta. That's another big benefit as well.
I can name another one, which I'm thinking of this very moment. Jogja is the city of the students, with it's universities it's probably the most young city in the country. The people here, the students are of my age, so I like to spend some time with them. Sometimes that 'some time' is more than I could ever dream of, but well.. things always go different than I had planned before, and you don't hear me complaining about that. I enjoyed my stay in Jogja so much that I have promissed to go back next year in their holiday. I will arrange that as soon as possible, that means, as soon as I have found a ticket with a nice price, which can bring me to Jogja.

Posted in Travel @ 02 September 2003 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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