Jakarta, Indonesia

October 19, 2011

Now the journey continues from Seoul over the Yellow and East China Sea, by the Philippines and Malaysia, and seven hours later landing in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Wow!  Talk about being on the other side of the world!

So much focus is made on Islam and the Middle East, that it is easy to overlook the fact that Indonesia is the world’s largest Islamic country (population).  I imagine this ease is also facilitated by the general lack of knowledge existent regarding Indonesia.  In my preliminary research, I was somewhat surprised regarding how comparatively little information was available on Indonesia.  Of course I did find some information, but the world could benefit from quite a bit more.

Going through immigration, in contrast to South Korea, I was immediately reminded of Walmart back in Savannah.  You definitely don’t stop there if you are in a hurry.  While in the immigration line to get a VISA “On Arrival” and to have my documents reviewed for entry, people were jumping in and out of the lines, some of the immigration officers were busy doing everything but getting people processed…it was as if they enjoyed our company…to a degree anyway.  Literally, if you are standing in line, someone will walk right up to you and get in line in front of you.  If you don’t say anything then you will be that much further back in line…For God’s Sake Man, Speak Up for Yourself!!!! 🙂

Stepping outside the airport, you definitely get a different feel.  Not as rushed by individuals trying to make a living carrying luggage to and from the cars such as in Haiti or West Africa, but there were plenty of observers 🙂

After the drive into the city and walking up to the hotel “Nikko” Jakarta,

I was reminded of how some view advancement, sophistication, refinement and advancement or even something that is just different as a threat.  You get reminded of this whenever you go into a hotel or other buildings in this area and you have to pass yourself and your items through detectors.

Hotel “Nikko” is in the Thamrin business district which is not to far from one of the previous bombing sites.  Bali was bombed in ‘2002,’ and the Marriott and Ritz Carlton (Thamrin Business District) were bombed in ‘2009.’  As recent as September ‘2011’ a suicide bomber hit a church in central Java. Sending out good energy for the best….

While time and travel has taken its toll and I am feeling the exhaustion mounting, Hell, I’m in a completely different geographic and cultural dimension….Let me take a stroll!  🙂  Walking through the neighborhood, I decide that it would be good to get some food.  One thing I love about foreign travel is the opportunity to put on my “Anthony Bourdain” hat….I LOVE trying exotic foreign food 🙂  And so, I start hunting for food….Interesting about the parallels between here and Monrovia.  There are certain parts of Liberia, downtown Monrovia actually, where you won’t find Liberian food.  Guess they figure westerners and such desire food that reminds them of home.  Not me….I think it is an insult personally when you can’t find food native to a specific country in that country…never-the-less, that is just me!  And so, as I searched all I came across was Kentucky Fried Chicken, Hardee’s, Burger King, and McDonalds….what the HELL?  🙂  I didn’t come clear across the world for that…and so after some searching, I came across something local….well….let’s give it a shot!

I ordered the “Paket Bandeng Penyet Komplit”  Paket means combination…so I ordered a Combo: Spicy Fish Dinner including Rice and Vegetables.   Yeah…in case you didn’t know…I Roll Like That 🙂  I must say that it was very spicy….closed my throat briefly…but…It was DELICIOUS!…..I’m a believer 🙂  Fast food with a zing…and with vegetables…and it was fish that had been alive recently…and it wasn’t shaped like a square…and it had bones in it…ok…get the point!  Real Live Food!!!!  🙂  After satisfying my palate with some absolutely delicious local cuisine…it was time to take in some local sights:

Jakarta is a huge city, so traffic is still fairly heavy at night…the night time stroll was awesome…so bright, so sophisticated…so urban…very very nice….

This central area is where a lot of people congregate at night.  Underneath the statue is a large water pool.  Usually, the water spouts out through fountains and the lights set it off nicely.  Around the water area, there are young people playing guitars, kids singing, couples snuggling…tourists roaming…a very nice place to relax….there are also plenty of vendors hawking multiple things…like the vaunted ‘street food’ 🙂

Against better guidance, I also decided to take in some local street food.  All over the place, there are local vendors with carts that cook food right in front of you.  The challenge is that if you are weak in the stomach, then it can really spell disaster…but, it smelled so good that I decided to take the leap.  Proud to report, that I didn’t fall out and I made it to the next day “Big Smiles”…the food was ridiculous…if you love sesame oil, then you know what I am talking about!!!!

While I love these experiences because the cultural exposure allows for me to expand my breast, I also use the experiences to further develop my insight into economic dynamics resultant from seeing the “The Wealth of Nations” face-to-face.  However, I must say that with all of that reading…I can’t ever minimize the influence of Maya Angelou’s “All Gods Children Need Traveling Shoes.”  For it is easy to get caught up in our day to day activities, to become encompassed in the mundane, to become so self-impressed in our religions and self-righteousness that we forget about God’s children.

Seeing this family asleep on the walkway, while one of the children was still awake playing a few feet away, reminded me of how those who spend the days arguing about Christianity and Islam and all the other religions have time to do that because they have completely dismissed God’s children.  Let me never forget us also!  Thank You Maya Angelou!!!!

Time to Crash!  What a Day!  More later!


One Response to “Jakarta, Indonesia”

  1. TT said

    Great post! I’m glad you enjoyed the street food and had no “Montezuma’s Revenge” the next day (I know that’s usually used in Mexico, but it fits wherever you travel, IMHO)! Seeing the people sleeping on the street is heartbreaking; makes you want to help them all and eradicate poverty for good worldwide. The key is for each of us to do what we can, and that’s what you are doing on this trip…

    BTW, India has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. (Another one of my useless facts :-)).

    Glad you are seeing more of Asia; it will definitely broaden your perspective on life and people. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

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