Jakarta by Day

October 20, 2011

In the next few entries, I will start including quite a bit more pictures so that you can get more of a view of what I am talking about.

Waking up the next morning, I see the sun rises here also 🙂  Such a wonderful view and although the 13 hour time difference is beating me ruthlessly, I awake with the type of energy that comes from curiosity about the mysteries.  The number of trees throughout the city reminds me of home “Savannah” as it gives you the feeling that I am constantly under a canopy (in some areas anyway).

Luxurious Hotel…Check Out Time….Let’s Roll:

The more you drive the more tall buildings pop up, interspersed with neighborhoods, business buildings, a huge amount of advertisements for electronics (enough of the LG already 🙂 and fashion.  On the road, there are a lot of people packed in a bunch of skinny lanes.

Driving off through the city, I’m not driving of course, you begin to see that the similarities are not just with Atlanta and the Piedmont Park area….there is quite a bit of New York City going on here as well.  There are also plenty of similarities with other countries such as Liberia, Haiti, and Ghana…both positive and challenged.  Certain areas of Jakarta provide a significantly urban sophistication that is, well, to say the least, representative of the well developed cities of the world.

Simultaneously, Jakarta has this interesting mix of native type elements found in countries with less modern or more traditional, probably the more proper term, economies.  This go around, I am not including slum areas.  For the most part, I’ve seen enough of that…slums vary slightly, but for the most part…they are what they are…moving on….I’ve seen enough of that in other areas to know what that is and what it looks like.  Looking for the brighter side these days 🙂

Driving along, at first, everything seems so chaotic.  The streets may or may not have lanes.  Along with this, as you drive down a street there may be two lanes, there may be 3 or 4….and it seems chaotic.  Various lanes and streets merge, minimal stop lights…and too many people to even count.  Let’s not forget the motorbikes/scooters.  In West Africa, they may call them the scooter boys.  Here, it is not just boys…but it is every member of human family that rides scooters….and they pour over the streets seemingly like ants in the southern sand (if you know what I mean.)  These are the countries that make you consider owning stock in a scooter company….I mean millions of them!!!!  Not to mention all the different forms of transportation:

One striking similarity to some of the other countries I’ve visited where the use of motor scooters are most prevalent, is the gathering places for, as they say in Liberia, the ‘scooter boys.’  Here, it is referred to broadly as the ‘Pangkalan Ojek’…rough translation being the Ojek Center….the gathering place for the scooter boys.  There are more scooter brands than Ojek, but hopefully you get the picture.  This picture only shows a few gathering….but, in your mind, if you can imagine many many more…then you are approaching understanding 🙂

And again, at first it seems chaotic…not to mention the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car from those in the U.S. and driving direction is also on the opposite side of the road than in the U.S.  But, if you take the surreal side of things…it is not chaotic at all.  It has its own rhythm.  It is something similar to watching a school of fish in the ocean.  You don’t know when they all decide to change directions, but they do it without bumping into each other.  It appears chaotic, because everyone is not just looking to follow the imposed rules affirmed by lanes, lines and lights….there is a certain rhythm of life here….and certain rhythms of living that manifests in so many different ways (more on that later).  People aren’t just following rules…they follow rules, but they also follow the rhythm.

Riding through Jakarta, it seems like a city that never ends, many things stand out, but here are a few:

Take a moment to consider the importance of the motor bikes.  Not only is it the primary form of transportation for many…it also is a primary means of transporting whatever it is you need to transport.  As you can see from this photo, it is common place to just strap it on the back on roll out 🙂

This picture, though, should drive the point home…just tell me you can see the CHICKENS…strapped to the back of the bike….several of them…all alive…and clucking all the way down the street…I could hear them 🙂

Throughout Jakarta, it seems as though commercial districts, types of strip malls, stores and mom/pop stores stream endlessly.  Typically, there is a store front on the bottom, and the family lives upstairs….they seem to be without number.  Interesting how when I was growing up, I would here people complain about Asians owning so many stores and shops throughout urban neighborhoods in the United States.  Well, being here…it is easy to see that is just what they do…Americans used to do that a lot.  Well, instead of complaining….maybe there is a lesson here on what needs to be done to build some of our communities.  I recall hearing some Blacks complain that Asians owned all the stores in some of the primary Black urban areas…well, somebody has to do something….based on what I am seeing here….all I can say at home is put up or shut up…

Stopping to grab a bit of breakfast on the way out of town, we stop by a nice eatery.  Typical to many shops, they just don’t rely on a menu.  But, a picture of the food or the actual food is put on display out front so that you can see what looks good.

Ok, I chose to go with noodles and a small bit of soup for breakfast…ok, and a bit of red chili sauce (spicy and hot)….and absolutely DeeeeLICIOUS!  I was quite pleased 🙂

After breakfast, I took a tour of the local market.  As in many cities, it is that place where, if it exists…it can be found here – food wise anyway 🙂  One fella introduced me to how he could make a baby shark talk:

And after that brilliant demonstration, I took a tour of the meat display

Now this is the little fella in charge of security.  The kitty seemed appropriately distracted, and that is probably one of the things that kept it alive.  From what I’ve seen of some of critters it is supposed to keep out, kitty doesn’t stand much of a chance.  In fact, kitty might be the top item on one of these rodent’s shopping list 🙂

Back driving through the city, I am again reminded that this is an Islamic country.  Just like in the United States there are some cities that have a church on every corner, every few minutes a Masjid/Mosque stands out in the scenery.

As we continue to drive, the terrain continues to shift and change….urban, traditional, sporadically urban…and a bit of slum here and there…to add to the Jakarta flavor.  These are just a few examples to provide a taste of Jakarta…fascinating, yet mysterious….but not all together unpredictable….

At the airport and waiting for my next flight, I really enjoyed observing the Asian architecture.  Secure, yet open and free…and like most things I’ve seen and felt on my Asian journey….Yin and Yang…I feel the balance…

Next Stop…Surabaya!


2 Responses to “Jakarta by Day”

  1. WOW! What a great trip you are on. So glad to see you enjoying yourself. Please tell me you are going to Australia…you’ll never be closer! Love Ya!

    • To tired to go any further 🙂 between the flights, time change and all the other places I’ve seen…I am ready to get back to Uncle Sammy’s dirt road 🙂 If I did get to Australia this go around…I would probably have to stay for awhile until I could rest up 🙂 Love You Too!

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