Jakarta was next for a visit and was meant to be a few relaxing days as we have constantly been on the move…..well…we certainly picked the right city to hole up. Jakarta was one ugly ass city and you could tell straight away was overpopulated (just over 10 million souls), this is in no way a reflection of its inhabitants as we found them to be very friendly and welcoming.
A friendly air hostess helped us from the bus terminus (I say terminus we were abandoned at the side of the motorway) and we hoped into a taxi to our Air BnB apartment complex. As soon as we arrived, we knew why there was 5 security guards roaming the lobby and car park, the majority of the city we seen were slums and shanty towns, made up of whatever these people could salvage, again this is by no means a reflection on it’s people. The taxi drivers car was searched and the boot was opened as we arrived for a quick search and we were off to our apartment 22 floors up. The apartment complex was a self contained unit with grocery shops, hairdressers and a gym on the ground floor so people need no even leave their bubble on the west side of this enormous city.
Pretty awesome view out of our window but at this stage we have no idea of what we are looking at through the 33 degree haze, all we could see were slums around us and high rise flats in the distance. We threw on the dancing shoes and went a stroll to see what was around us but quickly learned, walking though the shanty’s, that not many westerners stay here judging by the surprised and icy stares (or another possible scenario was they just thought I was an a@%ehole) and that there was nothing, literally nothing worth seeing or even a shop within walking distance. We retreated back to our apartment and decided to do some more research on the area, and found that most backpackers just use Jakarta as a base to travel Indonesia…we’ve just paid for a week in a city with nothing to see or do. It’s basically got 5 big shopping malls, a monument in the centre and nothing else worth seeing. I think we covered every single tile in these shopping malls and made good use of the GO app which took us to the nearest one in about 25 minutes when the traffic was ok, and an hour most of the time as the traffic is pretty much nose to tail all day and night.
We felt Jakarta was a city that looks worse than it really feels. Walking through the streets and slums and managing not to fall down the plethora of open manholes that resembled portals to hell, all the people we me were just curious to see you, which people can confuse and feel intimidated or even scared. They liked to try chat and watch you eat….for some reason (may have had something to do with the fact I think Megan has a hole in her bottom lip and plenty food fell on he floor) but despite it being an ugly city, we never felt threatened or scared at any time.
We decided to cut the week short and bailed after 5 days of doing nothing but walk in shopping malls and hopped on the early train for Yogyakarta….which we missed…by 2 minutes