17: Indonesia > Jakarta > Jakarta Timur

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Sunday morning and we await our good friend Mr Yudi and his family, for a drive.25-02-2007-10-47-16.JPG

In the hotel carpark, a car with fancy number plate catches my eyes. Normal plate is simply white characters over black, with a prefix ‘B’ denoting Jakarta reg. 25-02-2007-11-12-55.JPG

First stop, still in Ancol – Carnaval Beach – where a guy tries his best to get me interested in a boat ride around Jakarta Bay.

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A glance at the boat is all I need. Rickety, and no life vests! And the bay is not exactly scenic. Thanks, but no thanks.

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The waterfront looks pleasant enough, and there are ready tents for hire.
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Leaving the Ancol area, we cross a rather stagnant dirty canal. The city does have a big problem with these polluted, unsightly waterways, which contributed to the recent big floods.25-02-2007-11-55-36.JPG

An innovation to ease traffic congestion is the introduction of busways in the middle of major streets for special buses to run unimpeded …

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… such as this one, which stops at stations built in the middle of the road, accessible only via pedestrian bridges .25-02-2007-12-00-35.JPG

Note the door of the bus, designed to fit the high platforms in the stations. No way you can board at street level.
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Downtown Jakarta and a handsome Catholic cathedral awaits.25-02-2007-12-14-36.JPG

Also the familiar landmark of a peasant with a rifle slung around his shoulder – a recognition of peasants as worthy warriors of this proud nation too, together with the armed forces and the police.
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Another perspective of the sculpture, now with great wire birds flying towards it.25-02-2007-12-19-45.JPG

A rather busy building.

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The Monas (Monumen Nasional), a Soekarno-era project completed only in 1975 (when the man was long gone), is a 137-metre tall marble obelisk. An observation platform sits at the top.25-02-2007-12-27-33.JPG

The huge compound of Monas can be traversed with these horse-drawn carriages. The horses are of local variety.25-02-2007-12-31-17.JPG

And you can quench your thirst with this guy’s bamboo-ed mobile refreshment.25-02-2007-12-32-04.JPG

In downtown Jakarta, truly exclusive homes.25-02-2007-12-44-59.JPG

The once-unlucky JW Marriott Hotel still stands tall.

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Muscle-power hand-in-hand with machines.25-02-2007-12-59-35.JPG

Motorbikes for the hoi polloi.25-02-2007-13-01-48.JPG

And we stop here for a bit of shopping – the Jatinegara Market in East Jakarta.25-02-2007-13-01-53.JPG

Haggling for some local handicraft along familiar narrow, crowded aisle.25-02-2007-13-14-10.JPG

Beautiful beads for sale.
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Feeling stuffy, I escape into the light-well in the middle of the building.25-02-2007-13-19-36.JPG

In the corner I spot colourful caps.25-02-2007-13-22-55.JPG

The maestro at work. He can create personalised caps for you on the fly, at just Rp15,000 a pop.25-02-2007-13-22-46.JPG

Just ask Aina and the n00b.
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Lunchtime and we drive to a local ayam goreng restaurant, for a hearty meal. See that poor chicken – everything from head to tail deep-fried in tasty crispy batter. Yummy, crunchy! 25-02-2007-14-12-22.JPG

We pass by a crowded suburb of East Jakarta, where pop-star-wannabes practice.25-02-2007-14-45-26.JPG

Common folks on their errands. I like the white helmets, look cool.25-02-2007-14-46-46.JPG

One of the countless suburban mini medical centres. Some even boasts of cardiology and neurosurgery. Serious stuff indeed.

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Along the expressway, an intriguing road sign. Not recommended for newcomers. We exit towards TMII.
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And soon we reach TMII – the highly-regarded Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, a showcase of Indonesia’s rich culture and heritage in just 250 acres of land. So if you haven’t got the time to travel from northern Sumatra in the far west, to Irian Jaya in the far east, then this is the next best thing!

The Snail – an IMAX Theatre.25-02-2007-16-17-03.JPG

Striking Minangkabau architecture from the Bukittinggi area in Western Sumatra.25-02-2007-15-15-30.JPG

Intricate carving of the exterior wooden wall.

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Inside, ma’am duly officiates our presence.25-02-2007-15-22-14.JPG

And of course, we are here. Incidentally an uncle told me, my great-great-grandfather hailed from this area, but went to Pattani (now in southern Thailand) to study, then married a local girl and lived there.
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Display of Minangkabau opulence. 25-02-2007-15-26-43.JPG

Behind the stately home, a family picnics beside a normal traditional house.25-02-2007-15-25-45.JPG

More Minangkabau structures. The crowd is having a free-for-all dancing dangdut session. Joyful people, these.25-02-2007-15-27-37.JPG

Across the Minangkabau area, I observe a plain lake …
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… but I’ve been deceived – it’s actually a map of Indonesia! And the ‘island ‘ above is supposedly Sumatra – see Google Earth image below. Spot the two aircraft too.taman-mini-indon-indah.jpg

In the Acheh area, I spot a gem – the famous Dakota, the DC-3 (or C-47, as the military calls it). This plane can clearly be seen north of ‘Borneo’ in the above Google Earth image.25-02-2007-15-34-19.JPG

Seulawah – the first ever Indonesia-registered plane way back 1948. And here’s the Acheh connection.
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This plane is a true classic and also full of history …25-02-2007-15-34-52.JPG

… and the Indonesians have the sense to preserve it for all to see. Well done.25-02-2007-15-36-20.JPG

An area showcasing local Chinese culture. 25-02-2007-15-44-42.JPG

We pass a reptile park and spot a park guy cuddling a python. The n00b jumps out of the car for a pose while Aina can only manage a couple of strokes on the critter’s back. The skin feels sticky and I can feel the bones beneath it. img_6649.JPG

Mugshot of the n00b’s friend. Pleasant bloke, really.
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I’ve always been fascinated by the Toraja people, and so here we are in the Southern Sulawesi area.
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Yes, a Toraja statesman’s house.
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A really tall sturdy house, probably built by and for fit people.25-02-2007-15-56-38.JPG

Of course, I can’t resist a climb up.
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Intricate decorations everywhere.dscn3362.JPG

Interior of the Toraja house.25-02-2007-16-00-26.JPG

The ever-present bovine icon amidst the mesmerising patterns. img_6661.JPG

The Toraja people have an intriguing death rite. Dead bodies are kept in the house (sometimes for years) pending affordable proper internment, when buffalos are gruesomely slaughtered as sacrifice. See HERE and HERE.

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A couple of Toraja-style shelters.25-02-2007-15-57-08.JPG

Outside, two shutterbugs are having fun.
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Yudi and his lovely family …
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…and with little girl, Putri.
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Across the Toraja house, the ill-fated DC-9-32 Garuda reg. PK-GNT lies on the grounds of the Museum of Transportation.

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A quick visit to TMII done (which really deserves several days), we head for the airport for the 8.30pm flight back to Kuala Lumpur, and along the expressway, more housing for the citizens.25-02-2007-17-46-20.JPG

Shopping centres also sprout everywhere. Jakarta is indeed a booming city, hopefully for the betterment of its friendly people.
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The recent bad floods have prompted the marketing people to boldly advertise ‘flood-free’. Indeed let’s hope for a flood-free Jakarta.
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On the way, a toll plaza named after a well-titled gent, at the expense of the longish signboard. They surely take their titles seriously here.25-02-2007-18-01-37.JPG

The sun sets as we approach the airport terminal.25-02-2007-18-14-21.JPG

The non-descript control tower, probably designed when sexy control towers were not yet fashionable.
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A fleet of Boeing 737 jets belonging to the accident-prone Adam Air. Nice bold livery, though.25-02-2007-18-16-56.JPG

At last ready to board the plane.
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When I first came to Jakarta in 1997, I thought the airport was unique, spacious and pleasant. Ten years on, that opinion still stands.

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Epilogue

We arrive in KUL on schedule at 11.30pm aboard AK957 reg. 9M-AFK. Many thanks to Yudi, Lies, Andhika and Putri for being such graceful hosts. We really enjoyed our weekend in Jakarta!

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