A large noisy Asian city, not without some interesting bits.
Friday 12 July 2013 - Monday 15 July 2013
Friday 12 July
A very early LAN Chile flight from Auckland to Sydney. We sat on the tarmac at Auckland for quite a while with the crew blaming the weather. This I thought a bit strange as the Qantas flight scheduled for the same time left promptly. LAN need to improve their catering as the "gourmet" sandwich left a fair bit to be desired. Given that we were late into Sydney, there was no time to muck around in the terminal; straight to the departure gate for the connection to Bangkok, hoping that my bags had made the transfer. The flight to Bangkok was a day flight and was rather scenic as it passed over a million square miles (a million and a bit square kilometres) of the nothingness called the Outback. Lots of cloud as we crossed Sulawesi and Borneo and then clear skies as we flew over Saigon and Cambodia. My bag made it, much to my relief. The new railway into the city in great until you get to Makkasan station. They have a taxi stand there but no taxis and they were not interested in phoning for any, too much traffic was the excuse. So a bit of hot sweaty walk to the hotel.
Saturday 13 July
After a fairly decent breakfast and an argument with the hotel staff about how much they were going to charge me, I made my way out to the old airport at Don Muang for my flight to Jakarta. Air Asia have moved their entire operation back to DMK as the new airport (well, seven years old) is poorly designed and cannot cope with the number of flights passing through the place. I had a whole row to myself which was nice given they can be a bit tight in the leg room department. The arrival formalities went smoothly ($US25 for a visa on arrival, more like an entry tax rather than a visa), and a metered taxi to the hostel. The afternoon was spent relaxing in a coffee shop next door.
Sunday 14 July
The hostel had an okay breakfast, tea and toast. My room had no windows so it was a bit disconcerting waking up and it being pitch black. I caught the local train from Cikini to Kota, the old colonial centre of the city. The old buildings have been converted into museums which were not that interesting as they had very poor labels and not much there. The Batavia Cafe is a legend and makes very nice coffee in an elegant setting overlooking the square. The afternoon was spent back at the hostel. It is Ramadan so whilst a lot of the eating houses are open, they have curtains around the windows so that you can eat during the day.
The Jakarta Museum.
I'll have the one with the green hat, thank you.
A bit of sculpture and the staff cat.
The main post office from the museum.
He is not a statue.
See. He moved.
Monday 15 July
An early start to catch the train to Yogjakarta. The train left on time and was quite comfortable although the windows were not very clean, hence the lack of photos of the countryside. The scenery was flat to start with as we cruised along the northern coast with lots of towns and rice paddies. We then turned inland and crossed the mountains forming the spine of the island. They showed a couple of movies during the trip. They were heavily edited for violence and language, a bit odd given that the movie was "Enemy at the Gate" which depicts one of the bloodiest battles of all time at Stalingrad.
The best photo I could get through the rather grubby windows.
We arrived on time and I caught one of the many becaks to the hotel. This was (and they all are) powered by a very old man, who looked as tough as nails. The distance was a lot further than I thought and for $US3 we eventually made it to the hotel. I found a good bar for Bitang beers and a restaurant that had only one staff member in the kitchen, leading to delays and grumpy customers (not me, I seemed to get my dinner quite quickly, unlike the table of ten who gave up after six meals had been served and the remaining fours were another 15 minutes away). The hotel was basic and clean, although my ground floor room was close the noise. At about 1:30am, I did have to go into the lounge to tell a large group of tourists to keep the noise down as they were making enough noise to awaken the dead.