So, I’ve arrived in Jakarta. It has been a long 24 hours getting here, but I’ve already managed to squeeze in some mini adventures.
I sailed through the connection at Kuala Lumpur airport, and enjoyed a 12 minute friendship with a guy called Paul who was moving home from the UK to China, complaining that he never should have left Hong Kong in the first place.
I also saw my first bird of the trip – one of the crow species although I haven’t looked up which one yet.
At Jakarta arrivals, by the time I had cleared immigration the luggage carousel for my flight had stopped and I had to retrieve my bag from lost luggage!
Once I had avoided that incident waiting to happen, Eja, from a company called LAHUKA, came to meet me. My three heavy bags were loaded into the back of a minivan and we set off through the dark Indonesia night along Jakarta’s bustling streets. Even after midnight the airport and city were rammed with people. And it’s striking that one of the biggest differences you notice is the adverts – globalisation hasn’t quite flattened the world yet. Indonesian brands proclaimed the wonders of luxury beds (‘Every sleep is a new experience’), logistics/haulage companies, mobile phone and tv packages – many of them in English. Some things do travel well apparently: it was raining (unusual in what’s supposed to be the dry season here, Eja explained) and the driver had Coldplay on the stereo.
‘You must feel at home!’, Eja joked.
‘Rain and Coldplay – two of our best exports’, I replied!
Reaching the hotel was a relief only soured by my inability to lock my door from the outside. I therefore found myself sitting at the end of my bed, at about 3am while a friendly, helpful maintenance man fitted a new lock to the door of my hotel room, complete with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. I was on the brink of crying from sheer exhaustion but managed convey a grateful smile when he had finished.
After a quick skype call from the lobby to a loved one I went to my room, curled up and fell asleep to Joni Mitchell, which made me feel decidedly more at home.
Small home comforts and the voice of my girlfriend made all the difference to how I slept that night.