Java, Indonesia

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Exploring Jakarta 9th-12th November
9th November. Today we leave Medan. Happy to get the plane to Jakarta. Rani, Sendy, Christina (Henry's friend) and friend, and Pak farewelled us. Christina gave us 2 packs of Copi and her friend gave me a really nice bell from Western Sumatra.

The plane trip was uneventful and we were soon in Jakarta meeting Rika, Christine's other sister. After being asked by a number of people if we wanted a taksi, we boarded a bus which took us through the heart of Jakarta, and FOUR toll booths! What a rip off! 

Eventually, after a lot of traffic, 3 hours and a change to a taksi, we made it to cousin Ester's place. Her house is big and designed for Ballet dancer's lessons. We talked with Rika, watched the video that we'd recorded, and crashed. Too tired to do much this night, asleep by 9:30pm!

10th November

Henry (Christine's brother) and Rika arrived this morning and I also got to talk to Fairlie, Ester's husband. He was in the US, travelling the trains, including Flagstaff, Denver & Los Vegas during the same year as me, we guessed around the same time) Rika, Henry, Christine and I then headed out shopping. Henry had to get home to his friends place and Rika, Christine and I looked around the plazas. The bookshop sold a Buffy book in Indonesian and a magazine store had a large selection of Indonesian computer magazines. I didn't buy any though.

We then had lunch at the Japanese Restaurant Hokka Hokka Bento. Very nice. Then headed back to Ester's place by Blue Bird Taxi. (Apparently they're much more reputable than the other taxi companies according to a lot of Indonesians)

We were later met by Anita & Willy who took us to a Wareong, an Indonesian restaurant. Food was good, atmosphere pleasant. Anita does marketing and we exchanged stories of our travels. A nice night. 

11th November

Woke up, ate in the kitchen, then Ester, Ningsy (cute live-in servant), Christine, Dieng (Fairlie and Ester's son) and I were picked up by Fairlie and taken to one of the biggest plazas in Indonesia. Lots of stuff to buy and bigger than any plaza you'll find in Australia.

I was blown away by the floor that was 4 times the size of an average suburban street in Australia, totally packed with intricately detailed wooden carvings, wayangs and many other works of art. Wish I had room for them. Instead we bought some batik and checked out prices for Ulos. Varied between 125,000RP for cheap ones and 600,000 for most detailed and expensive. Because it was bought from Sumatra, the price was 4 times more according to Ester. (We realised the high price that Christine's mum had saved and paid for our special Ulos and once again remembered how sad we were that she was gone)

After some more looking about I went to an Internet Cafe in the building and, after only 10 minutes there was a power failure and I had to wait 15 minutes for it to come back on again. Must be a common occurrence as not many people reacted to it.

Fairlie kindly picked us up on the way home from his work. Anita was going to take us out, then Ester, but both had to cancel due to work so Christine and I went to Jambini by Taksi. Similar set up to Medan but no smoke, great singers and better atmosphere. Good food at reasonable prices too. Then we went home and crashed.

12th November

Slow day. SMSs exchanged with Yuana. Plans for tonight. Future plans changed again due to no planes to Sydney on the 28th and 29th, and a Hindu celebration in Bali on the 20th that we want to be there for.

Well, Christine's hairdresser friend couldn't make it but we were able to meet him and his friend in Plaza Senaya anyway. Also met Yuana and her cousin. Rika was with us and we went and ate at a place on level 2 before going to stationery and book shops to buy any Indonesian Business magazines in English, plus some postcards.

After a bit of shopping we took Yuana's friend's (Mena) car and toured Jakarta at night. The club we were planning to go to was closed (Embassy) apparently it had good techno music and a great dance floor. Instead we went to Crown Plaza which contained a pub called Retro! Totally dead from 9:30 to 11:30. We didn't hang around as everyone was pretty tired. I was curious to see the hookers dancing on the tables but that didn't happen as there weren't enough people. (They just sat in their seats and watched) I also bought a blue drink called Bob something. Sweet liqueur. 

Yuana and Mena kindly dropped Rika then Christine and I off home. We packed a bit in readiness for going to Bandung tomorrow (pronounced Bundoong)

Click here to read about our trip to Bandung
Click here to read the other description of Lake Toba

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