travel notes

Finally, a language I can at least try to read phonetically.

I transitioned today from the organized bustle of the east Asian city scape to the humidity and traffic of the southern Asia. As soon as I arrived in Jakarta, everything felt a little more raw, and little more native, a little more premodern. I loved it. Maybe it’s the Filipino in me, but this is where I can have a real vacation – somewhere on the dense and green landscapes of Indonesia.

A favorite professor and old friend from college teaches at a university here along with some other familiar faces from my alma mater. It was fun to connect with people through an “Asian connection,” especially when you didn’t socially connect before. Going abroad does that to you; all internationals eventually find each other.

Cook, my old college professor, got me the hook up here on the campus of UPH, so my accommodations beat my HK hostel by a long shot. Big bed in a room to myself, spacious bathroom in which I won’t need to strategically avoid the toilet, and a living space compete with TV and a kitchen. Having friends everywhere can be the biggest perk of traveling. Who needs five-star hotels when you know people?

I’m excited about my time here. It’s bound to be different, and I’ll definitely be doing more Internet scraping, since a free and accessible wireless signal is something my accommodations here do not include. But I’ve already found a place open until 11 right across the street, and everyone’s been really helpful with the tips. I wil blog every day yet!

Here we go: Jakarta, the second leg of my 2013 Chinese New Year adventure. It’s the year of the snake, by the way. Anyway snakes out there?

Some quick travel notes for those of you have interest in hitting up these destinations:

1. If your a slightly haphazard and grunge traveler like me and you want a cheap bed to sleep in while exploring Hong Kong simply go straight to the Chunking Mansion. (Do a quick google search on the Mansion and you will either be intrigued or repelled. I was intrigued!) you are bound to be accosted by a myriad of Indians offering you a guest house and a clean bed with wifi; you might even get your own room for 15USD a night. No nees to book ahead! It’s cheap, and a super fun place to stay because of all the internationals. I had conversations with people from England, Korea, China, Finland and America.

2. If you’re headed to Jakarta, prepare 25USD in advance to pay for your visa. If you hold an American passport, you’re one of the many citizens who get issued a visa upon landing. Only US cash or Indonesian rupies (IPR) are accepted. I showed up unprepared and was sent to an ATM. An officer held on to my passport as I conducted the transaction.

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