Fri – Feb 8, 2013
I’m completely appreciative of the rest I’ve been able to have today. Traveling can wipe you out, especially when you’re constantly moving from place to place, sleeping in different beds and unpacking and packing bags to do it all again. My last few days were especially packed. I woke up at 6am in Hong Kong Wednesday morning and landed at the Jakarta airport at 1:15pm that afternoon. I spent Wednesday and Thursday night in a beautiful apartment on the campus of UPH, spending time with old friends and exploring the streets of the world’s 4th largest city. My two afternoons on the streets of Jakarta were something else. By the time the cab I was in reached my friend Josh’s house in Sentul City at 10:30pm Friday night, I was ready to rest.
So here I am, at my friend’s house, really just kicking it back. It’s been nice. There was no need to pull myself out of bed and throw together a spontaneous sight-seeing itinerary for the day, so I slept in this morning. My weekend in Sentul City has already been planned out my Josh, so I’m just hanging out with him. Today was a super chill Saturday. I experienced the local market where Josh buys his fruits and vegetables, ate snake fruit for the first time, hung out at Josh’s school in the afternoon, and went for a night swim in the pool on the school’s campus. A lovely break in the action.
My last day in Jakarta was incredible. Nothing happened the way it was supposed or at the scheduled time. The one thing that did work out was time to say good-bye to Cook before I left Karawaci Friday morning. Everything else was an adventure of a later bus to a different destination, clogged busways, and re-routing. IT WAS GREAT.
I originally thought I was going to be able to get on a bus out of Karawaci at 10am and land at the same place I landed Thursday afternoon. This was not the case. The bus leaving at 11:05 (it didn’t leave until 11:15) would take me to another place called FX. Gaby and I were originally hoping to meet at eleven o’clock. I didn’t reach FX until 12:45. Then we went to her house, where we put my two backpacks for the day and went next door to eat soto and drink pop ice. It was almost two o’clock when we started the journey to our destination, which was a park called Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
We basically spent ALL AFTERNOON getting there. It took us three hours – three hours of traversing in circles, riding angkots, riding the bus, riding metro-minis, riding the train. By the time we got there, the sun was on its way down and we were hungry. So we ate baso and watched motorcycle stunts outside of the park instead. It was a perfect alternative, honestly. The park is a big place, and I still needed to get to Sentul City at a reasonable hour at some point that night.
In those three hours, I was having one of the best experiences of my life seeing the city of Jakarta. There was literally only one mode of transportation I did not take in the city, which was getting on the back of someone’s motorbike and paying them to take me somewhere. Along the way, I ate local snacks and fruit and tried to practice my extremely basic and limited Indonesian that the cab driver from the night before taught me. I was even actively learning new words. And on top of all this, Gaby was the most awesome companion and tour guide anyone could ever ask for.
I really appreciated being able to hang out with Gaby’s neighbors and spending time with the locals. I was surprised to find myself crossing language barriers. The boss of the store Gaby lives next to would talk to me in Indonesian and ask me questions. She asked me something about Taiwan (Taiwan was the only word I understood). I thought about it, and knew that Gaby had just told her I was an English teacher there. So I answered that I had been in Taiwan for 3 years. The lady nodded. Gaby was surprised and asked me if I understood what she said. I said no, I just guessed! I had several moments like this. It was a breakthrough for me.
I left Jakarta with a mix of emotions. I left Jakarta with a desire to return. I was not just leaving a place; I was leaving people. And because of them, I will never be the same again.
My final adventures in Jakarta were only the beginning of something else, a new season of life that is more enlightened, more optimistic and more attuned to the life around me.
Traveling changes my life EVERY TIME.