Jakarta: day one / by Jessica Lee

This morning I was in Adelaide. Now I’m in this crazy city of Jakarta with no luggage; the airport people lost it.

It is 28 C here, I am living in what can be best described as a shack, and the place smells like incense.

This is what it looks like:

I had no clue what to expect coming here, but now I’m incredibly happy because I’m settled this little room with it’s own shower + non-flushing toilet (all to myself!) and I only paid about $10 CAD/night for it!

Being in this room is pretty much like how Alex Garland describes living in a shack in his book The Beach, which some of you may have seen the movie, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. I was going to quote you a few lines, but I realized I don’t even have that book with me as it was in the luggage the airport people lost. Anyway, he describes it as hot, bad lock, fan in the room and being able to hear the people in the next room.

It’s not so bad not having my luggage on me. I’m in jeans, but I figure I can suck it up and survive until they deliver my luggage tomorrow night. If not, I can just do what I do very well: go shopping.

The plane touched down at around 7:30 pm and I took a taxi into the city just as the nightlife was beginning. In Victoria (where I just came from), there is a law where you have to wear a bike helmet when you go biking. Here, people zip around on mopeds without a helmet! It’s pandemonium!

Here is a photo of a young girl carting her younger sister around in a little milk box.

There are little stalls on the side of the road that sell street food. I haven’t tried any of it yet because I’m a little intimidated and I don’t want to get sick on my first night.

Being at the airport was a little nerve-wracking. I definitely look like a tourist and as soon as I came out of the terminal, all the taxi people pounced on me! They all tried to get me to use their taxi service. Imagine walking around the outside of the terminal and having five taxi men follow you around asking you where you are going. In the guidebook, Lonely Planet recommends using only a company called Bluebird taxi and all of them pulled out badges that said they were from Bluebird, but how easy is it to print out fake ID?

In the end, I just went with a taxi service that looked the most legit. There were some taxis that were unmarked vehicles, which seemed a little sketchy, so I went with my instinct with choosing and I’m glad I’m still alive.

More about Jakarta tomorrow!