The Day in Jakarta

March 18th

Light breakfast in the morning in the cozy hostel, the suitcases put inside a lift which will also serve as our luggage storage, then also our arranged taxis are here. We are going to the national monument of independence. We drive up to a large park, where we get out. Monument in the center of the park. The park area is very large. Everything is clean and tidy. For Jakarta residents, this is a favorite place for sports activities. We have reached the monument. With high-speed elevators we go up to the 115-meter high tower’s viewing platform. Stunning city panorama. The park is surrounded by beautiful skyscrapers. From the top everything it is so clean, beautiful and neat. Then we go to the History Museum, which is located 3 meters below the monument. The museum exhibition is arranged in a circle. There is 51 diorama in total, in which the whole history of Indonesia is reflected. Impressive. Indonesian history, like history of many nations, is dramatic.

In the evening begins our way home but we still have time – half a day. We have decided to go to the zoo, because we want to see those primates and birds, which we did not see in the wild. To the Zoo we go by taxi. It is more convenient, and, to some extent, a small city tour. The tickets are incredibly cheap for the zoo. In the zoo all of us disperse according to their interest. Ilgonis is looking for the dragon that he didn’t see on the island, Agnese – for tarsier, Andra – for gorilla. Me and Vitolds are delighted by orangutans. How wise they are! How they know how to communicate with us, to show themselves. Unfortunately Agnese must leave sooner and without seeing tarsiers, as her plane leaves earlier, but we will be together again in Cologne.

After an hour also the rest of us, more or less satisfied, leave the Zoo. By taxi to get our belongings from the hostel, then to the airport. We spend 3 hours in the taxi, after all it’s a 9 million-people city. We see the un-polished side of the city, many spend their lives miserably. Near the airport there is an unimaginable congestion. Then we notice something interesting – stretch by stretch there are guys with motorcycles standing who are ready to deliver travelers, being late for their flights due to congestion, by motorcycle, including the baggage. Motorcycles here are able to go through the eye of a needle.

We are finally at the airport. We change our clothes. Unspent millions of rupees exchanged for some miserable euros. We are in the Turkish plane, where we are awaited by wine and a hearty dinner. Goodbye Indonesia! It was nice to get to know you at least a little.

To Jakarta

March 17th

We wake at Miko hotel in Makassar. Breakfast is [agreed] at nine o’clock, but before that Agnese, Andra, Imants and Rūdolfs go to the post by taxi. After breakfast, five of us go to the market, where we create photographing festival for locals. We all return to the hotel and by a van go to the airport to fly to Jakarta, where we also land successfully. With three Blue Bird taxis we arrive at a rather the nice accommodation The Packer Lodge. Here there are comfortable beds for everyone in one’s own niche. Shower and toilet works even without buckets. There is a possibility to get beer which we hurry to use. We cozily sit and eat a bit. In the evening, some of us still find the strength for a walk through the city, going to the Dutch Square. Around it there are pedestrian streets with a rather lively night-trading. We enter a fine restaurant with live music, where we get kindly shown all the rooms, but after all of that we get back in the streets again. As this is the capital, the locals no longer show the desire to take photos with us. We have got knocked out of the usual. After 11pm we return and disperse over our shelves. In our room they are in two floors – 8 pcs. It is much more comfortable than in many other places. We fall in a sweet sleep after this saturate day.

The first day of sauna

February 29th

I wake up more active than yesterday. The lighting in the saloon is still off, everyone have their blinds closed, but if somebody tries to peek out then there is a bright light along the saloon. Many are still sleeping, but some are awake. I watch some films on the seat-panel screen. In a moment everyone are woken up by switching on the saloon light. After some time we get offered breakfast. There is an omelette with two slices of toast, tomato salad with mozarella cheese, a bun, butter, Turkish yoghurt for the desert, jam and water. Filled out the immigration form.

Finally the time has come to land and we land nicely, finally we are on hard land. Going out from the airport by a tunnel a moist hottness hits us. The first day of sauna, one can say. In the airport building the air is conditioned – then it feels better. We wait for everyone to meet at one place and then also all together go for the passport control, where we got a stampo in our passports saying “IMMIGRATION INDONESIA VISA EXEMTION”. I got it stamped next to the voting signs, Normunds got it on the “Children” page. We go to get the baggage. Waiting for some time till we get it. Then out to the airport, last scannings, neither liquids nor computer needs to be taken out.

We get out of the airport and arrive in sauna. It’s already got dark outside as darkness arrives already after 18:00. It is 27 degrees centigrade and steamy. We look for the bus to the first airport terminal, we almost catch one, then wait for the next one. Many different busses stop here, some of them still moving while the people get in or out of the transport. The correct free inter-terminals bus comes and we board it. We squeeze in the back with all the suitcases. We started to drive, it stopped in 100metres and there was Agnese whom we had agreed to meet in the airport.

All together we successfully arrive at the first terminal. We go in without taking anything out. Here they don’t care at all whether the computer or liquids have been taken out and put separately. We notice a big cockroach running near the check-in belt. We check-in and give in our baggage. Then all of us go to the plane through a big decorative arch which is leading up, and then we cross a bridge with a garden underneath. The halls are nicely cool as everywhere around there is ventilaton everywhere that comes from the floor. We gather all at the same place where there are more seats, and wait for our plane which is scheduled at 21:45. The designed time has come and we go to the gate. Looks like nothing is happening but the door is open. We go forward, but it turned out that it’s not available yet and the airport staff member run after us to get back. We were said that it will be in half an hour. Then all of us are waiting. We notice that also on the screen the time is moved forward by 20 minutes and in a moment it gets lost from the screen. We are asking what has mattered. They said that it’ll be another half an hour late. We conclude that we shouldn’t believe our eyes and shouldn’t believe what is said and hope for the best. Finally the long-waited call for the plane has come, and we go down the stairs and in the bus that takes uz to the plane.

The plane is rather new. The air is rather cool. We take our places. I snooze for a short while and wake up in a moment and conclude that the plane is still on the runway, then in a moment we take off. I started to work on putting together a video which had to be done a long time ago. They started to give out a paper bag to everyone. There was a bun and a glass of water in the bag. Finally we arrive at the end and get out, and no less hot and humid air awaits us here as well. We get to the baggage belt and wait four our baggage, those are coming slowly and without a hurry. After some of things have rotated the 4th time, our first pieces of baggage start to appear and soon we get the rest. When we have got everything we are about to go out but we get stopped on the way to check whether we have taken the right baggage and only then let us go. We go further, and there is a taxi booking system on the way and we take 3 taxi companies in random. When outside, there are many people who are calling us to go to their taxi. We start to find out prices and bargain. In the end we agree that we all get into 2 taxis and each of them will cost 150’000 rupees. We squeeze the baggage and also squeeze ourselves in the taxis since after all we are 11 people. We drive out on the road and soon stop at a post where it’s needed to pay 3500 rupees for the toll road for light vehicles. After some time we approach our hotel going through area that in Europe would be called a slum, and soon spot our hotel which excels nicely from the surroundings. We get kindly welcomed in the middle of the night and get a room and we divide the rooms. The hotel is modern and nice. There is a conditioner in the room which we quickly turn on and get a shower and go to bed. Good night!

Agnese’s notes:
To Makassar we were flying with Sriwijaya carrier, the return ticket around 100Eur.
In the 2nd terminal of Jakarta airport there are many money exchanges – those which are closer to the exits the rate is worse. There are no exchanges in the 1st terminal where most local flights depart from. We arrived in Makassar airport with one of the latest flights and there were no possibilities to exchange money, so good that we exchanged some for taxis in Jakarta airport.