Touchdown in Jakarta. A fog of smog and pollution hang over the city, like a blanket covering it up. Got our stamp at immigration. Luckily we have 29 days in Indonesia, one more day and we would have had to pay 35 bucks. We already did some groundwork in Singapore. Read up on how to get into the city, via a blue bird taxi. Took us a while to get a taxi and into the city itself. It was already dark out so you really couldn’t see anything. Maps.me hadn’t loaded the Indonesia map so we were literaly in the dark. Dude who drove us knew that and we found out later that the joker drove around a couple of blocks before he got to our hotel so we would have to pay more. But Dutchies wouldn’t be Dutchies if they didn’t get him to lower the price:)
The hotel was located just thirty minutes walking from the old city center. But this was also the first city in which we didn’t feal excately safe. And everything food wise in a two mile radius was closed again, except for a Chinese restaurant nextdoor. Boring but true, ate there two nights in a row. After some serious sleep, we were so tired, we headed out to the old part of the city. Too bad the Indonesian government let all the old Dutch buildings fall into despair. But first we had to find a train that would take us to Yogyakarta the cultural capital of Java. But first Jakarta wanted us to have our scare of the day. We were walking past a few shacks when a dog and another dog jumped up scared the living daylights out of us especially when one jumped up against Suus barking loudly. Bad dogs!!! We were yelling and basically running down the street to get away from those doggie monsters.
A train station in Jakarta is busy like the you would not believe. We were both looking around for any information sign when an old man walked up to us. Turned out the man was half Dutch, his father came from Leiden and in 1995 he visited the grave of his old men. He could still speak Dutch. And when he left he gave Suus a nice pat on the shoulder. Grandpa that hurts!!:p Maybe he was thinking about his dad when he did it. Got ourselves a train ticket after standing in line for an hour and a half.
Next up the old part of the city. One of the few buildings that was still in great condition was Old Batavia Cafe, a Dutch guy had it restored. We had a delicious overpriced latte there. Beautiful on the inside with old Indonesian woodpaneling lining the walls and pictures of famous actors and actresses decorating the inside, even the bathroom stalls. After our trip down memory lane we walked to the Governers House. First we had to pass people bycicling and others wearing cheap and dirty animal costumes, super random. Stood in line because once in the house there would apperently be some sort of history museum. Turned out by history they meant grannies old pieces of furniture with signs on them that read NO TOUCHING THE OBJECTS. What do Indonesian people do they touch it, grab it, hold it, bop it, if they could shake it they probably would;) Walked around the old part, but it was kind of sad, evrything was in terrible condition and we hadn’t seen that many poverty and especially filth in a while.
Took a bycicle tuktuk and let the guy bring us to the national monument in the middle of a ginormous field. Meanwhile everyone was still looking at us like we were from outer space. They would take sneaky pictures of us or ask us to pose with them, you felt like a fish in a fishbowl. Now thinking of it there were really not many western tourists here in Jakarta, maybe for a reason:p Also saw a monument with horses and a big *ss hurse. Of course Liz was hungry again because the breakfast consisting of tea and a a limb piece of sandwich with butter or overdated nutella wasn’t the best brekkie we had. Not so easy to find food in Jakarta as well we would soon find out. But then we both saw it, a shining bright beaken in the distance, it was the PIZZA HUT!! Happy dance, got ourselves a pizza and went next door to Starbucks to get some desert, the cheapest muffin they had.
Next up the national museum, should be great history wise but we didn’t get to see it because someone had decided that it would be an okay idea to close up shop around four, FOUR!!! Took us about two hours to walk back to our hotel and Jakarta isn’t really a city you walk through at night. We were so glad to be back at our hotel where apparently, we were the only western tourist staying here. So the staff came out and we had to pose for pictures again, so many paps during this vacation woah;) liz being Liz asked, “so boys what do we get in return, a discount?” We didn’t get a discount, but we did get free water and some amazing cookie balls that are apparently some Indonesian speciality. Beacause we haven’t had any Spekkoek during this vacation. NO SPEKKOEK in the land where SPEKKOEK was invented, you can walk into the AH and there it is, but not here folks, not here.
Sniffing some culture in Java
The next day we had to wake up at four, to have breakfast and get ourselves a taxi across the street. The train was nice… Sat up straight for nine hours straight with no legroom but with amazing views of rice paddys and little towns along the way. Yogyakarta was the end of the line, the cultural city of Java. We really wanted to see Borubodur and Prambanan and from Yogya you can easily get there. We hadn’t booked a room or did our groundwork because the wifi in the last hotel sucked. So with our Monsters we started to walk and walk and walk. We walked for two hours, one homestay looked okay, okay price, but the toilet was a standing toilet, we looked at each other and said thank you and ran away. The other homestay was also in our pricerange, with AC, everything looked splendid, but then came the shower or the bucket you could fill with ice cold water and drop over your head. We were so outta there:(
We were almost losing faith when we saw a big hostel sign. Halleluja, got ourselves a room in a female dorm, with a shower and a normal toilet. Yeahh!! Walked around the city, saw the sultan palace and the Vredeburg. We still had to book our trainride to Bali. Funny story apperently we were in Java at exactly the same time as the Ramadan holiday was ending. So every single train was booked for six straight days. Even the flights to Bali were booked. We had already decided not to do Mount Bromo, but then we saw a poster of Mount Bromo hanging behind the woman at the travel agency. We were like if we book a tour to Mount Bromo can we then get to Bali? She was like sure! Sparkle sparkle so we booked the tour to Mount Bromo that would get us to Bali!!:)
Later that evening we booked a tour at our hostel, a sunrise tour, a tour of Borubodur and Prambanan. But what they don’t tell you when you book the sunrise tour is that only for a couple of months you can see Borubodur in the distance, so the Dutchies together with two hundred of our closests friends watched the fog light up. Wow just wow. Luckily we had better luck with Borobudur although it was very busy we still got to see evey little detail of the tempel and later Prambanan. The temples are maybe not as big as Angkor but not less impressive. Unfortunately Yogjakarta can definitely not be compared with the cozy Siem Raep in Cambodia, so we weren’t to disapointed to leave again.
The next day we woke up early again and waited for our ride to Mount Bromo. It took us 14 hours in a bus with no airco to get us there, unforgettable to say the least. So glad when we were finally dropped at the hotel near the vulcano. Also had a friendly roommate here: Pete the naaktslak. No food to be found around here so we went to bed with empty stomachs. The tour guides said many times: “pickup FOUR o’clock!!” We were like ok take a chill pill and set our White Lies alarm clock at 3.30. Apparently the clock in Java runs different because at 3 they were knocking on our door. Liz was still in a coma so Suus pulled herself together jelling at Liz to wakey wakey (we are definetely no morning people).
We got pushed in a jeep and went to a viewing point to see the sunrise. Apparently again so many of our closests friends wanted to see this magnificent moment so while looking over tens of heads we saw the sky turn in to many beautiful colours. Forunately we could push some people away to take some pictures and went off to the volcona. Still feeling like we were sleepwalking we had to walk freaking far over some kind of moonland, we were looking at each other like are we still dreaming or what?!?! Climbed up that vulcano like there was no tomorrow noticing we are in much better shape now than at the beginning of our journey, so did a happy dance until we saw the inside of the vulcano. Wow. What a beautiful and unforgettable moment. You could hear the volcano working and steam was coming out of it. Okay no regret that we came here. Wouldn’t have want to miss it for one tiny bit.
Prolonging the moment to go down we finally went back to our jeep, got some brekkie and went off in a bus to Bali. We were going to Gilimanuk, where the bus from Java to Bali stops, to go to our first stop in Bali: Lovina. The bus was going to Denpasar after this and apparently so was everybody else, so when we were allmost out of Gilimanuk we yelled to the driver to stop. The driver arranged transport for us and as experienced budgeteers we managed to get the price lower and went off to our hotel in Lovina. What a day:)