Thursday, May 24, 2018


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We departed Bali on a Garuda International flight.  Garuda is the national airline...nice big planes, comfortable seats, and lots of entertainment options.  Two hours later we had flown over the "big island" and landed in Jakarta.  The airport is huge and modern and they had one of the best taxi lanes we've experienced so far.  Outside there are rows of seating where the taxis line up.  You get a number from the ticket machine and an attendant calls it when it is your turn.  They have others who help you with your bags and load you into waiting taxis.  There were no hawkers at the arrival gate.  It was very pleasant.

Our drive into the city center took about 30 minutes and cost less than $10.  It was amazingly hot...temps up to 100*.  We arrived with little trouble at our apartment building.  It is a 36 story tower above one of several shopping malls.  We had a bit of a snafu, that being the previous guest forgot to leave behind the only key.  We met the maid waiting in the lobby for its return.  So a bit of a wait was followed by being escorted up to the apartment.

Our space is small, just two rooms, but clean.  It has a decent kitchen and bath.  The bed is very firm but comfortable.  All of the essentials are in place and it is only $18 a night!!!  Wow.  Our host was really nice and apologetic for the delay in checking in.  The view from the balcony is a bit overwhelming.  The SMOG was so thick we had a hard time making out high-rises just 15-20 blocks away.

We left the maid to do her cleanup and headed out into the mall searching for a food market.  The mall directly below our apartment building is a bazaar with 100's of clothing stalls on five different floors.  It amazes me how anyone can make a living with so much competition and everyone carrying literally the same things.  We got a lot of stares...and a lot of smiles.

We went out on to the street and up to the next mall.  We got a lot of stares...there were few folks that looked like us around...that may be the reason.  The next mall was very upscale and only a block away.  On the lower level we found a nice market.  It even carried pork and liquor and there were plenty of expats shopping.  The staff were lovely and very pleasant.  A week's worth of groceries ran less than $100 and that included beer.

We headed back to the apartment to settle in.  The next day we had a leisurely morning and then started planning our activities.  The smog was even more intense today, and even more hot and humid outside.  After spending quite a bit of time on the internet we determined that for us there would be little sightseeing in Jakarta.  Two of the things that interested us were a culture village and an art market...however both were in the distant east side of this huge city and that became less appealing when we realized we'd have to travel over an hour by taxi to get there.  The metro system exists but is not as elaborate or well designed as we have seen in Korea or Japan.

We contacted a few tour agencies regarding the museum and a food tour that interested us and then settled in for what would be a week of resting, reading, and watching TV.  I took the downtime to work on our South Africa itinerary that we will be sharing with a few girlfriend next year and worked on my latest painting.

Fascinating. There are countless mosques in our neighborhood. This is what we hear from our balcony seven times a day starting at 5:15 am and ending at midnight. Check out this video.  Yes, it really is THAT LOUD. Even with the windows closed. Thank goodness for earplugs.

We discovered a really nice upscale cinema in the Grand Indonesia mall on our second visit and took in a film.  It cost a whoppoing $7 for two plus $4 for popcorn.

During our visit we happened to notice they had one of those 4DX theaters.  We opted for another film the next day.  In Japan showing were going for $25 a person, here it was $10, so why not.  AFterward we decided we would not do that again.  The 3D and big screen were fine, but the moving seat, mist, fog, air wisps, auto punches in the back etc. were distracting-at one point a bit of motion sickness set in...LOL

One of their venues was class the Ultimate Lounge.  While we didn't see a film there, I wondered what happens when they show an x-rated film...then I remembered what country we are in...LOL 

On out last day we finally found one of the hop on hop off buses we had read about.  It was free and made a nice circuit through the central part of the city.  We got off at a few stops.

The highlight of the day was the national museum.  Lovely building and extensive collection.

 The National Mosque is impressive.  Very large, very modern.

 And right across the street the Catholic National Cathedral.

At the end of the day we returned to do laundry, pack our bags, and get ready for our flight to Kuala Lampur.

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