Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jakarta, my old home

Just a recap Of what I have been up to. I was in Beijing for a while checking out the sites before leaving china which was pretty cool. Met some really nice people there. After a few days we flew from Beijing to Singapore and caught a ferry to the island of Batam in Indonesia. Flights directly to Jakarta were pretty expensive so we figured we should just fly to Singapore and take a ferry to Jakarta via the island of Batam. Batam was a nice island, though we only stayed for one day before jumping onto a ship bound for Jakarta. The ferry ride was over night and lasted about 30 hours. We met a couple in their 70s who were on a biking trip all across Europe and Asia. They had biked most of the way from Scotland to Indonesia and were about to bike the length of Java to Bali. Amazing! In the end we ended up saving a couple hundred dollars each. We arrived in Jakarta In the evening and took a Taxi to the main backpackers street, Jalan Jaksa. An interesting street if you’re in the right place. Like most backpacker streets it’s packed with bars, pool halls, cafes and guesthouses. If you`re lucky you will land in a good guest house with good people. Having stayed on Jalan Jaksa Many time before we had a good idea where we ought to go. We ended up at Bloom stein where we met a lot of interesting people and shared some stories and adventures.

While in Jakarta we managed to make it to the national Mosque an idea we got from a friend of ours (Thanks Kai). The mosque was amazing, during festivals such as Ramadan it would reach its full capacity of approximately 200 000! After we left the mosque we walked back to the Monas (National monument of Indonesia and Jakarta).

Many young students from all over Indonesia cam to show their support for Palestine.As we approached the square we started to notice a lot of people carrying the flag of Palestine and wearing kaki color shirts and pants. Little did we know this was just the beginning of huge protest. One of the largest government parties of Indonesia had gathered to show its support for Palestine in the Israel (and United States) Vs. Palestine war. As we entered the Monas Square we spoke with some locals about the demonstration and they assured us that it was just a peaceful demonstration of Indonesia’s support for Palastein.

The Spokesman/leader of the party being interviewed.By the time we reached the other side of the Monas an entire parade of protesters was entering the square through the main gate, where we were trying to exit. While we made our way out through the protesters we noticed a news team doing a live report on about the demonstration. They were interviewing a man, likely the head of the party or some sort of spokesman for the party.

As soon as we got out on the main street we could see that half of the main highway had been completely taken over by protesters marching towards the Monas. There must have been at least 10 000 people, as far as you could see people were waving the flags of Palestine and Indonesia. After we passed that we quickly made our way down a side street away from the protesters and grabbed a Taxi back to Jalan Jaksa.

The next day we made our way to Kota which is an old district of Jakarta on the water with a couple harbors. We spent the afternoon exploring the backstreets near the harbor which was packed with shops selling just about everything you can imagine and likely things you can`t imagine down the darker alleys. After that we headed into town and stumbled upon a central square which we had heard was in the area, but we weren’t really looking for it. The square was alive with music dance and art. The new generation of Indonesians know how to have a good time. The highlight of the night was the BMX bikers who were pulling all kinds of impressive tricks for a large crowd.

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