So currently with this itinerary, we have done the same cruise three times, at least in theory we were supposed to. But as ship life has it, ports get switched around due to weather, port authorities, and many other reasons including political unrest. Although two of our three sailings did face itinerary changes, we were still able to stop in Jakarta each time.
As the capital of Indonesia, I suppose I expected some fancy infrastructure, but the city is so huge, I am not sure if we just missed it or there isn’t any to speak of.
On our first visit, a friend of a friend picked up four of us and took us around a local area, had us try out a durian – “smells like hell but tastes like heaven.” I disagree. It tastes pretty bad too. We also visited Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, a large complex where they’ve created a shrunken down version of the islands. I had imagined that I would feel like a giant walking through mini villages, but on the contrary, everything is still very large, meaning a car or EXTREMELY good walking shoes and lots of time is needed to see a good portion of this cultural attraction. We did have a tasty lunch and I got to try Gado Gado, a yummy dish featuring vegetables and tempeh covered in peanut sauce. It was delicious! And just about one of the only vegetarian Indonesian dishes out there.
On our second visit, we didn’t do anything notable, just wandered through a local mall. I find it baffling that in so many of the cities I’ve visited in Asia, locals are living on very little, trash is piled high throughout the streets and villages, and yet beautiful, expensive malls rise up through the middle of it all. Seems very contradictory to me, like that money should have been distributed elsewhere. At least the malls provide many jobs.
The third visit took us to Kota Tua. We thought this would be the center of the city when we asked the cab driver. A bit of a language barrier, as you can imagine, brought us here instead – a bustling part of the old town. We checked out the local puppet museum (not too highly recommended), had a bite to eat, and posed in many photos requested by the locals.
As we got ready to set off, our poor cab driver’s car wouldn’t start, so we pushed it out of the way and jumped in quite possibly the only taxi whose driver didn’t know where the cruise terminal was. It took a lot of patience and pulling over for instructions, but we finally made it. That was probably the most exited I’ve ever been to see the ship.