December 7th, 2018
heading to Jabodetabek
We woke up early and our host Made kindly drove us to the airport.
We were heading to Jakarta, the capital and largest city in Indonesia. We were excited as we had never visited before. It has a population of nearly 11 million and is predicted to become the worlds largest megacity by 2030. Tokyo holds the current title. The locals fondly call the greater metropolitan area of Jakarta – Jabodetabek (an acronym of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi).
We were early to the airport as usual. After check-in, we settled in at the departure gate for our flight but as sometimes happens with adventure travel, things went pear shaped from there.
So somehow we missed an announcement in Indonesian about 20 minutes before our flight was due to depart. Part of the issue was that our phones were not charged, we were distracted and unfortunately the departure board was not in our line of sight.
So it had to happen one day, that due to a calamity of errors and misunderstandings, we missed our first flight. Even as we ran to the re-assigned gate we had staff tell us the gate was already closed. This was a first for our family in all our many travels. We were more than a little disappointed but luckily, it was a cheap domestic flight and we felt privileged to have the cash available to quickly rectify the situation.
Rather then let this spoil our day or our future plans, we accepted the situation and like true adventurers sorted out another flight, reclaimed our bags and after another long wait the journey continued.
Of course this created some confusion for our Jakarta host, Bunda. This new flight arrived at a different time and at a different Jakarta airport. We neither had the time or data available to advise her. So we had little choice but to sort it out at the other end…
On arrival Prunella couldn’t contact Bunda, so left messages to follow up later as we knew she was working today. As always we pushed ahead and continued with the day’s plan: to meet up with Etka, a lovely lady who had previously couchsurfed with us in Perth.
First, we took a bus to a shopping mall, and stored our bags in a locker shop, before meeting up with Etka and her friend. It was lovely to see their smiling, welcoming faces and have some things go smoothly at last. We took a taxi to a famous local restaurant and were treated to a grand lunch. We were very grateful to these two, who had given up their lunch break and made the effort to welcome us to their city.
Next, we took a free tourist bus around the city, for some lazy sightseeing, then back to the locker shop to reclaim our bags and have dinner at a nearby McDonald’s. Tired but with more time to kill, we went to one of Jakarta’s many cavernous malls. Whilst there we stumbled upon a crazy Christmas live performance.
We watched “Mortal Engines” being Lucas’s first movie choice before finally making solid contact with our host, Bunda. It was late by the time we reached Bunda’s lovely home on the outskirts of Jakarta, had a generously provided bite to eat and collapsed into bed …