We heard many stories about this city before we arrived. Most said it was a traffic zoo, regardless of day or time. And they were right! They also said there wasn’t much worth the trouble but on that we think they are wrong. This is a huge city, residents total approximately 12M, with day time workers it bloats to 16M.
The disappointing thing was that it was Sunday and although work traffic was less, it was replaced with road blocks for ‘carless Sunday’. The result was that the agreed to list of sites was altered significantly due to traffic delays. And 1 person out of 19 had to see President Obama’s school! But enough about that.
Our first destination is an outdoor park with recreations of buildings from all the districts in Indonesia. It is an amazing area, the shapes and colours vary a lot. The idea for this park came from Madurodam in Holland after the then president had visited there.
An hour and a half of negotiating traffic and we arrive at the school that Obama attended. While interesting to see, the highlight was good quality toilets. But here are some photos anyway:
Off to the puppet museum. While en-route we pass the National Monument (line ups too large to stop and go up the tower, this is an oft repeated statement during the ride!). This massive tower commemorates the independence from Netherlands in 1954 (not sure of date).
There are a total of 6000 puppets required to tell the full story of history. They are made of cow hide (flat) and the handles are shaped cow horn. A simple puppet can take 30 hours to make, the complex ones can take 1-3 months. The colours and detail are truly amazing.
Nearby is a fabulous market where we search for wool and needle point materials. No success as those shops were closed on Sunday. (The group was really the needle point/knitting circle with the men tagging along ). But the sights and smells were amazing. Again, no time to shop or even browse properly and we didn’t get time to taste some of the delightful looking snacks on offer.
To salvage some pleasure out of the traffic, we voted to visit an art market. This is part of a large waterfront entertainment area. There are superbly crafted items here, unfortunately not enough time to really take advantage. Pat bought some lovely earrings and 2 necklaces but there was no time to pick a pair of beautifully made leather sandals for Gerrit.
Our last stop before heading back to the ship is the old sailing harbour (Sunda Kelapa Harbour), filled with Makassar schooners. As a bonus there were two trucks whose engines were being rebuilt on the spot.
All in all a disappointing tour due to the amount of time in the bus form A to B, but that was mostly due to the tour company telling someone what they wanted to hear instead of being honest about it being Sunday and the line ups. Also allowing 1 person to force a major detour to see one site is not great. So some lessons learned for organizing tours, the subject of a page to itself in the future. Would we go to Jakarta again? Yes, but on our own with a realistic idea of traffic and distance. There are lots of things to see in the city and its surroundings. And we will have our own map so that we can track where we have been.