I am Morrissey
Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
39Trip End Jul 17, 2012
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I was pleasantly surprised that when I made inquires as to which is the better route to take to Merdeka Square to see Sukarno’s MONAS monument to the nation, found out that M H Thamrin would be closed to traffic till noon. Every Sunday morning it is closed for 6 hours to allow pedestrians and cyclists free reign. Imagine if they did that to some of Auckland's roads! So it was a really neat to be walking along the road with the cyclists in their allocated part of the road and just the buses still in their dedicated busway lane.
MONAS is a 132 m high National Monument that towers over Merdeka Square. Opened in 1975 it gives a wonderful view over the city but unfortunately we were not allowed to the very top. It was smoggy anyway.
It was also this weekend Jakarta's anniversary so the grounds in Merdeka Square were being cleaned and tradespeople were hard at work dismantling the staging after the recent celebrations.
Talk about wall to wall people queuing to get their 2,500 Rp (NZ .30c or US .25c) ticket into the monument and National History Museum where at least being underground it was as cool as anything. At least we were allowed to the first level which gave a little overview of Merdeka Square. One thing that I noticed is like in many parts of China, I am head and shoulder taller than the locals. I saw so few, if any, noticeable “foreigners” like me.
After this I walked towards the Mesjid Istiqial, Jakarta‘s Muslims principal place of worship. This mosque with its 45 m dome, 90m tall minaret tops has five levels and can fit 20,000 worshipers for Ramadan. It was recently completed in 1978.
Across from this is the Catholic Cathedral with its twin spires. It was built in 1901.
Just look at the traffic and the disregard of some parents to their youngster’s safety on the scooters!
Back to the Morrissey and to me the peaceful clean haven that it offers. I really like this place. In one of the lifts it has …I have an industrial twist of Dutch-colonial style to my presence, a quaint classical approach to my personality, and a youthful urban vibrancy to my edgy personality. I am Morrissey. This does in many ways sum up the hotel ... no, not a hotel but a serviced apartment.
My studio with the attached kitchenette felt large. I have been in much smaller hotel rooms.
I had a late check out till 1 pm so after that spent the next few hours up in the air conditioned cabana (lounge) up by the 6th floor pool, above most of the traffic noise, hustle and bustle of street life and was able to finish off these last few days blogs.
Then literally just across the road to Hotel Paragon which is Intrepid's departure hotel. Sorry to say, it is not as nice as the Morrissey. But it is for just one night and the standard is in keeping with what Intrepid Travel is all about.
The group is "full" with 12 people and I am lucky again with my own single room. Only 2 of us are doing the 2 combined trips so will my luck hold out for a single room on the 2nd and shorter trip around Bali?
With 5 flying in later tonight, just 7 of us had the group meeting. I don't know how many times that I heard Nova our guide talk about Intrepid's responsible travel? Anyway he covered the usual about:
- using local people
- reminded us about the dominant religion and for the ladies to cover up clothing wise
- remove sunglasses when talking with people
- ask permission before taking photos
- rubber time (like island time) expect things to be late
- no malaria
- use insect repellent
- dealing with hawkers and how to bargain
- how much to tip a porter 5,000 Rp, 20,000 Rp local guide / driver per day
- and last but not least to carry toilet paper.
BTW - Don't expect too frequent Travelpod updates on this first part of the trip as internet is currently only in 4 places ahead of me and may be SLOW. Lets see.
PS - A note for myself as I'm into writing reviews for Trip Advisor. Hotel Paragon. No wi fi but the signal in the 1st floor restaurant is so much better than in the lobby.