Getting lost and penniless in Jakarta

Trip Start Dec 03, 2005
Trip End Jun 20, 2006

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Arrived at 10 pm by the time I got the entry visa and baggage sorted with the last $100 of my travellers cheques. An earlier incident in Australia which I haven't written up yet was where my Bank Debit card got cancelled - I know now it was all their fault, however the last of my money put limitations on where I could stay. To book in advance, I had to ask my brother to make an internet booking, and to be on the safe side, he booked me in for 3 days, on his credit card. Only problem was the woman who ran this place turned out to be criminally insane, and there was something that bites in the bed at night (though this problem did go away after insisting they spray the room).
Jakarta is very much a 24 hour city, particulary in an enormous shopping mall area they call Block M. However during the day, transport is a nightmare, so badly overladen and lacking in infrastructure. Seemingly, much of the problems have been due to cancellation of plans to build monorails and/or an underground system (they have neither), since the Asia financial crisis which hit Indonesia badly (9 yrs ago I think, or thereabouts). The real people I spoke to in Jakarta maintain that the government have put their money wastefully into whimsical developments and frippery, such as lavish fountain sculptures. In itself, this sort of comment shows things improving on the freedom of speech front, but I have to agree with those who remarked on the insanity of putting bus lanes into every major road, and these lanes were separated by way of a continuous low wall the width of kerbstones. These lanes spent 99% of the time empty of traffic, not even taxis were allowed to use them.
One outcome ( I think, or was I showing the green between my ears again and losing the haggling battles) was that to get anywhere quickly one would use a motorcycle taxi, ie sitting as pillion, but for this efficiency the fare would often be more than the journey in a metred taxi car!
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