Don't arrest me!

Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
Trip End Feb 22, 2012

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Where I stayed
A random Losmen

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Saturday, May 28, 2011

After having a sudden 'this is the Right Thing To Do' moment and booking a flight to Indonesia, I arrived in Jakarta with nowhere to stay. It didn’t get off to a great start – I went to great trouble to avoid the hundreds of taxi touts at the airport and to get an official metered taxi. They give you a report card stating the additional costs and details on how to report a complaint before you even get in, perhaps this should have been a sign. The deal is that the customer pays the road toll fee as well as the metered fare. All good – until we arrived at the backpacking district of Jalan Jaksa and the taxi driver demanded an extra 10,000 Rupees for ‘airport tax’. Considering he couldn’t speak a word of English before this was pretty good going. It was clearly made up, I know for a fact that the only fee I was supposed to pay was the one on this damn report card. A local guesthouse owner came out to help translate. His advice was to just pay the money and avoid any trouble. I wasn’t going to pay up until the driver started picking up my bag (actually it was too heavy so he just put it down again) and started shouting ‘Police! Police!’ so for the sake of a whole lot of hassle and possibly paying off the police I decided to pay the 10,000 Rupees which actually amounts to less than a quid. Still it’s the principle!!!

Although it's the tourist district, Jalan Jaksa is certainly no Kho San Road. I found a cheap guest house (or 'losmen' as its called round here) figuring it's only for one night so doesn't matter what it's like. Who needs a flushing toilet or a sink anyway, right? In a bad mood I went off to find the train station on foot so I could buy a ticket to Yogyakarta the next day. I decided to buy it myself so there was no middle man to scam me. Wrong again! Turns out the only train that stops at this particular station for that particular destination is the First Class train, which cost me about 20 quid, approximately double what I would have paid if I’d bought the cheaper option from a tourist tout!!  After walking around Jakarta, I just got even more annoyed with the traffic and the fact that I couldn’t cross the road for about ten minutes, and outside the backpacker area there were virtually no tourists so everyone started at me. Funnily enough I saw lots of police and they were all very young and friendly and all offered me cups of coffee and helped me cross the road.

Everyone kept asking me about the hundreds (no exaggeration) of bites that I have. A very kind local man took me to a shop and showed me some natural Chinese oil that is supposed to help - they use it for everything over here. He kept trying to take me to the doctor for an injection (!!) so I gave in and bought the oil to shut him up.

I only came to Jakarta because the flight here was half the price of the one to Yogyakarta, my destination in Java, where my old penpal Amelia lives who I have come to visit and finally meet after 15 years! So after a crap nights sleep on a broken bed with about ten boys who appear to live at the guesthouse watching action movies outside my room, I boarded my First Class train and left for Yogya.
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