11/18 – 11/20: NYC to Jakarta

11-18 Thursday/11-19 Friday:
I had a long flight to Hong Kong with a five-hour connection to Jakarta. I reached Jakarta and the Jakarta Airport Hotel around 9PM Friday evening, with enough time to check into my room, say hello to Evelyn who was asleep in the other twin bed, exchange a few muddled words about our flight the next morning, shower, and go to sleep.

11-20 Saturday:
Our planned travel day went like this: Flight from Jakarta to Makassar. Flight from Makassar to Sorong. Then on a boat for a 4-5 hour transfer (yes, 4-5 hours) to Misool. Not a small day of travel at all. So Evvy and I checked in early for our flight… to learn that it had already left. Through various mistakes we had completely missed our flight, and the next flight to Sorong was 24 hours later. But keep in mind, not only had we missed this one flight; we’d missed ALL our flights *and* the boat transfer to Misool. Panic. Panic. Screwed. Screwed. Screwed.

We managed to re-book a flight for the next morning and secure another night at the airport hotel (this was something like an episode of “The Amazing Race”), so we figured we were okay with a change fee, and extra night in a hotel, and just one day of diving missed. That’s when we got word from Misool that they could arrange a boat transfer for the next day, but because we’d missed the group boat we had to arrange a private transfer that was an EXHORBITANT amount of money. So much that I’m not even going to quote it here because it still makes my stomach drop with anxiety.

But we rallied, determined to have a good day of touring Jakarta and taking in sights we hadn’t planned to see. We caught a taxi to Sunda Kelapa – the old port of Jakarta – and immediately met Sam, one of the official tour guides, who we hired as our the guide for the rest of the day. We had no idea what we were signing up for but happily followed him onto a tiny boat, where we toured the big fishing boats from the water.

Sunda Kelapa

Trash, everywhere!

Evvy and Heidi on our tour boat

“Phinisi” boat

Evvy, touring a phinisi boat

Phinisi cargo

Evvy, walking the plank off the boat

Sam integrated a language lesson into our tour so we learned quite a few helpful Indonesian phrases along the way.

Tida = “No”
Hati Hati = “Take care”
Awas = “Watch out”
A Pa Ca Bar = “How are you?”
Bike Bike = “fine”
Three Ma Ca See = “Thank you”
Suma Suma = “You’re welcome”
Permissy = “Pardon me”
Diary America = “From America”
Saya = “I”
Carne = “We”
Unda = “You”
Apa = “What”
Ikara = “Now”
A Bara apa = “How Much”
Satu = “One”
Dua =”Two”
Tiga = “Three”
Ampa = “Four”
Lima = “Five”
Anurn = “Six”
Tooju = “Seven”
Delapin = “Eight”
Simelan = “Nine”
Sepulu = “Ten”
Juta = “Million”
Ratoose = “Hundred”
Rebu = “Thousand”

We also toured through a nearby fishing village, which was fully of tiny alleyways that we loved exploring but – as Evvy and I later agreed – we would NEVER have ventured into by ourselves. But everyone was so nice and loved when we said, “A Pa Ca Bar?” (How are you?) It was pretty special.

Fishing village alleys

Boat lines

Parking Lot

At the northern end of Kali Besar is the last remaining Dutch drawbridge, the Chicken Market Bridge, which dates from the 17th century.

Old Towne

Maritime Museum

We ended up at the Café Batavia, a turn-of-the-century bar/restaurant in Fatillah Square where the menus are on the backs of the black-and-white pictures strewn about the walls.

Sam even took us on a tour of the mens’ room, which had “The most interesting toilet in all of Jakarta”. A trough in front of a mirror.

Me, ordering from a weird frame/menu

Frosty pineapple drink and Fatillah Square

After we sat and enjoyed some juice, we decided to take a taxi to Blue Erwan – a highly-rated Thai restaurant in Jakarta. Unfortunately, the traffic was ridiculous and as we traveled outside the city we realized we needed to get online to be in contact with the resort and to finalize any last-minute details before the office closed at 5:00. So we asked the taxi driver to take us to the airport, which of course involved him making a u-turn and sitting in the horrendous traffic going the other direction. While we sat in traffic, Evvy called the office and actually got a connection, confirming that all was in order for our travel the next day. Once she got off the phone we decided that we were hungry, had to go to the bathroom, and were tired of the traffic. And by this time we were close to Fatillah Square, so we asked to be dropped off there. The taxi driver, ironically, dropped us off at the exact same location where we hailed him; one hour and $4 later. We had dinner at the Café and went back to our room to sleep.