My Remembrance Day moment of silence in Jakarta
Indonesia is quite a change from Japan. Time and space mean different things here. It is a very fast-paced country with a large, traditional Muslim culture. It is also very dense with people, motos and cars. Being in the middle of all this interaction is a lot of fun. Everyone gets about on little combi buses and motos. Watching Muslim women hikes their skirts (they all have long trousers underneath) to get on the back of a moto is very odd. Definitely not a picture-taking opportunity.
There are malls that inside look like middle America (with mucho more people) and yet outside, the street teems with food stalls glued to every conceivable usable space, open sewers, garbage without end and enough traffic to keep you on your two. To cross, you have but one rule, walk, do NOT run, do NOT stop. he traffic will flow around you. Trust me. My first experience of this was India...which is another level up, so here I am quite fine.
First night in Jakarta, we drive some scooters over to Monas Park to play soccer againsta small crew of 14-15 year-old, barefoot locals. The temperature was in the 30s at 9:00 PM. There was a chnace of this being my last day on the planet. Then it was off for a few beers and back to hostel. We saw a girl on a moto get hit as we left the bar. This made the 20 minutes back a little more hair-raising.
People have been more than friendly, with lots of eye-contact, smiles, hellos and nods. In tourist areas like the volcano, you deal with street touts, but they are friendly, not really aggressive and no grabbing, so easy to be polite or ignore them. Otherwise, all I get is lots of hello, Mister!.
The hike above the hills in Bandung yesterday was very cool. Took an hour to bus to Lembang then a bit of walking to get out of town, then uphill thru a few villages, surrounded by working rice paddies, cut into the mountains.
My favorite part of travelling includes hiking the backs of small towns and then getting up into some elevation to look back down. The Lembang hike was perfect.