In the Clogged Streets of Indonesia

Indonesia was our last stop and a last-minute trip; we didn’t decide to go until days and days of Singaporean prices wore down our wallets. We stayed with a friend, which meant some great home-cooked Indonesian fare but a bit less exposure to Jakarta.

  • Indonesia is one of the less developed countries we visited, so prices were cheap: I preferred the gourmet $10 sushi meals, but Fred got a couple $1 lunches on the street.
  • The traffic (*slams head against wall*) extends into the suburbs, nearly all day, so it usually takes at least an hour to get anywhere. It’s honestly the worst traffic I’ve seen and I couldn’t imagine dealing with it day after day.
  • Jakarta has no metro and we were strongly advised against the bus (by locals, no less), so we ended up taking taxis everywhere – for a few dollars per ride. 
  • The streets of Jakarta are filled with lots of motorbikes – though less than Vietnam – and a variety of taxis (the Blue Bird Group being most reliable). 
  • Surprisingly, Indonesia has some beautiful public sculptures – like triumphant Olympic athletes and muscular horses.
  • English isn’t too widely spoken.
  • Expat life is a luxury, perhaps to make up for all the traffic: the teacher we stayed with had a personal driver and a maid, with incredibly low salaries (by Western standards).
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