After getting off the plane, getting the visa, finding an ATM and all the other related mundane tasks I decided not to take a cab, but to find my own way to the hotel. The first part wasn't that bad, just a shuttle to a different terminal (found to be entirely unnecessary) and a bus ride to the general part of Jakarta where the hotel would be. Easy enough. The next part though was not as straightforward. With my two backpacks weighing in just under 25kg on my back and the flats I'd worn on the plane on my feet I set out to find the hotel on foot. It should have been about a mile away, but I was about to learn that the streets of Jakarta are not kind to pedestrians. There are no sidewalks, the roads are dirty, broken up, and occasionally filled with garbage. You basically walk along the edge of the road along with the cars, motorcycles, bikes and other wheeled contraptions, all of them merrily beeping along as they pass by. Add to that a lack of signs, the lack of basic navigation information like which way is north, and the curious tendency to name 5 streets with the same name, but also with a mysterious version number and you'll find me 45 minutes later with very sore feet and back, exactly 2 minutes from the hotel, but without any idea of how exactly I am to get to it and no desire to keep walking. Now I started out with the idea that after my long flight I'd be glad to do the walk so I kept saying no to the billion taxi motorcycles, taxi cabs, and rickshaws that kept offering to drive me to my destination, but in the end I gave up. I stopped by the next group of cabbies I encountered, made sure they understood where I needed to go and how to get there and negotiated a price. Not too bad considering it took 5 people to sort that out since I don't speak the local language. A scary, but short ride on the back of a very flimsy motorcycle finally got me to my destination and after sending out some messages home to prove that I'd survived this far and a quick shower, I finally passed out.
If this seems a bit too wordy or like it has too many details you'd rather I'd skipped, I'd like to refer you to my sisters and their battle cry of "You better write down all the things!" Seriously though, I'll try to make these a bit more interesting going forward :)