Jakarta, Indonesia 2019The nation now known as Indonesia began as a Hindu kingdom called Tarumanagara in 417 A.D. as this is the earliest confirmed date based on a tablet found discussing waterways (sewage channels...) being built by the king.
It was stable and grew into a huge trading hub, given its amazing location between so many bodies of land and calm waterways, it lasted for 1,000 years. Then came the Portuguese. At first it was mutual defense in the area, and they worked together against other kingdoms. Around a hundred years after they met the Portuguese, the Dutch and English had come to trade in the area too. The prince at the time, Jayakarta (I wonder how the city got its name...), didn't like the forts being placed around this kingdom, so he partnered with the Brits, to attack the Dutch.
They lost. The Netherlands became their colonial master until WW2 when the Japanese invaded and were particularly harsh even after promising equality in exchange for Indonesian cooperation.
After the war, they declared independence seeing as they didn't have much support from the Netherlands at all during the war, resulting in five years of fighting. They won in 1950 and became an independent nation with Jakarta as the capital.
The city is now the capital of the most populous Muslim nation in the world and a massive banking and petroleum hub, so it's economically doing very well. There are other concerns which will be addressed later in this blog.
The ArrivalI flew in on a redeye out of Hong Kong International, and was coming in around 4am or some such thing, flying over the Java Sea, when I saw tons of lights below. Those are thousands of oil platforms giving a huge financial boost to Indonesia.
I landed, got my bag, and was through customs to a cab in 25 minutes from deplaning to cab leaving airport. I made a HUGE mistake, never take an unbranded cab. I paid 40% more than I would have on a meter.
Regardless, got to the JW Marriott around 5am. I had called Marriott from Hong Kong to see if I could get checked in earlier, but I didn't expect to be there that early. To my amazement, my room was ready, and I only had 40 minutes before the executive lounge was opening. Great timing.
The park is quite a deal - it has an amusement park, gardens, the national monument, fountains - very large, and quite pleasant. There were lots of families. The national monument can be ascended but the wait can be hours and it costs (not a lot) to get in. I opted not to wait 2 and 1/2 hours to get up there.
That night, I ran into some Canadians in the executive lounge, and we went out for drinks to a night club (we're all old; it wasn't that exciting) in the Shangri-la Hotel. It was a nice club, reasonable prices, a lot of working girls and a lot of local people. Interesting to say the least, but that was the end of my night for sure.
I had been informed by Marriott Ambassador desk that it was ComicCon weekend in Jakarta, and I didn't have plans, so on the way to walking to the expo center, I screwed with the Russian Ambassador and explored some more of the city.
SummaryJakarta is really big, really crowded, millions of people and I think every single one of them drives. Security is not guaranteed here, Westerners get kidnapped and sometimes worse. It's rare, but never truly gone either. My hotel was blown up twice in the last 20 years. Everywhere has car gates and bomb checks. All buildings had security entrance checks, metal detectors and x-rays.
There is an old China town, a Dutch area and lots of museums. I made friends here, and will be going back for more hotel stays (which are 5 star if they are any stars) and seeing more of things. Overall not a tourist city, but fits into my agenda of approachable luxury and making more international friends.