Saturday, September 14, 2013


We weren't too disappointed to be flying out of Malaysia as its Asia-light brand of culture and jungle-light national park just didn't compare to what we had previously experienced both during this trip and our previous trip to South East Asia. Monique summed up her disinterest in the country by dubbing it “Meh-laysia”

Our first impression of Indonesia was pretty good as a fast-food chain had a veggie burger available for Monique and the bus from the airport to central Jakarta came complete with wi-fi (although I wasn't able to make use of it before discovering that I was connected to the wi-fi on a different bus that had been parked up next to us). Unfortunately this good impression was spoiled by a taxi driver who couldn't find our hotel (or at least pretended that he couldn't find it) and repeatedly got out of the taxi to ask for directions whilst leaving the meter running, and was then very angry when we refused to pay the full amount on the meter.

Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, is a massive city with over 28 million inhabitants. Unfortunately it has very little in the way of sights (in contrast to the rest of Indonesia which is chock-full of interesting sights) so we stayed for only one night before moving onwards. Before leaving we had time for another run-in with a taxi driver who conveniently couldn't find his way around the city and wanted us to pay for his ineptitude, and then to enjoy the Medan Merdaka – a huge area of grass right in the center of the city with the Monas Tower.

As Ramadan had just ended it was a national holiday so lots of families were out enjoying the open space. We decided to join in the many people flying kites and bought one of our own (insisting on a patterned one and refusing one with Christiano Ronaldo's face on it). Our history with kites is one of failure; Winnie the Pooh has been landed on his head multiple times in Cannon Hill Park without getting above head-height, and purchasing a more serious kite was a serious waste of money. Initial signs suggested that this would be another kite-related failure to add to our c.v. As we struggled to get the kite above the height of the trees where it could catch the breeze. The solution: ask a small child to assist us in our endeavour. The result: the combined efforts of the entire family of said small child managed to get the kite flying to a point where I could take over and take the glory. They even gave us an extra spindle of kite string so we could fly it twice as high. The whole experience – the interaction with the family and then flying the kite – was really fun and by far the highlight of our time in Jakarta.

With our previous kite-related failures left firmly behind us we headed East of Jakarta by minibus to Bandung.

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