Friday, January 08, 2016

How To Survive In Jakarta

was not something to which I gave much thought when I boarded my first flight to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. In fact, "survival" is not something I ever think of when I'm travelling internationally.

My thoughts revolve around seeing amazing things, meeting new friends and generally immersing myself in wherever I happen to be and enjoying the experience to the fullest.

So when this video popped up in my Facebook feed, I was... confused... a little put off... and I'm still trying to quantify what it is that bothers me... Maybe it's because Jakarta is my "home away from home" and I have family there that I love.

When I'm in Jakarta it's because I want to be there, not because I "have to". There have been sad times & happy times, but I never found myself worried about my safety (which as an American I was warned about!) or out of place.

I've travelled around the world and the one place I feel most at home is Jakarta. It's a city of contradictions with slums near shopping centres but also a blossom that is slowly opening to show it's inner beauty. You just need to be able to see it.

I remember Jakarta in 2002 when the canals were so filled with styrofoam trash that rats the size of cats were cavorting on them. I remember the flood that meant we had to leave our home on bamboo rafts. I remember the presidential election of 2014 and the nail-biting vote count that was televised for the entire nation to see.

What I remember most about Jakarta is spending time with my family, shopping on side streets (she has a point about sidewalks!), eating amazing food you can't get anywhere else and just sheer happiness.

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