Friday, September 2, 2016

Joko's Java Journey 2: The Old Neighborhood

Sometimes you have to lie to get what you want, and as long as that lie isn't actually hurting someone else, I don't see anything wrong with that... now. See, it was my reluctance to lie which is wreaking havoc with the itinerary I had planned for this trip. It's now day four of the trip, and I'm still in the capital, Jakarta.
Jakarta, Cengkawan District

In the previous blog, I related the story of how a rental agent told me he had bikes for rent, and then on second thought, stopped answering my calls and turned his phone off. Yesterday, same story. A guy who had said he would have something ready for yesterday would not pick up his phone and eventually set it for straight-to-voicemail. Errrgh! The frustration.

I was starting to see a pattern here. I had been told there were bikes available and then the story changed after they had asked me what I'd be using it for. See, as was later explained to me, they don't want to rent to people who are taking it on a road trip all through the countryside. Puts a lot of wear on the motorbike, they think. Also, Indonesians have a very indirect way of communicating. They don't like saying 'no'. In fact, I've noticed that they answer “not yet” when they mean to say “no”. In any case, turning off your cel phone is a very indirect way of saying no. If I had lied to the first guy on day one, I'd be on a boat right now on my way to see the Anak Krakatoa Volcano or enjoying a beach on the Sunda Straight.

I got to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle taxi
..ordered by smartphone app!
The hotel I was staying at was quite nice, but knowing I'd be spending yet another night in Jakarta, I decided to relocate to some place cheaper. I didn't need luxury. Furthermore, as I had yet another night to kill, I decided I'd now have time to visit my old neighborhood where I lived back in 1986-87.

There were some familiar sights as I wound my way through the open air market adjacent to the old neighborhood. Most of it though, was totally different. The old windowless, poured-concrete structure that served as the bazaar was gone, replaced by an indoor mall. I was happy to see that the tiny department store I used to buy clothes at was still there, and I bought some clothes there just for the sake of saying I'd shopped there 30 years apart. And I could use another pair of shorts; I'll be needing laundry along my way on this trip as 2 weeks of clothes don't fit in a small backpack.

Buying clothes from the EXACT SAME STORE I
bought clothes 30 years ago
Finally, I got to Dempo Street... err streets. Like a lot of streets in Jakarta, one name goes for lots of connecting roads, they just add a Roman numeral to the end of it. I wasn't really expecting to encounter anyone I remembered or who remembered me... What happened? Well, I'll let the video tell the ending of this story. 



  1. I praise God that you someone you knew in the past recognized you. What a blessing it is! Happy for you... :) Blessings, Lynn


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