Riding pillion on a motorbike taxi, or ojek as they’re known locally, can be a little nerve-wracking but leaving Batu Karas at 6am I was reasonably comfortable, although a little sore from surfing for eight days straight.
Pulling into the bus station in Pangandaran, our first motorbike ‘accident’ of the trip happened – at about 15kph, going from bitumen onto gravel, somehow the front wheel slipped out and he and I fell over. Don’t worry family – just light grazes on my ankle… His knee looked a little worse but nothing a bit of betadine and a bandaid didn’t fix. So began our journey to Jakarta to catch up with Dave.
One of our tactics for long distance bus travel is to drink small volumes of water – usually enough not to be too badly dehydrated, but not so much that you’re left bouncing around on the back seat (usually the bumpiest place to sit) with a full bladder for five hours between stops. A similar strategy is also applied for food – small amounts of dependables from the Padang stalls (food preapred earlier and left out in bowls for serving) like Rendang, steamed rice, maybe a vege curry, ayam goreng. Despite the lack of adherence to standard food storage protocols, it’s some of the best food we’ve eaten so far and we haven’t gotten sick from it.
So when we arrived in Jakarta slightly dehydrated and empty stomached – we probably weren’t the most prepared we’ve ever been for a night out catching up with one of our favourite drinking partners.
Over the next week and a half we had the luxury of a kitchen so we could cook, a maid to clean up after us, pork and soft cheese, a driver, aircon and english language television.
All these things made Jakarta a lot better than we had expected. A lot of travellers don’t like it, but many can’t explain why apart from a dislike for big cities. The single justified explanation I’ve heard from anyone is that it doesn’t cater for pedestrians – which I agree with whole-heartedly. Taxis are cheap enough, and there’s always the option of an ojek?
Thanks for your hospitality Dave, we had a blast. You’re one in a million.