14,966 km so far.
Our day began by doing something I am quite nervous about. We took our bikes to the train cargo depot in Northern Jakarta, handing them off to a shipping company, and now we have little to do but hope they will meet us in Yogyakarta.
Not The River Of Babylon
The ride to the cargo terminal took us through the homes of Jakarta’s less-well-off citizens.
Most of the city’s population seem to live well below the poverty line, in neighbourhoods we, in the West, would call slums.
One of the neighbourhoods seemed to be the home of all the city’s garbage collectors, and the streets and river banks were overflowing with piles of garbage, with the stench created by 40 degree humid heat to go along with it. Hand-pulled garbage carts lined the street, apparently waiting to unload their collections onto one of the mountains of trash.
The river is so polluted that a few enterprising people patrol the river on rafts made of bamboo, fishing plastic bottles and anything else that might have value, out of the river.
There are some gigantic grates at the river’s tributaries that filter a lot of the trash, and at least on the surface the river appears much cleaner than photos on the internet make it look, but there is still an abundance of every kind of garbage imaginable floating along the river, out to sea.
Jane’s note: Riding around Jakarta has made me feel so grateful for the things we took for granted in LA: regular garbage collection services, environmental standards, and all the backyards, wild areas, and parks, just to name a few.
After we found the office for the cargo company, it was a speedy process to pay them 200,000 IDR ($16) per bicycle to ship them, plus 25,000 IDR ($2) each for packing the bikes, and wave goodbye as they were wheeled away.
It all seemed very organised and I am trusting they will actually be waiting for us when we arrive in Yogya.
Cyclists, if you need information on how to do this yourselves, please contact us.
Fatahillah Square is a tourist area packed into the midst of this sea of poverty, and one of the few places in Jakarta where we have seen other tourists.
Presumably for this reason, a school teacher had sent her students out on assignment. Armed with a list of questions and smart phones, groups of students were patrolling the square looking for tourists with whom to have a conversation in English.
At least at this time of year, even the tourist areas in Jakarta have very few tourists, since all the guidebooks warn you to stay away from the city. This meant we were approached by group after group of students.
Knowing this was a great opportunity for them to practice English, and a chance for us to ask them a bit about their lives, we said yes to everyone who asked to interview us. The list of questions was always the same, and we felt a little like celebrities on a press junket, repeating the same pithy answers over and over.
I hope their teacher doesn’t mind they all got videos of the same cycling Canadian couple who were visiting Indonesia for the first time and love tempeh. ♥