Monday, April 21, 2014

Living in the slums of Jakarta Indonesia for a week

I flew in to Jakarta out of Bangkok at midnight; earlier in the dayI did not know where I was going to stay in Jakarta. I put out a message on that I was looking for a host, and surprisingly within a few hours, I got a whole bunch of offers to be hosted by people in Jakarta. I ended up taking an offer from a guy named Miko who lived in the slums with his cousin. I thought it would be a great chance to try living in a poor area, and see what life is like in one of the biggest slums in the world.
Many people in the waiting room at the airport in Bangkok came to take pictures with me and were interested as to why I was going to Jakarta

I arrived at the airport at about 3am. Miko told me to take a taxi for about $8 to his place. No taxi driver would take me for less then $20 being the only foreigner around, and at 3am in a foreign country with a lot of poverty around, I wasn't going to spend a lot of time haggling, I just wanted to get to my host and sleep! It was pouring out, and the cab took about an hour, and the taxi driver didn't speak English so I stared out the window in silence, watching the roads flooded from the rain. The taxi driver had to stop and ask a few people where the address was. Eventually the car just stopped and he signaled me to get out. I was left alone in the pouring rain in what was the outskirts of a slum. Luckily a man came walking towards me about 2 minutes later with an umbrella, the guy was my host Miko!!! So I would not end up lost, alone and cold in the slums! Miko walked me down an alley, and into what was his house. His cousin was sleeping on the floor in the living room, and they gave me his room, and had food waiting for me. I was exhausted and soon fell asleep. I woke up in the morning, Miko and his cousin had to go to work, so I was left alone in this house (more like a housing complex, connected to many many others in rows of houses). Other couch surfers had invited me to join them, and they would show me around in Jakarta while Miko worked.

People come into restaurants and start playing music, asking for money after there done there song

I had many educational and memorable experiences in Jakarta, it was a very interesting experience. It taught me to be patient, that humans the world over make the best out of the situation they are placed in and enjoy life for whatever it may bring. Take a look at the pictures below as well as the captions to get a bit of an idea of what life in Jakarta is like:
I felt like a rockstar walking around, many people stopped me to take pictures with me, due to a lack of tourists

Due to a lack of nature, Jakarta gets a ton of floods because there is not much vegetation to suck up the water, or a proper drainage system

Traffic jams suck here. It can make a 30 minute drive into a two our drive on a daily basis

Amazing, made on the spot cakes, had many while I was there, with real melted cheese in the middle

I took a picture of people taking pictures of me at a museum, I guess I am getting old...

Highrises crowding out some slums

Chicken feet for lunch

People live in the grave yard, and even have live stock as you can see this goat, as the graveyard is a place with open space

Me and my host Miko eating dinner at a popular local restaurant

Karaoke is huge in Indonesia, and a lot of fun!

This is a slum area, people wash there dishes in this river

and go swimming

I thought it was really cool to see kids having so much fun, even though by western standards they live in poverty. They always have smiles on their faces, and enjoy life just like kids the world over. I feel a kid growing up in this environment has a distinct advantage as they learn to be creative as often times they don't have parents protecting them from falling off a swing set, instead there swimming down rivers full of garbage diving down into the current, making home made kites, and learning to become hustlers to survive. They also don't have as many electronics, which in my opinion are horrible for kids when used all the time as it takes away our imaginations, and are motivation to play outside!

The side walks were bad if at all existent

This looked like an old bus stop, these guys jam out here for local people passing buy, I sat down any played drums with them for 30 minutes

Jakarta was a great place where I learned and saw a lot. Go and see a place like this and go have a unique experience. I remember waking up to the sound of cat sized rats scurrying across the roof, and going to the washroom which had only a squat toilet and bucked of water. Often times when I would turn on a light I would  watch cockroaches scurry away. Jakarta will inspire you to be the best you can be and not take things for granted, and possibly open your eyes to the world!

Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world, and Jakarta has 10,000,000 alone, and the country is made up of hundreds of islands

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