Monday, March 16, 2015

Enjoy Jakarta?

Last weekend I got a guest from Germany.

He was cool, dead curious about Jakarta culturally, metropolitan-y, everything. He stayed with two other locals before me, and it made me kinda worried if those people had shown him all of Jakarta already and I got nothing left to show. But when he mentioned that he hadn't gone to Kota Tua and Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa, my faith was restored.

So we went there. By TransJakarta -of course, I didn't want to risk my ass driving down to the old town by my own car and got stuck in our infamous tourist traps. It was a nice ride, because surprisingly, there was no crucial traffic jam. And we made to Kota Tua just in time.

It was super crowded. But, okay. It's always been the beauty of Kota Tua. And he's got the chance to see how locals spend their weekend visiting a public fair right?

The square was fine. Human statues, vintage bikes, nice as usual although he was not that interested in those. But when it comes to culinary, he was super eager to try everything. I didn't want to take the risk of giving random street shit for his European tummy so I played safe and introduced him to sop buah instead. And it was a crazy hot day anyway, so the ice dish was a splendid decision.

That's the square. About the museums, well, gotta say, what the hell Government!? I decided to enter the most popular one, Fatahillah Museum, and it turned out to be a ten minutes walk of shame with him because, WHAT THE HELL!?

The building was a delight, indeed, it has always been so adorable for me since my first visit eight years ago. But I just never thought that the inside of it, oh wow, indescribable. I just got home from Hong Kong and Macau, with all those stunning museums they have which never made me stop mesmerizing the stories they told in each building. But when I came inside my very own museum, WITH AN INTERNATIONAL GUEST, shit man, it broke my heart.

Overall museum route was scrambled. The collections were disorganized. There are plenty of corners with nothing to display, it was a major waste of space! The stories were in both Bahasa and English tho, but they made it really unappealing with long words and boring approach, I'm 1000% sure no one has actually ever finished reading even one description.

We got out, wrapped our visit in Kota Tua and hushed to Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa, on foot. Well this was pretty challenging for me, as I never been there before. From what I saw in online forum and my friend's photo showcases, the port seemed beautiful.

The way from Kota Tua to the port, however, was not beautiful at all. Dusty, full of trucks, I had plans to take a bike from the old town there, and I thanked God beyond compare for me cancelling that stupid plan. After the entrance -which I didn't expect to pay- and strolling down local residences, we finally reached the seaside port.

To sum things up, it was quiet nice. Not as beautiful as the pictures showed me tho, but yaa, not disappointing. But of course there was something not nice happened in there that made me brought this story up for posting, right? Yes, it was the local scam.

I really hated it. Right before we entered the port gate, somebody came to us, nicely, claiming himself as a tour guide for Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa. He started all this preach and nonsense bullshit about how he could show us around, take us to the far end of the port by his motorbike, get us inside one of the small boats and finally, to the bigger boats so we could feel how it is like, sailing on Batavia water. All of those, with ONLY USD20.

The guy then began talking to me in Bahasa, saying that the price covered both of us so I didn't need to pay. And what I was super pissed off about was, when he said that 20 bucks was nothing for my bule friend. "He's got money", that asshole supposed, "so this is a super great deal". Well, great deal for you, not for my friend. And definitely not for me either, because if I said yes to pay the price, I would surely let my German guest down.

Of course I made my friend sure that the price was not worth it. Then we rejected the offer, strolled down the port on our own and still could enjoy it anyway. Well, although, apparently, annoying offers were also shouted by literally every boat crew inside the area. The port has been a source of scam, for I don't know how long.

Crazy huh?

I mean, even for locals, Jakarta's tourism suck! Big time! Thank God my friend was with me that day. How if he was not? And how about any other tourists that have no local friends to accompany them visiting those places?

What a shame, really. This is simply why I never recommend my worldwide friends to visit Jakarta for its culture or history. It sucks. Would be better if they're visiting for the clubs, hangout cafes and eating places, because hell yeah Jakarta's even better than Kuala Lumpur and Manila for that.

Mich und mein Deutsch Freund, Robert

But then,

If visitors couldn't see our old stories
Just because the places are pure scam lairs,
Would it still be called 'Enjoy Jakarta'?

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