So I know this post is long overdue. I arrived days ago but there were tons of stuff to take care of first. Without further ado then…
April 10, 2013: I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia sealing my fate now as one of the thousand Filipinos working abroad. I am now an OFW! Well technically not yet since my working permit is still being processed by the good folks at the Consulate. But I’m getting there.
My first impression with Jakarta is that it is very similar to Metro Manila in terms of appearance. At least, based on what I’ve seen from the airport to the hotel. I had a good chuckle though when I noticed that after the welcome billboard from above, the next advertising materials I saw are for the following:
- Lotte (it was a huge billboard and yes it was for the Japanese-Korean corporation)
- a bottled iced tea called Mirai Ocha with the tagline Ganbatte!
- a Sakura corporation
- Bank of Tokyo
For a second there, I thought I was in that other place which name starts with Ja- too!
Anyway, I figured out what would be my first big adventure here when I was to go home after surrendering my passport to the office the next day: TRANSPORTATION.
Unlike the Philippines and Singapore, there are no trains here. The main mode of public transportation are taxis, buses and ojeks (motorcyles). I’ve been advised that taxis are the best way to go, especially for foreigners who don’t speak Bahasa Indonesian and are not yet familiar with the place. I can say the taxi rates are more or less reasonable. What’s daunting though is the traffic. And my trip alone from airport to the hotel has proven to me that indeed, traffic in Jakarta is legendary. Traffic + taxi? Not a good combination 🙂 Not to mention Jakarta is huge! Sprawling even. And I haven’t even gotten out of the South section yet where I am based. But I’ll figure this one out in due time. I look forward to exploring every nook and cranny that this city has to offer.
It’s basically office-home for me the past few days as I wouldn’t dare venturing out without my passport with me. But yesterday, I went to Mall of Indonesia, which looked nearby on the map but apparently quite far from where I am in reality. Me and my map reading skills. Argh. However, seeing the area’s architecture brightened up my day. Yup, I can see the Dutch influence alright.
High on my priority list of places to see is Kota Tua or Old Town. Buildings from the Dutch colonial period are still intact there. Plus there are a lot of museums. Should be fun.
Until the next adventure!