As this was to be our last day we decided to keep our city exploring to the locality as the rain overnight had been quite persistent so we set off for the Dutch Square once again to see what it was like when the ‘market of the mad’ was not in session. This time the square was sparsely populated but the few youngsters there rather than them simply wanting to photograph us now also wanted to interview us, the questions were simple enough even for me but why? – from mad to madder!
There was a cannon in the square and it is rumoured that if barren women sit on it they will be blessed with child – I am sure the way Indonesians rack up babies they need no help from cannons … lol. The buildings were done up in shabby chic … no forget that, the buildings were the real thing.
We then decided to have a look at one of the last remaining Dutch bridges in Jakarta on the way to the harbour area but although the bridge may be standing the canal itself is more of a cesspit than an actual waterway. When we finally reached the harbour area it was more like a little shanty town and once again lots of the younger children would say ‘Hallo’ or ‘Good Morning’ to us but overall the place itself was quite sad so we came away from there quite quickly and on the way back stopped at a big old Dutch place which was part eatery, part museum but it turned out to be 100% protection from the rain as we had no sooner eaten something from the menu than the heavens opened – and I mean really opened.
In SE Asia rain is something to be taken seriously as when it arrives you sure know about it and after the recent flooding in Jakarta we wondered how long this particular ‘shower’ would last but it was soon gone and we were able once more to get on our way to our digs.
This took care of the best part of the day and on the night we had arranged for Sendy, a guy we had been in contact with through Couchsurfing to meet us, so we could go out for dinner. Being a reserved Brit I really did not know what to expect as I am still getting used to the Couchsurfing idea of simply allowing strangers into your home but from the moment we met we all hit it off. He had brought his sister whose English was not so good as his but they arrived by taxi and they took us to the waterfront to have some authentic Indonesian food. We tried Ginger tea, a Coconut, Bakso a meal/soup with meatballs and lots of other foods – some quite spicy – it was great. He had also bought me and Liz a present each – a Sarong for me and a Jabala for Liz – which came in very useful later on!
Sendy is a young lad but whose roots are quite traditional – he likes new music but does not want Indonesians to lose sight of their roots either and he despairs at the youngsters. He is passionately patriotic – which is something I can identify with – and married with three kids but looks like a baby himself – I must be getting old – but Sendy and his sister were excellent company and really nice people.
We explained more about what we were doing and why and one of the things he could not get his head around was us simply renting out our house for others to live in. It was almost as though he could not imagine the place where a couple makes their own memories being so easy to pass onto someone else. We explained that without being able to rent the house out we would not be in a position to do our trip.
At the end of the evening Sendy, fuelled by the beer, wanted to go on – not sure if he fully understood that we had to be up at the crack of dawn in the morning for our trip to Cianjur. He invited me and Liz for a little midnight swim in the harbour – others were doing this but as we had no swimming gear we were somewhat reluctant. Well after a couple of seconds I thought, what the hell and in I went for a swim out with Sendy – like I said he was a great guy with a great sense of fun. However, later getting a taxi was a bit of an ordeal as there were none about and we were sopping wet but I donned the Sarong and looked quite the dashing blade as we set about flagging down a taxi who would take two well-drenched dudes.
All’s well that ends well though and we arrived back at our abode a little later than we planned but none the worse for wear ready for a new town. We still keep in touch with Sendy who is a great guy and he is off to Bali later this year but unfortunately not when we are but it really would be great if our paths did cross in the future – if he is over our way, I intend to buy him a cloth cap and invite him for a dip in t’Humber! Lol!!!