Bandung - Jakarta
22.11.2008 - 24.11.2008
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Bandung & Jakarta 22-24 November
Six hour bus trip from Pangandaran to Bandung (50.000 Rupiah). Each stop getting pestered by merchants to buy food and drink, pay for singers/guitarists, some sellers even stay on the bus between stops and repetitively ask you every other minute if you're really not interested in that mank bit of fruit. The city is in complete gridlock. We arrive, settle in & explore. …Festering people, seedy streets, grubby, rubbish laden, manky cats without tails, beggars ever present alongside clean glitzy shopping malls. Reality check – all the famous franchises are present from Starbucks to Gucci. The grinding poverty can be discouraging. Lots of homeless mums send out their flock of children to beg us for money – often using empty beverage cups from the McDonalds just up the road – the epitome of a third world country eagerly trying to latch onto the "glamorous" West. New movies releases are playing for only 15000 rupiahs ($2.50) - James Bond 'Quantum of Solace' provides a welcome distraction.
Java is well known for its bakery delights so we sample a fair bit of it. Head up Jeans street- 200m of shopping centers lined with cheap tacky clothes, shop fronts adorned with colossal plaster giants of all the favo superheroes – Rambo, spiderman, superman – they’re all here! Just around the corner we find a meticulously clean shopping mal. A sudden transformation to a sanitary environment with high security, rich teens on ‘young street’. A city of harsh truths indeed.
Happy to leave Bandung, a 3hour train ride to Jakarta, past rice paddies, coconut plantations, workers in the field. As we approach Jakarta we see people sleeping & living on the train tracks, kids playing, entire villages constructed from garbage, men enjoying a game of chess on the tracks! So many people with nowhere to go and nothing to do…