Thursday, 16 December 2010

007 Update - Singapore to Jakarta! (not in a caravan)!

Our good friend and international jet setter 007 H has written to me with his latest update which I thought it only fair to share with you all!

So here he is 007 H!

Not sure I am going to keep this up as have work to do!!

Day 15 (that’s for me in Asia and not for unsuspecting people who have tuned in expecting to find caravanning and life at its finest):

Singapore to Jakarta.

Currently sat at Singapore airport, which is still called Changhi and a hark-back to the glorious days of Boogie Street, of which the original was sadly was demolished some years ago. For those who want to know it’s when Trannies were proper Trannies and not just a big van made by Ford.

Outside the tinted windows of the air-conditioned splendour of terminal Two are many of Singapore’s finest jets resplendent in their gold and dark blue striped livery. In the distance are two of those behemoth A380 jets (airbus), which just has to be the Bumble Bee of the aviation world, it looks like it shouldn’t fly but apparently does!!

What is even more incongruous as many people rocket past in front of me on automated walkways is the music, which I thought it was just some nice soothing piano based stuff until I found myself singing along to a rendition of Frosty the bloody snowman! (Which reminds me of an old joke . . . . . What goes “plink plink fizz”? That would be Richard Clayderman in an acid bath!).

Must say it’s all been rather pleasant flying Singapore. The hostesses are really smartly turned out and attractive in that oriental way and really do look like the proverbial “Trolley Dolly’s”, which is certainly a step in the right direction over some of those ropey old buzzards doing the “tart cart” thing on British Scareways.

I had not paid full attention to the geography of this trip but looking at one of the moving map displays on a bulkhead I noticed we have popped over the equator to land at Jakarta. So when I get to where am staying I am going to fill and drain a sink of water and see if jolly old French chappie Gaspard Coriolis was right about the effect of the earth’s rotational forces, both above and below the equator on the water as it supposedly whizzes down the plug hole in the opposite direction to back home. That’s probably demeaning the old garlic muncher a bit as it was his findings which eventually helped aircraft navigation systems to become a lot more accurate.

Jakarta is a sprawling city with a mixture of high rise buildings punctuated with what can only kindly be described as slums and it’s all intertwined by ribbons of black asphalt. The motorcycle reigns supreme and herds of them like rabid wasps buzz madly away in swarms from traffic lights. The roads are at best chaotic with the proverbial “why use the marked lanes when you can squeeze in a few more” type of driving. Saying that it all seems remarkably patient and they drive with the sort of self restraint that just would not exist in the UK.

Despite what the normal author of this blog thinks I do attempt to hold down a day job. When overseas I tend to pick hotels which I know or the people I come to see decide are appropriately located. Normally I reside at a swish establishment (The Aryaduta) buried in the middle of Jakarta City. A medium rise block of 20 floors from memory which is nicely appointed with clean rooms and buckets of attentive staff. As mentioned the volume of traffic, compounded by rush hour (Which as normal around the globe means no one can rush anywhere) meant it would be the proverbial Western-Super-Night-Mare to get to. This obviously was a real shame as the 2 hour free bar was positively excellent value if one can drink quickly enough during the allotted opening hours. The only downside is some noise, the aforementioned motorcycles out the front and several Mosques out the back, who in this neck of the woods are starting to call the faithful somewhere around 4am onwards.

So this trip was holed-up in a slightly lesser establishment to the west of Jakarta called the Horison. It was okay though the rooms were a tad tatty to say the least, almost but not quite “Hot and Cold running rats” and of the 3 stars it had 2 could be observed through the hole in the roof. One thing which was all out of kilter was the price of beer. A Nasi Goreng (that’s food by the way and not some goose stepping German chappy with a penchant for ambling into Poland without being invited.) was £5 and a very small draft beer was £6!!

Mosquitoes have always been a bit of a concern in Asia. The old low flying hypodermics have given numerous acquaintances the dreaded malaria. I have taken the Chloroquine and Nivaquine to prevent the effects but used to be out here so often was nearly permanently on them, and the side effect of one I seem to recall was . . . . . . Potential liver damage. Which is where I will stop now and go and cause some on my own accord.
Hand pulled water taxi - all of 40 feet!

Dont think this is recycle day Jakarta style!

No comments:

Post a Comment