Day 652: You Don’t Know Jakarta


Thursday took a while to get going.  While my fellow travellers (in another cabin and arguably less full of Johnnie Walker) were rudely awoken at the crack of dawn by the call to prayer (which – don’t tell Osama – the vast majority ignored) I happily slept right through it – I also slept through the screaming babies, the over-amped cellphone jingles and the locals chatting at a volume that can only be described as ‘11’.

Hooray for whisky.

Incidentally, if I made an independently intelligent robot butler out of paperclips and Bovril I would not require him to worship me at 4am for two reasons.  One is that it would wake me up.  The other is that I’M NOT A TOTAL WEIRDO.

Just saying…

Anyway, a day mostly spent at sea.  There were some games of le tete merde and maybe I did some card tricks (but alas, no beer was available to win) and some good old fashioned banter and self-righteous putting the world to rights.  It was a bit of a surprise that given our very timely departure that by late afternoon we still weren’t in port in Jakarta.  It came as more of a surprise at 8pm when Rangga texted me from his vantage point somewhere on board and told me that the port was full(!) and the anchor had gone down.

Luckily, we didn’t have to stay a second night on the ferry and before too long Chiefy and I were heading through Jakarta in a taxi on our way to Jaksa Road – the backpacker hub.  Chiefy was happy to stay in the usual cheapo hostel, and usually I would have been too, but I decided after this delightfully successful week of Odysseying I deserved a hot shower and a colour TV, so I checked into the more expensive place next door.  I think it cost about a tenner – really pushing the boat out, eh?

I did find out some exciting news, though: in the Lonely Planet it tells of a Pelni ship heading over to Borneo one a week (or even a fortnight).  Bad timing could have me stuck in Jakarta until the end of the month.  But wonderfully enough there was now a ferry run by another company that went to Pontianak in Borneo FIVE TIMES a week, and the odds were good that there would be one leaving tomorrow.

Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for breakfast…

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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