A few days chillin'
07.09.2012 - 13.09.2012 34 °C
Tawau to Tarakan to Jakarta
We were on a mission here in Tawau to get our visa for Indoneisa and going by our LP bible we had to get it here or else face being turned away on arrival. Unfortunately we arrived on a Friday evening after the office had closed for the weekend which meant only one thing.....a whole three days with jack to do...being Tawau. We decided to hunt around for our accommodation and treated ourselves to a top hotel which really was fab costing us only £22 a night, which is very expensive over here. We loved it though especially the movie channel! It's nice sometimes just to relax especially after long journeys.
Come Monday we had to find a place to get our photos for our visa which proved difficult, no one told us you can get them done next to the visa office! It was a simple process but took ages because it was full of others, not Westerners, doing the same as us. We were given a 60 day visa which was good because usually you only get 30 days.
We flew out to Tarakan which was the shortest flight ever of 45 mins, there is nothing to do there but we had a connecting flight to Jakarta 4.5hrs later so we decided to pop to the town. It was chaos....scooters in 5 unmarked lanes, buses, cars....horns blowing and the smog....crazy! It was so difficult to even cross the road because they don't stop for the red lights, you've just got to step out in front of the traffic and hope they slow down.
In our boredom we thought it would be a brilliant idea to get our hair cut, Chloe opted for a colour....really cheap £18 for both of us....it was needed. I sat in the chair with my wet hair after having the best hair wash in a hairdressers....no neck wrenching sinks but a lovely slanted soft sofa style chair which made it easy. I watched a guy chopping at a girls short bob haircut with razor scissors leaving chunks of uneven layers sweeping her neck, I just wanted to get the scissors and straighten it out. I was hoping he wasn't going to cut my hair but guess what.....yep ....I was his next victim! I told him not to cut my hair with the razor scissors, after a disaster with the ladyboy hairdresser in Thailand, and to only use normal scissors....I went in his bag and showed him. As he started to cut I noticed he was actually Edward Scissorhands and had taken about 3 inches off so I told him to stop cutting. He evened it off to what he considered even, even though I doubt it is at all.....god knows what Kelly is going to think when I get home for her to sort my hair out. He blow dryed it with the hardest brush ever with a style from 1970! I waited for Chloe and laughed when I saw they had dried her hair into a middle parting......nice colour though....but seriously it didn't look right at all. Another lesson learnt!
At Tarakan airport we were the highlight of he day for the staff being Westerners and were invited into the staff back office for them to practice their English and ask lots of questions and the same on the flight. We were told that Prince William and Katie were coming to the airport in the next few days, i wondered if they would go and sit out the back with the staff but I doubt it. If it was Prince Harry I think I would have stayed behind and waited for him to arrive....he's a legend....after his naked photos....brilliant!
Anyway...arriving in Jakarta it reminded me of an updated India, being that the vehicles were newer but the chaos and smog was definately the same. We went exploring the next day and were stopped by a guy;....this is a regular thing if you travel they are inquisitive and want to know everything about you....they are just being friendly but you still need to air abit of caution just in case. So this guy....he told us his name was Fiji and the opening gambit is usually "Hello, where are you going?" Can you imagine saying that to someone in the street? You would get ignored or told to bugger off! Fiji was trying to get us to go on his scooter so he could take us back to our hotel....for a fee. We're used to this now and told him we had friends here etc, etc. Then he said the oddest thing, which he seriously believed...."You eat too much spaghetti because your nose is thin." He then noticed Chloe's blue eyes and asked if they were plastic! We asked if he meant contact lenses but no he had not seen blue eyes before and thought they were plastic!
We took a train to where we thought we needed to go but ended up on the outskirts of Jakarta, it was a great journey though because it was the low class train with the locals and there was a constant stream of people pushing trolleys up and down the aisle selling stuff from toys, cigarettes, fruit, papers and necklaces to a three man band with a cello, drums and guitar! Brilliant! Getting off the train there were people sat on the roof, fare dodging!
There are so many huge shopping malls in Jakarta which are a far cry from the stalls at the side of the road. It's such a busy place, I don't think I would like to go there again.
The only good thing about Jakarta for me was when we saw a very handsome Westerner, tall blonde guy weaving his way through the road, we were in our tuk tuk and I waved frantically at him....dunno what came over me....yes he waved back!
We left Jakarta behind to get a 9 hr bus to Paragandaran, what I didn't leave behind was a bug I picked up which stayed with me for ....so far a week and still going.