When cruising and being retired, an alarm going off at 5:45am is an intrusion. Since we had a projected 7:00am arrival, our tour leader, Carol, requested that we be at the Ocean Bar at 6:45am. The 5:45am wake up call gave us ample time to have a proper breakfast which for me are 2 eggs over easy, bacon, some grits, and a mango fruit drink. Sometimes I'll add a cup of green tea and some cut up fruit. We were able to eat with Carol and John and were able to talk about tour plans.
The ship moored in the container terminal area and needed to back into its berth which took more time. We didn't actually get moored until around 7:25am. (At the sailaway, the Captain told us the delay was due to another ship occupying our berth.) Our clearance came shortly after that and we proceeded down to the A deck and our ship cards were scanned and we walked the gangway to the pier where there was a local group of performers dressed in costume.
We easily found our guide, Benny, and he led us to our oversized Toyota van which would be our transport for the day. I ended up in the "shotgun" seat next to the driver. Whether this would be a good idea would remain to be seen. We had been warned that traffic in Jakarta is a tangled mess due to the lack of public transit infrastructure. However, today was a national holiday and the traffic was not that bad. I can't say the same for the roads. Even the 'freeways' had significant potholes. Plus it seemed that our driver didn't seem to understand the concept of driving at a speed consistent with the rest of the traffic. We were constantly being passed by scooters and anything else on the road. Then there was the issue that the driver didn't seem to know where we were to be going. So he'd slow down and turn around and ask Benny whether or not to turn. They'd exchange a few sentences in the local language and we'd continue on, sometimes swerving across multiple lanes of traffic in the process. But I guess that's all part of the traffic symphony that's played out every day.
So here I am sitting with my feet no more than 12 inches from the front bumper of the van (the front seats are over the front wheels like in a cab over truck). It was a great viewpoint of the traffic dance that unfolded before me. At each light we'd be surrounded by scooters and motorcycles, and when the light would change, they'd buzz off and others would come up from behind and cut in front of us from either side. Additionally there would be whole families of 3-4 people on a single little scooter, and they'd do the same death weave with little regard.
So much for the traffic rant. Our first stop was at the school that our former president, Barrack Obama attended as a child. There's a statute of him in the entry courtyard. The school is quite plain and there were a few students there and they were eager to see us. I left them a sticker as a show of appreciation.
We headed on to a visit at the Grand Mosque with a drive by viewing of the national monument which is designed similarly to the Washington Monument in Washington, DC except that it has a gold flame on the top. The Grand Mosque is a very plain and large building, and it will hold 200,000 people inside and outside. It was a quiet day in the Mosque.
Our next stop found us at a public square with a museum that housed a a puppet collection that was interesting. The museum (which was a former Dutch church) smelled like mothballs which was probably the protection against insects that might damage the puppets. Afterwards we visited the Batavia Cafe which was housed in a former colonial building.
Our final stop was at the old Batavia Harbor where we watched the manual loading of sacks of fertilizer on to small wooden cargo ships. I found that very interesting. And in the background was the loud Muslim call to prayer from a nearby loudspeaker. We also took a drive by to a slum area that was in pretty tough shape. Throughout the day we saw lots of slum areas.
Back at the ship, all but Angela and I headed back to the ship. We decided to take the shuttle to the local shopping mall where we found some delicious Indonesian food (I enjoyed seafood and fried rice noodles and Angela enjoyed a baked fish and green beans. The entire meal was around $13US and very tasty.
Back on board the ship, I adjourned to the Crow's Nest to update my blog while Angela went swimming. We departed late due to late returning tour groups which created a long line trying to reboard the ship and clear security which for this port is done on the ship. I found it very interesting to look out the front windows up in the Crow's Nest at all of the marine traffic arriving and departing from this very busy port. Eventually when the ship departed, they had to raise the container cranes to give us enough clearance in the narrow channel. We watched the sailaway as we threaded our way through the ships at anchor and under the bellies of the incoming airplanes.
Eating such a sumptuous lunch had a consequence: we really weren't hungry for dinner. So we ate light portions in the Lido before listening to a couple sets of Adagio (the piano/violin duet) and Sheree, a young Malaysian gal who promotes herself as the world's best solo female harmonicist. She was excellent and we saw her last year on our Asia cruise.
With us morning's early wake up call, bedtime tonight would also come early. Tomorrow is planned as a very exciting cultural experience. Bruce, our CD, said it was in his top 10 things to see in the world. Stay tuned.