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To the Sea!

Amidst all the traffic, pollution and skyscrapers it is easy to forget that Jakarta is a coastal city. So, a few weeks ago I headed up to the Ancol area of Jakarta. There the Sunda Kelapa area is like a step back in time: old wooden ships, sailors loading and unloading ships by hand and walking on wooden planks.

The water close to Jakarta, and in all the canals, is incredibly dirty. After going out to the Thousand Islands and seeing how clear and beautiful the water should be, it’s sad that it is so polluted. It really looks like the boats are going through black water.

Lonely Planet tells me that the ships at the port are Makassar schooners. I don’t know what that means, but they are beautiful old boats and it’s a shame that the area is not better preserved and kept up.

A funny thing happened on our walk to port. My friend Emily carries a nice big camera and I had mine out as well. There were plenty of little kids around and as usual they were interested in us, but instead of just saying “hello” they started demanding we take photos of them and then show the photos to them. The photos delighted them, but after a few they got bored and went back to playing their games. But, I must say, they were very serious and immediately arranged themselves and got into formations when we took their photos.

Several men offered to take us out on their wooden boats and see the harbor, but we were just happy strolling around.

To get up to the harbor we walked from Kota (the old Dutch era) straight north. We got a little lost in small back roads and neighborhoods along the way, but it was a great way to see different parts of Jakarta.

There is a Maritime Museum in Jakarta that we past and I’d like to go back at some point. Nearby were tons of old anchors and other gear:

We thought we had gotten close to the port when we walked onto a flooded street. But it just turned out to be a flooded street, oh Jakarta:

Getting a little lost in this area was great. Got a great glimpse of everyday life in another part of town.

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