After a four hour flight, two hour layover in Istanbul, and then a thirteen hour flight (I slept on the latter, thank goodness), I’m in Jakarta!
The first stage of my trip was waiting for Matt’s flight to arrive, which was three hours later than mine. Thanks to the time difference, it was 6pm where I was, but just 12pm in my mind, which helped to prevent me from going completely mad. Jakarta’s arrivals terminal is one long corridor, lined with restaurants on the outside; I picked the one that served Indonesian food and holed up to wait.
One of my first impressions is that the Indonesian language is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. I was fairly comfortable with the Spanish of south America (although I couldn’t understand it), and I think British have a general awareness of how Hindi sounds from our food and our media. Not just that, because most Indian languages aren’t in the Roman script, signs and so on just wash over you.
But here, Indonesian is readable, and it just resembles clusters of syllables. After a lot of repetition, I managed to grasp that “Thank you” is tuh-ree-mah-kass-ee. The bus I’m sitting on at the moment has “Pariwisata” on the front, and I couldn’t even guess what that might mean.
This might be interesting when it comes to getting around tomorrow!
After Matt and I found each other, we headed to the bus station in order to get to the centre of town. As we were waiting, bolts of light illuminated the sky in purplish-white every so often, which we kept thinking were headlamps, followed by low rumbles which we were sure were just cars. It was only when light rain started to fall that we realised we were in a thunderstorm. It was a pretty exciting way to be welcomed to the country. And given the relentless humidity, I doubt it will be our last.