Indonesia has 17000 islands, 200 million people, 300 ethnicities and 500 languages.
First stop in Indonesia – Jakarta: Pop: 17.5 million
The ship docked 18km from the main town where all the sights are. They provided a shuttle to a mall 4km away and then we were on our own. We negotiated with a taxi to spend 5 hours with us to take us to the places we wanted to see. Cost $40. The taxi driver was very nice, which made a change as taxi drivers the world over try to rip us off.
He dropped us off at the National Monument first. This tower is 132m and built from 1961 to 1975, symbolizes the nation’s independence and strength. The flame at the top is gilded with 35kg of gold leaf. The park surrounding it was filled with families enjoying a Sunday in the park.
From here we went to the National Museum which has some wonderful gold treasures, as well as cultural objects of the various ethnic groups who live here. (the air conditioning was worth the visit alone)
A tortuous ride to the puppet museum was next. The traffic here is unbelievable even on a Sunday morning. Distance means nothing it can take 30 mins to go 4km. The puppets collection was very good. There were regular puppets as well as the lovely shadow puppets and masks. The museum was built on the site of a Dutch church demolished in 1808.
Dutch rule came to an end when the Japanese occupied Java, they returned after the war but Jakarta was made the capital of the new republic in 1950. It has been a rocky road to democracy since then.
Our last stop was the old port to see the Macassar schooners. They are quite a site to see. A fleet of some 200 ships made of Ironwood. Some hardly look seaworthy. They bring in timber and load up cement and other supplies to take to the other islands.