“You just have to get back up again.” That was what Tim said when I told them that I tried learning to surf when I was in Bali but then gave up cause I kept falling off.
Tim was one of my Australian guests that I picked up at Halim Airport on Tuesday morning from Pangandaran to do surfing. They surprised me, because my tour states that the maximum people in the tour is 3, but Roland previously mentioned that there will be 4 of them and I didn’t mind. I was surprised when they landed with 6 people and I only have Toyota Avanza as the vehicle to drive around the city. So, we ended up renting a cab for Stacy and Tim, the other 2 in the group. I felt bad cause they didn’t get to listen to the explanation about the city and buildings that we passed, but I think it’s for their own comfort as well.
We started the tour with… congestion. Well, it was around 8.30 am from Halim airport to the city centre, we drove into the city at the same time all the commuters trying to get to their offices on time.
I was pretty happy I could entertain them with … some cops giving tickets to motorcyclists who used the bus way, some 3-in-1 jockeys getting into a car abruptly, and the long queue of cars inside the highway (which was supposed to be less crowded).
It took us around 1 hour 3o minutes from the airport to the National Monument. But guess what? It was really quiet when we got there. I would say, EMPTY. The park was empty and clean, no queue to go to the observation deck and no queue at all to go down. From the top, the sky was so clear that you can see Mount Salak from a far. Something that rarely happened (usually the Mount Salak is blurred with pollution), and you can spot all the tall buildings in Jakarta.
“Wow, it’s really beautiful”, Stacy added. And I just nodded, a sign that I agreed with her and was yet (still) surprised.
Next stop is the old town Batavia. We skipped exploring the Istiqlal Mosque, they felt they wouldn’t have time cause they had to catch a flight in the afternoon. “So, Fatahillah Square it is”, I assured.
After a quick explanation about the Fatahillah Square, the city hall, the post office and the court, we agreed to have an early lunch in Cafe Batavia (it was 11.30 at that time). It was so lovely of them to invite me to have lunch with them.
Having ordered the food, I realized that they fancied satay a lot. Hmmm, I still wonder why, up until now. It’s basically just grilled chicken and sticks. Ah, maybe the peanut sauce. Just maybe.
During lunch, we had a warm conversation about a lot of topics and I see how close they are to each other. If I’m not mistaken, here is the relation:
Roland, Penny, Tim, and Leon works for the same office.
Karen used to work with them, but now have a real job. I wonder what that “real job” means.
Stacy is a teacher for children with different abilities (I admire her for this, she looks really nice).
So, 6 of them, 3 couples.
Stacy added “this is such a nice country, and the people are really great”.
The conversation during lunch made my day, as a guide.
One conversation I had previously with the guys was about how popular Bahasa Indonesia is in Australia. Australian students must learn one foreign language in school, and they may choose from other languages like French, Japanese, Germans, and some others, but Bahasa Indonesia is among the most popular. “I think because it is one of the easiest ones”, said Leon. And I agreed.
Before going to Soekarno Hatta International Airport to catch their flight, we made a quick stop at Syahbandar Tower (the leaning tower of Jakarta) where we could catch a glimpse of the old Sunda Kelapa port and the old town Batavia from the top.
And I persuaded Stacy to have her VERY FIRST SELFIE. EVER. With Tim did photobombing.
Not far from the tower, we made another stop at the Sunda Kelapa port with the sun being very bright, and they took a lot of pictures despite the dusty road and air.
Since the next day is General Election and the government decided to make it a holiday, I was worried that our way to the airport would be crowded. It didn’t come true. I managed to get to the airport at 2.oo pm. Just on time cause their flight is at 4.45 pm. It was such a pleasant day with fun people. Even better when Karen closed the tour with,
“well done, guys”.