Indonesia Week 1: Jakarta and Beyond / by Alyssa Risley

Today: I took a tuktuk to a train station for a day long journey across rice paddies and green valleys, to another train station where a rickshaw took me to a tiny bus, which drove me windily south to a blockade where I negotiated a ride on a motor bike across a fairly questionable bamboo bridge and into a village called Pangandaran. Indonesia might be the craziest thing I've ever done, and I've only been here 3 days... 

Let's rewind. I started my trip in the wild city of Jakarta. It seems like a random place to begin a journey, and it honestly kind of was. There weren't any real tourist attractions or dynamic scenic points drawing me there, but I just had this feeling that I needed to go. I had read on this blog, twomonkeystravelgroup.com, that stated this specific hostel, Six Degrees, was a perfect first Indonesian stop. And it was. It had the ultimate hippie chill vibe with the right amount of friendly. The rooftop bar/lounge/gym/hangout was it's own oasis in the city. I made several friends from around the world in just one day. To say the least, I loved my experience there and would highly recommend.

My original google search results for Jakarta LOLOLOL Not accurate.

My original google search results for Jakarta LOLOLOL Not accurate.

Day 2 was an Indonesian blessing of a sweetly unexpected kind. It was supposed to downpour rain all day long, and a day that started out as bleak and drab, ended in a flurry of market place fun and smiles.  One of my new friends and I ventured to Taman Fatahillah, where I got myself a gorgeous henna piece for about $3 USD, some delicious fresh cut coconut water, found a tiny monkey with an ear piercing that I proceeded to try to feed the coconut to, and being the only Caucasian in the market place for probably miles, I was stopped by multiple Muslim women to take a picture and tell me I was pretty. The day was a good day.

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My initial observation of Indonesia reminds me of India, even though I've never been to India, mixed with a Honolulu on steroids and a little sprinkle of Puerto Rico. Perhaps it's just tropical reminiscing, but it feels so familiar and yet so foreign all at the same time. So far, everything is exactly like I expected, in the best way imaginable.

Even this morning I had woken up with an almost 'Hangover 2' moment, with my fresh hand henna imprinted daintily on the side of my cheek from sleep. I couldn't help but laugh. Life is beautiful and amazing and perfect and hilarious all in one.

As I'm typing this sitting in my new hotel, The Bamboo House, there's a strange sounding frog in my bathroom, and a gecko behind my bed, all's I ate for dinner was a package of chocolate wafers, and I couldn't be happier.

It's off to either the beach bar or bed, and then the Green Canyon in la Manana!

XO

P.S. Ignore the picture quality... iPhone can only do so much >>