INDONESIA: Jakarta – Just Here for a Filter!

Posted by on Feb 16, 2019 in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

After hacking and coughing my way through my latest sinus infection as well as the Philippine countryside and two airports, I finally arrived in Jakarta just past midnight after fourteen hours of travel, countless lozenges, and multi-phlegmatic episodes. I found some good local meatball soup at the airport before heading into the city which made me feel a lot less sick and hangry.

I was no doubt ready for a cozy place to rest my head so I grabbed a blue bird cab. Fortunately, I paid attention to the special directions on my hostel arrangements because the place would have been impossible to find. It was called the Six Degrees and was next to Texas Chicken which made all the difference in terms of locating the place, which being beyond anonymous had less curb appeal than a Harlem tenement.


I wanted to turn the cab around and go back to the Ibis Discount Hotel which looked like a palace by comparison. I’d already paid for the first night so I went in since it was a one-way street anyway. Upon entering, I noticed the glowing reviews from TripAdvisor and Hostelworld all ensconced in their individually stained and water-damaged placards of course. The guy on the desk reminded me of an Indonesian Peter Lorre which only added to the creepiness of the place. The private room was only $20 a night, and since I was sick I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate a nice place anyway. The tired odor of the place barely registered due to the sinus infection.

Basically, I just walked to a nearby place for cream of chicken soup on a daily basis. It was a Middle Eastern place that was super tacky but fairly luxurious. In the evening sheesha’s burbled from every corner of the place as the locals drank tea and watched football. The strangest thing was that on the rare occasion that a goal was scored, nobody made a peep. The only thing you could hear was the sound of gurgling water pipes. It was bizarre. In Europe or the USA the patrons would have been raising the roof.

My trip to the mall the next day wasn’t so great. My condition was not improving, and the last thing I needed was to chase around Jakarta for a piece of camera equipment. Although the stores and the celebrities on the advertising were, all the same as back in the States, almost nobody spoke English.

Although very posh with luxurious restaurants and stores carrying all the best brands, I was still unsuccessful in locating the filter I needed for my GoPro camera. I had pretty much struck out in three major scuba diving destinations in SE Asia and was losing hope fast. I would be in Bali in a few days where I would need to get busy with underwater photography. To show up to Komodo and Sipadan Islands without a red dive filter would be criminal!

I finally realized that if I was going to have a chance at getting one of those filters in a country that speaks very little English that I would have to enlist the help of a local. So I enlisted the help of one of the guys that worked at the hostel and gave him all the data he needed to call stores that carried GoPro accessories in the greater Jakarta area. Here you see him lying here exhausted after calling over thirty stores and finally finding an outlet that had one. I gratefully paid him the 250,000 rupees ($17.00) I promised and ordered a cab to reach the store before it closed.

He presented me with this comprehensive paperwork to help me get to the store and retrieve the filter that had eluded me for three weeks.



KARIATI – CHECK – I would have kissed her had I not feared being dragged off to a Shariah court.




  1. #75
    February 17, 2019

    Hahaha an Indonesian Peter Lorre, that is hilarious, Travel Zealot!

    Hope your illness is over by now, if not, get well soon

  2. Danilla
    March 3, 2019

    “I would have kissed her had I not feared being dragged off to a Shariah court.”

    Classic Travel Zealot.

  3. The Travel Zealot
    March 5, 2019

    I am once again in collision with Islam here in Komodo. There is a mosque nearby and I have to contend with being woken up by their goddamned call to prayer at 5AM. Seriously, I don’t go to their houses with a sack full of cats and beat on it in the middle of the night so why do they have to disturb me. Can’t they just set a special call to prayer alarm clock?

    At least the Mormons wait until the sun is up to come knocking at your door. I’m sorry, but Islam is a very annoying religion.

  4. Danilla
    March 24, 2019

    5am call to prayer!? My god…

  5. The Travel Zealot
    March 24, 2019

    Hey Danny,
    Five AM call to prayer is the standard operating procedure. The only differences one might encounter is the content of the caterwauling administered.

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