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.
SIX DEGREES HOSTAL – BUILDING FACADE – IT WAS GRIMMER THAN THIS WOULD INDICATE
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.
GEDUNG METRO ATOM PLAZA – CHECK
ANEKAFOTO 2nd. Floor – CHECK
KARIATI – CHECK – I would have kissed her had I not feared being dragged off to a Shariah court.
BLUE WATER DIVE FILTER – THE HOLY GRAIL – Check and Double Check