I’m in BSD City, a relatively newly constructed city on the outskirts of Jakarta in Zuky’s room, my CouchSurfing host. It was hard to find good accommodation at a fair price here, so I decided to give CouchSurfing another chance (I didn’t quite like my first CouchSurfing experience in Hong Kong).
I was glad I did because Zuky was a great host. She’s very conscientious, always making sure that I’m alright. She even let me have her room while she sleeps in her flatmate’s room. She would text me every so often to check that I’m not lost, and she would quickly reply to my questions about how to go from one place to another.
Another great thing about staying with her is that I get to take public transportation, which I really wouldn’t have done if I was on my own. Since I arrived, I’ve ridden the X-trans, the angkot, the bus, the taxi, the ojek, the busway and even the train! Zuky really made this trip back to Jakarta memorable.
Jakarta, on the other hand, seemed the same, yet I know it’s very different now. Of course, I’m seeing it now from a different perspective; when I first visited Jakarta, I was only 14 and it was my first trip outside the Philippines. It’s also different when you’re traveling on your own, without an expat sister who drops you off at the hotel lobby to take a tour of the city and outlying towns, or without a car and driver at your disposal. Ah, I miss those times.
My reason for going back here (Jogja was actually already halfway to Bali) was to see the city again. Now that I’ve seen it… well, I’ve seen it. It wasn’t the city that made me enjoyed my stay here, it was the people I’ve me. Zuky made me feel so welcome, her house really seemed like my home. There was Aldy, the puppeteer at the Wayang Museum, who gave me a better appreciation of the wayang kulit and wayang golek. Then there were the strangers in the bus and trains who helped me find my stop, even if they speak limited English. I’m leaving Jakarta with fond memories of its people.