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A Bittersweet Departure from Jakarta

Our stay with Jackson Fu had been wonderful, luxurious, and action packed. Jakarta had left a most delightful spicy sweet taste in our mouths, and introduced a light and airy quality to our wallets.  And I would be lying to you, dear reader, if I did not mention a quite tangible bittersweetness upon our departure. Silence reined at the breakfast table, as Scott, Jackson, and I munched cornflakes and glutinous rice balls.
We had slept few hours the night before and were badly in need of coffee, but with our 9:10 train to Bandung leaving in less than half an hour, our goodbyes to Jackson’s family were brief and punctuated with warnings against missing the train. Our best bet was to purchase that all important beverage as we rode the rails, and devote this time to folding the bikes, and attempting not to leave any vital belongings in Jakarta.
Though Jackson had warned against it, we found ourselves swept up in the armies of baggage handlers, all asking “where are you going sir!” and struggling against us to help us with our bags. One of them had offered to show us to our platform, which was helpful, and when our train came, then hastily loaded our cycles into a place which later turned out to be an illegal stowing spot. For this great service, he successfully extracted a princely and unheard of tip of 50 cents (due to our lack of small bills). While this was by all measures an occurrence of highway robbery, we had managed to get aboard and were off towards the unknown once again. No worse for the wear and, between the two of us, short less than the cost of a diet cola in the United States.
(Image of the train)
The train ride proved quite comfortable, with plentiful coffee, which we gladly indulged in, and many exotic and interesting smelling dishes for sale, which we declined, fearing for our hygiene.
(Image of the Coffee)
Outside, the urban sprawl of jakarta transitioned to cobbled-together slums, which blended quite smoothly into jungle villages and rice paddies. Our train climbed slowly up into the mountains, and soon we were looking out over handsome vistas of complex rice farming operations, which nestled themselves amidst steep volcanic mountains.
(Image of the lush rice terraces)
Our train wove through this lush green landscape, it’s wheels grating against the rusty track and sending vibrations up through the body of the train, through our seat and up into our tray tables, which disturbed the sentiment in our cups of coffee and sent invisible plumes of silt up onto the higher portions of the drink.

Our stay with Jacksonhad been wonderful, luxurious, and action packed. Jakarta had left a most delightful spicy sweet taste in our mouths, and introduced a light and airy quality to our wallets.  And I would be lying to you, dear reader, if I did not mention a quite tangible bitter-sweetness upon our departure. Silence reigned at the breakfast table, as Scott, Jackson, and I munched cornflakes and glutinous rice balls enveloped in banana leaves.

We had slept few hours the night before and were badly in need of coffee, but with our 9:10 train to Bandung leaving in less than half an hour, our goodbyes to Jackson’s family were brief and punctuated with warnings against missing the train. Our best bet was to purchase that all important beverage as we rode the rails, and devote this time to folding the bikes, and attempting not to leave any vital belongings in Jakarta.

Though Jackson had warned against it, we found ourselves swept up in the armies of baggage handlers, all asking “Where are you going mister?!” and struggling against us to help us with our bags. One of them offered to show us to our platform, which was helpful, and when our train came, then hastily loaded our cycles into a place that later turned out to be an illegal stowing spot. For this great service, he successfully extracted a princely and unheard of tip of 50 cents (due to our lack of bills in smaller denominations). While this was by all measures an occurrence of highway robbery, we had managed to get aboard and were off towards the unknown once again. No worse for the wear and, between the two of us, short less than the cost of a diet cola in the United States.  We were again at the edge of the rift, peering over into the great abyss.  What would the rest of Indonesia have in store for us without the gentle tutelage of our so honored bureau chief?

Train to Bandung

The train ride proved quite comfortable, with plentiful coffee, which we gladly indulged in, and many exotic and interesting smelling dishes for sale, which we declined, fearing for our gastronomic safety.

Outside, the urban sprawl of Jakarta transitioned to cobbled-together slums, which blended quite smoothly into jungle villages and rice paddies. Our train climbed slowly up into the mountains, and soon we were looking out over handsome vistas of complex rice farming operations, which nestled themselves amidst steep volcanic mountains.

Lush Rice Terraces

Our train wove through this lush green landscape, its wheels grating against the rusty track and sending vibrations up through the body of the train, through our seats, and up into our tray tables, which disturbed the sediment in our cups of coffee and washed tiny deposits of silt up onto the higher portions of the drink.

Indonesian Railway Coffee


Comments

  1. Mark/Dad | January 15th, 2010 | 4:12 am

    Is that really rice growing on those terraced elevated racks? Incredibly verdant!

  2. Woody | January 15th, 2010 | 9:27 pm

    Not sure if that’s rice… Any one else know what that is?

  3. Christi | February 9th, 2010 | 3:29 am

    Thanks for the answers to the kids questions. They love getting the messages and your writing is a wonderful lesson in description. Thanks again for your flexibility – know it means more computer time. cj

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