Because the Sumatra trip was off, I decided to head out to Bogor for the day on the train. I was going to maybe stay in Bogor and keep travelling, but I will explain why I ended up just going for the day down below…
I ended up on a good train on the way there… it was about a two hour trip. It had air conditioning. Not enough seats though.
The scenery was interesting… heading out through Jakarta, through the fringes of the city, to the semi-rural areas where there were small patches of rice paddies and tea crops, through smaller villages where the houses were stacked up close to the train tracks.
Bogor station was extremely crowded. When we arrived, the train doors opened on both sides and we had to make the big jump down out of the train carriage, as there weren’t proper platforms. We then had to walk across the tracks to get to the exit.
There were food stalls crowded on the platform and markets outside the station, teaming with crowds and taxis and ojeks trying to make their way through. Lots of beeping horns.
It was cool though. There were lots of little warung (street food) places… lots of life.
There were also lots of stalls selling rabbits in Bogor. I saw about three or four. I don’t know whether they were selling them for eating or for pets.
So I had come to Bogor mostly to check out the Botanic Gardens (kebun raya) there, because they got big ups in things I had read about the place, so I started walking off in that direction.
While I was waiting to cross a road though, a woman and I were both standing there, when all of a sudden the piece of concrete we were standing on just crumbled and gave way to an open sewer! We both screamed and fell… luckily I only had one foot on the piece that broke away, and the woman’s husband grabbed her (so that’s what they are useful for then…), but she lost her shoe to the sewer (lucky for her, there was a street seller with thongs not far away) and I cut up all my leg. It was bleeding and had scratches and little cuts all over it, but I was so shocked by the ordeal that I just kept going to the gardens as if nothing had happened. I was just grateful I didn’t take a swim in shit!
When I got to the gardens and looked at it, I realised it was fairly badly cut up, but the cuts were clotting up so I was like “meh, she’ll be right mate” and carried on my merry way.
The gardens were very pretty, with lots of beautiful ferns. They were pretty crowded though because of the holidays.
There was also a zoological museum in the gardens which had lots of stuffed animals. I always find those sorts of things slightly creepy. Next door, I spotted this scary looking door…
So I wandered around the gardens for a while… got a glimpse of Istana Bogor (a presidential palace favoured by Sukarno) across the lake… chilled out under a tree. On my wanders (my camera in hand of course) a man came up to me, pulled my arm and said hello miss… photo… anak-anak (children)… he wanted me to take a photo of his family.
The kids were so cute and all clamoured to get in front of the camera… I didn’t know the right word to say when you pose for a photo in Indonesia, so I just went tiga… dua… sato (3, 2, 1) and they all smiled and waved. Then I showed them the picture of themselves on the back of the camera, which sparked a huge amount of laughter, and they all waved goodbye. It was a bit strange because it wasn’t like they wanted prints or it sent to them I don’t think, but the kids seemed to think it was fun anyway. Very cute.
It was really hot so I went to get lunch… I saw a sign for a “gallery, café, resto”, so headed down some back streets to find that. It was called Gumati, and had an amazing view over the red rooves of Bogor and a view of Mount Salak (thanks Google for giving me the name of the mountain). Though it was hidden a bit in
the smog and fog.
Will write about the food in a separate post.
After lunch, I just went for a wander around. It was quite pretty, lots of greenery (something which Jakarta lacks)… then I headed back to the station, where I bought a ticket on the economy train back to Jakarta, for Rp 2500 (25 cents).
It was an extra bargain considering it basically bought you a ticket to a theatrical show as well, watching the comings and goings on the train.
The train had no doors… luckily or the heat would have been unbearable. Kids were hanging out the side, faces excited as their hair was pummelled by the wind.
I was fortunate to get a seat though. For the whole journey, sellers and kids pushed back and forward makeshift carts of drinks and food, and carried boards adorned with all manner of goods, calling out “aqua aquakwakwakwakwakwakwa” at the top of their lungs.
It was very interesting.
Here is a rough list of the items that were available for sale on the train. Who needs shopping malls!
Barbie handbags, steak knives, hair accessories, jewellery, Indonesian to English dictionaries, drinks, cigarettes, small packets of plaster of paris, some sort of strange rubber contraption that was supposed to be good for back massages, dental hygiene products, tissues, food (both sweet and savoury), the koran, colouring books.
I’m sure there were more.
There were also street singers, including a whole band which moved from carriage to carriage with a double bass, bongo drum, snare drum and three guitars to belt out some tunes. Quite a feat.
Also, there were a few beggars sliding themselves along on their bums up and down the train. One of them did such a piss poor effort of pretending that he was disabled that a group of men started applauding him sarcastically as he clearly had full movement in all of his limbs, which became even clearer when he rose up to threaten one of them close to his face when he was mocked.
It was pretty funny though, I was sitting next to a grandmother and her granddaughter, who was very cute, who had her gran wrapped around her little finger, and on the trip managed to score a headband, bracelet, packet of plaster of paris, sweet coconut drink and packet of chips.
Reminds me of my childhood.
If mum and dad say no, ask grandma or grandpa.
Didn’t take any pictures on the train unfortunately, was occupied with holding on to my bags because there was water all over the floor from the shonky drink carts.
Then I was back in Jakarta at Kota station, being pushed along by the crowds avoiding pots of precariously perched noodles that women were trying to sell on the platform.
I went home to disinfect my leg, multiple times. Thank God for Dettol. It’s pretty bruised though today.