Port of Jakarta and National Monument

Loading up the ship

Since flying into Jakarta very late last Thursday night, we have mostly tried to adjust to the time zone and hang out in and around the hotel. Austin had administrative appointments and things to do for his work permit, so Landon and I went swimming every day, hung out in the luxurious hotel, ate good food, took awesome baths in a gigantic bathtub, you know all the normal things you do on vacation. Even a week after landing, we are still about an hour off of normal. I have tried and failed to stay up past 9 pm every night, and I wake up between 4:30 and 5 every morning. That would be perfect if I had many things to do and a place to exercise! When you have barely anything to do and are trying to stay quiet for sleeping husband and toddler, it’s a little rough. Landon has been only sleeping 9 hours or so and also gets up incredibly early. So we’re all a little tired around here.

On our last full day in Jakarta before moving on to Austin’s work location in Cilacap, we decided to take a taxi to a few of Jakarta’s most popular tourist sites. We started off going to the old domestic port, which the concierge at the hotel had touted as a “living museum”. I was excited to go because I thought Landon would like the ships. Austin was a little underwhelmed, but I assured him we could just get out, look around, take some pictures, and get back in the car. When we arrived, the driver asked if we wanted a tour around the area. Austin said, “Sure!” because everything is so cheap here and it was hard to delineate which areas we were allowed to walk in and which we weren’t. We were presented with this tiny man who spoke very good English and welcomed us to the port. 
Colorful boat

Our trusty guide
The tour involved walking down the road next to where all the ships were tied up. Apparently, Indonesia still uses wooden ships for domestic transport in between islands. There are several different styles of ships, and some were up in the water way higher than others. I thought it just had to do with the size of the boat, but turns out, some were loaded down with goods and some were empty! The guide pointed out all of the different goods that were being unloaded and loaded, along with what island they were from or which island they were headed to. Jakarta sends cement and rice along with other things to other islands. Sumatra has many mines so there were some goods being unloaded from there. Our guide also explained the process of building and waterproofing the ships take 1.5-2 years for a new ship. They used to be sail boats, but motors were but in the boats in the 1970’s, To waterproof, first the cracks are filled with gum and resin. Then a waterproofing paint is placed over that. I’m sure I’m missing details, but the port area was very busy and loud with trucks roaring past on their way to boats and cranes working to load and unload materials. 
Cargo net

We learned that ships have been built using the same technique for 500 years, and it is an art passed from father to son. We learned that the ships have paint stripes that tell them how much cargo they have, depending on how deep the vessel is in the water.

Rubber duckies ready to be loaded
It took Landon a while to wake up from his nap and
appreciate where we were!


For every ship, there was a crew. Depending on what part of the process they were in, there were crew members loading, securing, or lazing about. There were very few crew people with shoes on. It was a hot day, too! They boarded the ships using these wooden gangplanks. If the ship was not loaded, the plank was at a precarious angle. If the ship was fully loaded, though, then the plank was flat.

These guys were loading up white rock powder that they use in paint.

This ship had been re-waterproofed without redoing the blue paint

We came upon this truck full of what looked like wood chips. I forget where it was headed, but the cargo was broken coconut shells. They grind them up and use them in coils to keep mosquitoes away.

A little while later, we came upon this 2-man crew in the process of re-waterproofing a boat. They were hammering with a hammer and chisel on all of the gaps in between the wooden planks. This process happened all while standing on a floating board! The boat was taking on water, so the water was being pumped out and squirted over their heads. It was not clean, spring water either! The funniest thing is that the guy stopped his work to pose for me and wave “hi!” 

Austin and I at the top of the ship!

Now we get to the fun part! About half way through the tour, a guy with a row boat was waiting for us to get on. We had already said we just wanted about half of this guy’s prepared tour because both Austin and our friend Sama who accompanied us (Austin’s co-worker) had immigration stuff to sort out. Anyway, we refused the row boat and the row boat guy seemed disappointed. At the end of the line of boats, there was a fully-loaded boat just waiting. The guide asked if we wanted to climb on board! We had to go across a skinny plank- not the one I photographed above. It was about 4 inches wide, and sagging in the middle. The guide helped Sama and I over and we explored for awhile. After Sama was done, Austin came over and we explored while Sama watched Landon in his stroller. We did not want him to fall into the icky water, and I didn’t feel comfortable carrying him or having somebody else carry him onto the boat- he is too unpredictable and so very toddler-ish right now.

Landon getting along well with the locals

After walking on the deck- which was painted a teal green- our guide led us to the back/inside of the ship, which had a control room, galley, hole in the ship toilet (waste going directly into the water) and living quarters. There were crew members on board washing things and hanging out because it was way too hot to actually do anything! The control room featured a few pieces of rope with knotted ends that the guide said were used for communication. I’m not sure how that communication would work! There was also an old huge helm made out of wood that was just for show, as well as a smaller, more manageable helm that was currently in use. Sorry there are no pictures- we didn’t want to lose our camera to the icky port water!

The control room was right behind us, inside the windows. 
Here is the plank we walked across. You can see just how tiny
our guide was- I think he is short even for Indonesians though…

Austin didn’t need help to cross, but I was still worried he’d end up in the water!

After we were done with the wooden ships, the guide wanted to take us to the whole other side of the harbor, but we just didn’t have time. So, we walked through the main shipping section of the harbor, which included imports and exports of smaller goods. These bags of chilis we could feel from 10 feet away- my guess is that they are pretty spicy!

We were there right around noon= lunch break in the shade

In this section, we saw lots of imports. Mostly beer, motorcycles, etc. We also saw these roofing tile things. Our guide said they are made of asbestos. Hooray!

After the port, we had about an hour and a half before we had to be back, so we stopped by the National Monument in the heart of Jakarta. It was built to celebrate Indonesia’s freedom from the Dutch. It is shaped like a rice mortar and pestle, which I guess are important tools to Indonesians. There was a little museum inside as well as a chance to climb all the way to the top, but we just decided to take some pictures and call it good. Traffic in Jakarta is insane crazy and it took us about an hour to get from here to our hotel- and they are not that far away from each other!

I wish we had more pictures of this- Landon fleeing from his parents. He spotted some motorcycles this time.

Sitting on the motorcycle. I’m not sure he would sit this still if it were moving!

The National Monument

Jakarta was fairly polluted and dry looking. People from Austin’s office told us that it has been unseasonably dry and hot, thus the dry grass in the pictures!


One thought on “Port of Jakarta and National Monument

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s