I met Pipit in the plane to Jakarta. Only at the end we started talking and he seemed very nice and welcoming. As I passed immigration and made my way out there he was again asking me where I am going. I told him I am looking for the bus to Gambir. It took him not even a second and he offered me to help me to find my bus. Gladly I accepted his help. As we were walking towards the bus station we started talking and he told me that he is on vacation here in Jakarta.
Pipit was born and raised in Jakarta and is working at the moment in Helsinki in a hotel. The reason for that is, that he makes approximately $1000 a month in Helsinki, while he would only earn $150 a month here in Jakarta. I was shocked by the number, thinking that $150 would not get me very far in England. He told me that he is very excited to go home because he will finally see his baby son again. After he was born he soon left for work to Helsinki to be able to support his family better. Now his son is more than one year old and has not seen his father since he was born.
Of course he asked me if I am married and I had to say no. He was a little surprised but I quickly changed the focus through asking since when he was married. Then he started to tell me how that works here in Jakarta: You meet a girl, you like her, you start to date her, then you bring her home and if your parents like her and her parents like you, you get married. And all that happens within one month!! Wow, I couldn’t believe it! Of course this is a completely different culture but nevertheless one month was unbelievable for me! I was very moved by his story. I had to think about if a man in England or lets say Switzerland would even consider going so far away for his family so they have a better life! Or even commit in that way. I wasn’t sure…
Pipit waited with me till my bus arrived. He gave me his number and email and said if I ever need something in Jakarta I should call him or his family.
In the huge traffic jam I thought about Pipit and my very first moment in Indonesia. What a warm and lovely welcome. I would say this was the perfect start!
Once I arrived in Gambir I wanted to hire one of these motorbikes but then these two Dutch guys wanted to share a cab, which of course was a lot cheaper, and so we hoped in the cab and drove towards my hostel.
The hostel is run by two twin sisters with their husbands, whom are from England and Ireland. Very quickly I felt a bit back in London. It was a funny feeling sitting with them on the rooftop drinking a Indonesian beer and making jokes while looking at the skyline from Jakarta.
But before that I went across the street, which is an adventure for it’s self, and tried for the first time in my life authentic Indonesian Bakmie Goreng. I love this food, the people and the vibe.
On the rooftop we were people from all around the world. I was amazed by how quickly you built a connection whilst traveling alone. The next day I almost considered staying a night more because I had such a great start. But I wanted to get to the beach and therefore towards Cimaja!